DHaka : January 14, 2021; Poush 30, 1427 BS; Jamadi-ul awal 29, 1442 Hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.Da~2065, Vol.17; N o.273; 12 Pages~Tk.8.00


House races to oust

Trump; he blames accusers

for US ‘anger’

>Page 7


Langer rallies behind

Paine, Smith amid criticism

over SCG conduct

>Page 9

art & culture

Film on 'Bangabandhu'

will be historical

document: Hasan

>Page 10

On the complicacies

of BRTA licenses


Approximately 8 lakh 19 thousand 987

driving licenses are stuck due to various

complications. The Bangladesh Road

Transport Authority (BRTA) was closed

for more than two months due to the

COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the driver's

test and fingerprinting work started

on August 23 last year, was closed for

about five months. It took last year's July

to figure out which company would get

the job of issuing the driving license. It

was said that the issuance and renewal of

new driving licenses would return to normal

in December of that year. But BRTA

has not started its activities yet.

According to BRTA sources, BRTA

signed a five-year agreement with Madras

Security Printers Pvt Ltd, an Indian company,

on July 29 last year to provide driving

licenses printed on dual-interface

polycarbonate smart cards. Under the

BDT 120 crore budget deal, the company

will have to issue 4 million driving licenses.

Moreover, in order to get the license,

the customer has to provide all kinds of

services including sending SMS, network

connectivity, online UPS, data center,

server, storage maintenance, printing station,

personalization center, import of

driving license card. But the organization

has not started any work yet.

Meanwhile, resentment are on the rise

among the driving license aspirants. They

say they are embarrassed for various reasons.

Because they have to go with temporary

approval. Talking to a person

named Sabbir Ahmed, he said, "I don't

know when I will get a driving license." If

you come here and ask the officials, the

authority can't say anything. How long

will I continue with the temporary

approval letter? Once the approval letter

expires, it has to be extended again.

BRTA chairman Nur Mohammad

Majumder told The Bangladesh Today in

response to a question on when the driving

license issue will open. "We will start issuing

driving licenses from next February,"

he said. According to him, all the work is

going on. Asked how long it would take to

distribute all the frozen driving licenses, he

said, "We plan to distribute all the licenses

within the next six months."

AC explosion at UAE

visa centre leaves one

dead, 7 injured

DHAKA : A man was killed and seven

others were injured as an Air Conditioner

(AC) went off at the UAE Visa Processing

Centre in Gulshan area on Wednesday

afternoon, reports UNB.

The identity of the deceased could not

be known yet.

Sudeep KumarChakraborty, Deputy

Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan

Police,GulshanDivision, said when

repairing work of several ACs were

underway at the office one of them

exploded, killing a man on the spot.


05:26 AM

12:11 PM

03:55 PM

05:35 PM

06:53 PM

6:43 5:32

Rohingya Repatriation


tripartite talks Jan 19

DHAKA : Bangladesh, Myanmar and

China will hold a tripartite meeting on

Rohingya repatriation in Dhaka on

January 19 as Dhaka finds their repatriation

to Myanmar as only solution to the


"We hope it would be a fruitful meeting,"

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul

Momen told reporters on Wednesday

about the tripartite talks.

He said the meeting will be held at secretary

level while such tripartite meeting

was last held on January 20 last year.

The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh

has handed over a list of

8,40,000Rohingyas to Myanmar for verification.

"Myanmar has verified very few people.

They're very slow. They verified only

42,000people. There is serious lack of

seriousness," said the Foreign Minister.

Dr Momen said they are doing their

part of the job but Myanmar is not

responding the same way.

Responding to a question, he said he is

always hopeful of beginning repatriation

as history says they took back their

nationals in 1978 and 1992.

People live in hope and Ronhingya

refugees also do so and thus they spent

another, 2020, that they would have a

dignified return to their homeland in

Myanmar. But, the hope for a better day

did not come.

The government, earlier, hinted that

the repatriation talks will begin this

month as there was no Rohingya repatriation

and discussion in 2020 as those collided

with Covid-19 pandemic and

Myanmar general elections.

Big countries find the repatriation of

Rohingyas to their place of origin in

Myanmar's Rakhine State is the only


More than three years ago, Myanmar's

soldiers "targeted, killed, and raped"

Rohingya and burned their villages, as

the United Nations, Refugees

International, United States Holocaust

Memorial Museum, the U.S. State

Department itself, and many others have


Over 800,000 Rohingyas fled the

"genocidal violence" and Bangladesh

is now hosting over 1.1 million


New landslide early warning

system to be used in Bangladesh

DHAKA : An innovative landslide early

warning system will be deployed in

Bangladesh for the first time in an important

step in disaster risk management for

the country.

The Food and Agriculture

Organization of the United Nations

(FAO), in partnership with government

partners, has developed a new early

warning system for Cox's Bazar which is

based on risk modelling using inputs

from satellite imagery, rainfall levels, and

other meteorological data.

An estimated one million people

live at high risk of landslides in Cox's

Bazar, including Rohingya refugees

and host communities, a FAO press

release said.

Currently, landslide warnings can only

be made a couple of hours before a landslide

allowing a very limited time to

respond but the new system will make it

possible for people who live in danger

areas to be notified up to five days in

advance by email and mobile phone SMS


FAO Representative in Bangladesh,

Robert. D. Simpson, said: "FAO is working

with the government to enhance

community resilience to disasters and

this new landslide early warning system,

which is a significant improvement based

on modern technology, will help to save


The early warning system was developed

by FAO in collaboration with the

Cox's Bazar District Administration and

the International Union for Conservation

of Nature (IUCN), with financial support

from USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian


High resolution satellite imageries

were analysed to identify 890 of the most

vulnerable sites in the region. Teams then

collected field data from these sites and

worked with local government officials

and community leaders to develop the


FAO will work with the Ministry of

Disaster Management and Relief

(MoDMR), and the Ministry of

Environment, Forest and Climate

Change (MoEFCC) to scale up the early

warning system across the country.

Green nature is adorned with yellow. The play of fog and the twinkling of the sun is now blooming

yellow mustard on the horizon. This is the time to see the yellow beauty of mustard flowers. The picture

is taken from Basundia area of Jashore Sadar upazila on Wednesday. Photo : Star Mail

Probe report on

BB reserve heist

case Feb 17

DHAKA : A Dhaka court yesterday

set February 17 to submit a probe

report in the case lodged over

Bangladesh Bank (BB) reserve heist

that took place in 2016.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate

Sadbir Yasir Ahsan Chowdhury set

the date as the investigation agency

CID failed to present the report yesterday.

Hackers stole $101m from BB's

accounts with the Federal Reserve

Bank of New York in February 2016.

Of the amount, $81 million was transferred

to four accounts with RCBC in

Manila and another $20 million to a

bank in Sri Lanka.

But the transfer of $20 million to

Sri Lanka failed because of a spelling

error by the hackers. Later, the BB

was able to retrieve about $15 million

from the Philippines.

Bangladesh Bank Deputy Director

(accounts and budgeting) Zobayer

Bin Huda filed the case with

Motijheel Police Station on March 15,


The Criminal Investigation

Department (CID) is now probing the


A man was killed and seven others were injured as an Air Conditioner (AC) went off at the UAE Visa Processing Centre

in Gulshan area on Wednesday afternoon.

Photo : TBT

Homeworkers need to be

better protected, says ILO

DHAKA : The dramatic increase in

working from home due to COVID-19

pandemic has highlighted the poor

working conditions experienced by

many homeworkers who, prior to the

crisis, numbered an estimated 260 million

people worldwide, reports UNB.

Those working from home, whose

number has greatly increased due to

the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,

need better protection, says the

International Labour Organization

(ILO) in a new report on Wednesday.

Since homeworking occurs in the

private sphere it is often "invisible".

In low- and middle-income countries

for instance, almost all homebased

workers (90 per cent) work



One person has been killed in a shootout

between supporters of a councilor candidate

in Pathantuli Ward No. 28 over the

Chattogram City Corporation election. At

least three people were injured in the

clash, which took place around 8 pm on

Tuesday, January 12. The deceased was

identified as Azgar Ali Sardar alias Babul

(55) has been admitted to a local hospital.

According to police and local sources,

clashes broke out between Awami

League-backed councilor candidate

Nazrul Islam Bahadur and followers of

former councilor Abdul Quader, a rebel

candidate of the same party, in the

Pathantuli Magpukur Par area. Panic

spread throughout the area during the

clashes. There were chases and

exchanges of fire between the two sides.

Later police and law enforcement went

and brought the situation under control.

Several others were injured at the time.

Witnesses said followers of the two

candidates clashed in the Magpukur area

around 8 pm. At first the clash between

the two sides started at one stage. One

person was killed on the spot in the accident.

Double Mooring Police Officer-in-

Charge (OC) Sadeep Kumar Das told

The Bangladesh Today that a man

named Azgar Ali was shot dead. He was

shot in the chest. He was pronounced

dead at a private hospital. Another was

taken to Chittagong Medical College


They are usually worse off than those

who work outside the home.

Even in higher-skilled professions

they earn on average 13 per cent less in

the United Kingdom; 22 per cent less

in the United States of America; 25 per

cent less in South Africa and about 50

per cent in Argentina, India and


Homeworkers also face greater safety

and health risks and have less access

to training than non-home-based

workers, which can affect their career


The report, Working from home:

From invisibility to decent work, also

shows that homeworkers do not have

the same level of social protection as

other workers.

One killed in shootout

involving CCC election

Naik Amir Hossain of CMCH police

outpost said a man named Mahbub, who

was shot in the clash, was first admitted

to Chattogram Medical College Hospital.

He was later taken to a private hospital.

He said Mahbub was shot in the thigh.

City Police Deputy Commissioner

(West) Farooq-ul-Haq told The

Bangladesh Today that there had been

clashes between the two councilor candidates,

there had been shootings, the situation

was now calm, additional police

had been deployed in the area.

Nazrul Islam Bahadur has been nominated

by the Awami League in

Pathantuli Ward No. 26 of the City

Corporation. Former councilor Abdul

Quader is contesting as a rebel candidate

from the same party. The two candidates

have been at loggerheads since the

announcement of the first election

schedule in February. Which was

revealed through this conflict.

Point to be noted here, Chattogram's

top terrorist and former Chhatra League

cadre Abdul Quader alias Mash Quader

K was acquitted of three sensational

murder cases on the recommendation of

the Home Ministry for political reasons

and party satisfaction. The three cases

are: murder case of Abdul Quader, a

poly technical student of Panchlaish

police station, murder case of businessman

of Double Mooring police station

and murder case of another businessman

Ahmed Ali.

THuRSDAY, JANuARY 14, 2021


The Bangabandhu Engineering Council BEC of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) unit

commissioned a farewell ceremony for its outgoing 2017-20 committee. The event held on Monday,

January 11, 2021. Engineer Md. Abdus Sabur, the former president of Bangladesh Engineers Institution

and the secretary of Awami League's science and technology affairs graced the event as the chief guest.

The director general of BWDB, Engineer Mohammad Ali and the general secretary of BEC's central

committee, Engineer Mohammad Nuruzzaman were present as special guests on the occasion. The

council's newly elected president engineer, Md. Mizanur Rahman presided over the function. Engineer

Md. Kohinur Alam, organizing secretary of the council articulated the event's progress and general secretary

of the council, Engineer Md. Mahfuzur Rahman and other leaders were present in the ceremony.

During the program, the achievements of the outgoing president of the council, Engineer Md.

Habibur Rahman and other leaders were celebrated through recognizing them. Photo : Courtesy

With Geographical

Indication rules

Pakistan can secure

export markets

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has

finally notified the

Geographical Indication

(GI) Rules strengthening its

case against India over safeguarding

its claims of basmati

rice and Himalayan

pink salt, reports Dawn.

The rules, prerequisite for

any GI claims, will allow

Pakistan to fight India in

the European Union as the

latter asserts that basmati

rice is an Indian product.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has

already challenged India's

claims over the rice.

"Now as the GI Rules

have been notified,

Pakistan will be able to

secure its export markets

with legal backing," a senior

official of the Intellectual

Property Organisation of

Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan)

told Dawn.

The formulation of GI

rules have been pending in

the county for almost 18

years, but the move picked

pace after India submitted

an application with the EU,

claiming sole ownership of

basmati rice.

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GD- 75/21 (7x 3)

The UAE warns US shale companies

against pumping more oil

Dubai: Any attempt by US shale and other oil producers

to boost output this year will backfire and

lead to lower prices, according to the energy minister

of the United Arab Emirates.

Oil prices have surged in the past two months

with the development of coronavirus vaccines.

They jumped again last week when Saudi Arabia

said it would unilaterally cut crude output by 1 million

barrels a day in February and March, a move

the kingdom described as a "gift" to other producers.

That's led the International Energy Agency to

state that shale firms - whose output plunged last

year when the virus spread and demand for energy

crashed - would again be profitable. With

demand still fragile, they "are wise not to jump the

gun and overproduce during the recovery year,"

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said in

an interview on Tuesday before a forum organized

by Gulf Intelligence, a Dubai-based consultant.

They "need to be careful not to flood the market."

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting

Countries and partners such as Russia, a grouping

known as OPEC+, agreed to cut output by almost

10 million barrels a day in April. Their efforts and

a rapid improvement in energy demand in China

and India buoyed oil prices. Brent crude has risen

11 per cent to $57.30 a barrel this year. But it's still

down more than 10 per cent from pre-pandemic

levels and below what most major exporters need

to balance their budgets.

U.S. crude stockpiles climbed with the onset of

the virus and as economic activity plunged.

Though they fell from a peak of 541 million barrels

in June to 485 million on Jan. 1, they're still up 12

837 12.01.2021

per cent from a year ago. The IEA sees the global

glut enduring for the rest of 2021. "It's not going to

be easy to just go and build production, seeing the

inventory levels where they are today," Mazrouei


Shale companies in the U.S. pumped about 8.1

million barrels daily in January. That compares

with 9.3 million in March 2020.

At a virtual meeting last week, OPEC+ agreed to

keep production in February and March

unchanged for all 23 members bar Saudi Arabia,

Russia and Kazakhstan. The latter two will

increase output by 75,000 barrels a day. The UAE

pumped 2.5 million barrels daily in December,

making it OPEC's biggest producer after Saudi

Arabia and Iraq.

The Saudis' decision to cut production for two

months comes amid renewed lockdowns in

Europe and Asia and a spike in US cases. Those

have forced OPEC+ to slow the pace at which it

eases last year's curbs.

Global demand won't return to pre-pandemic

levels until the end of 2021 or early 2022,

Mazrouei said. When that happens, Mazrouei

said he's confident OPEC+ countries can regain

any market share they'll lose to others by curtailing


"We are the lowest-cost producers as OPEC

countries," he said. Abu Dhabi plans to expand

production capacity to 5 million barrels a day by

2030 from 4.2 million now and to start trading its

Murban crude on an exchange this quarter, in an

attempt to make it a benchmark for Middle

Eastern oil. Those moves "will enable us to compete

and will enable us to put those volumes

because they will be needed," Mazrouei said.

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Saudi Aramco

seeks $7.5 billion

loan for oil

pipeline investors

Dubai: Saudi Aramco is

lining up a loan of about

$7.5 billion for potential

investors in its oil

pipelines, according to

people familiar with the

matter, reports Gulf


The world's biggest oil

producer has begun talks

with lenders to secure

favorable terms for the

funding package that

would then be offered to

investors, the people

said, asking not to be

identified as the information

is private. The discussions

are occurring in

parallel with the sale of a

stake in a pipeline unit,

which could raise about

$10 billion for Aramco,

the people said.

A pipeline deal would

be the first phase of

Aramco's effort to raise

money from leasing

rights or stakes in noncore

assets, mirroring

what Abu Dhabi National

Oil Co. has done in the

past few years. The Saudi

company is working with

advisers including

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

and Moelis & Co., the

Wall Street investment

bank that's also involved

in the Adnoc deals.

Aramco didn't immediately

respond to requests

to comment.

Ford, Toyota face US

production slowdown

over semiconductor


NEW YORK : Toyota and

Ford said on Monday they

will slow down or even stop

production at US factories

as the auto industry grapples

with a shortage of vital

computer chips.

The shortage is caused by

an increase in demand for

consumer electronics during

the coronavirus pandemic,

which has left semiconductor


struggling to keep up.

Ford spokeswoman Kelli

Felker said the automaker

will this week close its

plant in Louisville,

Kentucky, which employs

about 4,100 people making

the Ford Escape and

Lincoln Corsair models.

The company already

planned to idle the plant

temporarily, but moved up

the timeframe due to the


"The global semiconductor

shortage is presenting

challenges and production

disruptions - for the global

auto industry, including

Ford, which could have a

significant knock-on effect

on jobs and the economy

given the importance of

auto manufacturing," the

auto giant said.

Toyota said production

of its Tundra pickup truck

at a factory in San Antonio,

Texas also has been affected

by the shortage.

"At this point we are

assessing the longer term

impact, but for the month

of January, we anticipate

reducing Tundra production

by as much as 40 percent,"

a company

spokesperson said.

The Wall Street Journal

reported Fiat Chrysler will

stop Jeep production at a

plant in Mexico and production

of other models at

a factory in Canada due to

the shortage.

Iqvmv- R: Z: 15/2021

GD- 73/21 (9x4)

Tesla takes another step on

road to launch in India

Tesla Inc has moved a step closer to its launch

in India later this year by registering a company

in the country, a regulatory filing showed

on Tuesday.

Tesla Motors India and Energy Private

Limited was incorporated on January 8 with

its registered office in the southern city of

Bengaluru, a hub for several global technology


The filing shows the Indian unit has three

directors including David Feinstein, who is

currently a senior executive at Tesla, according

to his LinkedIn profile.

India's transport minister Nitin Gadkari

told a local newspaper in December that the

United States electric carmaker would start

with sales and then might look at assembly

and manufacturing.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has tweeted

several times in recent years, including as

recently as October 2020, about an impending

foray into India.

The move comes as Indian Prime Minister

Narendra Modi is promoting the production

and use of electric vehicles to reduce the country's

oil dependence and cut down on pollution.

But efforts have been stymied by a lack of

investment in manufacturing and infrastructure

such as charging stations.

Pakistanis drove only European and

American cars until the 1960s. Then the

Japanese automakers arrived. They received a

cold response initially owing to concerns

about the quality and reliability of their vehicles.

With time, however, Japanese carmakers

achieved domination. Their cars emerged as

more reliable, durable and economical than

European and American ones, reports Dawn.

More recently, Chinese companies tested

their luck in Pakistan's auto market but failed

due to outdated products and lack of features

and quality. Another reason for their failure

was their poor choice in terms of local partners.

But the situation is different now.

Chinese carmakers have been trying hard to

improve their products, introduce advanced

models and set up new plants.

With advanced technology and better safety

features in commercial, passenger and SUV

segments, some Chinese vehicles have attracted

consumers and their acceptability ratio has

gone up. This is the beginning of a new era

and, the local assemblers of Chinese vehicles

say, it will belong to the Chinese auto manufacturers.However,

price-conscious buyers

still believe Chinese cars will take time in gaining

trust of consumers who usually buy

Japanese cars. They say that Chinese twowheelers

made deeper inroads into the

Pakistani market owing to their lower prices

(and despite not-so-great quality). But the car

segment is a different ball game and they will

take time to gain a bigger market share.

Australian vegetable 'squash' is now being cultivated in Manirampur,

Jessore. An educated young man named Habibur Rahman Habib has started

cultivating this vegetable commercially for the first time. He was

inspired by the cultivation of squash on YouTube. Photo : Star Mail

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Metrorail inspection to

be carried out despite

Japan travel restriction

DHAKA : Metrorail inspection

work will be carried out

in Japan by a reputed international

company even if the

travel restriction is extended

there after January 31.

"We are ready to send a

technical team to Japan for

carrying out five trial runs of

the metro rail before shipment,"

Managing Director of

Dhaka Mass Transit

Company Limited (DMTCL)

MAN Siddique told BSS.

"If the Japanese government

extends the travel

restriction after January 31,

then a third party inspection

will be carried out on the

metro rail by an internationally

reputed company," he said.

A total of 19 test runs of the

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)

Line-6 will be carried out

before formal operation,

Siddique said, adding, "Five

trial runs will be carried out in

Japan and a technical team is

ready to fly to this end, but the

Japanese government

imposed travel restriction on

foreign nationals till January

31 following the detection of a

new category of coronavirus."

He said the Japanese company

has been manufacturing

metro rail sets in Osaka.

"If everything is completed

properly then the construction

company will start shipment

of the metro rail from

there to Bangladesh. We will

also carry out 14 trial runs in

our country," the managing

director said.

He said workers and

experts have been working to

set up rail track on six lines

abiding by the health guidelines

strictly during the Covid-

19 pandemic.

BNP's statement about election

'yard is crooked if you don't

know how to dance': Hasan

DHAKA : Sharply criticizing BNP's comments

over pourashava (municipality) elections,

Information Minister Dr Hasan

Mahmud yesterday said BNP's statement

about the polls is like 'the yard is crooked if

you don't know how to dance', reports BSS.

"Actually, they (BNP) has no other option

but to say this in front of the press club to

cover up the shame that they have won only

two seats in municipality polls in the first

round. When no one knows how to dance,

they say that the yard is crooked. And BNP is

also saying like that," he said.

The minister made the comments while

addressing a discussion and laptops distribution

programme at Awami League office on

Bangabandhu Avenue in the city.

Sheikh Russel Shishu-Kishore Parishad

organized the programme marking the

Homecoming Day of Father of the Nation

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

State Minister for Information and

Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid

Ahmed Palak addressed the function as special

guest with parishad founder chairman

Md Rakibur Rahman in the chair.

Hasan said BNP secretary general Mirza

Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and other leaders of

the party have told that the polls to municipality

on January 16 will not be held fairly.

Actually, they are talking is like that when no

one knows how to dance, they say that the

yard is crooked, he added.

He said the polls to pourashava held fairly

and the upcoming polls will also be held in a

fair manner. "I would like to urge BNP to

solve their disunity in pourashavas, districts

and upazilas levels. Otherwise, there will be

no benefit in lying in front of the press club,"

said Hasan, also Awami League joint general


About misinformation over the cost of

Corona vaccine apps, the minister said

wrong news was published in some media.

Atiqul Islam, mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, visited the Rupnagar canal in Mirpur on

Wednesday after cleaning it.

Photo : Star Mail

Bangladesh's daily

Covid-19 infection

rate now below 6 pc

DHAKA : With 890 new

Covid-19 patients detected

in the last 24 hours the total

number of infections in the

country rose to 524,910 until

Wednesday, reports UNB.

As per the latest data, the

daily infection rate dropped

to 5.66 percent.

The country recorded

8.29% infection on January

10, 7.52 percent on January

4, and 8.18 percent on

January 1.

The country's fatality

number rose to 7,833 with

14 deaths in 24 hours. The

death rate stands at 1.49 percent.

So far, 3,40,1506 tests,

including 16,338 new ones,

have been carried out.

The overall infection rate

stood at 15.43 percent, the

Directorate General of

Health Services said.

However, 469,522

patients - 89.45 percent -

have recovered so far.

The country's infection

number reached the

500,000-mark on

December 20. The first cases

were reported on March 8.

The death toll exceeded

7,000 on December 12.

Rupnagar canal to be connected

with Turag River: DNCC mayor

DHAKA : Dhaka North City Corporation

Mayor Atiqul Islam on Wednesday said

Rupnagar canal, located in the city's Mirpur

area, will be connected with the Turag river.

"I want to reach the Turag river by boat

through Rupnagar canal from Rupnagar residential

area," he told reporters after visiting

the canal, reports UNB.

The DNCC mayor said there was huge

garbage in Rupnagar canal. But some 50-60

workers cleaned the 2-km long canal for 15


In order to beautify the 60-foot width canal

and its surrounding areas, trees will be planted

on its banks initially and then bi-cycle

Ctg port offers many investment opportunities

for Turkish companies: Envoy

DHAKA : Turkish Ambassador to

Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan has said

Chittagong Port, historic gateway to

Bangladesh, presents many opportunities

for Turkish companies to invest.

He said prominent Turkish LPG company

Aygaz A.?. will hopefully be the first one to

do so.

The Turkish delegation led by

Ambassador Turan recently met Rear

Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad, Chairman of

Chittagong Port Authority and discussed

various issues of interest.

Ambassador Turan visited Chattogram

between January 9-12, the main port city

and commercial hub of Bangladesh.

Salahuddin Kasem Khan, Honorary

Consul General of Turkey, Kenan Kalayc?,

Commercial Counsellor of Turkey, ?smail

Gundo?du, T?KA (Turkish Cooperation and

Coordination Agency) Dhaka Program

Coordinator, and Gizem Aydin Erdem,

Second Secretary and Press Counsellor

accompanied Ambassador Turan during his


Ambassador Turan met with Mahbubul

Alam, Chittagong Chamber of Commerce

and Industry and its Board of Directors.

Bilateral trade relations and investment

opportunities were discussed, said the

Turkish Embassy on Wednesday.

"Our delegation toured the newly built

impressive World Trade Center building."

Turkey will explore the opportunity to

lanes and walkways will be developed there,

he said.

The locals will largely be benefited due to

its canal-cleaning and beautification works

as a number of educational institutes including

Monipur School, Commerce College and

a private university are in the area and the

students can use the walkways and bi-cycle

lanes. Atiqul Islam urged the people to

remove their illegal structures from the

banks of the canals, otherwise the DNCC will

conduct eviction drive there.

He said the city dwellers will be able to pay

their holding tax online from March next as

the DNCC is working on it.

become a partner country at one of the next

editions of Chittagong Trade Fair.

On the same day, visiting Chittagong

University of Engineering and Technology

and its Shamshen Nahar Khan Hall, built by

AK Khan Group in 2020, Ambassador

Turan met with Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr.

Mohammad Rafiqul Alam and spoke to the

faculty members on the various possibilities

of academic cooperation with Turkish universities.

On the second day of his visit,

Ambassador Turan visited AK Khan

Penfabric Company Limited (AKPEN)

Factory, observing first-hand an exemplary

project driving economic development in


He also planted a tree in the factory garden

symbolizing friendship and solidarity

between Turkey and Bangladesh.

Turkish delegation also visited COATS

(BD) factory, where the yarns produced in

AKPEN are dyed and shipped to readymade

garment factories across the country.

COATS shows impressive commitment to

Sustainable Development Goals and

employs IoT technologies to increase productivity

and inclusiveness.

Ambassador Turan, together with T?KA

Dhaka Programme Coordinator ?smail

Gundo?du and other members of the delegation

visited Shah-e Jamee Masjid, a heritage

of the Mughal Empire, serving the

Muslims of Chittagong since 1666.

A webinar was organized by Bose Centre for Advanced Study and Research in Natural Sciences on

Wednesday on the occasion of the 127th birth anniversary of world renowned scientist Satyendra

Nath Bose. Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Md. Akhtaruzzaman was the chief guest at the


Photo : Courtesy

Govt will be successful in COVID-19

vaccination, hopes Kamal

DHAKA : Finance Minister AHM Mustafa

Kamal yesterday expressed his firm optimism

that Bangladesh would become successful

in COVID-19 vaccination since all

necessary works are being done to this end.

"The question of the entire nation right

now is - when the government will start giving

COVID-19 vaccines to people and when

almost all people will come under the vaccination.

It's not a hard task to bring vaccines,

but the tough job is to bring all people under

the coverage of vaccine. We hope we'll

become successful," he said. The finance

minister was replying to a question virtually

after chairing two separate meetings on

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs

and Cabinet Committee on Government

Purchase (CCGP) through online platform.

He noted that it is not possible to give vaccines

to the entire population of the country

in a single day, rather it would take time to

give vaccines to the crores of people for

which vaccination would be carried out in

different phases. Kamal said people will be

identified for giving vaccines in different

stages and hopefully most of the people of

the country would come under the vaccination.

Replying to a question, he said the vaccines

being produced in India might cost

less than other ones. "But, we'll remain cautious

so that we do not suffer. We'll also look

into the price of vaccines in international

market and also in which price we're getting

those and thus we'll try to control if the price

goes up."

Kamal said scopes are there for exploring

alternate sources of getting vaccines and the

government will definitely go for alternate

sources if the prices of vaccines go up while

taking those from a country.

The first installment of the Oxford-

AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine from Serum

Institute of India (SII) would arrive by

January 25. A total of 50 lakh doses will be

administered in the first month to 25 lakh

people, two doses per person.As per the contract,

Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd will

deliver the three crore doses to the district

level EPI storages from SII in six phases.

Governance an indispensable part to

ensure equitable share of people's

opportunity: Gowher Rizvi

DHAKA : Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Advisor to the

Prime Minister on International Relation

Affairs, yesterday said governance is an indispensable

component to ensure the equitable

share of people's access and opportunity.

"Government is the guarantor of social justice;

therefore, governance is an indispensable

constituent to ensure the equitable share of

people's access and opportunity," he told a consultation.

Speaking as the chief guest, Gowher Rizvi

said the National Governance Assessment

Framework (NGAF) reflects national aspirations

and aim to improve citizens' quality of

life.The Governance Innovation Unit (GIU) of

the Prime Minister's Office and the United

Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in

collaboration with Centre on Budget and

Policy, University of Dhaka organized the

Dhaka Divisional Consultation on NGAF at the

Bangabandhu International Conference

Centre (BICC) here, a UNDP press release said.

The divisional consultations were organized

in each division and one additional in

Rangamati to collect qualitative and quantitative

data on governance and explore possible

solutions at the divisional level. Dhaka Division

consultation was part of the series consultation.

Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus, Principal Secretary to

Prime Minister, said: "Bangladesh is unique in

many ways both historically and culturally.

Thus, the state of governance in Bangladesh

should be assessed with reference to country

context. Any imposed framework might not be

adequate to capture the actual situation of


He further said: "The NGAF is a homegrown

framework developed by local experts

while maintaining global comparability which

can provide useful information for the government

to work on the betterment of peoples'

lives of this country."

Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative

of UNDP Bangladesh, in his remarks said,

"NGAF is a nationally owned, participatory

framework built on an "all-of-society"

approach which is integrated within a larger,

cohesive process of monitoring development

progress in Bangladesh."

He focused on UNDP's strong commitment

to continue its support to the government in

developing the tool like NGAF to capture priority

areas for policy action, gather citizen's aspirations,

and help the policymakers design

more comprehensive policy agendas.

SMEs are lifeline to

country's economy:

Tipu Munshi

DHAKA : Commerce Minister

Tipu Munshi on Wednesday

said SMEs are the lifeline to

the economy as its contribution

to the country'sGDP is

about 26 percent.

He madethe remark when

newly-elected President of

Dhaka Chamber of

Commerce and Industry

(DCCI) Rizwan Rahman met

him at his Secretariat office.

The two other leaders

areDCCI Senior Vice

President N K A Mobin, FCS,

FCA and Vice President

Monowar Hossain were also

present in the meeting.

During the meeting, the

Commerce Minister urged all

to work together for development

of the SMEs sector further,

said a DCCI release.

Noting that theglobal economic

dimension has

changed a lot,he

saidBangladesh needs to

diversify its products for

expanding the export basket

as well as more institutional

research inthis regard inorder

tosustain in the international


Tipu Munshi said thegovernmentwill

support all

potential sectors tobe more

competitive in the export market.

He assured the new president

of extending all supportfrom

his ministry for the

greater interest of the country's


The minister asked the

DCCI President to put forward

necessary recommendations

from the business community

to the ministry for government's


Rizwan Rahman asked the

minister for allowing the same

fiscal and non-fiscal facilities

to all export oriented sectors

liketheRMG sector keeping in

mind the LDC graduation of

Bangladesh.In the post- Brexit

era, the government can take

initiative to sign FTA with the

UK, he added.'

Mentioning that the

Companies Act sets the capital

limit of Tk 25 lakh and sales

transaction valued Tk 1 crore to

register a One Person Company

(OPC) business, the DCCI president

requested the Minister to

reconsider the clause and

reduce the threshold.

Bangladesh Mahila Parishad organized a press conference at National Press Club yesterday. Photo : TBT

THuRSDAY, jANuARY 14, 2021


Iran’s arrest of Korean tanker is complicated

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

One year on : Do we understand

Covid-19 any better ?

Ayear ago, ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was the first to share

information about a SARS-type lung infection with colleagues

in Wuhan, China. Researchers have learned a lot since then.

Here are the most important points.

Li Wenliang, who gave an early warning on the coronavirus

Heworked at the Wuhan Central Hospital, was the first to share

information about suspected SARS-type lung infections in the city in

Central China on December 30, 2019.

Li Wenliang died from COVID-19 on February 2. At the beginning

of the second week of January 2020, Chinese authorities made the

first public announcement that a new type of virus was rampant in

the city of Wuhan. Now, at the end of December 2020, there have

been more than 1.5 million infections in Germany and more than 80

million worldwide.

Here's an overview of what has been discovered about the virus to

date, and how far medicine has progressed in the fight against

SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus : When the existence of the

virus was announced, the first infection of a human by a vertebrate

animal had apparently already occurred several weeks earlier.

Initially, Chinese authorities seemed to have tried to suppress any

evidence. To this day, it's not exactly clear when and where the virus

jumped from animal to human hosts.

Chinese virologists deciphered the genetic information of the virus

in record time. On January 21, they published the genome structure,

and three days later they released a detailed description of the virus.

This enabled physicians and microbiologists worldwide to begin

developing drugs and vaccines.

A typical feature of the virus is the spike proteins (ACE-2) located

on its surface. These are crucial for binding to the host cell. That is

why a large part of drug and vaccine development has been focused

on binding or blocking this protein, or rendering it ineffective in

some other way.

In the meantime, a study carried out by virologists in the city of

Heinsberg, one of the first hotbeds of the disease in Germany, has

established that the virus is particularly prevalent in the throat and

lungs. The greatest danger of infection - besides by coming into

direct contact with an infected person or touching a contaminated

surface, known as smear infections - is through aerosol

transmission. The virus can spread particularly well through airconditioning

systems, such as those used widely in the meat


Closed rooms with many people in them are very dangerous.

That's why lockdown measures, the closure of entertainment

establishments and the cancellation of trade fairs and major events

were very effective in containing the disease.

The largest chains of infection could be traced back to so-called

superspreader events.

The use of mouth-and-nose protection, i.e., face masks,has now

become established in almost all countries of the world. However,

many medical professionals initially questioned whether most

people were capable of using masks in everyday life in such a way as

to help prevent potential virus transmission.

What is most important is for people to wash their hands, keep

their distance from others and air rooms thoroughly.

Even if some pets, such as cats, ferrets and golden hamsters, can

become infected by humans, they have not been found to play a

significant role in infection chains. However, infections in mink

farms in numerous countries have caused great concerns among

veterinary doctors. Authorities have subsequently ordered the

culling of millions of animals.

Initially, it was thought that the new virus was no more dangerous

than the seasonal flu. Now, however, physicians know better: The

disease poses a threat similar to that of the devastating Spanish flu

of 1918. Although many people can get a SARS-CoV-2 infection

without symptoms, others become very ill with COVID-19, the

disease caused by the virus.93-year-old

Some groups of people are more often affected than others: People

with previous illnesses, elderly people, people with blood type A and

men are more at risk.Pathologists who have examined COVID-19

victims have been able to confirm that high blood pressure, diabetes,

cancer, kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, asthma and cardiovascular

diseases are among the most dangerous preexisting conditions. In

principle, however, a severe case of the disease can affect anybody,

including young people.

Mild forms of COVID-19 can present like a cold. Typical

symptoms are a sore throat, breathing problems and a loss of sense

of smell and taste.In severe cases, however, a life-threatening multiorgan

disease can occur.This often leads to sepsis - a frequently fatal

overreaction of the immune system that attacks the infected

person's own tissue and organs.

The severity of the disease depends, to a large extent, on how

strongly a person's immune system reacts to the pathogen.

It has not been proven that the face masks seen above can

effectively protect you against viral infections. That said, these masks

are probably able to catch some germs before they reach your mouth

or nose. More importantly, they prevent people from touching their

mouth or nose (which most people do instinctually). If you are

already sick, such masks may keep you from infecting others.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many patients with severe

courses of the disease received artificial respiration (intubation) at

an early stage and died all the same.

Now, however, physicians working in intensive care units have

moved away from standard ventilation, because lung specialists

have stressed that artificial respiration under positive pressure can

do more damage than good to the lungs.As long as patients are able

to breathe on their own, they now receive oxygen without being

connected to a respirator. Intubation is used as an option only in an

extreme emergency.

In many cases, when the kidneys are severely damaged by

COVID-19, dialysis is also necessary. Intensive care units are now

also taking other damaged organs into account.

The healing process can be accelerated in specialized clinics by the

administration of antibodies from the blood of cured COVID-19

patients. These antibodies take up the fight against the virus in the

body of the patient who receives the donated blood.

Footage of the Hankuk Chemi, a South

Korean-flagged oil tanker, shows a

boat from Iran's Revolutionary

Guards in a red circle. The footage was

shown at tanker owner DM Shipping's

offices in Busan on January 4, 2021. Photo:

AFP / Yonhap

On January 4, Iran detained the South

Korean chemical tanker Hankuk Chemi for

allegedly "repeatedly" violating its

environmental regulations and polluting its

waters. The detention sparked outrage and

fear of another crisis with Iran.

Indeed, some linked the incident to the

broader geopolitical quarrel involving US

sanctions on Iran for its alleged pursuit of

nuclear weapons. They implied that Iran

seized the ship to use as a bargaining chip in

negotiations to release some US$7 billion of

Iran's money frozen in South Korean banks

because of US sanctions.

The US said, "The regime continues to

threaten navigational rights and freedoms

in the Persian Gulf as part of a clear attempt

to extort the international community into

relieving the pressure of sanctions." South

Korea demanded the tanker's release,

initiated legal action to that end and

deployed a destroyer with its elite antipiracy

unit to the area.

Even though Iran's action may be

politically motivated, it may be legally

justified. It is important to sort out the issues

involved and not jump to conclusions and


This is certainly not the first time Iran has

harassed or detained vessels passing

through its claimed waters and it won't be

the last. However, it is different from the

more dangerous disputes and incidents

involving passage of US warships through

the Strait of Hormuz. These incidents have

occurred repeatedly and there are good legal

arguments on both sides for their opposing

THE spectacle of a violent mob

ransacking the citadel of American

democracy demonstrated the ugly

face of Donald Trump's far-right populism.

It was the last desperate attempt by the

outgoing president to forcibly stall the

White House transition.

Described as an insurrection, the attempt

not only failed but also brought ignominy to

the man who controlled the destiny of the

world's most powerful nation for four

years. It was certainly not a spontaneous

act of violence but one that was incited by

the president himself as well as a right-wing

media wanting to overturn the result of the

election. Trump was never willing to accept

any electoral outcome that went against

him. The attack took place when Congress

was meeting to endorse the 2020

presidential election.

Urged on by President Trump, the mob

that forced its way into the Capitol last week

disrupting sessions in both houses of

Congress was said to largely belong to wellknown

militant white supremacist and hate

groups. They believed that they could force

the Congress to change the electoral result.

They claimed they were there to bring a

revolution. The violence forced lawmakers

to evacuate the building. For many, the

events of last week were reminiscent of the

storming of the German parliament by the

Nazis in the 1930s.

An impeachment move against the

American president is already in process.

His being at the helm even for a week

before the new administration takes over is

deemed dangerous not only for America

but also for the world. The move raises the

positions regarding the conditions for

passage of warships through the Strait. But

this case did not involve the question of

innocent or transit passage of warships - or

even alleged fuel smuggling, which is the

most common reason for Iran's detention of

tankers. Neither was it an alleged "hit and

run" as in the case of the British-flagged

tanker Stena Impero, whose detention did

appear to be a tit-for tat political move.

Nor was it state piracy, as some have

alleged. By internationally accepted

definition, piracy is an act committed for

private ends by a private ship in waters

beyond the jurisdiction of any coastal state.

The speculation that the detention of the

Hankuk Chemi is linked to broader issues is

based on circumstantial evidence, such as

the timing of the seizure of a South Koreanflagged

vessel only days before a planned

visit by South Korean Vice-Foreign Minister

Choi Jong-kun to Tehran. He headed a

delegation to negotiate with his Iranian

counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister

Abbas Araghchi, for release of the funds.

Iran has been angered by the denial of its

request by South Korea in consultation with

the US that the frozen funds be used to

purchase Covid-19 vaccine and related

medical equipment. Obviously the tanker

issue came up in the talks, but Iran insisted

that the two issues are separate, that the


tanker was seized because it was leaking and

that South Korea must await the outcome of

the judicial investigation and proceedings.

Choi demanded to see the evidence. But

again his counterpart deferred to the

judicial investigation.

Tehran's position is that the detention of

the Hankuk Chemi was a routine response

to a violation of Iran's environmental laws

that in general conform to international law.

Even if the two issues are linked - and it is

hard to imagine that they are not, at least in

atmospherics - Iran does have the general

right to enforce the law in waters under its

jurisdiction. Iran is one of the few countries

But this case did not involve the question of innocent or

transit passage of warships - or even alleged fuel smuggling,

which is the most common reason for Iran's detention of

tankers. Neither was it an alleged "hit and run" as in the case

of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, whose detention

did appear to be a tit-for tat political move.


that have not ratified the United Nations

Convention for the Law of the Sea, but it has

signaled its general support by signing it. If

UNCLOS is a guide, the applicable law

depends on the regime governing the

waters where the incident occurred. The

questions then become: What is the

evidence of the pollution, where did the

violation occur, where was the vessel

arrested, and did it involve legal "hot

pursuit"? To determine the regime

governing the waters where the incident

likely occurred requires an understanding

of the different interpretations of

international law regarding Iran's maritime

claims in the area. Iran has drawn straight

baselines along its coasts and claims a 12-

Legacy of hate and divisions

possibility that Trump could become only

the fourth president in American history to

face impeachment. It is the second time

that he is being tried by Congress.

The polarisation sharpened by Trump's

politics also caused his defeat.

In an unprecedented move, Twitter and

other social media operators have closed

his accounts in order to stop him from

inciting his supporters. What a shame for

the world's greatest superpower.

Notwithstanding these actions, Trump's

legacy of hate, racial and cultural divisions

and fascistic politics will continue to haunt

America and the world for long. His

fanatical support base remains a threat to

democratic values. He failed to win a

second term yet got seven million more

votes than what he did in 2016. Trump's

supporters were made to believe that

victory was stolen from them. Shockingly,

despite the violent attack on the Capitol

many of the Republican lawmakers voted

against accepting the Electoral College


The storming of the Capitol may have

shocked the world but what happened last

week was not surprising. As Paul Krugman,

a Nobel laureate and a columnist with The

New York Times, put it: "This putsch was

decades in the making." Neither racism nor

widespread attraction to conspiracy

theories is new in American political life.

Trump galvanised racial antagonism,

nativism and far-right nationalist populism

that have always existed in American

society. His rise to power was certainly not

an aberration. He further energised the farright

white supremacists, xenophobic

movements and conspiracy theorists

during his term. He weaponised those

issues, encouraging his supporters to use

violence as a means to intimidate rivals.

Social media was used to spread conspiracy

theories to sow doubt about the legitimacy

of the electoral process that resulted in a

victory for his Democrat rival.

Trump's fascistic politics and the threat of

creeping authoritarianism helped gather

the liberal forces. Indeed, supporters of the

white supremacist ideology form Trump's

political base but the growing divide has

also exposed America's racial fault lines.

The unprecedented turnout of voters in the

2020 presidential election marked the

backlash against Trumpism. Powerful


nautical-mile territorial sea, a 24nm

contiguous zone and a 200nm exclusive

economic zone (EEZ) from these baselines

extending to the boundaries between it and

opposite countries.

It also claims three islands just west of the

Strait of Hormuz and territorial seas,

contiguous zones and EEZs around them

encompassing much of the navigable waters

and the designated sea lanes in that area. So

it is likely that the tanker passed through

Iranian-claimed waters on its route from

Jubail, Saudi Arabia, to Fujairah, United

Arab Emirates.

But some of Iran's claims are disputed.

The US (a non-party to UNCLOS) and

presumably South Korea (which is a party)

do not recognize the legitimacy of its

claimed baselines along its mainland coast

and thus the full extent of Iran's claimed

territorial sea in the Persian Gulf. Moreover,

they may not recognize Iran's claim to the

disputed islands west of the Strait of

Hormuz and thus Iran's territorial waters

claimed from them.

Although the US is not a party to

UNCLOS, it insists that its provisions on

freedom of navigation, including transit

passage through such straits, are customary

international law. More specifically, it states

that it is generally agreed that transit

passage is a right of all states under

international law.

That is certainly debatable. Many

developing countries argue that the

Convention was negotiated as a package

trading off provisions regarding preferential

access and sharing of seabed resources

beyond national jurisdiction for liberal

freedom of navigation, transit passage and

archipelagic sea-lane passage for maritime


Source : Asia times

resistance movements like Black Lives

Matter helped mobilise anti-Trump forces.

The fury witnessed in the case of the

murder of a young black man George

Floyd, who suffocated to death at the hands

of a policeman last year in Minneapolis,

galvanised the struggle against growing

racism in America. That triggered massive

and sustained protests across America,

moving black and white people alike

against racism and injustice. The

movement carried much wider political


The horrific incident became a catalyst

for change. 'I can't breathe' had a wider

connotation, ie stifling the right to life and

depriving citizens of basic human and

democratic rights. Its uncanny connection

with the condition linked to the coronavirus

made the phrase a more powerful

expression, one that defined oppression

and the denial of rights. It had also been a

reaction to the rise of white supremacist

power in America under the Trump

administration that saw growing incidents

of violence not only targeting black

Americans but also political opponents of

the president.

It became a strong movement against the

racism and inequality that are so deeply

entrenched in American society. The

Covid-19 pandemic that has taken a much

larger toll on black and minority ethnic

groups in America further exposed the

extent of economic and social inequality in

the world's richest and most powerful


Source : Dawn

The Line fulfills humankind's need to change

Saudi Arabia's newly unveiled The Line

project has been three years in the

making, from design and concept to

announcement. It will serve multiple

purposes, but the most important is in terms

of its role in the Kingdom's future hopes and


The Line, construction of which is to begin by

March, will rewrite the concept of the city. The

coronavirus disease's (COVID-19) impact on

global societies is bringing to the fore new ideas

about how to use space in a healthier way.

Usually, cities are laid out concentrically or in

grids, but The Line goes from point A on

NEOM's Red Sea coast to point B in the

interior. The project was announced this week

by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who

said The Line will benefit from $500 billion in

support from the Saudi Public Investment

Fund, which owns NEOM, and local and global

investors over the next 10 years. He said that

the project is expected to add $48 billion to the

Kingdom's gross domestic product and will

create 380,000 jobs.

NEOM, in northwest Saudi Arabia, is a

26,500 square km high-tech development

Notwithstanding these actions, Trump's legacy of hate,

racial and cultural divisions and fascistic politics will

continue to haunt America and the world for long. His

fanatical support base remains a threat to democratic

values. He failed to win a second term yet got seven million

more votes than what he did in 2016.

with several zones, including industrial and

logistics areas, planned for completion in

2025. The Line itself is billed as a project that

will accelerate human progress by

reconceptualizing the use of space in a city,

augmented by the use of technologies such as

biometrics. The Line will serve as a model for

other similar concepts around the world once

it bears actionable results.

Linear cities are not a new idea, but now that

COVID-19 is ravaging the planet and will

continue to challenge countries for several

years to come, the time for such projects is

now. The ideas surrounding The Line are

experimental, but the concept of its use of

space provides a unique way of examining

urban layout in conjunction with modern

technology. This is the first time in two

centuries that a major urban development has

been designed around people, not roads. The

idea is that all essential daily services, such as

schools, medical clinics and leisure facilities, as

well as green spaces, will be within a fiveminute

walk for everybody. Urban living will

become more about time, health and business

thanks to this linear design. As previously

announced by the Saudi government, NEOM

is to be home and workplace to more than a

million residents from around the world. It

will include towns and cities, ports and

enterprise zones, research centers, sports and

entertainment venues, and tourist

destinations. As a hub for innovation,

entrepreneurs, business leaders and

companies will come to research, incubate and

commercialize new technologies and

enterprises in groundbreaking ways. The

inland water access, which will go all the way

to the end of The Line, illustrates the efficiency

of its use of space from sea to desert in a spokelike

nature. This futuristic concept will help

restructure the use of space in a high-tech,

climate-sensitive manner. This is the first time

in two centuries that a major urban

development has been designed around

people, not roads . The idea of NEOM and The

Line functioning within an ethos and

embracing a culture of exploration, risk-taking

and diversity is related to the ideas of free trade

zone regulations. The Line, alongside NEOM

itself, is about progressive laws that are

compatible with international norms and are

conducive to economic growth in the post-

COVID-19 era. The status of The Line in terms

of regulatory law will help to create new

opportunities for entrepreneurship.

NEOM is to become a hub of renewable

energy generation, as well as a development

ground for smart technologies that will

facilitate the transition to a low-carbon energy

system. Last year, NEOM announced plans

for the world's largest green hydrogen plant: A

$5 billion venture that is expected to produce

650 tons of the fuel per day by 2025, making

the Kingdom a world leader in the field.

Overall, The Line is unique. The idea of a

linear city will help humankind as it adjusts to

co-existence with the COVID-19 pathogen,

while also coping with the need to address

climate change and the very way that we live

our lives. It is time for a change, as

demonstrated by how the COVID-19

pandemic hotwired the Fourth Industrial

Revolution (4IR). The Line is a byproduct of

the requirements of the 4IR and its global


Source: Arab news

Zhuhai Airshow 2018 featured the appearance of multiple J-20s.

Photo: Collected

J-20: the PLA's eye in the sky

RiCk Joe

The weeks leading up to January 11,

2011, marked a watershed episode for

PLA watching. After years of crossreferencing

enthusiast Chinese

language defense chatter, monitoring

the People's Liberation Army's

operational security (OPSEC), carefully

tracking rare semi-official and official

statements, and debates about realism

and ambition, the elusive fifth

generation fighter project known since

the mid-2000s variously as J-XX, J-13,

J-14, XXJ, finally emerged in blurry

poor-quality pictures at Chengdu

Aircraft Corporation's (CAC) factory

from late December 2010. It arrived

right on schedule.

As clearer pictures percolated from

Chinese-language defense boards to

the English language PLA watching

forums, and then onto aerospace and

defense blogs and mainstream

alphabet soup media outlets, the

finalized designation - J-20 - became

accepted and widely used. Finally, on

the aforementioned date, the first J-20

technology demonstrator conducted a

successful maiden flight, accompanied

by a J-10AS twin-seater chase plane.

In the years since then, including

recently, much has been said and

debated over the exact military and

strategic consequences of the

emergence of J-20 and the kind of

fighter it will be. Less spoken of is the

vindication and emergence of the

modern PLA watching grapevine and

methodology, whose open-source

collaboration and dissemination of

information was at the time able to

predict various key aspects of the

aircraft's characteristics, milestones,

and parameters, months or in many

cases years before they were conveyed

by traditional defense media or opensource

government and military


Big ticket PLA projects prior to the J-

20 - such as the J-10 fourth generation

fighter, 054/A frigates, 052B/C

destroyers, and KJ-2000 AEW&C - all

enjoyed their own lengthy period of

speculation and analysis prior to their

unveiling, but the limited number of

stealth fighter types in the mid-2000s

up to J-20's maiden flight put the

methodology of PLA watching to the

test, which it ultimately passed with

flying colors. It is not an exaggeration to

say that since the J-20, the predictions

and anticipation for various big ticket

PLA projects that have emerged - the

052D and 055 destroyers, Y-20

strategic transport, FC-31 5th

generation demonstrator, 002 and 003

aircraft carriers, 075 amphibious

assault ship, among many others - as

well as, various projects to emerge in

the near future - the FC-31 derived

carrier-borne fifth generation fighter,

H-20 stealth bomber, and next

generation surface combatants - would

not have been taken seriously had the

years of lead up to J-20 not so

accurately predicted aspects of the

aircraft, from configuration to role to

expected arrival period. It is in this

context that the first decade of the J-

20's development, entry into service,

and maturation will be discussed and

reflected upon, and the prospects for its

second decade be considered. It is

interesting to examine, in retrospect,

how much of the initial Englishlanguage

media reaction to J-20's

emergence remains unchanged today.

Initial, incorrect estimates of the J-

20's length have proven to be the

biggest mistake (pun perhaps slightly

intended), placing it at a gargantuan

22-23 meters long. In subsequent

years, many comparative analyses of

the aircraft revised its length down to

about 20.8 meters (still a large fighter

providing significant internal volume),

but far from the 23-meter estimates

initially circulated. Alas, the effect

lingers, for in successive years and even

to now, the most popular descriptions

of the aircraft's role portray it as a

dedicated interceptor or a dedicated

striker, both no doubt initially

informed by incorrect overestimates of

the aircraft's size (and by extension,

overestimates of its range as well as

weapons bay dimensions).

Notwithstanding the consistent

earliest Chinese-language defense

rumors and subsequent official AVIC

confirmation of the J-20's role, it

appears that in the foreseeable future J-

20 will largely be seen by the media as

an interceptor or a strike aircraft rather

than an air superiority fighter (perhaps

until the PLA Air Force feels

comfortable enough to allow the

aircraft to demonstrate more of its

flight envelope or until the aircraft

receives engines with thrust vectoring

and conducts a Pugachev's Cobra at the

Zhuhai Air Show).

THuRsdAY, JAnuARY 14, 2021


Are militaries planning for an

autonomous revolution?


It's a constant theme of defense

technology coverage, including this

column: autonomy will fundamentally

change the dynamics of warfare.

Smaller, faster computers, and the

ability to split sensing and processing

between different nodes, open all kinds

of novel possibilities for weapons and

warfare. And parallel technologies like

more efficient batteries and smaller,

more effective sensors make it possible

to endow ever smaller and cheaper

systems with the ability to navigate the

world and act within it.

And yet, true autonomy remains an

extremely hard problem. Machines are

much better than humans at certain

subsets of tasks: storing large amounts

of information, for instance, or

accessing specific parts of those

memories on command and patternmatching.

But the nimbleness of

human minds and their facility with

problem-solving have yet to be

duplicated in artificial form. And that

doesn't account for the security

elements; an autonomous system is

inherently no safer from infiltration or

sabotage than our notably insecure

existing computer systems.

Self-driving cars offer a taste of the

difficulties involved. For the past two

decades, they have been hailed as the

next big thing in urban design,

personal mobility, automotive safety,

and even the fight against climate

change. Major tech and automotive

companies have raised and spent

billions of dollars on developing,

testing, and refining them. And yet, in

the real world, autonomous vehicles

have suffered one setback after

another to the point where companies

which have staked their strategies -

and huge amounts of financial capital -

on their near-term viability are

beginning to reconsider.

It might be argued that making

autonomous vehicles that operate in

civilian contexts with a lower accident

rate than their human-operated

counterparts is a fundamentally

different task compared to the security

or military operations that might be

entrusted to robots. But military

applications are likely to involve either

repetitive tasks in similarly complex

environments - say, supplying

deliveries - which would face many of

the same challenges, or unpredictable,

high-speed tasks in combat that would

require a high degree of adaptability

from the machine. In either case, there

is no reason why a higher failure rate

would be more acceptable to security

decision-makers than civilian


So, what happens to the future of

military technology if our projections

of computerized autonomy more

broadly speaking turn out to be overly

optimistic? What happens if the doors

that seem to be opening right now lead

to dead ends, or long, winding

passageways with no obvious


For one thing, it would force

militaries and defense establishments

to fundamentally reconsider their

long-lead-time procurement

strategies. Air forces that are being

reconfigured to address the growing

expense of tactical aircraft by

reinforcing their numbers with

cheaper, expendable drones might

need instead to find ways to procure

effective but cheaper crewed

alternatives if autonomous tech isn't

equal to the task of managing air

combat. And navies planning to turn

over the task of hunting enemy

submarines to extremely long-range

autonomous ships or submarines

might have to reinvest in the old

concept of simple, durable ships

designed for long-duration, low-speed

patrols if it turns out that autonomous

systems are inadequate at that task.

Autonomy has also been held out as

a means of developing weapons

systems which can exceed the limits

imposed by the fragility of the human

body. Fighter jets, for example, have

for decades been capable of maneuvers


so intense that they run the risk of

knocking out their pilots, a

consideration which would not apply if

the pilot were removed from the

equation. But the big bet behind the F-

35 - which is famously less

maneuverable than some of the planes

it's designed to replace - is that stealth,

sensor fusion, and better weapons

would allow it to fight in a more

effective way that didn't necessitate

close-quarters maneuverability.

Ironically, if military autonomous

technology fizzles, it might prove to be

a rare moment of convergence

between those who seek a ban on

autonomous weapons and those in the

defense-industrial and military futurist

communities who have been pushing

for their adoption. Systems which are

ineffective are likely to be both

ineffective and incapable of obeying

the laws of war, a combination which

would render them - for very different

The path to robust, reliable military autonomy is long and winding -

with a lot of potential dead ends.

Photo: Michael Cordedda

reasons - susceptible to being either

banned outright or widely shunned for

a combination of normative and

operational reasons.

Of course, the future of any given

technology is rarely as simple as "it

doesn't work." Autonomous systems

are already capable of some tasks and

are highly likely to add additional

relevant skill-sets as time goes by. But

by the same token, technology rarely

progresses in a straight line, and it

behooves military theorists to think

seriously about the ways technologies

could fail as well as succeed before

investing too much in them.

What if the Afghan peace process fails?

MARvin G. WeinbAuM

Prospects for a lasting, comprehensive agreement to end the

Afghan conflict, never very bright, seem increasingly dim.

Only after many months of wrangling over preliminary

issues are the opposing delegations in Doha now at the point

of addressing the multitude of tough decisions required to

shape a new political order.

It augurs badly for negotiations that the Taliban, whether

out of confidence in its strong bargaining position or from

core convictions, have thus far shown no inclination to

compromise on any issues of real substance. Against a

background of mounting violence, in refusing to entertain a

ceasefire the Taliban have also shown themselves to be in no

hurry to end the nation's bloodletting.

Most disconcerting, the talks have confirmed the wide gap

between the opposing sides in their visions of a future Afghan

state and society. The Taliban's participation in peace talks in

Doha seems not so much intended to chart Afghanistan's

future as aimed at keeping the U.S. in the February 2020

agreement that committed it to removing all troops from

Afghanistan by the end of this April. With American as well

as allied foreign forces gone, the Taliban could well be on a

path to political ascendance, if not by bullying at a

negotiating table then on the battlefield.

While mindful of the looming obstacles, most Afghans

along with much of the international community continue to

place their faith in the eventual success of the current peace

process. Understanding military victory over the Taliban to

be unachievable and repelled by the idea of unending

warfare, they have placed their faith in diplomacy. The hope

is that the Taliban, conscious of the difficulties in achieving

an outright military victory, will be ready to sign a political

deal once the group has extracted enough concessions.

Ultimately, the Taliban are conceived of as a transactional

actor. That ideology rather than pragmatism might dominate

Taliban thinking is conveniently dismissed.

Hardly surprisingly, then, little attention is given to what

might follow should the current peace talks prove fruitless.

Negotiations could very well drag on unproductively for

many more months, even extend to years, and at any point in

time collapse entirely. Despite the agonizingly slow progress,

both sides for their separate reasons appear for now hesitant

to quit the negotiations.

But Taliban reluctance could quickly vanish should a Biden

administration declare its intention to retain a residual

counterterrorism troop presence in the country beyond

April. A Taliban spokesman has publicly stated that anything

less than a full U.S. withdrawal is a dealbreaker. And with the

level of violence in the country continuing to rise, the Kabul

government may soon find it politically too costly to remain

in the talks. Regardless of the reason, should negotiations

break down, the reactions among a disillusioned Afghan

public, a disunited political elite, and sorely disappointed

international community could well determine the future of

the Ashraf Ghani government and of Afghanistan's Islamic


In the wake of failed peace negotiations, the government

can be expected to express its confidence in the country's

ability to soldier on. It would insist that the Afghan National

Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) are capable of

defending the state, even in the face of almost certain

increased Taliban attacks of greater scope and intensity.

Afghan forces have for some time conducted ground

Afghan families gather at the graves of their relatives.

operations independently and have slowly grown an air force

instrumental in keeping major population centers out of the

hands of militants. But even with uninterrupted American

financial assistance to the ANSDF, the departure of most or

all foreign troops and private contractors, and especially the

loss of U.S. tactical air support, will test the Afghan military's

mettle and morale. It could serve as a strong accelerant to an

already high rate of military desertions that then leads to an

unraveling of the Afghan security forces. The transfer by

deserters of their equipment and training to various militias

countrywide could ignite a messy, more destructive civil war.

The collapse of peace talks may result in furthering disunity

among Afghan political elites. Divided along ethnic and

regional lines, they have had separate ideas on how and

toward what end peace talks should be conducted. Several of

the leading militia-wielding powerbrokers can be expected to

renew threats to mount their own military offensives against

the Taliban. Among opposition politicians, many will assign

blame for the breakdown of negotiations on obstructions

deliberately created by the president and his political allies.

The uneasy truce between Ghani and his veteran rival

Abdullah Abdullah is likely to dissolve. Some politicians may

follow the lead of former insurgent leader Gulbuddin

Photo: Rahmat Gul

Hekmatyar in reaching out to the Taliban to explore how

their interests could be protected under an interim

government or restored emirate.

Grassroots pressure on Kabul to continue to press for peace

will probably mount. As happened in the 1990s, large

numbers of war-weary Afghans, faced with the prospect of an

unending conflict, may be prepared to settle for almost any

outcome promising to bring an end to fighting. Other

Afghans, fearing expanding violence and the looming

possibility of Taliban rule, will lay plans to flee the country. A

rapidly deteriorating or collapsed economy as in the 1990s

could mean that millions of employed Afghans would lose

their ability to earn a living. Without a modern economy.

, the most skilled and educated would be among the first

wave of refugees. Foreign aid donors and international aid

agencies and NGOs would find it increasingly difficult to

maintain their programs and in leaving add to the severity of

an economic contraction and people's hardships.

In an Afghanistan under Taliban sway, respect for popular

will as expressed through democratic institutions would have

no place. The republic's elected officials and representative

institutions would be replaced by a righteous leader and a

council of clerics seeking guidance exclusively from Islamic

principles. Tolerance of media and other freedoms of

expression would similarly disappear, as is presaged by the

recent targeted killings of many journalists and public

figures. Predictably, the strict cultural prohibitions enforced

during the 1990s would be reinstituted. Women's

educational rights and other impressive achievements

marking the last 19 years could be enjoyed only at the

sufferance of local mullahs and their interpretation of

Shariah. The Taliban's often repeated promises to create an

inclusive Islamic society may suggest a new openness but

only to those willing to accept its terms.

With the prospect of a Taliban-dominated regime in Kabul,

groups and individuals having ties to the republican

government would have reason to fear for their personal

safety. The Taliban have made known their intention to hold

accountable those who have helped sustain the Ghani

government. Shiite Hazaras and other minority

communities, remembering the ethnic cleansing in the

1990s, are particularly apprehensive. Hazara as well as many

Tajik and Uzbek commanders could be expected to block

Taliban advances into areas under their control, making

difficult any future Taliban attempts to consolidate power

nationally. A chaotic Afghanistan filled with contested and

ungoverned space could become hospitable ground for the

operations of terrorist groups like al-Qaida and Islamic State-

Khorasan, or regional groups.

A near consensus among regional states on the desirability

of a political solution for Afghanistan can be expected to

dissolve together with faded peace prospects. The

neighboring countries are likely to move toward reviving the

hedging strategies that in the 1990s embroiled them in the

Afghan conflict through proxies. Pakistan's involvement with

its favored Taliban factions may become more transparent.

Some like Russia and Iran, anxious to block the export of

Taliban influence beyond Afghanistan's borders, may look to

strengthen ties to past ethnic proxies or try to buy off the

Taliban with promises of assistance. With foreign troops

exited and a Kabul government hard-pressed, India may be

less hesitant to provide military assistance. Worsening Sino-

Indian relations and the strengthening of the China-Pakistan

nexus could turn Afghanistan into a battleground where

India is pitted against China and Pakistan.

THuRSDAY, JANuARY 14, 2021


Family of visually impaired

receives PM’s gift

Md. Abu Zobaer Al-Mukul, Associate Professor, Department of English, Kurigram Govt. College,

Kurigram as the chief guest addressed the inaugural function of English language course at the conference

room of Dinajpur Technical Training Center on Tuesday.

Photo: Tajadur Rahman

English, Japanese language courses inaugurated

at Dinajpur Technical Training Center



Mafia Brishti (22) and her

younger brother Ashiq (12)

of Khatreshwar village in

Raninagar upazila are

visually impaired.

Raninagar Upazila Nirbahi

Officer Al-Mamun came to

notice when the news was

published in the daily

Karatoa on September 1 last

year with the headline that

they want to enlighten their

minds even if they do not

have eyesight.

At his suggestion,

Chamena Bibi, the mother

of a visually impaired, made

a written request to the

Naogaon Deputy

Commissioner seeking

financial assistance. When

the application reached the

office of the Prime Minister,

a charger van was given to

the poor and helpless

family as a gift from the

Prime Minister on the

occasion of Mujib Year.

It is learned that two of

the four sons and daughters

of van driver Amjad

Hossain of Khatreshwar

Khandaker Para village in

Sadar union of Raninagar

upazila are born blind. Of

them, Mafia and Ashiq are

the youngest. From the

time of their birth, helpless

father Amjad Hossain

continued to try to get his

two sons and daughters

treated in different eye

hospitals across the

country, but due to

financial constraints, he

could not continue. Mafia

was admitted to PHT

Primary School in Rajshahi

at the age of seven with the

help of a relative. In 2016,

she passed SSC with a GPA

of 3.74. He passed HSC

with GPA 4.00 in 2016 and

is currently studying in the

Faculty of Social Sciences at

Chittagong University.

Visually impaired younger

brother Ashiq is studying in

a school in Rajshahi. Father

Amjad Hossain Khandaker

was the sole earner of the

family. He used to drive a

van to support his family.

The van was stolen on

September 2 last year. He

died of a heart attack on

September 12 in mourning

the loss of his van.

With the help of this

family, they will get a

charger van as a gift from

the Prime Minister, said

Brishti's mother Chhamena

Bibi. Deputy Commissioner

Harun-ur-Rashid handed

over the van to the visually

impaired family at

Raninagar Upazila

Parishad premises on

Monday noon under the

chairmanship of Upazila

Nirbahi Officer Al Mamun.

Among others, Upazila

Parishad Chairman

Freedom Fighter Abdur

Rauf Dulu, Women Vice

Chairman Farida Begum,

Vice Chairman Jarjis Hasan

Mithu, Agriculture Officer

Shahidul Islam, Senior

Fisheries Officer Shilpi Roy,

Upazila Engineer Shah Md

Shamsul Haque and Project

Implementation Officer

Mehedi Hasan were also

present at the occasion.


There is no alternative to making

oneself proficient in Bengali language

as well as English language education.

To strengthen the position as a middleincome

country, one need to become

more mature in speaking and

practicing English.

The chief guest said this at the

inaugural function of English language

course at the conference room of

Dinajpur Technical Training Center on

Tuesday afternoon. He added that in

order to get a well-paying job at home

and abroad, one has to make oneself

more proficient in English. If you want

3.89 lakh tonnes

garlic yield expected

in Rajshahi division


3.89 lakh tonnes of garlic

yield are expected to be

harvested from around

46,117 hectares of land in

all eight districts of

Rajshahi division during

the current season, reports


Target has been set to

produce around 2.63 lakh

tonnes of garlic from

31,260 hectares of land in

four districts under

Rajshahi Agricultural Zone,

while another 1.27 lakh

tonnes from 14,957

hectares of land in four

other districts under

Bogura Agricultural Zone.

Sirajul Islam, Additional

Director of the Department

of Agricultural Extension

(DAE), said all possible

measures were adopted to

attain the production target

in the region this season.

He said farmers here are

showing interest in garlic

farming as they are getting

bumper production and

fair price of the cash crops

using an eco-friendly


Now, he said, the farmers

are passing very busy days

in garlic cultivation and

they are expecting bumper

production of garlic this

year due to favourable


Ajahar Ali, a farmer of

Halidagachhi village under

Charghat Upazila, had

cultivated garlic on a 30-

decimal land using the zero

tillage method on trial basis

in 2018 and he got a

bumper yield. He

cultivated the cash crop on

three bighas of land

following the year.

After spending Taka

5,400 in garlic farming, Ali

got sale-proceeds worth

Taka 1.20 lakh and he

earned a profit of Taka

65,000 in 2019, which

inspired him to boost the

farming to six bighas of

arable land this year.

Afaz Uddin, a garlic

farmer of Shilmaria village

in Puthia Upazila, said they

used to cultivate garlic after

digging the land in the past.

But now many farmers

have started garlic

cultivation without digging

the land.

to be established in life, you must learn

English well. There is no substitute for

learning English in today's age of

technology. Engr. Md. Abdul Wadud

Mondal, Principal, Dinajpur

Polytechnic Institute, Dinajpur was the

chief guest at the occasion.

Md. Abu Zobaer Al-Mukul, Associate

Professor, Department of English,

Kurigram Govt. College, Kurigram was

the keynote speaker at the occasion.

During the time, Md. Shamsul Azam,

Zonal Settlement Officer (Deputy

Secretary), Dinajpur, Prof Mohammad

Mokbul Hossain, Principal (Rtd), Govt

JKAG College, Lalmonirhat, Jiban

Abu Taher has been elected as president while Md Mujibul Islam has been

elected as general secretary of Cox's Bazar Press Club on Tuesday. Photo: TBT

Abu Taher elected president,

Mujibul gen secy of Cox's

Bazar Press Club


The new committee of Cox's Bazar Press

Club has been announced. Abu Taher was

elected as president while Md Mujibul Islam

has been elected as general secretary.

The committee was announced by the

Election Commissioner at 8 pm on Tuesday.

Engineer Badiul Alam, Advocate Taposh

Rakshit and Jasmine Akhtar were the

election commissioners of Cox's Bazar Press

Club this year. Election Commissioner

Engineer Badiul Alam said that according to

the election schedule, Monday, January 11

was the last day to withdraw nomination

papers. 15 candidates submitted nomination

Krishna Barman, Lecturer,

Department of English, Dinajpur Govt.

College, Dinajpur were among others

present at the occasion while Engr. Md.

Aynul Haque, Principal, Dinajpur

Technical Training Centre, Dinajpur

chaired the occasion.

The program was moderated by

Nimai Kumar Dutta, Chief Instructor,

Computer Department, Dinajpur

Technical Training Center. At the

beginning of the inauguration, TTC's

Japanese language instructor Abdullah

Al Kafi Hassan addressed the guests

and trainees in Japanese and another

trainee translated it into Bengali.

papers for 15 posts. The nomination papers

of all the candidates have been validated

after verification and selection. As a result, all

of them have been declared victorious

without contest.

The other elected candidates are Mumtaz

Uddin Bahari, vice-president, Abdul Quddus

Rana, co-general secretary, Ayashur

Rahman, finance secretary, Hasanur Rashid,

literary and cultural secretary, Deepak

Sharma Dipu, sports secretary and Ikram

Chowdhury Tipu, library and auditorium

secretary. The members are, Badiul Alam,

Tofail Ahmed, Mahbubur Rahman,

Mohammad Hossain, Md. Nurul Islam

Helali, GM Ashek Ullah, Faridul Alam.

120 homeless people to get brick-built

houses in Gobindaganj


as 120 homeless people of

Gobindaganj upazila in the

district are going to get

brick built houses having

shed with corrugated iron

sheets at the directive of

Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina, reports BSS.

The homeless people will

be given the houses on

Mujib Year, the birth

centenary of Father of the

Nation Bangabandhu

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Upazila administration

accomplished the

construction work of the

houses under Ashrayan

Project-2 of the Prime

Minister's Office (PMO) at

the cost of TK 20.52 crore.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer

(UNO) Ramkrishna

Barman said around cent

percent work had been

completed and the houses

are kept ready to handover

to the selected


Asked when the houses

would be handed over to

the beneficiaries, the UNO

said, "The honorable prime

minister will inaugurate the

distribution of houses

across the country virtually

from Ganabhaban, Dhaka

as early as possible."

Then the upazila

administration along with

local public representatives

would hand over the

houses to the beneficiaries

formally, he added.

A total of 846 houses are

being built for the homeless

people in the district

marking the Mujib Year,

said deputy commissioner

(DC) Abdul Matin.

A charger van was given to the poor and helpless family of visually impaired as a gift from the Prime

Minister on the occasion of Mujib Year in Raninagar on Monday.

Photo: S M Saiful Islam

Nagorik Moncho holds press

conference in Pabna



Nagorik Moncho held a

press conference at Pabna

Press Club auditorium on

Wednesday. At the

occasion the speakers said

that for a long time in

Pabna, a kind of demon

has fallen on various social,

political and cultural

organizations. People are

not able to express their

independent views in the

political and social spheres.

Infertility is going on in the

field of art, culture and

sports. All the companies

are occupied by land

robbers, mafia dons and

drug dealers. Democracy,

politics, culture have been

raped by a few people in

the Pabna municipality

election with the

intervention of a black


They said in an outraged

voice - Pabna Mafia Don

Anjan Chowdhury Pintu

has taken over District

Sports Association,

Annada Govinda Public

Library, Banamali

Institute, Town Hall, 16

bighas of land in the


slaughterhouse, Abhiit

Bandhan Community

Center in the heart of the

city, Pabna Motor Owners

Group, 21st Book Fair

Celebration Council,

Suchitra Sen Movies

Festival and dish line

business. Besides,

confiscation of government

abandoned property,

setting up a liquor store

with sex goddesses of

Estrus, assassination of

Nanda Gopal Roy, a

prominent businessman of

Pabna, and seizure of all

ownership of the square,

established its dominance

by evading taxes and

occupying the Chamber of

Commerce. They

demanded that these

institutions be left to the

socio-cultural leadership

without delay.

The speakers said angrily

that it was Pintu

Chowdhury who started

the drug business by

importing heroin for the

first time in Pabna and

Bangladesh. The evils of

which have pushed the

youth of Bangladesh on the

path of destruction. Due to

his good relations with the

political elite, he exerted

various influences in the

Pabna elections. As a part

of it, in the upcoming

Pabna municipality

election, a person from an

anti-independence family

was nominated by the

Awami League in the

Pabna municipality


Idris Ali Biswas,

prominent businessman

and convener of Nagorik

Moncho Pabna, said that

one person's misrule is

going on in Pabna. Today's

press conference of

Nagorik Moncho is

basically in his protest.

Nagorik Moncho Pabna

Member Secretary

Comrade Zakir Hossain

moderated the occasion

while Convener Idris Ali

Biswas chaired the

occasion. Among others,

Former MP Maqbool

Hossain Santu, District

Awami League Vice

President Abul Kalam

Azad Babu, Sector

Commanders Forum -

Muktijuddha'71 Pabna

District Branch President

Abdur Rahim Pakon,

Ganatantri Party General

Secretary Sultan Ahmed

and Jatiya Party leader

Nasir Chowdhury were

among others present at

the occasion.

Idris Ali Biswas, prominent businessman and convener of Nagorik Moncho Pabna addressed a press

conference at Pabna Press Club auditorium on Wednesday.

Photo: Abdul Hamid Khan



President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One, at Andrews Air Force

Base, Md. The President is traveling to Texas.

Photo: AP

House races to oust Trump; he

blames accusers for US 'anger'


rushed ahead Tuesday toward

impeaching President Donald Trump

for the deadly Capitol attack, taking

time only to try to persuade his vice

president to push him out first. Trump

showed no remorse, blaming

impeachment itself for the

"tremendous anger" in America,

reports UNB.

Already scheduled to leave office next

week, Trump is on the verge of

becoming the only president in history

to be twice impeached. His incendiary

rhetoric at a rally ahead of the Capitol

uprising is now in the impeachment

charge against him, even as the

falsehoods he spread about election

fraud are still being championed by

some Republicans.

The House convened Tuesday night

to vote on urging Vice President Mike

Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment

to the Constitution to remove Trump

with a Cabinet vote. But shortly before

that, Pence said he would not do so in a

letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

He said that it would not be in the

best interest of the nation or consistent

with the Constitution and that it was

"time to unite our country as we

As pandemic

worsens, most

US states resist


PHOENIX : As the U.S. goes

through the most lethal

phase of the coronavirus

outbreak yet, governors and

local officials in hard-hit

parts of the country are

showing little willingness to

impose any new restrictions

on businesses to stop the

spread, reports UNB.

And unlike in 2020, when

the debate over lockdowns

often split along party lines,

both Democratic and

Republican leaders are

signaling their opposition to

forced closings and other


Some have expressed fear

of compounding the heavy

economic damage inflicted

by the outbreak. Some see

little patience among their

constituents for more

restrictions 10 months into

the crisis. And some seem to

be focused more on the

rollout of the vaccines that

could eventually vanquish

the threat.

The most notable change

of tune came from New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a

Democrat, who imposed a

tough shutdown last spring

as the state became the

epicenter of the U.S.


"We simply cannot stay

closed until the vaccine hits

critical mass. The cost is too

high. We will have nothing

left to open," Cuomo said

this week as confirmed

infections in the state

climbed to an average of

16,000 a day and deaths

reached about 170 per day.

Theaters remain closed

and there is no indoor dining

in New York City, but

Cuomo said Tuesday that if a

system of rapid virus tests

could be developed, it could

allow those things.

prepare to inaugurate President-elect

Joe Biden."

Meanwhile, three three Republican

lawmakers, including third-ranking

House GOP leader Liz Cheney of

Wyoming, announced they would vote

to impeach Trump on Wednesday,

cleaving the Republican leadership,

and the party itself.

"The President of the United States

summoned this mob, assembled the

mob, and lit the flame of this attack,"

said Cheney in a statement. "There has

never been a greater betrayal by a

President of the United States of his

office and his oath to the Constitution."

As lawmakers reconvened at the

Capitol for the first time since the

bloody siege, they were bracing for

more violence ahead of Democratic

President-elect Joe Biden's

inauguration, Jan. 20.

"All of us have to do some soul

searching," said Democratic Rep.

Jamie Raskin of Maryland, imploring

other Republicans to join.

Trump, meanwhile, warned the

lawmakers off impeachment and

suggested it was the drive to oust him

that was dividing the country.

"To continue on this path, I think it's

causing tremendous danger to our

country, and it's causing tremendous

anger," Trump said.

In his first remarks to reporters since

last week's violence, the outgoing

president offered no condolences for

those dead or injured, only saying, "I

want no violence."

With Pence's agreement to invoke

the 25th Amendment ruled out, the

House will move swiftly to

impeachment on Wednesday.

Trump faces a single charge -

"incitement of insurrection" - in the

impeachment resolution after the most

serious and deadly domestic incursion

at the Capitol in the nation's history.

During an emotional debate ahead of

the House action, Rep. Norma Torres,

D-Calif., urged her Republican

colleagues to understand the stakes,

recounting a phone call from her son as

she fled during the siege.

But Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a top

Trump ally just honored this week at

the White House, refused to concede

that Biden won the election outright.

Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern, D-

Mass., tied such talk to the Capitol

attack, interjecting, "People came here

because they believed the lie."

Indian partying hotspot Goa counts

losses, braces for change

GOA : The sun's golden rays fall on Goa's

smooth, sandy beaches every evening, magical

as ever but strangely quiet and lonely. This

holiday season, few visitors are enjoying the

celebrated sunsets in the Indian party hotspot,

reports UNB.

The unspoken fear of the coronavirus is

sapping Goa's vibrant beach shacks and noisy

bars of their lifeblood. A Portuguese colony

until 1961, this western Indian state usually

Sudan says 6 civilians killed by

Ethiopian militias on border

KHARTOUM : The Sudanese government on

Tuesday announced that six civilians were

killed in an attack by Ethiopian militias near

Sudan's border with Ethiopia, reports UNB.

"Yesterday (Monday) afternoon, Al-

Quraisha locality in eastern Sudan was

attacked by the Ethiopian Shifta gangs, which

left five innocent women and a child killed,

while other two women went missing, all of

whom were Sudanese who were busy with

comes alive in December and January, its

tourism-led economy booming with foreign

travelers and chartered flights bringing in

hordes of vacationers.

Over the past decade, Goa had been

transforming from a seasonal mecca for both

hippy backpackers and rich vacationers to a

second home destination for India's middle

class. Construction was booming, raising

worries over the impact.

harvesting activities," said Sudan's Foreign

Ministry in a statement. The ministry

condemned the targeting of defenceless

civilians, urging the international community

and regional organizations to condemn such

criminal acts and calling for stopping them


Since Sept. 2020, the Sudan-Ethiopia

border has been witnessing rising tensions

and skirmishes between the two sides.

Local police and army officials inspect Village Eight transit centre, which

hosts Ethiopian refugees who fled the Tigray conflict, near the Ethiopian

border in Gedaref, eastern Sudan.

Photo: AP

Tech giants banished Trump. Now

things get complicated

Washington: As the world adjusts to a

Twitter without @realdonaldtrump,

the next big question is: "Now what?"

Major tech platforms, long accused of

giving President Donald Trump special

treatment not allotted to regular users,

have shown him the door in the wake of

his incitement of violence by

supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

He's gone from Twitter, Facebook,

Snapchat - even Shopify, reports UNB.

But in many ways, booting the

president was the easy part.

Will companies now hold other world

leaders to the same standard? Will they

wade further into deciding what is and

isn't allowed on their platforms,

potentially alienating large swaths of

their user base? Will all this lead to

further online splintering, pushing

those flirting with extreme views to

fringe sites and secret chat groups?

Although they've long sought to

remain neutral, Facebook, Twitter and

other social platforms are slowly

waking up to the active role they and

their algorithms have played in shaping

a modern world filled with polarized,

angry groups and huge factions falling

for bogus conspiracies and

misinformation about science, politics

and medicine.

"What we're seeing is a shift from the

platforms from a stance of free-speech

absolutism, towards an understanding

of speech moderation as a matter of

public health," said civic media

professor Ethan Zuckerman of the

University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

None of this can be fixed soon, if

Trump on verge of

2nd impeachment

after Capitol siege

WASHINGTON : President

Donald Trump is on the

verge of being impeached for

a second time, the House

planning the unprecedented

vote one week after he

encouraged a mob of

loyalists to "fight like hell"

against election results and

the U.S. Capitol became the

target of a deadly siege,

reports UNB.

While the first

impeachment of Trump last

year brought no Republican

votes in the House, a small

but significant number of

leaders and other lawmakers

are breaking with the party

to join Democrats on

Wednesday, unwilling to put

American decency and

democracy at further risk,

even with days remaining in

the president's term.

The stunning collapse of

Trump's final days in office,

against alarming warnings

of more violence ahead by

his followers, leaves the

nation at an uneasy and

unfamiliar juncture before

Democrat Joe Biden is

inaugurated Jan. 20.

"If inviting a mob to

insurrection against your

own government is not an

impeachable event, then

what is?" said Rep. Jamie

Raskin, D-Md., a drafter of

the articles of impeachment.

YouTube suspends

Trump's channel

for at least a week


has suspended U.S. President

Donald Trump's channel

for at least a week amid

concerns over "ongoing

potential for violence," making

it the latest platform to

limit the president's online

activities, reports UNB.

The Google-owned platform

said it removed content

that was uploaded on

January 12 from the Donald

J. Trump channel for inciting

violence, although it was

not immediately clear which

videos in question were in


"After careful review, and

in light of concerns about the

ongoing potential for violence,

we removed new content

uploaded to the Donald

J. Trump channel and

issued a strike for violating

our policies for inciting violence,"

a YouTube

spokesperson said in an

emailed statement.

ever. Certainly not by blocking a

president with just a few days left in his


But there are blueprints for future

action. Remember "Plandemic?" That

was the slickly-produced, 26-minute,

misinformation-ridden video

promoting COVID-19 conspiracies that

emerged seemingly out of nowhere and

racked up millions of views in a matter

of days. Facebook, Twitter and

YouTube scrambled to take it down -

too late. But they were ready for the

sequel, which failed to attract even a

fraction of the attention of the first.

"Sharing disinformation about

COVID is a danger because it makes it

harder for us to fight the disease,"

Zuckerman said. "Similarly, sharing

disinformation about voting is an

attack on our democracy."

Unsurprisingly, it's been easier for

tech giants to act decisively on matters

of public health than on politics.

Corporate bans of the U.S. president

and his supporters have led to loud, if

generally unfounded, cries of

censorship as well as charges of leftwing

bias. It's even attracted criticism

from European leaders such as German

Chancellor Angela Merkel - not exactly

a friend of Trump's.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert,

said freedom of opinion is a

fundamental right of "elementary


"This fundamental right can be

intervened in, but according to the law

and within the framework defined by

legislators - not according to a decision

by the management of social media

platforms," he told reporters in Berlin.

"Seen from this angle, the chancellor

considers it problematic that the

accounts of the U.S. president have

now been permanently blocked."

From that German perspective, it

should be the government, and not

private companies like Facebook and

Twitter, who decides what counts as

dangerous speech on social platforms.

That approach might be feasible in

Europe, but it's much more

complicated in the U.S., where the First

Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

protects freedom of expression from

government interference, although not

from corporate policy on privately

owned communication platforms.

Governments, of course, remain free

to regulate tech companies, another

area of ferment. Over the past year,

Trump, other Republicans and some

Democrats have called for revoking a

fundamental 1996 legal provision

known as Section 230. That protects

social platforms, which can host

trillions of messages, from being sued

into oblivion by anyone who feels

wronged by something someone else

has posted. But so far there's been more

heat than light on the issue.

Still, few are happy with the often

sluggish, after-the-fact, three-strikes

takedowns and suspensions that have

characterized Twitter and Facebook for

years. Particularly in the light of the

Capitol insurrection, the deadly

Charlottesville rally in 2017 and livestreamed

mass shootings.

WHO team working with Chinese

vaccine producers ahead of potential

emergency use: WHO director-general

GENEVA : The World Health Organization

(WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom

Ghebreyesus has said that a WHO team in

China is working with producers of the

Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines for

potential emergency use listings, reports


"I'm pleased that a WHO team is in China

currently working with producers of the

Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines to assess

compliance with international quality

manufacturing practices ahead of potential

emergency use listing by WHO," Tedros said

at a recent media briefing.

He noted that WHO continues to ask

vaccine manufacturers from around the

world to move swiftly to provide necessary

data that will allow the organization to

consider them for emergency use listings.

"While we are hopeful about the safe and

effective vaccines that are being rolled out,

we want to see this sped up and vaccines

allocated equitably in the coming weeks,"

Tedros said.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health

Organization, speaks during a news conference in Geneva. Photo: ABC

House urges Pence to remove

Trump from power

WASHINGTON : The House has voted to

urge Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the

25th Amendment to the Constitution and

hold a Cabinet vote to remove President

Donald Trump from office - a symbolic

action after Pence had already said he would

not do so, reports UNB.

The House sent the message to Pence and

Trump almost a week after an angry mob of

the president's supporters marched to the

Capitol and violently invaded the building.

The breach happened as Congress counted

the electoral votes that confirmed Democrat

Joe Biden's presidential win.

The legislation was sponsored by

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat

and former Constitutional law professor who

said the amendment was intended to be the

"final mechanism for removing a president

who is failing to meet the most basic duties of

his office and indeed actually harming the

Republic with his conduct."

Raskin said the crisis "is not over yet" in

Trump's final week in office.

In a letter late Tuesday to House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi, Pence said the mechanism

should not be used "as a means of

punishment or usurpation" but should be

reserved for cases of medical or mental


The House is expected to vote to impeach

the president Wednesday.

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton has become the

fourth Republican to back the impeachment

of President Donald Trump.

The House is set to vote as early as

Wednesday on impeaching Trump for a

second time after he egged on a violent mob

of supporters who marched to the Capitol

and invaded it a week ago. Upton says he

would have preferred that the House censure

Trump, "but it is time to say: enough is


Upton cited Trump's comments Tuesday

in which he "expressed no regrets" for the


"This sends exactly the wrong signal to

those of us who support the very core of our

democratic principles and took a solemn

oath to the Constitution," Upton said.


Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding discount offer with Royal Tulip, Cox's

Bazar at Islami Bank Tower recently. In presence of Mohammed Monirul Moula, Managing Director and CEO of the IBBL, Md

Mosharraf Hossain, Deputy Managing Director of the bank and Quazi A S M Anisul Kabir, Chief Executive Officer of Royal

Tulip signed the agreement on behalf of respective organizations. Muhammad Qaisar Ali and Md. Omar Faruk Khan,

Additional Managing Directors of the bank, Mohammad Ali, J Q M Habibullah, FCS, Taher Ahmed Chowdhury, A A M Habibur

Rahman and Md. Siddiqur Rahman, Deputy Managing Directors, Mohammed Shabbir, Muhammad Sayed Ullah and G. Mohd.

Gias Uddin Quader, Senior Executive Vice Presidents, Md. Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, Head of Business Promotion &

Marketing Division of the Bank, Mahmud Russel, Director of Sales & Marketing of Royal Tulip along with top executive and

officials of both organizations were present on the occasion.

Photo: Courtesy.

Ford, Toyota face

US production

slowdown over



NEW YORK : Toyota and

Ford said on Monday they will

slow down or even stop

production at US factories as

the auto industry grapples

with a shortage of vital

computer chips, reports BSS.

The shortage is caused by

an increase in demand for

consumer electronics during

the coronavirus pandemic,

which has left semiconductor

producers struggling to keep


Ford spokeswoman Kelli

Felker said the automaker will

this week close its plant in

Louisville, Kentucky, which

employs about 4,100 people

making the Ford Escape and

Lincoln Corsair models.

The company already

planned to idle the plant

temporarily, but moved up

the timeframe due to the


"The global semiconductor

shortage is presenting

challenges and production

disruptions - for the global

auto industry, including Ford,

which could have a significant

knock-on effect on jobs and

the economy given the

importance of auto

manufacturing," the auto

giant said.

Toyota said production of

its Tundra pickup truck at a

factory in San Antonio, Texas

also has been affected by the


"At this point we are

assessing the longer term

impact, but for the month of

January, we anticipate

reducing Tundra production

by as much as 40 percent," a

company spokesperson said.

SoftBank Group

sells Uber shares

worth $2 b

TOKYO: Japan's SoftBank

Group has sold $2 billionworth

of shares in Uber,

according to a document

released Monday, as it took

advantage of a surge in the

US ride-hailing giant's value,

reports BSS.

An affiliate of SoftBank's

Vision Fund sold 38 million

shares for $53.46 apiece,

according to a US stock filing

on Uber's website, though it

still remains the firm's main

shareholder, with a 10

percent stake worth about

$10 billion.

SoftBank has invested

heavily in ride-hailing

platforms worldwide in

recent years, from

California-based Uber to

Didi Chuxing in China,

Singapore's Grab and India's


It's decision to buy heavily

into Uber appeared to have

backfired when its price

plunged following a

disappointing 2019 initial

public offering, before being

slammed by the impact of

coronavirus lockdowns

devastated demand for hired


UK businesses grapple with

Brexit border fallout

LONDON: British companies are struggling

with a large amount of red tape as a result of

Brexit, nearly two weeks since the country's

final divorce from the European Union,

reports BSS.

Senior government minister Michael Gove

recently admitted there will be "significant

disruption" at the border because of increased

bureaucracy that is slowing the flow of freight -

and is especially damaging for fresh produce.

Under the Brexit trade deal, which came into

force on January 1, UK exporters now face

costly and time-consuming paperwork,

including customs declarations, regulatory

food safety checks and "rules of origin" levies.

The logistics industry is experiencing a

major headache with traffic slowing at the

border, particularly at the Channel port of

Dover. Even before Brexit, traffic had been hit

by new Covid-19 border restrictions, as

European nations sought to curb spiking

infections, particularly from a virulent new


Logistics companies are now trying to curb

their dependence on Dover. They are

undertaking far longer journeys to reach

Ireland, for example, by staying within the

European Union to bypass the UK.

Freight had already begun shifting away

since the Brexit referendum in 2016, with

goods increasingly travelling to eastern

English ports, and also via railway. UKregistered

trucks are meanwhile now only

allowed one stop in the European Union to

unload goods, which has placed the music

concert touring industry in crisis.

Britain's chemicals, electrical equipment,

machinery, metals, minerals and textile

sectors have been snared by the trade deal's socalled

"rules of origin".

This is because their supply chains tend to

rely on a vast number of imported components

from outside the European Union.

Under the provision, any good will be subject

to a customs levy if it arrives in Britain from

abroad and is then exported into the bloc.

For example, if a British clothing producer

imports Chinese-made textiles, it would have

to pay a customs charge if it re-exports the

items to a member nation of the EU's single

market and customs union.

Britain's Road Haulage Association has

warned that the retail supply chain with

Northern Ireland is on the brink of collapse

and faces chronic delays because of post-Brexit

red tape. The industry body warns that

supermarkets are "experiencing considerable

difficulties" stocking shelves with fresh goods

since the Brexit transition period ended on

December 31.

The British Retail Consortium says at least

50 of its members are facing potential tariffs

for re-exporting goods to the EU.

Collapsed UK department store Debenhams

has shut its online website in Ireland owing to

uncertainty over the new trade rules, while

London's high-end department store Fortnum

& Mason has suspended EU deliveries.

Scotland's seafood industry claims that post-

Brexit paperwork and border delays have

threatened livelihoods, stoking fears freshlycaught

produce will end up rotting in the bin.

The prized seafood - including langoustines,

scallops, oysters, prawns and lobsters - is

mainly exported to markets in northern

France, and then shipped across Europe.

However, the industry relies on rapid

transportation to reach dinner tables,

supermarkets and restaurants on the


Export prices are reportedly sliding because

of paperwork delays that have sparked severe


The Brexit trade deal did not include the

financial services industry, the future of which

is now cloaked in uncertainty.

Britain and the EU aim to seal a

memorandum of understanding on financial

services by March to establish a roadmap for

cooperation, but officials have downplayed its


Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey

remains optimistic of negotiating a so-called

"equivalence" regime that make rules

compatible to keep trade in certain services

flowing smoothly.

From January 1, the financial sector lost

single-market access and its European

"passport", a device that allows UK financial

products and services to be sold in the EU.

Asian stocks swing as virus and

unrest offset vaccine, stimulus


markets fluctuated Tuesday

as hopes for the rollout of

coronavirus vaccines and a

new stimulus out of

Washington competed with

fears over surging infections,

new lockdowns and brewing

political and social unrest in

the United States, reports


While analysts' long-term

outlook remained positive as

more people are inoculated

and life returns to normal,

frighteningly high new case

numbers and deaths around

the world - and the resulting

lockdowns - kept a cap on


Germany's BioNTech

provided some good news as

it said it expected to produce

2 billion doses of its vaccine

this year, up from the

previous forecast of 1.3

billion, lifting hopes that

more people could get the jab


That came as seven mass

vaccination sites were opened

across England, where a new

strain of the disease is putting

huge pressure on the National

Health Service that has forced

leaders to ramp up

economically painful

containment measures.

The main focus of attention

for traders is Washington,

where Democrats are pushing

ahead with a historic second

impeachment of Donald

Trump as they accuse him of

inciting Wednesday's

storming of the Capitol

Building that delayed

lawmakers' certification of

Joe Biden's election win.

Observers said the chances

of Trump being convicted

were slim but there was a

concern that the latest moves

could foment more unrest,

with some reports saying the

president's supporters were



demonstrations at the

weekend and during Biden's

inauguration next week.

There is a worry that the

move by the Democrats could

distract from their plans for a

new, bigger stimulus bill to

fight off the effects of the

rampaging virus with some

warning the row could

overshadow the new

president's first few months

in office.

Biden has called for a

package in the trillions

including $2,000 cash

handouts, though analysts

said that - while markets

would welcome a spending

splurge - there were concerns

about the financial


Bets on another rescue deal

have ramped up inflation

expectations, with 10-year

Treasury yields above one

percent for the first time since

March and talk swirling that

the Federal Reserve could

begin considering winding

down its vast bond-buying


"Ultimately it goes back to

the 10-year," KC Rajkumar

and Jahanara Nissar at Lynx

Equity Strategies said. A

higher yield "points to higher

inflation down the road -

which is negative for stocks.

We are not there yet, but as

the 10-year inches higher -

the closer we get."

IMF approves

$487.5m aid

to Angola


International Monetary

Fund's executive board

announced Monday it had

approved the disbursement of

$487.5 million to Angola,

which is suffering from low oil

prices due to the coronavirus

pandemic, reports BSS.

The financial aid is part of a

three-year agreement for

about $3.7 billion (the value at

the time) that was approved

on December 7, 2018 under

the IMF's Extended Fund

Facility (EFF).

The EFF provides for longer

IMF support for a program, as

well as longer repayment

terms for loans.

Monday's disbursement

brings the IMF to a total of

nearly $3 billion granted in

aid to the southwestern

African country, which has

significant oil and mineral

wealth, but a large part of its

population lives in poverty.

The three-year plan "aims

to restore external and fiscal

sustainability, improve

governance, and diversify the

economy to promote

sustainable, private sector-led

economic growth," the IMF

said in a statement.

The Washington-based

lender noted that the

economic shock brought on

by the coronavirus pandemic

"continues to negatively

impact Angola's economy and



Chase said it is suspending

all US political donations

following the attack on the

Capitol by a pro-Trump

mob, joining a growing list

of American corporations

holding back funding since

the violence, reports BSS.

The political action

committee at JPMorgan,

the country's largest bank

by assets, will stop making

any financial contributions

to Republican and

Democratic leaders for at

least six months, a

spokesperson told AFP


"The focus of business

leaders, political leaders,

civic leaders right now

should be on governing and

getting help to those who

desperately need it most,"

said Peter Scher, the bank's

head of corporate


"There will be plenty of

time for campaigning later."

Other companies have

opted to specifically target

the Republican officials who

on January 6 voted against

certifying the results of the

presidential election.

That day's assault saw a

mob of angry Donald

Trump supporters storm

the US Capitol shortly after

the president reiterated

baseless election

conspiracies to the crowd.

Five people died in the

ensuing riot, including one

police officer.

Billionaire investor

Nelson Peltz, Ben & Jerry's

ice cream company and the

AFL-CIO - the largest trade

union federation in the US -

have since called for

Trump's immediate

departure from office.

Hospitality giant Marriott

International said it will halt

donations to "those who

voted against the

certification of the election,"

a spokesperson told AFP


The Blue Cross Blue

Shield Association of health

insurance companies had

already announced Friday it

intended to suspend all

contributions to "those

lawmakers who voted to

undermine our democracy."

"While a contrast of ideas,

ideological differences and

partisanship are all part of

our politics, weakening our

political system and eroding

public confidence in it must

never be," the group's

director general, Kim Keck,

said in a statement.

PRAN UP begins campaign

to help cold-hit people

Popular beverage brand

`PRAN UP' has launched a

campaign titled 'Chhorai

Bhalobashar Ushnota

Season-3' to help clodstricken

poor people. The

campaign has been

inaugurated through a

program held at PRAN

Center of the capital's

Badda on Wednesday, a

press release said.

'Chhorai Bhalobashar

Ushnota season-3' will run

till February 5. Under the

campaign, PRAN UP will

distribute the blankets

among the cold-hit poor

people in Rajshahi,

Dinajpur, Thakurgaon and

Panchagarh districts. The

blankets distribution will

be started from January


Popular actor Fazlur

Rahman Babu, Ziaul

Haque Polash, Gully boy

Rana Mridha and Tabib

Mahmud are engaged with

the initiative this year.

Addressing the occasion,

Eleash Mridha, Managing

Director at PRAN Group

said, "We always try to

stand beside poor and

helpless people besides

operating the business.

Amid corona pandemic,

PRAN has distributed

protective equipment for

front liner and corona

collection booth in

hospitals. The group so far

JPMorgan halts all

political donations

after US Capitol attack

UK economy ‘to get worse

before it gets better’: Govt

LONDON: British finance minister Rishi

Sunak said Monday that the coronavirusravaged

economy would get worse before it

recovers amid warnings that more than

250,000 small firms could go bust this year,

reports BSS.

"Coronavirus has already caused significant

harm to our economy," Sunak told parliament,

noting that it total output was 6.1 percent

smaller than before the health crisis erupted

last year and sparked a historic recession.

"Even with the significant support we have

provided, over 800,000 people have lost their

job since February," he said.

"And while the new national restrictions are

necessary to control the spread of the virus,

they will have a further significant economic

impact. "We should expect the economy to get

worse before it gets better," he added.

Sunak pointed to the Conservative

government's stimulus measures, which so far

have totalled more than o280 billion ($380

billion, 310 billion euros).

But Britain's main opposition Labour party

lashed out at the chancellor of the exchequer

for failing to deliver any new policy

announcements. "The purpose of an update is

to provide us with new information not to

repeat what we already know," said Labour

finance spokeswoman Anneliese Dodds.

The government last week launched an extra

o4.6-billion package, including grants for

retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, as it

provided food support

among 70,000 helpless

and poor families. Every

year, we try to help cold-hit


Anisur Rahman,

Executive Director at

PRAN Beverage Ltd said,

"The aim of the campaign

is also to create public

awareness on used plastics

bottles besides helping the

cold hit people. In our

previous two seasons,

PRAN UP has given

blanket to cold-hit people

through collecting used

bottles from the people.

But this year, we are

encouraging people to stay

in home for corona

outbreak and called them

to participate our

campaign from home."

He also added, "We have

posted campaign related

video in PRAN UP




Participants need to give

picture with PRAN UP in

the video post's comment

box. PRAN will allocate

specific amount of money

for every post to buy the

put the country into a fresh national lockdown.

At the heart of UK stimulus policy is the

furlough scheme, which pays the bulk of wages

for around 10 million private sector workers

and runs until the end of April.

Britain is facing a renewed surge of

coronavirus cases that has seen more than

three million people infected and more than

80,000 deaths in the last 12 months.

The government is pinning its hopes on a

mass vaccination programme, which has so far

seen some 2.4 million people inoculated.

But amid hopes of a return to normality in

the coming months through science, one study

suggested more than 250,000 small British

businesses face bankruptcy this year without

more state help, given the problems posed by

the coronavirus and the post-Brexit trade

fallout. "A record number of small business

owners are planning to close their firms over

the coming twelve months, putting the UK on

course to lose more than a quarter of a million

businesses," the Federation of Small

Businesses estimated after quizzing some

1,400 firms.

The FSB also argued that Sunak's virus

support measures did not "keep pace" with

tightening lockdown restrictions.

Meanwhile, exporters were "feeling the

strain as (the) new EU-UK trade deal beds in"

following Britain's final exit from the

European Union single market and customs

union on December 31.

blanket. If people give

more picture, more money

will be allocated for coldhit

people. So participants

can help them joining our


Actor Fazlur Rahman

Babu said, 'the initiative of

PRAN to help the cold hit

people is very

praiseworthy. I thank

authorities of PRAN UP for

involving me with such

kind of good initiative.'

Atikur Rahman, General

Manager (Marketing) of

PRAN Beverage Limited

and Tanmoy Das, Senior

Brand Manager of PRAN

UP, were also present at

the program.

ThurSDAY, JAnuArY 14, 2021


Langer admitted that Australia's conduct on the field on the final day was a slip from what they have

been trying to remodel themselves. Photo: AP

Langer rallies behind paine, Smith

amid criticism over SCG conduct

SporTS DeSk:

Justin Langer, the Australian head

coach, has backed the captain Tim paine

following the incidents at SCG Test,

which ended in a thrilling draw.

Through the course of the third match of

the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy,

the Australian captain made some

unsavoury comments directed at r

Ashwin and even the umpires, for which

he later apologised. It was far removed

from the conduct Australia had been

attempting in their bid for a changed

image of their cricket team following the

Sandpapergate, reports Ap.

"You have no idea how much faith I've

got in Tim paine," Langer said in a press

conference, on Wednesday (January

13). "He didn't have his best day, no

doubt about that, but after three years

he has hardly put a hair out of place, he's

been outstanding as the Australian

captain in everything he does, and he

had a frustrating day.

We've got to cut him some slack

surely. But having said that when you

set a standard as high as he does and as

we do, we understand we're going to get

criticised when we fall below that. It's

not what we're about, but Tim paine,

outstanding leader and will continue to

be for some time to come yet. He has my

100% support."

Langer admitted that Australia's

conduct on the field on the final day was

a slip from what they have been trying to

remodel themselves into over the last

couple of years and can potentially undo

a lot of good that they have done in

creating a new "culture" for Australian

men's cricket.

"I remember a great mate of mine told

me a few years ago if you're going to

build a house or a hotel, it takes years to

do it, but it takes a couple of hours to rip

it all down with a bulldozer," he said. "So

we've got to be on top of our game all the

time, but also our players are human. In

a lot of senses they're in very different

circumstances how they're living, have

been through england, they've been

through IpL, they've been in hubs, all

that sort of stuff. But that's ok, we've just

got to make sure we're on top of our

game all the time.

"That's one of the challenges of

leadership, that's one of the challenges

of putting yourself out there and talking

about culture and how important

culture is. You can't slip, and if you do

Atletico stretch Liga lead

with Sevilla win

SporTS DeSk:

Atletico Madrid extended their lead at the

top of La Liga to four points on Tuesday after a

2-0 win over Sevilla that strengthened their

title credentials, reports BSS.

Goals in each half from Angel Correa and

substitute Saul Niguez on a freezing night

following historic snowfall in the Spanish

capital allowed Diego Simeone's side to

increase the gap between themselves and city

rivals real Madrid. The match at the Wanda

Metropolitano was one of three games in hand

that Atletico had on Madrid and Barcelona,

who sit a further three points back in third.

Their home fixture with Athletic Bilbao at the

weekend had to be postponed after Madrid

experienced its heaviest snowfall in half a

century. "I'm very happy to help the team with

this goal… the work pays off," said Saul after

the win.

Sevilla meanwhile stay sixth on 30 points,

level with fifth-placed real Sociedad.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid will have a tough

task defending their La Liga crown on the

evidence of Tuesday's display which bore all

the hallmarks of a Simeone side.

kieran Trippier returned to the Atletico side

after FIFA suspended the england

international's 10-week ban for breaching

betting rules.

And the 30-year-old marked his comeback

by helping Correa open the scoring in the 17th

minute with a cut back that still left the

Argentine with plenty of work to do as he

controlled the ball in the area.

Correa span quickly and got his shot off

before Fernando could close him down, and

his effort flashed past Yassine Bounou in the

Sevilla goal.

Trippier almost had another assist eight

minutes later when his smart pass put Luis

Suarez clean through, but Bounou did well to

charge out and block the Uruguayan's closerange

effort. Sevilla pushed a typically dogged

Atletico but couldn't take advantage of the few

chances that game their way and were

punished with 14 minutes remaining by Saul's

first goal of the season.

The Spaniard was cool just outside the area

as he collected Marco Llorente's low ball from

the right before arrowing a left-footed shot into

the far corner to guarantee Atletico's fifth

straight league win since losing the Madrid

derby last month.

They will have the chance to further extend

their lead at the top in a week's time when

they travel to eibar while Madrid and Barca

- who play in the in the Spanish Super Cup

semi-finals this week - are involved in the

Copa Del rey.

Atletico Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to four points on

Tuesday after a 2-0 win over Sevilla.

Photo: AP

slip, you get criticised for it, and that's all

ok. But we've hopefully had the courage

to say 'no, no, this is what we expect, this

is how we're going to behave', so when

we don't do it to the standard we expect,

we expect to get criticised for it."

Apart from just the verbal exchanges

that he was a part of, paine also had a

forgettable day behind the stumps,

dropping three catches on the final day

to let India off the hook. The Australian

skipper had said that it was a

disappointing day for him and he

"prided" himself on his wicketkeepeing.

Langer admitted that paine dropping

catches was an indication that the

'keeper was distracted through the

course of the final day of the Test.

"I think he's been brilliant, the very

fact that he missed some catches

probably said he was a bit distracted for

this Test match and he talked about that

yesterday. I thought he batted really well

in the second innings, but his keeping's

outstanding, he's one of the great

wicketkeepers we've ever had in

Australia, he works very hard on it, he

prides himself on it. I think he's

wicketkeeper really well throughout this


Mathews returns

for england Test


Angelo Mathews is set for a

Test comeback in the twomatch

home series against

england after missing last

month's South Africa tour

with a hamstring injury. The

former captain was named in

the 22-member squad

announced by Sri Lanka

Cricket, on Wednesday

(January 13), to be led by

Dimuth karunaratne, reports


Mathews was originally

named in the Sri Lankan

squad for the two Tests in

South Africa but later

withdrawn after he suffered a

hamstring injury in a

domestic T20 competition.

The hosts have recalled

Nuwan pradeep, while also

calling up the likes of roshen

Silva, Lakshan Sandakan and

the uncapped ramesh

Mendis. Dhananjaya de Silva,

kasun rajitha, Santhush

Gunathilake and Dilshan

Madushanka - who were all a

part of the South African tour,

have been left out.

The two-match Test series is

set to begin on Thursday

(January 14) and will be a part

of the ICC Test

Championship. england have

returned to Sri Lanka after

abandoning this tour last

March midway through a

practice game as the CoVID-

19 pandemic picked up

momentum. Consequently,

both Tests will be played in

Galle, behind closed doors.



karunaratne (Captain), kusal

Janith perera, Dinesh

Chandimal, kusal Mendis,

Angelo Mathews, oshada

Fernando, Niroshan

Dickwella, Minod Bhanuka,

Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith

embuldeniya, Wanindu

Hasaranga, Dilruwan perera,

Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru

kumara, Vishwa Fernando,

Dushmantha Chameera,

Dasun Shanaka, Asitha

Fernando, roshen Silva,

Hurkacz books

Delray Beach

final against


SporTS DeSk:

Fourth-seeded Hubert

Hurkacz ended qualifier

Christian Harrison's

Cinderella run in the ATp

Delray Beach open on

Tuesday, booking a final

showdown with American

Sebastian korda, reports


poland's Hurkacz defeated

Harrison 7-6 (7/4), 6-4,

while korda, a former junior

world number one, reached

his first ATp Tour final with

a 6-3, 7-5 semi-final victory

over Britain's Cameron


"Very happy to win this

match today," the 23-yearold

Hurkacz, ranked 35th in

the world, said. "I mean,

Christian played pretty

amazing throughout the

whole tournament.

"He qualified here and had

his best results on the ATp

Tour. especially after all he

came through, all the

surgeries, it's really great for

him. He played a really

amazing match."

palmeiras into

Libertadores final after

VAr thwarts river

SporTS DeSk:

palmeiras held on to

reach the Copa

Libertadores final despite

losing 2-0 to 10-man river

plate on Tuesday as the

Argentines were twice

denied by controversial

VAr decisions, reports


river dominated the

semi-final second leg at a

empty Allianz parque

stadium in Sao paulo, but

goals from robert rojas,

who was later dismissed,

and rafael Borre were not

enough to overturn their 3-

0 home defeat last week to

the Brazilians, who

progressed 3-2 on


palmeiras, though, had

the video assistant referee

to thank for chalking off a

second half goal from

Gonzalo Montiel and then

denying river a penalty.

They will face either

compatriots Santos or

river's arch Buenos Aires

rivals Boca Juniors - who

play their semi-final second

leg on Wednesday

following last week's 0-0

draw - in the January 30

final at rio de Janeiro's

Maracana stadium.

river threw caution to

the wind from the off but

left space at the back for

palmeiras to exploit.

rony was played clean

through on nine minutes by

Milan beat Torino on

penalties to reach Italian

Cup quarter-finals

SporTS DeSk:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic got his first start in

over seven weeks but AC Milan had to battle

into the Italian Cup quarter-finals with a 5-4

win on penalties over Torino after Tuesday's

match ended 0-0 after extra time, reports


Hakan Calhanoglu slotted in the winning

penalty with Tomas rincon missing from the

spot for Torino in the San Siro after a

stalemate following 120 minutes of play.

"It was a very hard battle, but Milan never

gave up, we were a team for 120 minutes,"

said coach Stefano pioli.

"These players make me proud, for how

they train and their commitment.

"You can see that I feel good here at Milan.

This team makes me proud. And when you

are so happy, you convey confidence."

Ibrahimovic had made a brief late

appearance last weekend in a 2-0 win over

Torino in Serie A, having been sidelined with

a left thigh injury since scoring a double

against Napoli on November 22.

"I wanted to give Ibra a longer time after

his return to the championship," continued

pioli, whose side are top of the Serie A

standings. "He played a good match and this

will help him find the best condition."

on Tuesday, the 38-year-old Swede played

Gabriel Menino, but as he

tried to take the ball around

Franco Armani the

Argentine goalkeeper did

brilliantly to get a hand to it

and save his team.

Home goalkeeper

Weverton was by far the

busier of the two, though,

and repeatedly kept river

at bay.

He did brilliantly to get

his fingertips to a

speculative long range

effort from Chilean paulo

Diaz that was heading for

the top corner.

But from the resulting

corner, river took the lead

as paraguayan center-back

rojas leapt like a salmon

and powered a header into

the top corner from the

penalty spot, leaving

Weverton rooted to his line.

A minute before the

break, though, river

doubled their lead.

Uruguayan Nicolas De La

Cruz, whose corner led to

the opener, crossed from

the right and Colombian

Borre somehow arrived

unmarked inside the six

yard box to head home.

De La Cruz was at the

heart of river's attacking

play and sent a second half

free-kick just wide before

Weverton got down well to

claim his daisy-cutter.

palmeiras were

struggling to deal with

crosses into the box and on

52 minutes they were

seemingly undone again.

Fabrizio Angileri sent the

ball over from the left and

Montiel was free on the

edge of the six yard box to

volley back across

Weverton and in.

However, after a long

VAr check, it was

controversially deemed

that Borre was marginally

offside earlier in the move

and palmeiras survived.

river's tails were up,

though, and Weverton

made a reaction save to

prevent Luan diverting a

cross from Montiel past his

own goalkeeper, with De La

Cruz hitting the side

netting from the follow up.

river's hopes suffered a

blow 17 minutes from time,

though, when rojas was

harshly shown a second

yellow card and given his

marching orders.

Just moments later,

however, Alan empereur

was adjudged to have

tripped Matias Suarez in

the area and Uruguayan

referee esteban ostojich

pointed to the spot. Yet

again VAr came to

palmeiras' rescue.

river continued to

dominate and from one

corner Weverton saved an

enzo perez header before

Borre lashed the rebound

against the post and Matias

Vina headed a perez follow

up off the line.

the first half before being substituted off for


ex-Milan coach Marco Giampaolo's

Torino gave the hosts more of a battle than

last Saturday, with both sides missing

chances in a clash between two former fivetime

former winners.

Ciprian Tatarusanu was in the Milan goal

in place of Gianluigi Donnarumma with

defender Mateo Musacchio playing for the

first time in nearly a year.

Tatarusanu did well to deny Simone Zaza

and Amer Gojak, while Torino counterpart

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic kept out rafael Leao

and Davide Calabria from a distance.

Milan's Brahim Diaz had the best chance

to finish off the game four minutes from

time, but the Spanish forward sent over the

bar on front of goal.

on the bench, Donnarumma even picked

up a red card for protesting a penalty was not

awarded for a clumsy Milinkovic-Savic

intervention on Leao with 20 minutes to go.

But replacement Tatarusanu proved solid

as Milan next meet either city rivals Inter or

Fiorentina in the last eight.

Title-holders Napoli are at home against

empoli on Wednesday with record 13-time

winners Juventus taking on Genoa, who

lifted the trophy once in 1937, in Turin.

AC Milan had to battle into the Italian Cup quarter-finals with a 5-4 win on penalties over


Photo: AP

There's no room for

anything racial or

any abuse - Nathan


SporTS DeSk:

Ace Australian spinner

Nathan Lyon feels

Mohammad Siraj has set the

perfect precedent by

standing up to the bad

crowd behaviour in the

Sydney Test, opening up the

option for more cricketers in

the future, reports Ap.

The Indian team filed an

official complaint at the

close of Day 3 of the third

Test, alleging racial abuse

from a particular section of

spectators at the SCG.

Although no culprit has been

identified yet, the poor

choice of words continued

from the same section

forcing the Indian pacer to

halt the play shortly before

tea on Day 4 and bring it to

the notice of the on-field

umpires. As it turned out, a

handful of spectators were

then escorted out of the

stadium by security/police

authorities before the action

could resume.

Lyon feels this episode will

make cricketers more

comfortable in the future

about stopping an

international game to call

out their abusers, depending

on how much they get

affected by what's being

thrown at them.

"Yeah it may well do, it's

totally going to be up to that

player and how they have

been affected," Lyon said

ahead of the fourth and final

Test, in Brisbane.

THUrsDAY, JANUArY 14, 2021


Film on 'Bangabandhu' will be

historical document: Hasan

Information Minister Dr Hasan

Mahmud on Wednesday said the

film which will be produced in joint

venture by Bangladesh and India

based on the life of Bangabandhu

will enrich history of the

country,reports BSS.

He said this while exchanging

views with the cast and crew

selected for the film at the

Intercontinental Hotel in the

capital on Tuesday evening. State

Minister for Information Dr.

Murad Hasan, Adviser to the Prime

Minister on International Affairs.

Gawhar Rizvi, Information

Secretary Khwaja Mia and

Information Commissioner Abdul

Malek were present on the

occasion. Dr. Hasan also

congratulated the cast and crew of

'Bangabandhu' and wished them

maximum success in their

participation and said that the

Ministry of Information is always

with them. The Minister also

recalled that on January 14, 2020,

in New Delhi, India, in the presence

of him and Indian Information

Minister Prakash Javadkar, an

agreement was signed between the

two countries' film development

corporations to jointly produce the


State Minister Dr. Murad Hasan

and Advisor. Gawhar Rizvi in his

speech described the film as a

milestone in the history of the


Presented by Nuzhat Yasmin,

Managing Director, Bangladesh

Film Development Corporation-

BFDC and Shahidul Alam Sachchu,

who portrayed the character of

Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque in

the film, the event turned into a

domestic event. Chanchal

Chowdhury (45-65) and Khairul

Alam Sabuj (65-94), who played

the role of Bangabandhu's father,

Sangeeta Chowdhury (33-55) and

Dilara Zaman (60-64), who played

the role of Bangabandhu's mother,

played the roles of Bangabandhu

and Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib.

Divya Jyoti and Prarthana Fardin

Dighi, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh

Rehana's adolescent characters

Sharif Siraj and Sabila Noor,

Maulana Bhasani and Hossain

Shaheed Suhrawardy's characters

Raisul Islam Asad and Taukir

Ahmed shared their feelings.

Tajuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul

Islam, Capt. M Mansur Ali, AHM

Kamruzzaman, Charneta, Ferdous,

Sayem Samad, Khalilur Rahman

and Samu Chowdhury, Tafazzal

Hossain, Manik Mia and Tofail

Ahmed, Tushar Khan and Sabbir

Ahmed, Mostafizur Nur Imran and

Sadman Pratya, Rama, Majhi and

Shamsul Haque, Sheikh Khan,

Naresh Bhuiyan and Siam Ahmed

and Fazlur Rahman Babu, who

portrayed the characters of

Khandaker Mushtaq, expressed

their feelings at the event.

Additional Secretary to the

Ministry of Information Jahanara

Parveen, Deputy Secretary Saiful

Islam, Director-Public Relations

Mir Akram U Ahmed, Line

Producer of the Bangladesh part of

'Bangabandhu' Mohammad

Hossain Jamie, Assistant Director

and Language Specialist Bahar

Uddin Khelon, two other Assistant

Directors Arif Siddique and Arnab

Participated in major events.

Pieces of a Woman: A one-woman show

A long, winding shot, presumably,

taken in one go. In it, we see Vanessa

Kirby's character Martha go through

the motions of giving birth. It is an

awkward, uncomfortable experience

as a viewer, and I mean that in the

best sense possible. Thanks to

Kirby's strong skill sets, despite not

feeling her physical pain, I could feel

the character's discomfort. Her long

groans, confusion and cussing

added to the scene that was already

believable at the word go thanks to

the actor's body language. It is this

sense of believability, this feeling of

something gnawing at your insides

that Kirby moves forward with in the

Kornél Mundruczó directorial

Pieces of a Woman.

Also starring Shia LaBeouf and

Ellen Burstyn in significant parts,

Pieces of a Woman is an intricate,

poignant picture of grief that is

brought alive by Vanessa Kirby's

powerful performance. What also

greatly helps her is the fact that

Pieces of a Woman is a characteroriented

movie, and not a plotdriven

film. The narrative is simple

and predictable to the T. What

elevates it is the well-fleshed,

painfully drawn sketch of Martha

Weiss. A strong, independent

woman who picks up her pieces after

suffering an irrevocable loss.

After learning of her child's death,

Martha bears her pain like a stoic.

She appears stone-faced, cool and

calm at all times. She doesn't want a

burial. She does not want to be

reminded of the pain. She becomes

her pain. Numb and hurting silently

like a warrior. Sometimes like a cruel

warrior who cannot be bothered to

listen to her loved ones. Every thing,

every one is a blur. Now these are

tough moments for an actor.

Wailing, letting the feelings out

might seem the obvious thing to do,

and even perhaps the more easier

and 'natural' course of action. But

because Martha is like a wall, Kirby

has to become one too. She has to

express without expressing. A

challenging task for an artiste, and

one which Vanessa Kirby aces.

Source : Indian Express

Dhaka International

Film Festival starts

from January 16

TBT reporT

The 19th Dhaka

International Film Festival

2021 is about to start. The 9-

day festival will be held on

January 16. 226 films from

73 countries will take part in

the festival. This

information has been given

by the organizing

organization Rainbow Film

Society. According to the

organizers, 226 films from

73 countries will be screened

in the nine-day festival. The

films have been screened in

the last year in the categories

TBT reporT

Actor Chanchal Chowdhury

critically acclaimed for his

performances in Rupkothar

Golpo (2006), Monpura

(2009), Television (2012),

Aynabaji (2016), and Debi

(2018), he has received two

Bangladesh National Film

Awards for Best Actor and

three Meril Prothom Alo

Awards for Best Actor.

This time the versatile actor

Chanchal Chowdhury is set to

join the much anticipated

biopic of the Father of the

Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh

of Asian Cinema,

Retrospective, Bangladesh

Panorama, Cinema of the

World, Children's Films,

Women Producers, Short

and Independent Films,

Spiritual Cinema. This time

two more sections have been

added called Legendary

Leaders Who Change the

World and Tribute.

The films will be screened

at the Shawkat Osman

Memorial Auditorium of the

city's Central Public Library,

Poet Sufia Kamal and the

main auditorium of the

National Museum, Alliance

Mujibur Rahman.

He will play the role of

Bangabandhu's father, Sheikh

Luftar Rahman, between the

ages of 45 and 65. Khairul

Alam Sabuj will play an older

version of the same character.

Chanchal Chowdhury himself

confirmed the matter on

Wednesday afternoon. He

said, 'The character I'm doing,

it was announced yesterday.

Acting in this film means

doing a big job, becoming a

part of history. It's going to be

a very good job, it will be a

huge experience for me. '

The film is being directed by

Française Auditorium,

Shilpakala Academy's

National Art Gallery, Dance

Auditorium and Nandan


Prominent cultural

personalities from 73

countries, including

internationally renowned

filmmakers, critics,

journalists, embassy

officials, members of the

Rainbow Film Society and

other film parliamentary

members will share their

experiences with the

Bollywood producer Shyam


The shooting of the first

phase of the film is starting

from January 25. A number of

actors including Chanchal

Chowdhury are going to fly

Mumbai on January 19. The

information was given at an

introductory program with

the artists and crew selected

for the biography of

'Bangabandhu' at a five-star

hotel in the capital on

Tuesday. Mohammad

Hossain Jemmy is the line

producer of the film, from


Pics of us OK, no photos of baby

please : Anushka-Kohli to paparazzi

Star couple Anushka Sharma and Virat

Kohli, who welcomed their first child, a

baby girl on Monday, have been

constantly emphasising on the need for

privacy for their child. On Wednesday,

they appealed to the paparazzi to refrain

from taking pictures of their newlyborn


Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli sent

a note to the paparazzi fraternity in

Mumbai, which read, "Hi, Thank you for

all the love that you have given us for all

these years. We are happy to celebrate

this momentous occasion with you. As

parents, we have a simple request to

make to you. We want to protect the

privacy of our child and we need your

help and support." The couple clearly

established that they will ensure that the

paparazzi gets the content featuring both

the stars and requested them to not carry

any piece that features their child.

"While, we will always ensure that you

get all the content you need featuring us,

we would request you to kindly not take

or carry any content that has our child.

We know that you will understand where

we are coming from and we thank you for

the same," read an excerpt from their

audience. Meanwhile, on

the occasion of the festival, a

press conference has been

organized in front of the

swimming pool of Dhaka

Club at 12 noon on today

(Thursday). More details

will be announced at this

time, the organizing

authority said.

The Rainbow Film Society

has been organizing the

Dhaka Int7ernational Film

Festival since 1992. The

festival will be screened on

January 24.

Chanchal to

play the role of



The cast of the biopic was

introduced at a programme

held yesterday at the capital.

State Minister for

Information Dr Murad

Hasan, International Affairs

Adviser to the Prime Minister

Gowher Rizvi, Secretary of the

Information Ministry Khaja

Miah and Commissioner of

the Information Ministry

Abdul Malek were present at

the event. It was hosted by the

Managing Director of



Development Corporation

Nuzhat Yasmin and actor

Shahidul Alam Shachchu.

statement. On Monday, Virat Kohli

announced the news of his daughter's birth

on social media. In a note thanking his fans,

the cricketer also requested for their

family's privacy at the moment. His tweet

read: "We are thrilled to share with you that

we have been blessed with a baby girl this

afternoon. We thank you all for your love,

prayers and good wishes. Anushka and the

baby are both healthy and we are feeling

beyond blessed to start this new chapter of

our lives. We hope that you can respect our

privacy at this time."

Just a week before their baby's arrival,

Anushka Sharma called out a media

publication and a paparazzo after they

published an unauthorised picture of her

and Virat Kohli. "Despite requesting the

said photographer and the publication,

they still continue to invade our privacy.

Guys! Stop this right now," wrote

Anushka Sharma in her Instagram story.

Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli's love

story began on the sets of a shampoo

commercial that they did together. After

dating for several years, the couple got

married in a private ceremony in

Tuscany, Italy in the year 2017. They

announced their pregnancy in August

last year.

Source: NDTV

H o r o s c o p e


(March 21 - April 20) : You could be

expecting an important letter, call,

or email today, Aries, and sit on the

edge of your chair waiting for it. This

might be from a friend or lover. It could be

delayed, and this might get you flustered.

Distract yourself and do something else while

you wait. If you make good use of the hours, the

time will fly by.


(April 21 - May 21) :Unfounded

worries about money could plague

you today, Taurus. Someone close

may have given you some incorrect

information, perhaps about your financial

situation, but more likely regarding trends in

the economy that could affect your finances.

Don't waste time worrying. Check out the facts

before driving yourself crazy.


(May 22 - June 21) : You don't worry

too much, Gemini, but today might be

different. Insecurity may arise about a

partnership. This might be a current or potential

romantic relationship. Perhaps there has been little if

any communication between you and your insecurity

is coming to the forefront. Don't let fear or shyness

keep you from meeting this person halfway.


(June 22 - July 23) : Worries about

health and work might be on your

mind today, Cancer. You could be

stressed out over whatever you're

doing, and this might have you feeling less energetic

than usual. It's a good idea to work a little to lessen

the stress in your life. This feeling is going to pass

whatever you do. Try to rest a little and have some

fun in spite of the stress.


(July 24 - Aug. 23): Today you may

want to set aside some time to spend

with close friends or a love partner,

Leo. Other responsibilities could have

you on your own, taking care of errands and other

important matters. You may have the feeling of

being lonely in a crowd. Don't waste time feeling

sorry for yourself. Take care of business and get

back to your loved ones.


(Aug. 24 - Sept. 23): Today you might

concentrate on projects. These could be

related to your personal relationships.

Whatever the nature of your tasks, Virgo,

don't be surprised if you find them confusing. You might

be tempted to chuck it all and go out, but this isn't a good

idea. Better to try to make sense of the confusion than

put it off. It won't get any better with time.


(Sept. 24 - Oct. 23) : Libra, making or

receiving an important letter or call

regarding money might be on your

agenda today, but circumstances

beyond your control could delay it. This could

prove frustrating. Take care of whatever you have

to do. Distract yourself if you have to sit and wait.

Nothing is worth stressing over. The call will

come in time, so just relax.


(Oct. 24 - Nov. 22): Worries about money

might plague you today, Scorpio. They

might have little, if any, basis in fact, as

you're probably fretting over

possibilities that aren't likely to ever manifest. A little

caution with regard to budgeting and spending today

certainly won't hurt you. It's best to be objective and

see the situation as it really is. Otherwise, you could

make yourself crazy over nothing.


(Nov. 23 - Dec. 21): Today you could look in the

mirror and be appalled by what you see,

activating your insecurity about the way you

look. This could send you looking for various

treatments. Go ahead if you want, Sagittarius, but your

impressions are clouded right now and you probably look far

better than you think. If you get together with a love partner, this

person's reaction should give you the reassurance you need.


(Dec. 22 - Jan. 20): Artistic or spiritual

inspiration could come your way today,

Capricorn, although it might be

muddled and you could be perplexed

about how to deal with it. Don't try to force the issue.

Write down your ideas and return to them later.

Someone close might feel unwell, and you may want

to spend some time with him or her. This might take

some effort, but it won't go unappreciated.


(Jan. 21 - Feb. 19) : Today you may

spend some time by yourself working

on your own projects, Aquarius. The

desire to spend time alone with a

special someone may also interfere with plans

you've already made to attend a social gathering or

event involving a lot of people. You won't want to

give up either, so you might try to find a compromise

of some kind. Think about it.


(Feb. 20 - Mar. 20) : Various personal issues

might be on your mind today, Pisces. You

could want to work them all out without

distractions, so you may decide to spend part

of the day alone. Responsibilities from the outside world

might make it impossible for you to take as much time as

you'd like. Don't let it get to you. Work out the matters that

seem most pressing and save the rest for later.

THuRSDAY, JANuARY 14, 2021


House urges Pence to help oust

Trump; impeachment next

GD- 76/21 (5x 3)


rushed ahead Tuesday toward impeaching

President Donald Trump for the

deadly Capitol attack, taking time only to

try to persuade his vice president to push

him out first. Trump showed no remorse,

blaming impeachment itself for the

"tremendous anger" in America, reports


Already scheduled to leave office next

week, Trump is on the verge of becoming

the only president in history to be twice

impeached. His incendiary rhetoric at a

rally ahead of the Capitol uprising is now

in the impeachment charge against him,

even as the falsehoods he spread about

election fraud are still being championed

by some Republicans.

The House on Tuesday night approved

a resolution urging Vice President Mike

Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to

the Constitution to remove Trump with a

Cabinet vote and "declare what is obvious

to a horrified Nation: That the President

is unable to successfully discharge the

duties and powers of his office." The resolution

passed, It was approved 223-205.

Democrats proceeded even though

Pence said he would not do what the resolution

asked. In a letter to House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he said it would

not be in the best interest of the nation

and it was "time to unite our country as

we prepare to inaugurate President-elect

Joe Biden."

Meanwhile, four Republican lawmakers,

including third-ranking House GOP

leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming,

announced they would vote to impeach

Trump on Wednesday, cleaving the

Republican leadership, and the party


"The President of the United States

summoned this mob, assembled the

mob, and lit the flame of this attack," said

Cheney in a statement. "There has never

been a greater betrayal by a President of

the United States of his office and his

oath to the Constitution."

As lawmakers reconvened at the

Capitol for the first time since the bloody

siege, they were bracing for more violence

ahead of Democrat Biden's inauguration,

Jan. 20.

"All of us have to do some soul searching,"

said Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin

of Maryland, imploring other

Republicans to join.

Trump, meanwhile, warned the lawmakers

off impeachment and suggested

it was the drive to oust him that was

dividing the country.

"To continue on this path, I think it's

causing tremendous danger to our country,

and it's causing tremendous anger,"

Trump said.

In his first remarks to reporters since

last week's violence, the outgoing president

offered no condolences for those

dead or injured, only saying, "I want no


With Pence's agreement to invoke the

25th Amendment ruled out, the House

will move swiftly to impeachment on


Trump faces a single charge - "incitement

of insurrection" - in the impeachment

resolution after the most serious

and deadly domestic incursion at the

Capitol in the nation's history.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, argued

that Trump must go because, as she said

in Spanish, he's "loco" - crazy.

Republican Reps. John Katko of New

York, a former federal prosecutor, Adam

Kinzinger of Illinois, an Air Force veteran,

and Fred Upton of Michigan

announced they, too, would vote to


But Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of

Ohio said the "cancel culture" was just

trying to cancel the president. He said the

Democrats had been trying to reverse the

2016 election ever since Trump took

office and were finishing his term the

same way.

Though a handful of House

Republicans will join the impeachment

vote - and leaders are allowing them to

vote as they wish - it's far from clear there

would then be the two-thirds vote needed

to convict from the narrowly divided

Senate. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of

Pennsylvania did join Sen. Lisa

Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend

in calling for Trump to "go away as soon

as possible."

Unprecedented events, with just over a

week remaining in Trump's term, are

unfolding in a nation bracing for more

unrest. The FBI has warned ominously of

potential armed protests by Trump loyalists

ahead of Biden's inauguration, and

Capitol Police urged lawmakers to be on

alert. The inauguration ceremony on the

west steps of the Capitol will be off limits

to the public.

With new security, lawmakers were

required to pass through metal detectors

Tuesday night to enter the House chamber,

not far from where Capitol police,

guns drawn, had barricaded the door

against the rioters. Some Republican

lawmakers complained about it. A

Capitol police officer died from injuries

suffered in the riot, and police shot a

woman during the violence. Three other

people died in what authorities said were

medical emergencies.

Biden has said it's important to ensure

that the "folks who engaged in sedition

and threatening the lives, defacing public

property, caused great damage-that they

be held accountable."

Fending off concerns that an impeachment

trial would bog down Biden's first

days in office, the president-elect is

encouraging senators to divide their time

between taking taking up his priorities of

confirming his nominees and approving

COVID relief while also conducting the


As Congress resumed, an uneasiness

swept the halls. More lawmakers tested

positive for COVID-19 after sheltering

during the siege. Many lawmakers were

voting by proxy rather than come to

Washington, a process that was put in

place last year to limit the health risks of


One of Trump's closest allies in

Congress, House Republican leader

Kevin McCarthy was among those echoing

the president, saying "impeachment

at this time would have the opposite

effect of bringing our country together."

The impeachment bill from Reps.

David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu

of California, Raskin of Maryland and

Jerrold Nadler of New York draws from

Trump's own false statements about his

election defeat to Biden.

Judges across the country, including

some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly

dismissed cases challenging the election

results, and former Attorney General

William Barr, a Trump ally, has said

there was no sign of widespread fraud.

Like the resolution to invoke the 25th

Amendment, the impeachment legislation

also details Trump's pressure on

state officials in Georgia to "find" him

more votes, as well as his White House

rally ahead of the Capitol siege, in which

he encouraged thousands of supporters

last Wednesday to "fight like hell" and

march to the building.

The mob overpowered police, broke

through security lines and windows and

rampaged through the Capitol, forcing

lawmakers to scatter as they were finalizing

Biden's victory over Trump in the

Electoral College.

While some have questioned impeaching

the president so close to the end of his

term, there is precedent. In 1876, during

the Ulysses Grant administration, War

Secretary William Belknap was

impeached by the House the day he

resigned, and the Senate convened a trial

months later. He was acquitted.

631 corona affected families get

financial support in Sirajganj

SIRAJGANJ: A number of 631coronavirus-affected poor

families were given financial assistance of Taka 40.20 lakh to

help them overcome their living and livelihood hardship during

the pandemic situation, reports BSS.

Rajshahi Regional Office of Caritas Bangladesh extended

aid on behalf of its project styled "Humanitarian Assistance

to multi-hazard affected vulnerable people under the Urban

Management of migration due to Climate Change".

Each of the beneficiary households was given Taka 3,000

through a simple ceremony held on the Sirajganj

Municipality premises on Tuesday afternoon.

Sirajganj Pourashava Mayor Abdur Rouf attended the ceremony

as the chief guest and handed over the cash money to

the enlisted people with Caritas Rajshahi Regional Director

wewmAvBwm-328, Zvs-13.01.21

Sukleash George Costa in the chair. Sukleash Costa said that

each of the recipients will also get another Taka 6,000 in two

consecutive phases next.

Mayor Abdur Rouf said integrated efforts of all government

and non-government entities concerned have become

crucial to face the adverse impacts of the pandemic situation.

Members of the civil societies, voluntary organizations and

other social actors with civil administrations should come

forward and work together to mitigate poor people's the

financial constraints amid COVID-19 situation, he added.

Earlier this month, the organization also provided financial

support to 247 distressed households in Rajshahi city under

the project to cope with the pandemic situation, said

Sukleash Costa.

15,500 youths

become self-reliant

receiving training

from BSCIC

NARSINGDI: About 15,500

youths in the district became

self-reliant receiving training

and loan from Bangladesh

Small and Cottage Industries

Corporation (BSCIC)'s skill

development center during

the last 40 years since the programme

began here, reports

BSS. Assistant general manager

of BSCIC Industries Service

Center Mohammad Shazzad

Hossain told BSS that the

BSCIC skill development center

imparted institutional

training to 16,120 youths

(both male and female) on different

trades in the district

during the last 40 years.

The training course includes

welding, electrical house

wiring and motor welding,

electrical items repairing, cutting

and sewing training

course, block-batik, refrigerator

and air condition repairing,

mobile phone repairing

and computer literacy.

The inauguration and swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected executive council of the Joypurhat

District Bar Association was held at the conference room of the lawyers' building on Tuesday. The

president of the newly-elected committee of the District Bar Association, Adv. Nripendranath

Mandal PP presided over the function while District and Sessions Judge of Joypurhat M A

RobHawladar was present as the chief guest at the occasion. Among others, Judge (District Judge)

of Joypurhat District Women and Child Abuse Suppression Tribunal Md. Rustam Ali, Deputy

Commissioner Md. Shariful Islam and Additional Superintendent of Police Md. Sajjad Hossain were

among others also present at the occasion.

Photo: MasrakulAlom

US carries out its 1st

execution of female

inmate since 1953


13(AP/UNB) - A Kansas

woman was executed

Wednesday for strangling an

expectant mother in Missouri

and cutting the baby from her

womb, the first time in nearly

seven decades that the U.S.

government has put to death

a female inmate.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was

pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m.

after receiving a lethal injection

at the federal prison complex

in Terre Haute, Indiana.

She was the 11th prisoner to

receive a lethal injection there

since July when President

Donald Trump, an ardent

supporter of capital punishment,

resumed federal executions

following 17 years without


As a curtain was raised in

the execution chamber,

Montgomery looked momentarily

bewildered as she

glanced at journalists peering

at her from behind thick glass.

As the execution process

began, a woman standing

over Montgomery's shoulder

leaned over, gently removed

Montgomery's face mask and

asked her if she had any last

words. "No," Montgomery

responded in a quiet, muffled

voice. She said nothing else.

She tapped her fingers

nervously for several seconds,

a heart-shaped tattoo on her

thumb, but she otherwise

showed no signs of distress,

and quickly closed her eyes.

"The craven bloodlust of a

failed administration was on

full display tonight,"

Montgomery's attorney,

Kelley Henry said in a statement.

"Everyone who participated

in the execution of Lisa

Montgomery should feel


"The government stopped

at nothing in its zeal to kill this

damaged and delusional

woman," Henry said. "Lisa

Montgomery's execution was

far from justice."

It came after hours of legal

wrangling before the

Supreme Court cleared the

way for the execution to move

forward. Montgomery was

the first of the final three federal

inmates scheduled to die

before next week's inauguration

of President-elect Joe

Biden, who is expected to discontinue

federal executions.

But a federal judge for the

District of Columbia halted

the scheduled executions

later this week of Corey

Johnson and Dustin Higgs in

a ruling Tuesday. Johnson,

convicted of killing seven

people related to his drug

trafficking in Virginia, and

Higgs, convicted of ordering

the murders of three women

in Maryland, both tested

positive for COVID-19 last


Montgomery killed 23-

year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett

in the northwest Missouri

town of Skidmore in 2004.

She used a rope to strangle

Stinnett, who was eight

months pregnant, and then

cut the baby girl from the

womb with a kitchen knife.

EXPLAINER: How Trump's

2nd impeachment will unfold

we`ÿ r/Rb- 518(2)/13/1/21

GD- 74/21 (6x3)

WASHINGTON:,The House is expected to

impeach President Donald Trump for his

encouragement of supporters who stormed

the U.S. Capitol, a vote that would make him

the first American president to be impeached

twice, reports UNB.

While the previous three impeachments -

those of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill

Clinton and Trump - took months before a

final vote, including investigations and hearings,

this time it will have only taken a week.

After the rioting at the Capitol, House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "we must take

action," and Democrats - and some

Republicans - share her view ahead of

Wednesday's vote.

For now, the Republican-led Senate is not

expected to hold a trial and vote on whether

to convict Trump before Democrat Joe

Biden is sworn in as president Jan. 20. Still,

Democrats feel that action by the House

would send an important message to the


A look at what will happen as the House

moves closer to impeaching Trump in his

last week in office:

In normal order, there would be an

impeachment investigation and the evidence

would be sent to the House Judiciary

Committee, which would hold hearings,

draft articles and send them to the full

House. That's what happened in 2019, when

the House impeached Trump over his dealings

with the president of Ukraine. It took

three months.

This time, with so few days to act - and a

feeling among Democrats that there is little

need to investigate what happened, since

most members of Congress heard Trump

speak to his supporters and were in the

Capitol when the mob broke in - impeachment

is going straight to the House floor for

a vote, which would come as soon as


Once the House votes to impeach, the articles

and evidence would be sent to the

Senate, where a trial would be held and there

would be final votes to convict or acquit.

That's what the Senate did in early February

of last year after Trump was impeached the

first time.

Democrats will begin debate Wednesday

on a single impeachment charge: "incitement

of insurrection." "President Trump

gravely endangered the security of the

United States and its institutions of

Government," reads the four-page impeachment

article, which was introduced by

Democratic Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode

Island, Ted Lieu of California and Jamie

Raskin of Maryland.

"He will remain a threat to national security,

democracy, and the Constitution if

allowed to remain in office," it reads.

The article says the behavior is consistent

with Trump's prior efforts to "subvert and

obstruct" the results of the election and references

his recent call with the Georgia secretary

of state, in which he said he wanted him

to find him more votes after losing the state

to Biden.

Trump has falsely claimed there was widespread

fraud in the election, and the baseless

claims have been repeatedly echoed by congressional

Republicans and the insurgents

who descended on the Capitol. Just before

the riots, Trump spoke to the supporters

near the White House and encouraged them

to "fight like hell."

As the protesters broke in, both chambers

were debating GOP challenges to the electoral

vote count in Arizona as part of the

process for certifying Biden's election win.

On Tuesday, five Republicans said they

would support impeachment. No

Republicans supported Trump's first

impeachment in 2019.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming,

the No. 3 Republican in the House and the

daughter of former Vice President Dick

Cheney, said she would vote to impeach

Trump because "there has never been a

greater betrayal by a President of the United

States of his office and his oath to the


Cheney said Trump "summoned" the mob

that attacked the Capitol last week, "assembled

the mob, and lit the flame of this attack."

New York Rep. John Katko was the first

Republican to say he'd vote to impeach. A

former federal prosecutor, he said he did not

make the decision lightly. "To allow the president

of the United States to incite this attack

without consequence is a direct threat to the

future of our democracy," Katko said. "I cannot

sit by without taking action."

Thursday, dhaka, January 14, 2021, Poush 30, 1427 bS, Jamadi-ul Awal 29 , 1442 hijri

Hill tribes crying out for water even

after 50 years of independence

Sayed Nurul Amin Rupok, Netrokona

Correspondent: The cry for water of the

hill tribes has not stopped even after 50

years of independence. They have to rely

on mountain springs as their natural

source for drinking water, washing and

bathing. During the dry season, from

December to April-May, when most of

the springs have stopped flowing, they

have to collect their water from the

muddy water of the hills, or from the

shallow wells made under the tillers.

Onehas to wait for a long time to fill the

pitcher by pouring water from the shallow

well into the bowl.

In this way, a small ethnic group of

Garo, Hajong inhabited by Durgapur-

The photo shows a resident of a hill tribe fetching drinking water

from mud in Netrokona. Photo: Sayed Nurul Amin Rupok



polls being held

in fair manner:


SAVAR : Expressing satisfaction

over the election system of the

country, Chief Election

Commissioner (CEC) K M Nurul

Huda yesterday said that the

municipality elections are being

held in free, fair and neutral manner

and as such the upcoming Savar

municipality polls must also be held

in fair manner.

"Elections to all municipalities of

the country including Savar must be

free and fair . Usually, after defeat

in the election it was said that there

was vote rigging . this trend not

only noticeable in Bangladesh, but

globally too. " he said.

He said this while addressing a

coordination meeting on law and

order in the hall of Savar Upazila

Parishad ahead of Savar municipality


The CEC said there were allegations

of vote rigging in the global

elections and after defeating to the

elections, there have been same

allegation even in America.

Urging the opposition to have

trust and confidence in the Election

Commission (EC), he said :"At present,

there are no election irregularities

in Bangladesh. The present EC

is working independently and


About security in polling areas, he

said actions will be taken if any person

stands anywhere with illegal


Expressing his firm conviction

Nurul Huda said there is no room

for vote rigging in Electronic Voting

Machines (EVMs), and stringent

measures will be taken against anyone

who will create untoward situation

during voting.

EC Secretary Alamgir Hossain,

Dhaka Divisional Commissioner

Khalilur Rahman, Deputy Inspector

General (DIG), Dhaka range

Habibur Rahman and

Superintendent of Police of Dhaka

district Maruf Hossain Sorder were

present, among others.

Kalmakandarupazila bordering

Netrokona, goes on a regular struggle to

collect water.

Mallika Micheng, 60, of Badambari

village in Durgapur upazila, has to walk

30 minutes every day to fetch water

from a small hole dug in the dead

rhyme. Water drips out of the hole.

Many others like Mallika Mitchengfills

the jug with the water little by little.

Residents of Badambari, Dahapara,

Gopalpur, Naluapara and Bhabanipur

areas of Durgapur upazila said that even

though they had installed tubewells and

deep wells on their own initiative, the

use of water was unsuitable due to

excess arsenic. Which is a serious risk to

the health.

Residents of TengraTilapara, Bang

Chakua, Batangri, Kankona and

Dhaldhala Para of TilagheraChengni in

Lengura Union of KalmakandaUpazila

said they used to drink the dirty water of

ChengniChhara coming down from the

Meghalaya hills on the other side. They

don't even get that opportunity now.

The poor residents of the neighborhood

are collecting the required water by placing

a shallow well under the tiller of the

forest department.

According to the District Public

Health Engineering Department, it is

not possible to install deep tube wells

like other areas as there are hard rocks

40 to 50 feet below the ground in

Durgapur and Kalmakanda hills of

Netrokona. The feasibility study is

underway to introduce production and

experimental water supply schemes by

installing deep tube wells in the surrounding

villages as an alternative

source of piped water supply to the

backward communities living in the

hills. They ensured to take effective steps

to solve the problems of the backward

people living in the hills by implementing

the project in a short time.

Alt. Farming

How women in Kurigram

augment their households'


KURIGRAM : Amina Begum of Sadar

upazila's Shuvarkuti village had to take

shelter in her father's home as her husband's

house got destroyed by the flood.

She managed some loans and planted

apel kul, papaya, chilly and eggplants on

60 decimals of her father's land. This

season she had to count a hefty loss for

cultivating crops. Amina took up farming

vegetables and fruits to recoup the

loss and hopes to make enough tobuy a

piece of landto build her own home.

Kurigram farming families were facing

huge losses caused by consecutive

5thphase of floods. To recover the loss

male members have set out in search of

work in different districts. Meanwhile

female members started alternative

farming. Housewives of Kurigram are

now becoming farmers to meet up the

demand and poverty of their family.

On a recent spot visit to Kurigram

sadar upazila's Holokhana union, in the

village of Shuvarkuti, UNB correspondent

witnessed the extensive farming

activities of the female .

There, some have cultivated cucumber,

some beans, some jujube, papaya

and many other vegetables on lands

that weredamaged by the flood,but

where thewaters have receded. Amina's

neighbor, Meghna Begum, sowed

cucumber seeds on her land after flood

water drained out in September. Within

3 months, her cucumbers became marketable.

Cultivation of cucumber cost

Meghna Tk 80,000, but she is expecting

revenue from them to touch Tk 120,

000 - allowing for a neat Tk 40,000


Golzar Hossain, member of

Holokhana Union, Ward no 9

said:'Times have changed. Women of

the family are adept at farming in instalments.

Having prepared the land for

farming,males venture outside their villages

in search of better-paying jobs,

while the women of Kurigram take care

of the instalment farming in theirabsence.'

Eti Begum of Shuvarkuti said her

seedbeds and rice field were damaged 3

times during this year'sfive phasesof

flooding. She had to incur loss of Tk

25,000. Availing the farming rehabilitation

aid and digging into her own savings,

Eti planted beans in 30 decimals of

her land. She is hopeful thatby selling

the beans, she can recoup the overall

loss of Tk 25,000 incurred so far.

The women in the region have

received institutional support, be it

technical expertise or microfinance,

from Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service

(RDRS), an NGO active in the area

since 1972. RDRS has also provided

training to some 13,000 women who

have received their farming rehabilitation

aid packages ranging from Tk

2,000 to Tk 12,000. There are other

microfinance institutions active in the

region as well.

Not only the farmers of Shuvarkuti,

flood affected Panchgachi, Jatrapur,

Ulipur union's Bajra and Begamganj

union farmers are also inclined to

change their fates through alternative


Tapan Kumar Saha, project co-ordinator

of RDRS, told UNB: "RDRS is

economically developing as well as

empowering 13,000 women and youth

of Panchgachi, Jatrapur, Ulipur union's

Bajra and Begamganj union through

their graduation and financial inclusion

project. International development

organisation Concern worldwide,

Trickle Up and Metlife are supporting

this project."

Umar Faruque, chairman of

Holokhana union, said the involvement

of unemployed women and youth in

this project made them aware of many

aspects in social issues, as well as keento

change their fates. "Already many

women and youth have succeeded in

turning around their lives through their

involvement in this project."

Nephew testifies

in graft case

against former

CJ Sinha

DHAKA : Shankhajit Sinha , nephew

of former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar

Sinha yesterday testified in a case

against him and 10 others for allegedly

embezzling Taka four crore from the

thenFarmers Bank and laundering the

money abroad.

Shankhajit Sinha testified as prosecution

witness (PW)-16 and was crossexamined

by the defence afterwards.

Judge Sheikh Nazmul Alam of Dhaka

Special Judge Court-4 after that

adjourned the hearing till February 2.

Sixteen prosecution witnesses out of the

total 21 have so far testified in the case.

Dhaka Special Judge Court-4 on

August 13 framed charges in the case.

The court, however, on February 20,

2020, transferred the case to Dhaka

Special Judge Court-4 for further proceedings.

The Anti-Corruption

Commission (ACC) filed the case on

July 10, 2019, for embezzling Taka four

crore from the then Farmers Bank and

laundering the money abroad.

The other accused are former

Farmers Bank managing director AKM

Shameem, first vice-presidents Swapan

Kumar Roy and Shafiuddin Askaree,

senior executive vice-president Gazi

Salauddin, vice-president M Lutful

Haque, bank's entrepreneur director

Md Mahbubul Haque Chisty alias Babul

Chisty, bank clients Md Shahjahan,

Niranjan Chandra Saha, his uncle

Ranajit Chandra Saha, and Ranajit's

wife Santree Roy.

Baul Rita Dewan

gets bail in DSA case

DHAKA : A special tribunal yesterday

granted bail to Baul singer Rita Dewan

in a case lodged under Digital Security

Act (DSA) for allegedly hurting religious


Dhaka Cyber Tribunal Judge

Mohammad Ash Sams Joglul Hossain

passed the order as Rita surrendered

before the court through her lawyer

and pleaded for bail, tribunal clerk

Shamim Al Mamun told BSS.

The same tribunal on December 2,

2020, had issued arrest warrant

against three including Rita Dewan,

taking the primary probe report submitted

by Police Bureau of

Investigation (PBI) into cognizance.

Gang rape at Sylhet MC College

Indictment hearing Jan 17

SYLHET : A Sylhet court on Wednesday

fixed January 17 for hearing on charge

framing in a case filed over the gangrape

of a woman at MC College.

Woman and Child Repression

Prevention Tribunal Judge Mohammad

Mohitul Haque fixed the date after taking

the case into cognisance, said public

prosecutor Rashida Syeda Khanam.

Earlier, on Tuesday the tribunal

accepted chargesheet against eight

accused in the case.

The plaintiff did not file any objection

petition against the chargesheet.

On December 3, police pressed

charges against eight accused in the

gang rape case. Investigation officer of

the case Indranil Bhattacharya submitted

the chargesheet before the court of

Sylhet Metropolitan Magistrate Abul

Kashem. According to police, they

found the direct involvement of six people

in the rape while two abetted in the

crime. The accused who were directly

involved in the crime are: Saifur

Rahman, Shah Mohammad Mahbubur

Rahman Rony, Tariqul Islam Tarek,

Arjun Laskar, Mohammad Ainuddin

alias Ainul and Misbaul Islam Rajon.

Rabiul Islam Hasan and Mahfuzur

Rahman Masum were indirectly

involved. On November 30, police

received the DNA report of the MC

College gang rape and found the

involvement of some accused arrested

over the crime.

A group of youths tied up a man and

raped his 19-year-old wife at a dormitory

of MC College on September 25.

After police rescued the couple, the

victim's husband filed a case at

Shahporan Police Station against nine

people mentioning the names of six.

Law enforcers arrested eight people

who are now in police custody. On

September 30, the High Court formed

an investigation committee to look into

the incident.

Shakrain: A Fireworks

and Kite Festival

NAkibul AhSAN NiShAd: JNu

Preparations for the Shakrain festival

are going on in the alleys of old Dhaka.

The Shakrain Festival will start on

Thursday after midnight. Which is

known to many as Poush Sankranti. In

the Mahabharata it is called

Makarkranti. It is now celebrated all

over Dhaka, even outside of old Dhaka.

The festival used to be celebrated by

Hindus but now it is celebrated by people

of all religions as a part of Bengali


There is a buzz of kite selling in old

Dhaka around Shakrain. Colorful kites

have come in the market. Young people

are running kites, pulling threads.

Ghuri-natai shopkeepers are spending

their busy time in Shakhari Bazar,

Lakshibazar, Gandaria area of old

Dhaka. In Shankhari Bazaar there kite,

bat kite, peacock, chantara, punjab,

chokhdar, pandar, kathadar, maladar,

pankhiraj, chalandar, petidar, pandar,

butterfly, dapas, kite and other kite

stalls are decorated.

There are kites of different colors

depending on the size and price. The

price of a kite varies from a minimum

of BDT-5 to a maximum of BDT-350.

Besides, bat kites and big kites are

being sold at BDT-200 and small kite

kites at BDT-100. There are different

types of yarn for kite, including kangaroo,

scorpion, dragon. The yarn is sold

wholesale and retail as yards.

Bangladesh submits 304 genome

sequences of Covid-19

DHAKA : Bangladesh has sequenced

304 genomes of Covid-19 so far and

submitted to Global Initiative on

Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).

Professor Dr Aftab Ali Shaikh, chairman

of Bangladesh Council of

Scientific and Industrial Research

(BCSIR), said this at a press conference

on Wednesday.

Different international organisations

praised Bangladeshi scientists

for their achievements in genome

sequencing of Covid-19 samples, Dr

Aftab said.

"CNN's senior medical correspondent

Elizabeth Cohen recently said

countries with far fewer resources,

including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and

Suriname, had processed samples

more quickly than the US."

However, when asked about a

BCSIR scientist's comment that a new

Covid-19 strain - similar to the one

recently found in the UK - was detected

in Bangladesh, he said, "We are still

working on it." The UK and South

Africa recently discovered new Covid-

19 strains in their domestic cases.

"The variants were found using

genome sequencing techniques that

analyse the structure of the virus and

discern mutations," William A

Haseltine, a former professor at

Harvard Medical School and

Harvard School of Public Health,


"These genome sequencing techniques

were regularly used worldwide

at the start of the pandemic when we

knew less about the virus."

"Genome sequencingis essentially

determining the order of chemical

'bases' of a DNA molecule. Scientists

use these sequences to identify genes,

regulatory instructions, or in the case

of Covid-19, mutations to a virus,"

Haseltine said. "We will have to step

up genome sequencing in the US and

worldwide. And then new variants

must be identified and isolated. Else,

we may be looking at a very long year,"

he maintained.

Depending on the quality of the yarn,

600 yards are available for 80 to 120


There are also scales of different sizes

for lifting kites. Usually 2 inches to a

maximum of 10 inches. The price of 1

mat made of bamboo mats ranges from

a minimum of BDT-60 to a maximum

of BDT-600. Silver and iron rods are

also available.

Gandaria resident Likhan Shah and

his friend, who came to Shakhari

Bazaar to buy kites said, "Shakrain festival

is a festival of great joy for us."

Among the festivals of old Dhaka we

the youth enjoy this festival more. This

time there are restrictions from the

family due to Covid-19. So we will fly

kites on the roof of the house with a limited

number of friends. Apart from flying

kites, they also celebrate Poush

Sankranti cake festival, they added.

Anwar, owner of a shop said, "The

business is slowing down every year

due to the Covid-19. Orders are down

but still going well. We sell kites and

knots every months a year. Shakrain

creates a different image in the business.

This time due to the economic

downturn, money is not being given to

the children from the family.

Amit Deb Nath, a kite-spinner from

Shakhari Bazar said, "Every year on the

occasion of Shakrain, kite selling creates

a different feeling among us."The

joy of boys and girls selling kites takes

us back to childhood. I sell kites at a relatively

low price."

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam, Executive Editor : Sheikh Efaz Ahmed, 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.

Editorial and News Office: Bangladesh Timber Building (3rd Floor) 270/B, Tejgaon I/A Dhaka-1208. Tel : +8802-8878026, Cell : 01736786915; Fax: + 880244611604, Email: Editor : editor@thebangladeshtoday.com, Advertisement: ads@thebangladeshtoday.com, News: newsbangla@thebangladeshtoday.com, contact@thebangladeshtoday.com, website: www.thebangladeshtoday.com

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