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DhAkA: January 16, 2022; Magh 2, 1428 BS; Jamadi-us Sani 12,1443 hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.DA~2065, Vol.19; N o. 256; 12 Pages~Tk.8.00


Strong quake shakes

Indonesia's capital;

no tsunami alert

>Page 7


Bangladesh reports

3,447 fresh cases

DHAKA : Bangladesh on Saturday reported

3,447 Covid-19 cases while the coronavirus

claimed overnight seven lives. "The

country reported 14.35 percent Covid-19

positive cases as 24,028 samples were tested

in the past 24 hours," Directorate

General of Health Services (DGHS) said in

its routine daily statement.

In the past 24 hours, the combined figure

of coronavirus in Dhaka city and

upazilas of the district is 2,819 while four

Covid-19 deaths were reported during

the period. The official tally showed that

the virus killed 28,136 people and infected

16,12,489 so far, the statement added.

The recovery count rose to 15,52,600

after another 294 patients were discharged

from the hospitals during the past one day.

From the beginning of the pandemic,

96.29 percent Covid-19 patients recovered

among the infected people while 1.74 percent

died, the DGHS statistics showed.

Closure of educational institutions

Don't pay heed to


DHAKA : The Education Ministry on

Saturday urged the people of the country

not to pay heed to any rumour over the

closure of educational institutions due to

spike in Covid-19 cases.

"Quoting Education Minister Dipu

Moni, it is being spread in social medical

that educational institutions will be closed

for an indefinite period, which is a rumour,

and the Minister did not give any statement

in this regard recently," it said.

"The government is monitoring the

overall Covid situation and it will sit with

the National Technical Advisory

Committee on Covid again and decision

will take later," it added. However, now the

government is giving priority to ensuring

vaccination of all students. The Ministry

also urged all to refrain providing any

information in advance, said the notice.

RMG exports rise 28%

to nearly USD 20 billion

in first half of FY22

DHAKA : Bangladesh exported readymade

garments (RMG) worth US$ 19.9

billion in the first half of the current fiscal,

a 28% growth year-on-year, reports UNB.

As per the latest figures released by the

Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the US was

the largest export market for Bangladesh

between July and December 2021.

The volume of exports to the US grew

46% growth during this period compared

to the same in the last financial

year. The figures exhibited a robust

external demand for this country's RMG

items abroad. Exports to the European

Union (EU) and Canada also witnessed a

growth of 23.83% and 23.78%, respectively,

according to the EPB figures.

"The overall exports of RMG during

the first half of 2021-22 reached US$ 19.9

billion, with 28% year-on-year growth,"

Mohiuddin Rubel, director of BGMEA,

said on Saturday.


05:26 AM

01:30 PM

03:55 PM

05:35 PM

06:53 PM

6:43 5:32


Ronaldo says road

to Qatar World

Cup 'difficult'

>Page 9

N’ganj city elections today

DHAKA : The Narayanganj City Corporation

(NCC) polls will be held today as the voting

will continue from 8 am to 4 pm without any

break. The Election Commission (EC) has

already taken all preparations to hold the

elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner.

The polls will be held through

Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). So, 2

thousand 912 EVM machines have been

sent to Narayanganj, on the outskirts of

the capital.

Each center will have one and a half times

more EVM than required. Election materials

have started reaching the polling centres

from this morning. The electioneering

ended at 12 midnight yesterday. The election

commission has instructed outsiders to

leave the city areas.

Motorcycle plying has been banned in

the area since Friday night.

Fourteen judicial magistrates have been

appointed to conduct election peacefully.

Under the Penal Code, they will be able to

carry out brief trials with filing case.

Around 5 lakh 17 thousand 362 voters

will exercise their voting rights at 1333

polling booths in 192 centers of 26 wards.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission

has allowed 42 observers from 9 organizations

to monitor the election.

The organizations are: National Election

Tsunami hits Tonga after

giant volcano eruption

Observation Council (JANIPP), SAARC

Human Rights Foundation, Legal Aid

Center, Foundation, Social Development

Efforts, Trinamool Development

Organization, Taltala Youth Development

Organization, Rehaf Foundation, BB Asia

Foundation and Human Rights and Social

Development Organization-MOSUS.

Adequate security measures have also

been taken on the election.

More than 5,000 members of the law

enforcement agencies will be deployed to

ensure security while each center will have

28 security personnel.

Returning Officer Mahfuza Akter said

no centre was identified as risky as all the

centers are being taken into special consideration.

One sub-inspector (SI) will

lead the five policemen's team in each centre.

In addition, eight male and four

female Ansar members will also be

deployed to ensure security.

A total of 26 police units will be on duty

as striking force during the elections.

Apart from this, there will be 64 mobile

teams of the police as each team will have

five members. Border Guard Bangladesh

(BGB) will deploy its 24 platoon troops.

The returning officer said that

Narayanganj deputy commissioner has

sent demand note for more 6 platoons.

US donates add’l 9.6 million Pfizer

vaccine doses to Bangladesh

DHAKA : The United States on Saturday

donated 9.6 million doses of Pfizer's

COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh, a gift

from the American people, reports UNB.

This donation of Pfizer vaccine brings the

overall U.S. government vaccine contribution

to over 28 million doses.

"Nothing has made me prouder as U.S.

Ambassador to Bangladesh over the past

three years than the work we are doing

together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,"

said US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl

R Miller. He said he is pleased to announce,

through the generosity of the American people,

a donation of 9.6 million additional vaccine

doses to the people of Bangladesh.

"The United States has now donated,

free for charge, over 28 million vaccine

doses to Bangladesh with millions more

on the way. We salute and stand with

heroic Bangladeshi health care

providers and assistance partners as we

work together to provide a healthier,

brighter future for the people of both

our great nations," said outgoing

Ambassador Miller.

This delivery of Pfizer vaccine doses is

Tsunami waves caused by a giant underwater volcanic eruption

have hit the Pacific country of Tonga. Social media footage

showed water washing through a church and several homes, and

witnesses said ash was falling over the capital, Nuku'alofa.

A tsunami warning sent residents scrambling to higher

ground. The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha?apai volcano

was heard across the South Pacific, reportedly as far as New

Zealand and Australia.

Tonga's capital lies just 65km north of the volcano, on the

country's main island of Tongatapu.

One Tonga resident, Mere Taufa, said the eruption hit as her

family was preparing for dinner, and her younger brother

thought bombs were exploding nearby.

"My first instinct was to take cover under the table, I grabbed

my little sister, and screamed at my parents and others in the

house to do the same," New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz quoted

her as saying. Ms Taufa said the next thing she knew, water

was rushing into their home.

"You could just hear screams everywhere, people screaming

for safety, for everyone to get to higher ground," she added.

The plumes of gas, smoke and ash pouring from the volcano

reached 20km into the sky, Tonga Geological Services said.

Prof Shane Cronin, a volcanologist at the University of

Auckland, said the eruption was one of the biggest in Tonga in

the past 30 years.

"This is a pretty big event - it's one of the more significant

eruptions of the last decade at least," he told the BBC.

"The most remarkable thing about it is how rapidly and violently

it's spread. This one was larger, a much wider lateral

part of the United States' commitment to

lead the global COVID-19 response by

donating a billion doses of Pfizer vaccine

around the world through 2022.

In addition to vaccine donations, the

United States continues to work closely with

Bangladesh to support the national COVID-

19 vaccination campaign and strengthen the

government's response to the pandemic,

said the US Embassy in Dhaka.?

The United States has provided training

to over 7,000 healthcare providers on the

proper management and administration of

vaccines. To date, the United States has contributed

over $121 million in COVID-related

development and humanitarian assistance

through USAID, the U.S. Department of

Defense, the U.S. Department of State, and

the US. Centers for Disease Control and


This assistance has saved lives and treated

individuals infected with COVID-19,

strengthened testing capacity and monitoring,

enhanced case management and infection

prevention and control practices, and

improved the supply chain and logistics

management systems.?

No outsiders will be

allowed in N’ganj

today, says police chief

NARAYANGANJ : No outsiders will be

allowed in Narayanganj on the day of the

city civic polls and all residents should

carry their national identity (NID) cards

with them, the district police chief has

said, reports UNB.

"The residents of Naraynaganj must

keep their NID cards with them as no outsiders

will be allowed in the district on the

voting day," SP Zaidul Alam told reporters

at Narayanganj Police Lines on Saturday.

A three-tier security network would be set

up for Narayanganj City Corporation polls,

slated for Sunday, the SP said. "Adequate

law and enforcement agencies have

already been deployed for ensuring law

and order in the city, and 14 platoons of

Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) will be

deployed on the polling day," he said.

Besides, 5,000 RAB and police personnel

have been deployed across 27 wards of the

city while as many as 27 duty magistrates

and nine mobile courts will be on duty on

the day, said local administration sources.

Some 42,430 voters are eligible to

exercise their franchise on the voting day.

Narayanganj turned into a city of procession

as both mayoral and councillor

candidates staged showdowns to demonstrate

their popularity at the last moment

of electioneering on Friday.

Although seven candidates are running

for the post of the mayor, ruling party

nominee Ivy and her principal rival-advocate

Taimur Alam Khandaker, a veteran

BNP leader who is fighting as an independent-have

stolen all the attention.

Satellite images capture the moment Hunga

Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai erupts. Photo : BBC

spread, much more ash was produced. I expect there to be many

centimetres of ash that have been deposited on Tonga."

The initial eight-minute eruption was so violent it could be

heard as "loud thunder sounds" in Fiji, more than 800km (500

miles) away, according to officials in the capital, Suva. The Fijian

Government has issued a tsunami advisory and opened evacuation

centres for people in low-lying coastal areas.

Vanuatu, another island nation in the Pacific, issued a similar


ArtS & Culture

Mim receives

digital award

>Page 10

MANIKGANJ : The Bangladesh government

has warned that it'll be forced to

impose a full lockdown in the country if

people fail to adhere to the recently issued

Covid-19 restrictions, reports UNB.

"We urge all the people of this country to

abide by the recently issued 11-point

Covid-19 guidlines," Health Minister

Zahid Maleque said on Saturday.

"If these instructions are followed, there

will be no need for a lockdown in the country.

If another lockdown is imposed, people

and the country will face losses again,"

he said.

He, however, made it clear that the government

could impose a complete lockdown

in Bangladesh "if these guidelines

are not followed".

The Health Minister was talking to

reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration

function of a CT scan and Dialysis unit

at Manikganj General Hospital in the


Amid the growing concern over the new

Omicron variant of to coronavirus, the

government on January 13 came out with

the restrictions on movement of people

and public transport vehicles.

The restrictions are:

All kinds of public gatherings, including

social programmes, political and religious

Jagannath university

Voting in

N’ganj City


election is

going to be

held today.




EVMs have

been sent to

the polling

center under

police guard.

Photo :

Star Mail

Lockdown will return if Covid

restrictions violated:Maleque

NakiBul aHSaN NiSHad

The minimum standard for the average

teacher-student ratio in global higher

education institutions is 1:20. That

means there should be one teacher for

every 20 students. Jagannath University

in the capital has 695 teachers as against

17,038 students in the university. In

other words, there is one teacher for

every 25 students. This information has

come up in the latest published annual

report of the University Grants

Commission (UGC). A large number of

teachers in different departments have

been on education leave for a long time.

If the teacher-student ratio is not right in

the department, problems like session

jam, not having proper class etc. are created.

Which has a negative impact on the

future life of the students.

According to the 47th report of the institute,

a total of 36 departments and 2 institutes

are conducting educational activities

in Jagannath University. Of these, the

Department of Management Studies lags

far behind in the teacher-student ratio.

Next in line is Accounting and Information

Systems. The law and finance departments

are jointly in the third position in terms of

lagging behind in teacher-student ratio.

events will remain suspended until further

notice. People have to wear masks everywhere,

including shops, shopping malls,

markets, hotels and restaurants.

Otherwise, s/he will face legal action.

The mask use should be ensured at all

places, including offices and courts, and

mobile court drives will be conducted to

prevent the violation of health guidelines.

People should show their Covid-19 vaccination

certificates while taking food at

restaurants and staying in residential


Students above 12 would not be allowed

at the educational institutions without

having Covid-19 vaccination certificate

after a designated date to be fixed by the

Education Ministry. Increasing the number

of screening at all ports, including land

ports, airports and maritime ports. The

crew members of ships should not be

allowed to go outside while arriving at a

port while only truck drivers are allowed to

enter land ports with trucks. Besides, visitors

along with foreign-bound passengers

should not be allowed to enter airports.

Public transport vehicles, including

buses, trains and launches, can operate at

half of their capacities, while drivers and

helpers of all modes of vehicles should

have Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

Minimum int’l standard ratio

for teacher-student

Altogether 22 departments and one institute

of the university have failed to maintain

this standard.

According to the report, there are 1,067

students in the management department of

this university. In contrast, only 24 teachers

are engaged in teaching. As such, the average

teacher-student ratio in this section is

1:44. Which is not even close to the standard

of world-class teacher-student standards.

The Department of Management is

followed by the Department of Accounting

and Information Systems. There are only

27 teachers in this department as against

1,107 students. This department has one

teacher for 41 students. Besides, the law

and finance department is in the third position

in terms of lagging behind in teacherstudent

ratio. For every 39 students, there

is one teacher in these two departments.

Other departments that do not have

international standards in teacher-student

ratio are: Bengali, English, History,

Islamic Studies, Philosophy, Marketing,

Statistics, Economics, Political Science,

Social Work, Sociology, Mass

Communication and Journalism, Public

Administration, Film and Department of

Television, Land Management and Law,

Geography and Environment and


SUnDAY, jAnUARY 16, 2022


Kalajura Haji Aftab Mia High School on Saturday afternoon gave a reception to the newly elected chairman, members and 15

meritorious students of Barlekha Upazila.

Photo : TBT

Bangladesh reports 5 more

Dengue cases

DHAKA : Five new dengue patients

have been hospitalised in the country

in 24 hours till Saturday morning,

health authorities said, reports UNB.

No new death was reported during

the period, according to the

Directorate General of Health

Services (DGHS).

Three of the new patients are

undergoing treatment at hospitals in

Dhaka while remaining two were

admitted to hospitals in other


A total of 105 dengue patients -- 95

in Dhaka division alone, four in

Mymensingh, two each in

Chattogram and Khulna, and one

each in Rajshahi and Barishal

divisions-have died so far since

January, 2021.

Some 35 dengue patients are

receiving treatment at different

hospitals in the country as of


Of them, 24 are receiving treatment

at different hospitals in the capital

while remaining 11 at hospitals

outside Dhaka.

This year, some 100 patients have

been admitted to different hospitals

with dengue so far and 65 dengue

patients have left hospitals after

recovery, said the DGHS.

Brace for a



DHAKA : Brace for a colder

Sunday, as the weather

department has predicted a

1-3 degrees' dip in

temperature in the next 24

hours, reports UNB.

"The temperature may fall

in the country by 1-3

degrees," said Abul Kalam

Mallik, a meteorologist with



Meteorological Department


According to the regular

bulletin, "Weather may

remain mainly dry with

partly cloudy to cloudy sky

over the country having

chances of light rain or

drizzle at one or two places

over Khulna, Barishal,

Chattogram, Dhaka and

Sylhet divisions."

Moderate to thick fog may

occur over the river basins

and light to moderate fog

may occur elsewhere over

the country during midnight

to morning, according to the


Fake Covid-negative certificates

from govt's screening booth at

Darshana checkpost

CHUADANGA : Passengers from India and

Bangladesh are allegedly receiving

certificates stating they don't have COVID-19

without even undergoing any test at the

Joynagar international check post in

Darshana of Chuadanga, allowing them to

breeze through immigration by brandishing

it, reports UNB.

It is mandatory for all passengers to

undergo a Rapid Antigen Test for Tk 100 at

the Darshana checkpost.

However, the health workers simply

charge the test fee and provide a covid

negative certificate. Even their samples are

not collected, passengers alleged.

Rekha Rani Saha, a Bangladeshi national,

arrived in the country from India on

Thursday through the Darshana checkpost,

and relayed her experience to UNB.

"I was supposed to undergo a health checkup

at the health screening booth of the

Health Department as soon as I entered the

check post, but nothing like that happened,"

said Rekha.

"Tk 100 was also taken from me and then

they handed me a negative certificate

although they had no way of knowing this

without collecting my sample," she said.

Two more female passengers from

Bangladesh said they were charged Tk 200

for the Covid test and their samples were also

collected. But they were not provided any

receipt regarding the test fee. The suspicion

here is that the people manning the

screening booth are pocketing the fee.

Meanwhile, in the registrar book of the

health screening booth for Darshana check

post, where the names of those who get

tested are recorded, Rekha Rani Saha's name

is not there.

Asked how Rekha Rani was able to receive

a negative certificate even though her name

was not listed in the registrar book, Medical

Technologist (Sanitary Inspector) of

Damurhuda Upazila Health Complex, as

well as the officer-in-charge of the health

screening booth, Jamaat Ali, said, "She may

have mixed into the crowd. Sometimes

receipts cannot be issued and handed over

because of the huge crowd."

He also admitted that patients with cancer,

skin and heart disease and those under 12

were provided Covid-negative certificates

without testing during the immigration to

help them avoid lengthy formalities that take

up valuable time.

SI Abdul Alim, in-charge of Darshana

Immigration, said any Indian passenger who

tests positive for Covid-19 are sent back.

Bangladeshis are sent to the isolation center

at Chuadanga Sadar Hospital. "However,

while crossing the border, you must have a

negative certificate. There is no scope for

corruption here."

In this regard, Chuadanga Civil Surgeon

Dr Sajjat Hasan said, "If this happens then it

is a sensitive issue. I'll look into the matter. If

such an incident is found to be true, action

will be taken against the accused."

According to Darshana Immigration

sources, from January 1 to January 13, 1,804

Bangladeshis and 1,126 Indians entered

Bangladesh from India using this checkpost.

On the other hand from Bangladesh, 1,337

Bangladeshis and 1,725 Indians went to

India through Darshana check post. Of

them, 11 Bangladeshi and 13 Indian

nationals were tested positive with Covid-19

during this period. Though Bangladeshi

nationals infected with covid were allowed to

enter the country, Indian nationals were not

allowed to enter and were sent back to India.

Barishal ward councillor

arrested on rape


BARISHAL : A ward councillor was arrested

in a case filed over rape of a woman at

Mogorpara area of Kashimpur on Thursday,

reports UNB.

The arrestee was identified as Azad

Hossain Molla Kalam, councillor of Barishal

City Corporation's 30th ward.

Promising to marry the victim, Kalam

raped her several times, said officer-incharge

of Barishal Airport Police Station,

Komolesh Chandra Halder.

On Thursday, he raped her again. After

this, the victim pressured Kalam to marry

her but Kalam.

However, a police complaint was lodged

on Friday afternoon alleging rape, OC

Halder said.

Based on complaint, Kalam, also the

president of Barishal District Truck Workers

Union, was arrested from Bakerganj on

Friday evening, said sub-inspector Saidul


Meanwhile, the woman was taken to the

OCC of Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical

College Hospital from the Victim Support

Center of Barishal Metropolitan Police for

medical treatment and examination.

Rorpara Brothers Association, a social and non-political organization of Harbang under Chakaria

upazila of Cox's Bazar distributed blankets among cold-hit people yesterday. Photo : SM Akash

51 held for selling, consuming

drugs in city

DHAKA : Members of the Detective

Branch (DB) of the Dhaka Metropolitan

Police (DMP) in several anti-drug raids

arrested a total of 51 people on charges

of selling and consuming drugs during

the last 24 hours till 6am on Saturday.

The DB in association with local police

carried out the drives simultaneously

starting at 6am on January 14,

according to a DMP release.

In separate anti-drug raids, police

conducted those drives in different

areas of the city under various police

stations and detained drug peddlers,

users and also seized different kinds of

banned and illegal drugs from their

possessions.During the anti-drug raids,

police seized 93 grams and 105 puria

(small packet) of heroin, 15.360

kilograms of cannabis (ganja), 1,902

pieces of yaba tablets and 12 can beer

from their possession, the release


Police filed 41 separate cases against

the arrestees in these connections with

respective police stations under the

Narcotics Control Act.

GD-95/22 (5x4)

GD-94/22 (9x4)



The Community Pacific Initiative Society (CIS) and the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management

(A-PAD) organized an international conference on "Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Sustainable

Development" in Dhaka recently.

Photo : Courtesy

Int'l Symposium on Disaster Risk Management

and Sustainable Dev held

The Community Pacific Initiative

Society (CIS) and the Asia Pacific

times on different occasions and was

impressed each time. Since the birth of

Alliance for Disaster Management (A- Bangladesh, Japan has been

PAD) organized an international cooperating with Bangladesh for

conference on "Disaster Risk development and disaster

Management (DRM) and Sustainable

Development" in Dhaka on Thursday,

a press release said. The conference

was conducted following all the

guidelines for safety of Covid-19. It was

management. Bangladesh also stood

by Japan during the 2011 natural

disaster of Japan. He further said that

there are many similarities between

Bangladesh and Japan in terms of

held at the auditorium of Dhaka natural disaster propensity and

Community Medical College with the

participation of local partners of A-Pad

Bangladesh, universities and the

geographical location. Appreciating

the ongoing activities of CIS, he said

that Japan has been providing medical

private sector.

assistance to Rohingya refugees

In his welcome address at the through A-PAD and CIS. This

inaugural session of the symposium, cooperation will continue in the future.

Professor Mahmudar Rahman, Coordinator

Prof. Quazi Quamruzzaman,

of the DCH Trust, said that

over the past few years, natural

disasters around the world have

increased dramatically. Forest is our

lung. Due to deforestation, excessive

use of bio-fuels, etc., this destructive

form of nature has become a threat to

human beings. Now, besides natural

Chairman, A-PAD and DCH Trust, in

his speech, thanked the Ambassador of

Japan, ITO Naoki. He said that since

the beginning of human civilization,

people have survived by dealing with

various natural disasters. Bangladesh

is one of the most disaster prone

countries in the world. Although

disaster management, overall people around the world are

measures have to be taken for the

prevention of these disasters. The

activities of CIS and A-Pad are being

conducted for this purpose. He hopes

that this symposium will play an

important role in this regard.

ITO Naoki, Ambassador of Japan to

Bangladesh, who was the chief guest at

the event, said that he had visited

concerned about climate pollution,

they are not taking any effective action.

We have to take action on our own to

protect nature and deal with disasters.

Kensuke Onishi, CEO of A-Pad,

participated in the discussion via the

Zoom Link. He highlighted the overall

activities of A-Pad in disaster risk

reduction in the South Asia region. CIS

Dhaka Community Hospital three Executive Director Md. Golam

Bangladesh envoy

in New Delhi gets

3-year extension

DHAKA : The government

has extended appointment

of Muhammad Imran by

three more years as

Bangladesh High

Commissioner to India,

reports UNB.

His three-year new

contractual appointment

will be effective from

February 28 or from the

date of joining, said the

public administration


High Commissioner

Imran was appointed as

Bangladesh High

Commissioner to India in

November 2019.

He served as Bangladesh

Ambassador to the United

Arab Emirates before

replacing Syed Muazzem


He is a career foreign

service officer belonging to

the 1986 batch of

Bangladesh Civil Service

(BCS) Foreign Affairs

cadre, according to the

Ministry of Foreign


During his diplomatic

career, Imran worked in

various capacities at

Bangladesh Missions in

Jeddah, Bonn, Berlin and

Ottawa as well as Deputy

High Commissioner at the

Bangladesh Deputy High

Commission, Kolkata.

He also served as



Bangladesh to Uzbekistan.

At the headquarters, he

served in various

capacities in different


Imran obtained his

MBBS degree from

Mymensingh Medical

College under the

University of Dhaka.

Mostafa in his discussion highlighted

the project that CIS and A-PAD are

jointly implementing to establish

multi-sector platforms for disaster

management in Bangladesh and to

build disaster management

capabilities for sustainable


KM Ali Reza, Joint Secretary,

Ministry of Youth and Sports, who

participated in Zoom Link at the

symposium, spoke about the

government's poverty alleviation

program by 2030. He also highlighted

the various programs of the

government in disaster management.

Principal (Acting) of Dhaka

Community Medical College Prof.

Saria Tasmeen, Prof. Abdul Quader

Khan, Deputy Commissioner of Police

Saidul Islam and others also

participated in the discussion of this

session of the symposium.

After that two sessions of the

symposium was held. One focused on

"Impact of Climate Change on

Sustainable Development" and the

other on "Strengthening Community

Resilience to Improve Disaster Risk

Management". Participants present in

the event, were representatives of A-

PAD member countries, UN,

universities, NGOs and stakeholders of

the Government of Bangladesh, A-

PAD partners, private sector and

international and local platforms

including civil society.

None will remain homeless

in country: Sujan

PANCHAGARH : Railways Minister Md.

Nurul Islam Sujan has said none will

remain homeless in the country as the

people who don't have a house are

getting abode thanks to the present


The government wants to mitigate the

landless people's suffering as Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken long

term plan for changing

the fate of the poor people, he said.

The minister said while visiting the

ongoing construction work of houses for

the landless people under the third phase

of Ashrayan Project in Boda upazila of

the district yesterday on the occasion of

Mujib Borsha.

The government has allocated Taka 4

corer 20 lakh for constructing 200


Upazila administration is

implementing the construction work of

the houses.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Md.

Johurul Islam, Upazila Chairman Faruk

Alam Tobi, Upazila Nirbahi Officer

(UNO) Md. Solayman Ali and local

Awami League leaders accompanied the


Fire guts 19 dwelling

houses in Ctg

CHATTOGRAM : At least 19 dwelling houses

including a school were gutted in a devastating

fire at Beparipara under city's Halishahor thana

early Saturday.

Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD) official

said the fire originated from an electric short

circuit at a dwelling house in the area around 4

am and quickly engulfed the surrounding


FSCD Deputy Assistant Director (DAD)

Newton Das said on receiving information, two

units from local fire station rushed to the spot

and doused the blaze at around 6.20am.

The National Zoo in Dhaka was crowded with visitors on Friday. Most of the visitors are

removing their masks as soon as they enter the grounds of the zoo. Photo : Star Mail



Ceremony held

The Graduation Ceremony

of BBA 25th batch, MBA

61st batch, EMBA 35th and

36th batch and DBA

program of the Institute of

Business Administration

(IBA) of Dhaka University

(DU) was held on Friday at

Bangabandhu International

Conference Center in the

city. Dhaka University Vice-

Chancellor Prof. Dr. Md.

Akhtaruzzaman attended it

as chief guest, a press release


Director of IBA Prof.

Mohammad Abdul Momen

presided over the function

while CEO & Managing

Director of Unilever

Bangladesh Limited Zaved

Akhtar attended it as the

Graduation Speaker. The

function was also addressed,

among others, by IBA

Associate Professor Md.

Iftekharul Amin.

Dhaka University Vice-

Chancellor Prof. Dr. Md.

Akhtaruzzaman said, DU

IBA is an unique and

prestigious institute which

has been producing skilled

business graduates since its

inception. He urged IBA

graduates to play a pivotal

role in establishing

knowledge & technologybased,

equitable and

inclusive society for

achieving SDGs by 2030.

DU VC further said,

Bangladesh is now the role

model of development

under the dynamic

leadership of Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina. He hoped

that IBA graduates would

equip themselves with

humanitarian values and

contribute to enhance socioeconomical


specially business sector of

the country. He thanked the

graduates for completion of

their respective program


A total of 310 students of

different batches were

awarded graduation degree

in the ceremony.

DMP bans carrying

of arms, gathering

around JS

DHAKA : Dhaka

Metropolitan Police (DMP)

has imposed ban on carrying

all kinds of weapons,

explosives, other harmful

substances and holding

rallies around the Jatiya

Sangsad from Saturday

midnight ahead of the 16th

session of the 11th

Parliament, reports UNB.

The 16th session of the

11th Parliament will begin


DMP imposed the

restrictions to ensure

undisrupted movement

during the parliament

session, said a notification

signed by DMP

Commissioner Mohammad

Shafiqul Islam. The roads

and areas under restrictions

are: From Mohakhali

crossing on Mymensingh

Road to Banglamotor

Crossing via Old Airport,

from Banglamotor Link

Road to Hotel Sonargaon

Road to SAARC Fountain,

from the eastern end of

Panthapath to Farmgate via

Green Road link road, From

Shyamoli crossing to

junction of Dhanmondi-18

(old-27) road, from Rokeya

Sarani link road to old 9th

division crossing to Bijoy.

Germany's bottleneck

blues choke off

economic comeback

FRANKFURT : The German

statistics agency will on

Friday publish its estimates

for the country's economic

growth in 2021, a year that

began with high hopes but

was beset by supply issues

and renewed virus


Europe's biggest economy

is estimated to have seen

growth of around 2.6 percent

last year, according to the

latest government forecasts,

a significant improvement

on 2020, when the outbreak

of the coronavirus pandemic

saw it plunge 4.9 percent.

Malaysian home minister expected

in Dhaka on Jan 25

DHAKA : Malaysian Home Affairs Minister

Hamzah bin Zainudin is likely to visit Dhaka

later this month on a three-day visit to

discuss issues of mutual interests with

Bangladesh, reports UNB.

He will visit Bangladesh, arriving January

25, at the invitation of Expatriates' Welfare

and Overseas Employment Minister Imran


During the visit, Hamza Zainudin will also

hold a meeting with his counterpart

Asaduzzaman Khan, apart from his meeting

with Minister Imran Ahmad on January 26.

Hamzah will also attend a session with

Bangladeshi overseas workers' recruitment

agencies and visit the Bangladesh-Korea

Technical Training Center.

The minister will join a dinner of the

Malaysian diaspora in Dhaka during his


Hamzah's visit comes on the back of

Putrajaya opening the door to entry of

foreign workers in all employment sectors,

in line with a decision taken in a meeting of

the Malaysian Cabinet on December 10, last


For the Malaysian home minister's visit to

follow so soon on the back of his country's

decision to reopen the labour market to

foreign workers

This entry will be opened to all sectors -

allowed for the employment of foreign

workers - namely agriculture,

manufacturing, services, mining and

quarrying, construction and domestic

servants. Previously, approval was given for

the entry of 32,000 foreign workers for the

plantation sector with special exemptions.

The Malaysian government advised the

employers not to make any payment

through intermediaries or third parties for

the purpose of speeding up the application

process as its cabinet recently approved the

entry of foreign workers.

"This is to prevent fraud by irresponsible

parties," said Malaysian Minister for

Human Resources M Saravanan in a media

statement on recruitment and employment

of foreign workers.

The minister also reminded employers -

who want to employ foreign workers - to

submit their own applications based on the

actual needs of foreign workers.

Employers who use the services of private

employment agencies must also ensure that

the agency is registered and has a license

certified by the Department of Manpower

Peninsular Malaysia under the Private

Employment Agencies Act 1981, according

to the statement.

All these admissions must comply with

the standing operating procedures (SOP) for

the admission of foreign workers, which was

approved by the Covid-19 Ministerial

Quartet Meeting on 14 December 2021, it


The minister will make an announcement

in the near future on the date of applications

that can be submitted by employers online

for the process of hiring foreign workers for

each sector of employment allowed from the

source country.

The Graduation Ceremony of the Institute of Business Administration of Dhaka

University was held on Friday at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in

the city. Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman attended

it as chief guest. CEO & Managing Director of Unilever Bangladesh Limited Zaved

Akhtar and IBA Director Prof. Mohammad Abdul Momen were, among others,

present on this occasion. P

hoto: DU PR Office

Malaysian home minister expected

in Dhaka on Jan 25

DHAKA : Malaysian Home Affairs Minister

Hamzah bin Zainudin is likely to visit Dhaka

later this month on a three-day visit to

discuss issues of mutual interests with

Bangladesh, reports UNB.

He will visit Bangladesh, arriving January

25, at the invitation of Expatriates' Welfare

and Overseas Employment Minister Imran


During the visit, Hamza Zainudin will also

hold a meeting with his counterpart

Asaduzzaman Khan, apart from his meeting

with Minister Imran Ahmad on January 26.

Hamzah will also attend a session with

Bangladeshi overseas workers' recruitment

agencies and visit the Bangladesh-Korea

Technical Training Center.

The minister will join a dinner of the

Malaysian diaspora in Dhaka during his stay.

Hamzah's visit comes on the back of

Putrajaya opening the door to entry of

foreign workers in all employment sectors, in

line with a decision taken in a meeting of the

Malaysian Cabinet on December 10, last


For the Malaysian home minister's visit to

follow so soon on the back of his country's

decision to reopen the labour market to

foreign workers

This entry will be opened to all sectors -

allowed for the employment of foreign

workers - namely agriculture,

manufacturing, services, mining and

quarrying, construction and domestic


Previously, approval was given for the

entry of 32,000 foreign workers for the

plantation sector with special exemptions.

The Malaysian government advised the

employers not to make any payment through

intermediaries or third parties for the

purpose of speeding up the application

process as its cabinet recently approved the

entry of foreign workers.

"This is to prevent fraud by irresponsible

parties," said Malaysian Minister for Human

Resources M Saravanan in a media

statement on recruitment and employment

of foreign workers.

The minister also reminded employers -

who want to employ foreign workers - to

submit their own applications based on the

actual needs of foreign workers.

Employers who use the services of private

employment agencies must also ensure that

the agency is registered and has a license

certified by the Department of Manpower

Peninsular Malaysia under the Private

Employment Agencies Act 1981, according

to the statement.

All these admissions must comply with the

standing operating procedures (SOP) for the

admission of foreign workers, which was

approved by the Covid-19 Ministerial

Quartet Meeting on 14 December 2021, it


Acting provost must work

for students: SUST VC

SYLHET : Shahjalal University of Science

and Technology (SUST) is always ready to

provide all kinds of facilities to the students,

Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed

reaffirmed Friday afternoon, reports UNB.

"We do not want any student to be

deprived of their rights," said the VC.

Earlier, the university administration

appointed Jobeda Konak Khan, Associate

Professor in the Department of Genetic

Engineering, as acting provost of Begum

Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, a dormitory

for female students. "The acting provost

must work for the students," said VC. "We

are determined to meet their logical

demands," he told UNB, when asked about

how the administration views the students'

demands. "I thanked the students for openly

discussing their problems with me. We will

identify the problems and take immediate


"None of our decisions will go beyond the

interests of the students," he added. All

decisions of the university will be studentfriendly,

he assured. The government has

issued a notification with 11 restrictions to

prevent Covid-19 infection. "I urge everyone

to abide by these rules," Dr Farid added.

SUnDAy, jAnUARy 16, 2022


Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Diversifying traditional


Traditional agriculture- centering mainly on the

production of food grains-has served a purpose, no

doubt, in feeding the growing population of

Bangladesh. But this singular emphasis on food grain

production is also costing dear the country in different ways.

It has created the necessity or urgency of crop diversification.

Mono cropping or production of only food grains in the

same land round the year causes loss of soil fertility.

However, such fertility loss can be avoided if rotation of crops

or planting different crops at different times on the same land

is practiced. Besides, the singular pursuit of food grain

production leads to under production of non food grain crops

and increases the country's import dependence of their


For example, from an exporter of spices, Bangladesh

turned into a net importer of the same in the last decade as

farmlands progressively were used less and less for spice

cultivation. Oilseeds are imported or in their crushed form to

meet the needs of cooking oil. But once upon a time,

Bangladesh was self sufficient in producing oilseeds to meet

its entire consumption requirements.

Besides, there are important crops-such as cotton and

rubber-the cultivation of which can substantially reduce

import dependence. Experiments established that cotton of

the finest quality can be produced in Bangladesh. The soil of

this country is well suited for high grade cotton cultivation.

The country's main export commodity at present is readymade

garments (RMG). But value-addition in the RMG

sector at present is only about 30 to 35 per cent. But the same

can climb to 70 per cent or above, fairly soon, if only cotton in

increased quantities is locally produced to be used for making

yarn and fabric. In that case, foreign exchange earnings from

the RMG sector will also rise substantially. Extension of

rubber cultivation to the same end is also possible.

Similarly, stepped up production of oilseeds and spices can

lead to a substantial saving of foreign currency by much

reducing the import needs of these commodities. The

cumulative effect of the wider and successful production of

these non food grain crops will translate into vital balance of

payments support for the country by reducing imports and

increasing export values. Furthermore, production of these

within the country will also aid crucially in their price

stabilsation when the higher import costs of these are

tormenting the consumers .

Understandably, the demand of the country's huge

population for basic food creates the compulsion for using

lands very extensively for food grain production. But this

problem can be circumvented considerably by going for

higher yields of food grains from limited lands to set free

considerable lands for the cultivation of non food grain and

new crops. This strategy might ensure continued high

production of food grains while also freeing up farmlands for

planting the non food grain crops.

One study has found that improved or high yielding seeds

for food grains are being sowed in only 20 per cent of the

cultivated areas. If only the rate of application of improved or

higher yielding seeds can be increased to 50 or 60 per cent,

then production of food grains can more than double. In that

case, more than self sufficiency in food grains production can

be achieved that would also create conditions for using a

sizeable part of the farm lands for producing non food grain


It might also be assessed whether expanding acreage under

non food grain crops and achieving import substitution

means a greater saving of resources even if import of food

grains increase somewhat as more lands are devoted to the

non food grain crops. It is very likely that even increasing

food imports to some extent to release lands for the

cultivation of non food grain crops might effect a greater

saving of resources at some stage than the present scenario of

near self reliance in food but growing import dependence of

other agricultural products.

Then, there are other products to be derived from lands

which have much prospects namely baby corn, gherkin, cut

flowers, orchids and condiments. All of these and more can

be grown in the country especially with an eye for export.

Thus, these soil derived commodities can open up a rich new

field of export. However, to successfully diversify into these

areas of production, it will be necessary to build capacities at

all levels in respect of technology, standardisation,

infrastructural and institutional facilities right from the start

of production stages to export.

Government declared diversification of agriculture and

export of new agriculture oriented products as its thrust

policy some years ago. Venture capital and other forms of

patronization to this end were also declared. But evidences of

vigorous implementation of the policy or its notable bearing

of fruit, is not visible. If the policy has been slow in

implementation, then it needs serious investigations why it

is not creating the desired impact. After such an assessment

and identification of the bottlenecks, it can be recast with

emphasis amended or increased in different areas, as

required, and also increases in support activities accordingly.

Diversification of agriculture in support of the above

objectives is a pressing need indeed for the national


Rich Western countries stand by as Afghans face starvation

On January 11, the United Nations

emergency relief coordinator, Martin

Griffiths, appealed to the

international community to help raise

US$4.4 billion for Afghanistan in

humanitarian aid, calling this effort "the

largest ever appeal for a single country for

humanitarian assistance."

This amount is required "in the hope of

shoring up collapsing basic services there,"

said the UN. If this appeal is not met,

Griffiths said, then "next year [2023] we'll be

asking for $10 billion."

The figure of $10 billion is significant. A

few days after the Taliban took power in

Afghanistan in mid-August 2021, the US

government announced the seizure of $9.5

billion in Afghan assets that were being held

in the US banking system.

Under pressure from the US government,

the International Monetary Fund also

denied Afghanistan access to $455 million of

its share of special drawing rights, the

international reserve asset that the IMF

provides to its member countries to

supplement their original reserves.

These two figures, which constitute

Afghanistan's monetary reserves, amount to

around $10 billion, the exact number

Griffiths said the country would need if the

United Nations did not immediately get an

emergency disbursement for providing

humanitarian relief to Afghanistan.

A recent analysis by development

economist William Byrd for the US Institute

of Peace titled "How to Mitigate

Afghanistan's Economic and Humanitarian

Crises" noted that the crises being faced by

the country are a direct result of the cutoff of

$8 billion in annual aid to Afghanistan and

the freezing of $9.5 billion of the country's

"foreign-exchange reserves" by the United


The analysis further noted that the

sanctions relief given by the US Treasury

Department and the United Nations

Security Council on December 22 to provide

humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan

should also be extended to "private business

and commercial transactions."

Byrd also mentioned the need to find ways

to pay salaries of health workers, teachers

and other essential service providers to

prevent an economic collapse in

Afghanistan and suggested using "a

combination of Afghan revenues and aid

funding" for this purpose.

Meanwhile, the idea of paying salaries

directly to the teachers came up early last

month in a meeting between the UN's

special envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah

Lyons, and Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai.

None of these proposals, however, seem to

have been taken seriously in Washington.

A humanitarian crisis

In July 2020, before the Covid-19

pandemic hit the country hard, and long

before the Taliban returned to power in

Kabul, the Ministry of Economy in

Afghanistan said 90% of the people in the

country lived below the international

poverty line of $2 a day.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of its war

in Afghanistan in 2001, the US government

has spent $2.313 trillion on its war efforts,

according to figures provided by the Watson

Institute for International and Public Affairs

at Brown University in Providence, Rhode

Island; but despite spending 20 years in the

Afghan war, the US government spent only

$145 billion on the reconstruction of the

country's institutions, according to its own


Last August, before the Taliban defeated

the US military forces, the US government's

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan

Reconstruction (SIGAR) published an

important report that assessed the money

spent by the US on the country's

development. The authors of the report

wrote that despite some modest gains,

"progress has been elusive and the prospects

for sustaining this progress are dubious."

The report pointed to the lack of

development of a coherent strategy by the

US government, excessive reliance on

foreign aid, and pervasive corruption inside

the US contracting process as some of the

reasons that eventually led to a "troubled

reconstruction effort" in Afghanistan. This

resulted in an enormous waste of resources

for the Afghans, who desperately needed

these resources to rebuild their country,

which had been destroyed by years of war.

On December 1, 2021, the United Nations


Development Program (UNDP) released a

vital report on the devastating situation in


In the last decade of the US occupation,

the annual per capita income in Afghanistan

fell from $650 in 2012 to around $500 in

2020 and is expected to drop to $350 in

2022 if the population increases at the same

pace as it has in the recent past, the report

said. The country's gross domestic product

will contract by 20% in 2022, followed by a

The report pointed to the lack of development of a

coherent strategy by the US government, excessive

reliance on foreign aid, and pervasive corruption inside

the US contracting process as some of the reasons that

eventually led to a "troubled reconstruction effort" in

Afghanistan. This resulted in an enormous waste of

resources for the Afghans, who desperately needed

these resources to rebuild their country, which had

been destroyed by years of war.

30% drop in the following years.

The following sentences from the UNDP

report are worth quoting in full to

understand the extent of humanitarian

crisis being faced by the people in the


"According to recent estimates, only 5% of

the population has enough to eat, while the

number of those facing acute hunger is now

estimated to have … reached a record 23

million. Almost 14 million children are likely

to face crisis or emergency levels of food

insecurity this winter, with 3.5 million

children under the age of five expected to

suffer from acute malnutrition, and 1 million

children risk dying from hunger and low



This unraveling humanitarian crisis in

Afghanistan is the reason for the January 11

appeal to the international community by

the UN.

On December 18, 2021, the Council of

Foreign Ministers of the Organization of

Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an

emergency meeting, called for by Saudi

Arabia, on Afghanistan in Islamabad,

Pakistan. Outside the meeting room, which

merely produced a statement, the various

foreign ministers met with Afghanistan's

interim foreign minister, Amir Khan


While in Islamabad, Muttaqi met with US

Special Representative for Afghanistan

Thomas West. A senior official with the US

delegation told Kamran Yousaf of The

Express Tribune (Pakistan), "We have

worked quietly to enable cash … [to come

into] the country in larger and larger


A foreign minister at the OIC meeting told

me that the OIC states are already working

quietly to send humanitarian aid to


Four days later, on December 22, the

United States introduced a resolution (2615)

in the UN Security Council that urged a

"humanitarian exception" to the harsh

sanctions against Afghanistan.

During the meeting, which lasted about

40 minutes, nobody raised the matter that

the US, which had proposed the resolution,

had decided to freeze the $10 billion that

belonged to Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the

passage of this resolution was widely

celebrated, since everyone understands the

gravity of Afghanistan's crisis.

Meanwhile, Zhang Jun, China's

permanent representative to the UN, raised

problems relating to the far-reaching effects

of such sanctions and urged the UNSC to

"guide the Taliban to consolidate interim

structures, enabling them to maintain

security and stability, and to promote

reconstruction and recovery."

A senior member of the Afghan central

bank, Da Afghanistan Bank, told me that

much-needed resources are expected to

enter the country as part of humanitarian

aid being provided by Afghanistan's

neighbors, particularly from China, Iran and

Pakistan (aid from India will come through


Aid has also come in from other

neighboring countries, such as Uzbekistan,

which sent 3,700 tons of food, fuel and

winter clothes, and Turkmenistan, which

sent fuel and food.

Early this month, Muttaqi traveled to

Tehran to meet with Iranian Foreign

Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and

Iran's special representative for

Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi. While

Iran has not recognized the Taliban regime

as the official government of Afghanistan, it

has been in close contact with Kabul "to help

the deprived people of Afghanistan to

reduce their suffering." Muttaqi has,

meanwhile, emphasized that his

government wants to engage the major

powers over the future of Afghanistan.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian,

editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow

and chief correspondent at Globetrotter

US needs more Asians to avoid demographic death

Now that Elon Musk has tweeted that

"population collapse is potentially the

greatest risk to the future of

civilization," it must be true. America's total

fertility rate fell in 2020 to only 1.67 births

per female, the lowest in history, and well

below the replacement level of 2.1.

Ten years ago, when I published How

Civilizations Die, the United States still

made babies at the replacement rate, though

(as I noted) this depended on high fertility

among two groups of Americans:

Evangelical Christians and Hispanics.

Now demographic winter has descended

on America, and there is no obvious path to

recovery. The only medium-term solution

lies in the immigration of skilled adults, and

the only two prospective sources of largescale

immigration of skilled adults are China

and India.

Civilizations die because they want to.

Nations that live for the present and eschew

a vision of their future do not take the

trouble to raise children. Today's

demographic decline has precedents in the

hollowing-out of Hellenistic Greece after the

Alexandrian conquests, and the decline of

Rome several centuries later.

In the modern era, religious commitment

has been the strongest predictor of the

desire to bring future generations into the

world; other writers, notably the British

demographer Eric Kaufmann, have made

parallel arguments.

What demographers call the great fertility

transition occurred with urbanization and

the end of child labor. In agricultural

societies and early modern industry,

children were cheap labor and considered

(as in wrongful death lawsuits) a resource

with a definable monetary value.

Once national pension systems replaced

family care for the aged, and children no

longer were expected to work until early

adulthood, children offered spiritual rather

than monetary value.

Now we have another 10 years' worth of

data, and they bear out my 2011 thesis: the

decline in American fertility tracks (and in

fact is predicted by) the decline in religious

commitment among Americans. This has

deep implications for public policy. If

religious faith is the most important

determinant of fertility, public policy can

have only a modest impact on birth rates.

The annual Gallup survey on American

attitudes towards religion includes the

question: "How important would you say

religion is in your own life - very important,

fairly important, or not very important?"

As shown in the above chart, the US Total

Fertility Rate tracks the percentage who

answered "very important" closely. The link

between fertility and faith passes all the tests

for statistical robustness.

Where data are available, we observe a

close relationship between religious

commitment and fertility. In a May 2021

survey, the Pew Institute reported:

"Orthodox Jewish adults report having an

average of 3.3 children, while non-Orthodox

Jews have an average of 1.4 children.

Orthodox Jews also are five years younger,

on average, when they give birth to their first

child (23.6 vs 28.6 among non-Orthodox


Data for American Christians are less

clear-cut. Samuel Perry and Cyrus Schleifer

of the University of Oklahoma reported in

2020 that fertility fell to 2.3 children in 2016

from 2.7 children in 1972. The rate of church

attendance had a small positive correlation

with fertility, they concluded, but the fertility

of conservative Protestants declined

regardless of the rate of church attendance.

Arguably, other factors drove American

fertility down. Immigration (including

illegal) from Latin America dropped off

sharply after the 2008 financial crisis, and

Hispanics were disproportionate

contributors to fertility.

The Hispanic birth rate dropped from

97.4 births per 1,000 women in 2007 to 65.3

births per 1,000 women in 2019, a faster

rate of decline than among the non-

Hispanic population. That may have to do

with economic factors, but it could also

reflect the assimilation of Hispanics into

mainstream American culture. We do not

have enough evidence to judge.

Why has religious commitment declined?

Part of the blame may lie with religious


The Gallup data for American confidence

DAviD P. GolDmAn

in organized religion show a fall by about

half since 1973 in the proportion of

respondents who have "quite a lot" or "a

great deal" of confidence in religious


Remarkably, the decline in religious

commitment is overwhelmingly a

Protestant phenomenon, according to the

Gallup data. Since the early 1950s, the

proportion of Americans who identify as

Catholic has remained in the mid-20%

range, while the proportion of Protestants

has collapsed by about half.

The first option is desirable but likely to have a small effect. The second

and third options are inseparable. Reversing the long-term decline of labor

productivity requires the reconstruction of America's depleted manufacturing

sector, and that in return requires a much larger number of engineers

than American universities presently produce.

The percentage who identify with no

religion rose from around zero in the early

1950s to 20% in 2020. Catholic numbers, to

be sure, are supported by immigration from

mainly Catholic countries.

The fall in religious affiliation is mainly a

Protestant phenomenon, but the decline in

fertility is similar across denominations.

Sociologist David Ayers, in a July 2021 study

for Crisis magazine, concluded "in the

United States, the facts show sharp drops in

fertility among Catholic women overall, and

among those who have ever been married,

similar to what we find among Americans as

a whole."

The great wave of secularization came to

America, the country "with the spirit of a

church," somewhat later than it did to the

rest of the industrial world and had the same

impact on fertility. Secular trends of this

kind are difficult to reverse (but not

impossible: Russia's total fertility rate rose

from a 1999 low of 1.16 to an estimated 1.83

in 2020).

Among the high-income countries only

Israel, with a total fertility rate (TFR) just

over 3 - almost double its peer nation

average - has a fertility rate above

replacement. Excluding the highly religious

Haredi portion of the Israeli population, the

fertility rate is still 2.6, far higher than the

rest of the industrial world.

Israel is the exception that proves the rule.

By Western standards, Israel is the most

religious among the high-income nations.

Up to 98% of Jewish Israelis "always" place

a mezuzah (a small box containing handwritten

Bible verses) on their door, 92%

circumcise their male children, 70%

maintain Jewish dietary laws at home, 70%

fast on Yom Kippur and 78% take part in a

Passover Seder, according to one survey.

A Jew's decision to live in Israel with all

the attendant risks and obligations

(including universal military service) by

itself implies a high degree of faith even

among the professedly secular.

Germany has an extremely low fertility

rate but has had considerable success in

attracting skilled or semi-skilled

immigrants. As of 2018, 4.8 million citizens

of other European Union countries had

moved to Germany, almost 10% of the

country's 49 million citizens of working age

(20 to 64 years old).

But this trend cannot continue for long

because the fertility rate of the countries that

sent migrants to Germany (Poland,

Romania, Italy, Spain and so forth) is even

lower than Germany's.

Germany's demographic profile appears

dire, but it has postponed the inevitable

aging crisis through skilled immigration.

Italy's situation seems hopeless; its

population is aging faster than its peers and

it is losing skilled working-age adults rather

than importing them.

Immigrants to Italy come overwhelmingly

from Africa and the Middle East and cannot

replace the diminishing number of

productive adults.

The position of the United States is

somewhat better than the high-income

country average for projected old-age

dependency (China's much-discussed

demographic problem is about the same as

the high-income average). But the United

States is headed in the same direction as

Germany and China.

What should the United States do about

this? Declining fertility is a cultural and

confessional phenomenon and not directly

susceptible to government initiatives. There

are only three options open to public policy:

Encourage a higher fertility rate through

economic incentives; Attempt to reverse the

long-term decline in productivity growth to

allow a smaller base of taxpayers to support

a larger proportion of retirees.

Source : Asian Times

Sunday, January 16, 2022


rOB daviES

Steven has lost more bitcoin than most

people will ever own. Raised on the

remote Shetland archipelago, he left

school at 13 to become a trawlerman

before moving into construction,

eventually earning £85,000 a year

digging tunnels for Crossrail.

Despite his self-made success,

compulsive cryptocurrency trading,

alcohol and drug use took over his life.

In the fog of multiple addictions, he lost

the "addresses" of between five and 10

bitcoins, rendering his digital buried

treasure - worth up to £300,000 today

- impossible to retrieve.

Steven spotted the potential of

bitcoin early and he had a talent for

trading. But even if he had that money

now, his addiction means it would soon

be squandered.

"Trading is gambling, there's no

doubt about it," he says. "I studied and

studied. I taught myself how to be a

good trader and tried really hard to

manage my accounts and stick to a set

of rules.

Now in recovery at the Castle Craig

residential treatment clinic in Scotland,

Steven fears that legions of young

people are being lured into high-risk

trading and potentially addiction,

based on the same misguided quest for

untold riches.

"A whole generation think that with a

little mobile phone they can win, that

they can … beat the market," he says. "It

scares the bejesus out of me." Steven's

fears are founded partly on crypto's

rapid emergence into the mainstream.

When he started investing in 2015,

digital currencies meant nothing to

most people. Now, they are being

touted as a more democratic alternative

to a monopolistic and exploitative

global financial system.

As the Guardian revealed on Friday

today, crypto firms launched a recordbreaking

promotional push in London

last year, targeting millions of

commuters with 40,000 adverts on

billboards, at tube stations, in carriages

and across the side of double decker


Advertisers included relatively

obscure names such as Hex, Kraken

and Puglife about whom consumers

know little, if anything. Meanwhile,

football clubs and players, not to

mention globally recognised celebrities,

tout crypto investments on a daily basis

via social media.

This week, reality TV star Kim

Kardashian West and boxer Floyd

Mayweather Jr were named in a

lawsuit alleging that they helped

promote crypto firm EthereumMax, as

it made "false and misleading"

statements that left investors nursing

heavy losses.

An Instagram post about

EthereumMax, to Kardashian's 250

million followers, may have been the

most widely seen financial promotion

of all time, according to the head of the

UK's Financial Conduct Authority


Yet despite their ascendancy - and

warnings that governments could

suffer "limitless" losses - cryptoassets

remain unregulated in the UK, pending

a Treasury review. That means that the

FCA, the UK's financial regulator, is all

but powerless to influence how the

industry behaves.

While some trading platforms that

offer digital assets are regulated -

because they also offer more traditional

financial instruments - crypto coins

and tokens are not.

Cryptoasset executives do not have to

prove that they are fit and proper

people to take people's money. The

companies they run are not required to

hold enough cash to repay investors if

they go bust. Nor must they worry

about the FCA's stipulation that

financial promotions, such as those

splashed across public transport in

London, are fair, clear and not


Amid the marketing blitz, the

Advertising Standards Authority is the

only watchdog that has bared its teeth.

It is investigating one advert by the

cryptocurrency Floki Inu and has

already banned one for Luno Money.

"If you're seeing bitcoin on a bus, it's

time to buy," the Luno advert insisted,

a cryptocurrency poster advert at a London tube station.

contrary to prevailing investment

wisdom. Luno Money told the

Guardian it would welcome an

"effective regulatory framework".

But in the ongoing vacuum of

oversight, experts fear that cautionary

tales of addiction, such as the one told

by Steven, are being drowned out by

powerful, overwhelmingly positive


To monitor the type of messaging

sent out by marketing teams, the

Guardian created an experimental

cryptocurrency portfolio - holding a

mixture of bitcoin, ether and Shiba Inu.

As bitcoin slumped towards the end

of 2021 and into 2022, having reached

all-time highs just weeks earlier, the

Twitter account of smartphone trading

app eToro remained doggedly

optimistic. "Is bitcoin on its way to a

new high?," it asked, as the slide began.

"We've seen bitcoin rally before. But

could this be the one to take it to the


The answer, for the time being at

least, was "No". But holders of crypto

portfolios were encouraged to stay

positive. "Your account gained 1.87%

yesterday," one app notification read,

as the slump abated. "You had a good

day. Share the news with everyone."

No such invitation appeared on the

far more frequent days when the value

of the Guardian's portfolio went down.

"It's a very strategic marketing ploy,"

says Dr Anna Lembke, one of the

world's foremost addiction experts,

professor of psychiatry at Stanford

University School of Medicine and

author of the book Dopamine Nation.

"They're encouraging you to amplify

Best baby monitor cameras for travel or home

GraCE hOLLiday

Whether you have a newborn or know

someone who does, a good baby

monitor can be both freeing and

reassuring, helping keep an eye on the

little ones as they rest.

But with so many to choose from with

varying brands, capabilities and prices,

it can be hard to know which work best

in practice. So we put nine of the best

baby cameras to the test across three

different categories for travel or home.

Here are the ones that delivered.

With a sturdy parent unit and two

cameras for split-screen capabilities,

the Babysense V43 performs

impressively pretty much across the

board. The parent unit is user-friendly

with responsive buttons and a logical,

well-labelled menu. The built-in

lullabies are a little old-fashioned and

tinny, and while it displays room

temperature it does not show the time.

The Babysense is wifi-free, making it

safe from remote hackers. Its 300-

metre wireless range means the parent

unit, which can be used on battery or

mains, can be taken outside ready for

warmer months. Notably, none of these

features waned or stalled when two

cameras were connected during testing.

Settings for each camera can be

tailored individually, and switching

between camera feeds is almost

instantaneous. Up to four cameras can

be used with one parent unit with

additional purchases. The battery lasts

about 10 hours in eco-mode, which

pauses sound and video on the parent

unit if the camera detects no sound for

30 seconds. A spare or replacement

battery costs £5.99.

The base of each camera has a

pleasant orange night light, while the

lens pans, swivels 360 degrees and

zooms quickly and smoothly. The

motor, while not silent, did not disturb

a sleeping baby. Panning is controlled

via the parent unit, meaning there is no

need to fiddle with camera angles once

initial setup is complete. The cameras

can be wall-mounted using the screws

and wall plugs included, but easily lifted

away for travel purposes.

Many monitors designed with travel

The Kodak Cherish C525 baby monitor camera.

Dealing cryptocurrency fuels addiction

and flexibility in mind sacrifice screen

size, but that is not the case here. The

5in screen has good picture quality,

which is extra clear when close up to

faces or objects. There is no delay in

movement or audio on the unit,

although two-way talk mode sounds

somewhat walkie-talkie-esque. There's

no need to worry about software

updates as there is no app, which also

makes the Babysense a smart option for

those looking to avoid checking their

phones during the night too.

The VTECH VM3254 offers a

compact, wifi-free package, making it

suitable for travel, and the picture

quality is good, particularly close up.

The talk function, however, is far too

quiet and the button layout on the

parent unit isn't particularly easy to

navigate. Our runner-up, the VTech

VM3254 is still an excellent option for

the price, but note the battery cannot be

replaced and it is not repairable.

This baby monitor may not be made

by the Kodak of old, but at least it lives

up to picture quality of the brand name.

Via either phone app or parent unit

with 5in screen, the Cherish C525

displays not just the baby's features or

silhouette, but even subtle facial

expressions during the day with lifelike

colour, which cannot be said for

competitors. Night mode is also

excellent, while movement and audio

come through with minimal delay and

the two-way-talk sound is crisp.

Not only does the camera zoom and

swivel 360 degrees at an almost

imperceptible volume, the parent unit

can handle split-screen viewing with up

to five paired cameras with additional

purchases. There is a fair selection of

pleasant-enough lullabies, white noise

Photo: Kodak

and heartbeat sounds, plus room

temperature monitoring.

Special milestones and events can be

captured and stored either on an SD

card or in the cloud. The Kodak smart

home app for Android or iPhone is easy

to navigate and intuitive but the parent

unit is less so. While the keyboard can

be backlit, which is handy for nighttime

check-ins, its icons are not labelled

and the buttons are fiddly, so you need

to learn how to navigate it efficiently.

Despite this drawback, the parent unit,

antennae and handy flip-stand are

sturdy, and the device is neither fragile

nor too heavy.

It has two factor authentication for

extra security when accessing the app

and requests authentication if you

attempt to log in from a different

location than usual. Alternatively, the

camera and parent unit - though not

the app - can be used without an

internet connection. Out of the house,

both the camera and parent unit can

run on battery power for a few hours.

The units are generally repairable and

replacement batteries are widely

available too. Kodak will support apps

for the Cherish for a minimum of three

years after the model is discontinued.

With stylish rose gold detailing on the

parent unit, a sleek camera and a sturdy

over-cot stand, the Motorola is an

attractive package. However, it is more

expensive, the picture quality is less

sharp, the colours are not as true and

there is a slight crackle to the voice

when speaking to the baby. The battery

can't be replaced either.

The Nanit Pro's 1080p HD camera,

app and breathing band is a

comprehensive and well-executed baby

monitoring system for parents who

wish to cover every possible base. There

is no parent unit, but the app is efficient

and streamlined making checking in on

the baby easy.

The camera's stream goes live in the

app within 3 seconds with little in the

way of delay, and switches between day

and night mode automatically. The

camera has a good zoom and field of

view over the cot but does not swivel.

That means there is no disruptive

motor to worry about, and as it will be

either attached to a wall or floor stand

(£80 additional purchase) it won't get

knocked over by rambunctious pets or

other children. As for security, Nanit

encrypts your data, protects accounts

with two-step verification and has

various settings for controlling when

and who can see the feed from the


The app shows room temperature

and humidity, while five buttons allow

users to quickly snap a photo, play

music, white noise, birds or wave

sounds, listen to or talk to the baby and

switch on a nightlight.

The nightlight is particularly good. It

shines upwards with adjustable

brightness so you can see the cot and

immediate surroundings without

disturbing the baby or others in the

room. The Nanit comes with a year of

basic "Insights" including special

milestones and memory videos, sleep

tracking and quality analysis, and

breathing monitoring using a soft,

electronic-free band wrapped around

the baby's torso, which sounds an

alarm if an issue arises. Insights are

only stored for two days, which costs £5

a month after the first year or £10 a

month for 30-day storage. One

breathing band for babies up to 15kgs is

included, and swaddles or pyjamas for

older children are available. The

camera is repairable and the app is

available on a wide range of Android,

iOS and iPadOS devices.

The Owlet is as sophisticated as the

Nanit in many ways, with a sleek

camera, excellent picture quality and

user-friendly app. But it uses a "smart

sock" to monitor breathing and oxygen

levels, which children could disturb or

kick off, sounding the alarm and

terrifying parents in the process. There

is also a noticeable delay in both the

video and sound in comparison with

the Nanit too, and while replacement

parts are available the batteries cannot

be replaced and the devices are not


JOhana Bhuiyan

Photo: Gavin rodgers

the wins and ignore the losses, creating

a false impression there are more

wins." Asked about this, eToro says that

it is "committed to helping retail

investors engage with each other and

foster an environment of learning and

collaboration", adding that its platform

is not "gamified".

According to eToro's UK managing

director, Dan Moczulski, some users

make their account public so that "all

investments are visible to others,

whether they are profitable or not".

The company said it also provides

educational tools, performs knowyour-customer

checks and encourages

long-term, diversified investing. But Dr

Lembke is concerned by the potential

for the social media element to fuel

compulsive behaviour in crypto

trading, an activity she says bears the

Facebook CEO Mark

Zuckerberg and Google CEO

Sundar Pichai were allegedly

aware of and approved a deal

to collaborate on the

potential manipulation of

advertising sales, according

to newly revealed


The documents, which

came to light on Friday, were

filed as part of a lawsuit

against Google brought by

the attorneys general of

multiple US states. The

lawsuit was first filed in

December 2020 and claimed

Google misled publishers

and advertisers about the

price and process of

advertising auctions. At that

time, many documents and

parts of the lawsuit were

redacted, but court rulings

have since made them


The lawsuit alleges that

Google maintained control

over the advertising sales

market - a market that it

dominates - by inflating the

price of advertisements for

brands and suppressing

competition from other

advertising exchanges.

According to the Wall

Street Journal, the complaint

alleges that "Google pocketed

the difference between what

it told publishers and

advertisers that an ad cost

and used the pool of money

to manipulate future

auctions to expand its digital

monopoly". The documents

further cite internal

messages in which Google

employees said it was like

they were using "insider

information" to grow the


The Journal reported the

lawsuit also claims

executives at both Facebook,

which recently rebranded as

Meta, and Google signed off

on a deal to allegedly assure

that Facebook would bid on,

and win, a certain percentage

of ads.

According to the lawsuit,

Facebook's chief operating

officer, Sheryl Sandberg, was

"explicit that 'this is a big deal

strategically'" in a 2018 email

thread about the deal that

included Facebook's CEO.

When the two sides

hammered out the terms of

the agreement, "the team

sent an email addressed

directly to CEO" Zuckerberg,

the lawsuit states.

If Pichai is found to have

personally approved the deal,

he may be found to be

complicit in the expansion of

Google's monopoly over the

advertising market through

manipulation. A Google

spokesperson told the AP

that while the deal was not a

secret, it was inaccurate to

say that Pichai approved it.

"We sign hundreds of

agreements every year that

don't require CEO approval,

and this was no different,"

the spokesperson said. In a

statement, Google

hallmarks of addictive gambling

products but without the

acknowledged risk.

"When you mix social media with

financial platforms, you make a new

drug that's even more potent," she says.

Social media posts pushing crypto

frequently refer to Fomo - the fear of

missing out - fuelling an urge to


"You get this herd mentality where

people talk to each other about what

the market is doing, they have wins

together, losses together, … an intense

shared emotional experience."

"We get a little spike in dopamine,

followed by a little deficit that has us

looking to recreate that state." This, she

says, echoes characteristics of gambling

but with a crucial difference. "It's less

stigmatised," she says. "It has this

socially sanctioned status as something

that maverick smart people do."

Parallels with gambling are becoming

harder to ignore. GamCare, which runs

the National Gambling Helpline, said it

fields about 20 calls a week related to

crypto. Callers reported trading for 16

hours a day, making huge losses and

struggling to cope with the guilt.

As with gambling, where every one

addict is estimated to harm seven other

people, many were suffering at the hands

of someone else's habit. One recounted

how her partner's trading obsession was

leading them to spend time away from

the family. Another said their partner had

taken to trading while in recovery from

alcoholism, spending every waking hour

making trades.

GamCare has even dealt with young

patients who bought digital coins in a

desperate attempt to make enough

money to get on to the property ladder,

only to lose life-changing sums.

At Castle Craig, where Steven is

receiving treatment, the first crypto

addict arrived at the clinic in 2016,

followed by more than 100 since then.

"More and more people are isolated

and are doing this [trading], especially

since Covid," says Tony Marini, the

senior specialist therapist at the clinic

and a recovering gambling addict

himself. "It's tenfold already since

2016, so what's it going to be like in the

next five years?"

Big tech CEOs were

aware of deal to control

advertising sales

spokesperson Peter

Schottenfels said the lawsuit

is "full of inaccuracies and

lacks legal merit".

Meta spokesperson Chris

Sgro said Friday that the

company's ad bidding

agreement with Google and

similar agreements it has

with other bidding platforms

"have helped to increase

competition for ad


"These business

relationships enable Meta to

deliver more value to

advertisers while fairly

compensating publishers,

resulting in better outcomes

for all," Sgro said. The new

details come as the tech

companies face mounting

scrutiny over allegedly anticompetitive

practices. A US

judge ruled earlier this week

that the government can

proceed with a lawsuit that

seeks to break up Meta, the

parent of Facebook,

Instagram and WhatsApp, in

an effort to loosen its grip on

the market. And on Friday, a

group of nearly four dozens

states asked to reinstate a

separate antitrust lawsuit

against the company.

Google, meanwhile, is

facing its own monopolyrelated

charges brought by

the US government. Google

has denied the charges.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

were aware of a deal to potentially manipulate advertising sales.

Photo: Jose Luis Magana

SUNdAY, JANUARY 16, 2022 6

Nawab Salimullah is a pioneer of Muslim

education and politics: Muslim League

Nawab Salimullah has

sqcrificed his life for the

development of the

education system of the

Muslims. At a meeting of

the Muslim League in

Amritsar in 1908, Nawab

Salimullah said, "When I

saw that my nation, the

people of Hazrat

Muhammad (PBUH) was

being destroyed, I decided

that if necessary I would

destroy myself but I would

save this nation. He has been

trying to keep his word till

the last day of his life. Ruling

the state, seizing power was

not the goal of his politics,

but he worked tirelessly to

unite and educate the

uneducated Muslim nation

from the king to the fakir

forest by exploiting the rule

of British and Brahmanists,

a press release said.

The All India Muslim

League was established on

30 December 1906 at

Shahbagh in Dhaka on the

initiative of Nawab

Salimullah with the aim of

realizing the rights of

Muslims and making them

politically aware and united.

The instruction to establish

night schools in every area of

Dhaka immediately after

becoming Nawab was the

first step of his debut as an

educator. He demanded the

establishment of Dhaka

50 more test positive for Covid-19 in Rajshahi

RAJSHAHI : As many as 50 more people have

tested positive for Covid-19 in four districts of

the division on Friday, taking the caseload to

1,00,427 since the pandemic began in March,


The new positive cases are showing a falling

trend compared to the previous day's figure of

117, said Dr Habibul Ahsan Talukder,

divisional director of health, reports BSS.

Meanwhile, the recovery count rose to 96,511

in the division after 32 patients were

discharged from the hospitals on the same day.

The death toll climbed to 1,694, including

688 in Bogura, 327 in Rajshahi with 209 in its

city and 175 in Natore as no new fatality was

reported during the past 24 hours, Dr Talukder

added. Besides, all the positive cases of Covid-

19 have, so far, been brought under necessary

treatment while 23,272 were kept in isolation

units of different dedicated hospitals for

institutional quarantine. Of them, 20,042 have

been released.

University in the spirit of

constantly making the future

generation suitable for

politics and social

competition. In response to

the lame argument that

there is not enough space for

a university in the report

given by the Simon

Commission, he paved the

way for the establishment of

Dhaka University with the

landmark decision to donate

approximately 600 acres of

land to the entire Baganbari

of Shahbag. But it is a

matter of regret that the

university does not

remember the Nawab even

on its birth-death-death

anniversary today, while

On the occasion of the 107th death anniversary of Nawab Sir Salimullah, a discussion

meeting and doa mahfil were held on Saturday in the capital. Photo: Courtesy

Two held

with ganja

in Rangpur

RANGPUR : The Detective

Branch (DB) of Rangpur

Metropolitan Police

(RpMP) arrested two

presumed drug traders

with two kilograms of

ganja from Taluk

Dharmodas area in the

metropolis on Friday


The arrested persons

were identified as Md

Solaiman Mian, 27, and

Md Saheb Ali Mian, 30, of

village Kafrikhal Bogura

Para in Mithapukur

upazila of the district.

"On a tip off, a team of

DB police led by Inspector

Shawkat Ali Sarker

conducted a raid and

arrested the two men with

ganja from the spot," a

press release issued by

Additional Deputy

Commissioner of Police

(DB and Media) of RpMP

Sajjad Hossain said.

"After filing a case in

this connection against

the arrested people under

the Narcotics Control Act

2018, the DB police

handed them over to

Tazhat police station of

RpMP," the release


Two siblings

killed in

Feni road


FENI : Two siblings were

killed and two others

injured as a private car hit

a roadside tree in Debipur

area on Dhaka-

Chattogram Highway

yesterday noon.

The deceased were

identified as Tushar, 40,

and his brother Biplob,

32. They were the

residents of Ichakhali

area under Mirsharia

Upazila of the district.

Eye witnesses said the

accident occurred at

around 12:30 pm as the

driver of the private car

lost control over the

steering. Tushar and

Biplob died on the spot,

said doctor Siful Islam of

Feni General Hospital.

The injured were sent to

Chattogram Medical

College Hospital for


those who opposed the

establishment of Dhaka

University are remembered

with pomp and

circumstance. The inclusion

of Nawab Salimullah's

biography in the syllabus is

essential for informing the

new generation about

Nawab Salimullah.

On the occasion of the

107th death anniversary of

Nawab Sir Salimullah,

leaders made the remarks at

a discussion and prayer

meeting held on Saturday at

the Paltan office, chaired by

central member Atiqul

Islam. During the time,

party secretary general Kazi

Abul Khair, Bangladesh

NAP secretary general

Golam Mostafa Bhuiyan,

convener of Desh Bachao

Manush Bachao movement

Rakibur Rahman Ripon,

party standing committee

member Anwar Hossain

Aburi, vice-president Nazrul

Islam, Adv. Jasimuddin,

Additional Secretary

General Akbar Hossain

Pathan and Kazi AA Kafi,

Organizing Secretary Khan

Asad, Publicity Secretary

Sheikh A Sabur, Central

Leader Ad Aftab Hossain

Mollah, Ad Habibur

Rahman, Abdul Khaleq, Nur

Alam and others.

Sahabuddin (50), Ajibar (30), Ajiron (40) and Moushumi Begum (22)

have been accused of beating and injuring the head of a housewife

named Banu (30) in Roumari of Kurigram for demanding money for

sewing clothes.

Photo : Badshah Saykot

Meanwhile, 23 more people have been sent

to home and institutional quarantine afresh

while eight others were released from isolation

during the same time.

Of the 50 new cases, 25 were detected in

Bogura, followed by 18 in Rajshahi city, four in

Pabna and three in Joypurhat districts.

With the newly detected patients, the

district-wise break-up of the total cases now

stands at 28,588 in Rajshahi including 23,114

in its city, 5,690 in Chapainawabganj, 6,493 in

Naogaon, 8,500 in Natore, 4,806 in Joypurhat,

21,943 in Bogura, 11,463 in Sirajganj and

12,944 in Pabna.

A total of 1,15,686 people have, so far, been

kept under quarantine since March 10, 2020 to

prevent community transmission of the deadly

coronavirus (COVID-19).

Of them, 1, 14,464 have, by now, been

released as they were given clearance

certificates after completing their 14-day


BGB members in Cox's Bazar recovered 200,000 pieces of Burmese

yaba worth at tk 6,00,00,000 (six crore) yesterday. Photo : Courtesy

Training on

modern land

digitization in

Morelganj ends



In Morelganj, Bagerhat, a

training on modern land

digitization process with the

participation of service

recipients, service providers

and civil society

representatives was ended

on Saturday.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer

Mohammad Jahangir Alam

inaugurated the two-day

training. Upazila Assistant

Commissioner (Land)

Mohammad Ali Hasan

addressed the training held

at the Upazila Parishad

meeting room. Upazila Vice

Chairman Mozammel

Haque Mozam and Women

Vice Chairman Fahima

Khanam were present as

special guests at the training


Upazila Nirbahi Officer

Md. Jahangir Alam,

Assistant Commissioner

(Land) Md. Ali Hasan,

Upazila Sub-Registrar Perth

Mukherjee and Fakirhat

Upazila Union Land Deputy

Assistant Officer Md. Zakir

Hossain imparted thematic

training in the two sessions.

The workshop was

attended by land assistants

of different unions of the

upazila, union secretaries,

union chairmen, teachers,

document writers and


One held

with Indian

leaf bidis in



Members of Rapid Action

Battalion (RAB) arrested

an alleged smuggler with

63,360 pieces of

contraband Indian leaf

bidis from Shibganj in

Chapainawabganj district

last night.

The arrested is Md Jewel

Ali, 28 of Parchowka

Purbopara under

Monakasha union of

Shibganj upazila in the

district, reports UNB.

RAB said, acting on

information, an operation

team of RAB-5 from

Chapainawabganj camp

conducted a raid at

Dadanchak Bhutpara

under Durlavpur union of

Shibganj upazila at 8:30

pm and arrested Jewel

with the bidis.

Later the arrested person

was handed over to the

police of Shibganj thana

with a case.

RAJSHAHI : Farming of broccoli, a nonconventional

winter vegetable, has

gained popularity as many of the

grassroots farmers are getting more

income from the vegetable cultivation

compared to other conventional ones in

the region, including its vast barind


Acreage of the vegetable is rising

gradually by dint of its lucrative market

price and gradually mounting demand.

Like the previous couple of years, the

newly harvested vegetable along with

other ones has appeared in the local

markets abundantly at present making

both the sellers and buyers happy.

As a whole, the vegetable has brought

a diversification in the kitchen markets

besides a new dimension in the local

economy, experts' sources said.

Muktar Ali, 46, a farmer of

Hatibandha area in Godagari upazila,

has cultivated broccoli on around one

bigha of land and he's harvesting his

cash crop for the last couple of days with

satisfactory yield and market price.

"I have been selling broccoli at Taka 20

per piece since the beginning of harvest,"

said Ali, adding broccoli is more

profitable than some other

contemporary vegetables like

cauliflower and cabbage.

He has also gained success from his

previous year's farming on 10 katha of


"I have around 400 plants on one

bigha of land this year," said Hasim

Blankets have been distributed among 1300 cold-hit people in Rajnagar of

Moulvibazar. These blankets were distributed at the initiative of Rishij Shilpi

Gosthi established by the late Fakir Alamgir, a vocalist of Swadhin Bangla Betar

Kendra and organized by the Upazila Administration. Photo : Forhad Hussain

97.12pc Covid-19 patients

recover in Rangpur division

RANGPUR : The average recovery rate of

Covid-19 patients has reached 97.12 percent

in Rangpur division where the daily

positivity rate is showing a rising trend in

recent days.

Health officials said 20 more Covid-19

patients recovered during the last 24 hours

ending at 8 am on Saturday raising the total

number of healed patients to 54,298 in the


"The Covid-19 recovery rate continues

rising during the last four months in the

division," Divisional Director (Health) Dr

Abu Md Zakirul Islam told BSS.

The 54,298 recovered patients include

12,277 of Rangpur, 3,722 Panchagarh, 4,370

of Nilphamari, 2,625 of Lalmonirhat, 4,527

of Kurigram, 7,428 of Thakurgaon, 14,543 of

Dinajpur and 4,806 of Gaibandha districts in

the division.

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 cases

reached 55,909 as six new patients were

diagnosed after testing 74 new samples at

the positivity rate of 8.11 percent on Friday in

the division.

Earlier, the daily Covid-19 positivity rates

were 13.66 percent on Thursday, 10.84

percent on Wednesday, 4.11 percent on

Tuesday, 13.50 percent on Sunday and 13.58

percent on Saturday last in the division.

The district-wise break up of total 55,909

patients include 12,622 of Rangpur, 3,838

Panchagarh, 4,469 of Nilphamari, 2,775 of

Lalmonirhat, 4,653 of Kurigram, 7,710 of

Thakurgaon, 14,954 of Dinajpur and 4,888

of Gaibandha in the division.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19

pandemic, a total of 3,09,561 collected

samples were tested till Friday, and of them,

55,909 were found positive with an average

positivity rate of 18.06 percent in the

division. On the other hand, the total

number of casualties remained steady at

1,252 in the division as no new death was

reported during the last 24 hours ending at 8

am on Saturday.

The district-wise breakup of the 1,252

fatalities stands at 293 in Rangpur, 81 in

Panchagarh, 89 in Nilphamari, 69 each in

Lalmonirhat and Kurigram, 256 in

Thakurgaon, 332 in Dinajpur and 63 in

Gaibandha districts of the division.

The average casualty rate currently stands

at 2.24 percent in the division.

Among total 55,909 Covid-19 patients, 26

are undergoing treatments at isolation units,

including six patients at ICU and three at

High Dependency Unit beds, after recovery

of 54,198 patients and 1,252 deaths while

333 are remaining in home isolation.

"Meanwhile, the number of citizens who

got the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine rose

to 91,23,504, and among them, 59,02,234

got the second dose and 59,653 got the

booster dose of the jabs till Friday in the

division," Dr Islam added.

Chief of Divisional Coronavirus Service

and Prevention Task Force and Principal of

Rangpur Medical College Professor Dr Bimal

Chandra Roy urged everyone to sincerely

abide by the health directives to remain safe

and prevent spread of the lethal virus.

Students are taking Covid vaccine to prevent coronavirus at Raiganj of


Photo : Shusanto Kumar

Broccoli farming gains popularity in Rajshahi

Uddin, 35, another farmer of Imamganj

village under the same Upazila, adding

he's expected to make profit from

vegetable farming.

Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer

Atanu Sarker told BSS that many of the

farmers are seen showing their interests

towards the vegetable farming as its

demand is gradually increasing.

Many farmers are cultivating the

seasonal cash crop in the area as they are

getting a better market price of their

yield compared to many other crops.

"I'm heavily satisfied with getting the

seasonal vegetables regularly since the

winter season began," said Ambia

Ferdousi Khanom, a housewife of

Boaliapara area in Rajshahi city.

Currently, she buys broccoli at Taka 30

per piece.

Azizul Islam, a vender of Shayampur

area, has been selling the vegetable more

or less every day for the last three to four

weeks. Demand for the vegetable has

increased to a greater extent, he added.

Additional Director of Department of

Agricultural Extension (DAE) Sirajul

Islam said initiative has been taken to

expand the farming of the cash crop

among the farmers in general.

He said broccoli is a winter vegetable

with high nutritional content. It is full of

vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

It looks like cauliflower but its colour is

green and not milky white like

cauliflower. Soil condition and winter

weather in the region are favourable for

broccoli cultivation.

Side by side with other conventional

winter vegetables, the cash crop is seen

appearing in the local markets everyday

bringing diversity in the vegetable

markets both wholesale and retail ones.

The non-conventional winter vegetable

has started turning into a conventional


He said there is a bright prospect of

broccoli farming commercially in the

country's northwest region. Taking

advantage of the situation, farmers are

seen showing their interest in cultivating

Broccoli as a result of better output and

market price.

Agriculturist Islam added the

vegetable could easily be cultivated in

the normal farming field as it is more

tolerable to high-temperature than

cauliflower and cabbage. Nutritive value

of the crop is more than any other winter

vegetables including cabbage and


Dr Mazharul Islam, Principal

Scientific Officer of Bangladesh

Agriculture Research Institute, said

broccoli is gradually becoming popular

among the urban people and the

Chinese restaurants together with the

grand hotels. They are using broccoli for

making soup and other delicious foods.

The farming method was almost

similar to the cabbage and cauliflower.

At least 40,000 to 50,000 plants could

be produced per hectare in 65-70 days,

he said.

China pledges

crackdown on porn,

illegal publications

BEIJING : A senior

Communist Party of China

(CPC) official on Friday

vowed to harshly crackdown

on pornography and illegal

publications in 2022,

reports UNB.

Huang Kunming, a

member of the Political

Bureau of the CPC Central

Committee and head of the

Publicity Department of the

CPC Central Committee,

made the remarks at a

national conference devoted

to the country's fight against

pornography and illegal


Hailing the progress in the

crackdown in 2021, Huang

demanded continued efforts

to wipe out online vulgar

content, illegal publications

for children, and root out

channels spreading such

harmful information, so as

to create a sound cyberspace

for the youth.

The official also stressed

the need to improve

legislation for industries

involved and further

promote law-based


A powerful earthquake shook parts of Indonesia's main island of Java on Friday, damaging buildings and houses and sending

people into the streets, but no casualties were reported. Officials said there was no danger of a tsunami.

Photo : AP

Lawsuit: Google, Facebook CEOs

colluded in online ad sales


unredacted documents from

a state-led antitrust lawsuit

against Google accuse the

search giant of colluding

with rival Facebook to

manipulate online

advertising sales. The CEOs

of both companies were

aware of the deal and signed

off on it, the lawsuit alleges,

reports UNB.

The original, redacted

lawsuit, filed in December

2021, accused Google of

"anti-competitive conduct"

and of teaming up with the

social networking giant. But

the unredacted version

offers details on the

involvement of Alphabet

CEO Sundar Pichai and

Facebook CEO Mark

Zuckerberg in approving the

deal. Facebook has since

renamed itself Meta.

According to the lawsuit,

Facebook's chief operating

officer, Sheryl Sandberg,

was "explicit that 'this is a big

deal strategically'" in a 2018

email thread about the deal

that included Facebook's

CEO. While the names of the

Facebook executives are still

redacted in the suit, their

titles are visible.

When the two sides

hammered out the terms of

the agreement, "the team

sent an email addressed

directly to CEO" Zuckerberg,

the lawsuit states.

"We're nearly ready to sign

and need your approval to

move forward," the email

read, according to the

complaint. Zuckerberg

wanted to meet with

Sandberg and his other

executives before making a

decision, the complaint


In a statement, Google

spokesperson Peter

Schottenfels said the lawsuit

is "full of inaccuracies and

lacks legal merit."

In September 2018, the

complaint says, the two

companies signed the

agreement. Sandberg, who

was once the head of

Google's ad business, and

Pichai personally signed off

on the deal, per the states'


Meta spokesperson Chris

Sgro said Friday that the

company's ad bidding

agreement with Google and

similar agreements it has

with other bidding platforms

"have helped to increase

competition for ad


Coronavirus cases are rising sharply among children under age four and between the ages of 12 and 17.

Pediatric COVID cases

rise in Oregon

PORTLAND : Coronavirus cases are

rising sharply among children under

age four and between the ages of 12 and

17, reports UNB.

Oregon health officials said Friday

they are closely monitoring the trends

in pediatric cases, which made up more

than 20% of the state's overall known

caseload in the most recent full week

that ended Jan. 8.

Hospitalizations are also increasing

in children, the Oregon Health

Authority said.

Overall, state health officials reported

8,672 new confirmed or presumptive

cases Friday and 13 new deaths. More

than one in five test results reported to

the state are now positive for COVID-

19, according to the data.

There are 811 people hospitalized

with COVID-19 in Oregon and 6% of

staffed adult intensive care unit beds

are available statewide.

Also under new rules, which took

effect Friday, state health authorities

will no longer require contract tracing

for a student in public schools who

comes into close contact with an

infected student or staff member as

long as both are wearing masks -

"These business

relationships enable Meta to

deliver more value to

advertisers while fairly

compensating publishers,

resulting in better outcomes

for all," Sgro said.

Internally, Google used

the code phrase "Jedi Blue"

to refer to the 2018

agreement, according to the

lawsuit. Google kept this

code phrase secret.

Google's Schottenfels said

the lawsuit's allegation that

Pichai approved the deal

with Facebook "isn't


"We sign hundreds of

agreements every year that

don't require CEO approval,

and this was no different,"

he said, adding that the

agreement "was never a


The lawsuit is led by Texas

Attorney General Ken

Paxton and was joined by

the attorneys general of

Alaska, Arkansas, Florida,

Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky,

Louisiana, Mississippi,

Missouri, Montana, Nevada,

North Dakota, Puerto Rico,

South Carolina, South

Dakota and Utah.

Photo : UNB

regardless of the distance between


The new rule should reduce the

pressure on school staff, particularly

nurses, who have been overwhelmed

with contact tracing during the

omicron variant's surge.

"The new recommendations are

based on accumulated evidence that

layered mitigation efforts in K-12

schools have worked well to minimize

transmission and that the vast majority

of transmission has occurred following

indoor unmasked contact," the agency


Strong quake shakes

Indonesia's capital;

no tsunami alert

JAKARTA : A powerful

earthquake shook parts of

Indonesia's main island of

Java on Friday, damaging

buildings and houses and

sending people into the

streets, but no casualties

were reported. Officials said

there was no danger of a

tsunami, reports UNB.

The U.S. Geological

Survey said the magnitude

6.6 quake was located in the

Indian Ocean about 88

kilometers (54 miles)

southwest of Labuan, a

coastal town in Banten

province. It was centered at

a depth of 37 kilometers (23

miles), it said.

Dwikorita Karnawati,

head of Indonesia's

Meteorology, Climatology,

and Geophysical Agency,

said there was no danger of a

tsunami but warned of

possible aftershocks.

High-rises in Jakarta, the

capital, swayed for more

than 10 seconds and some

ordered evacuations,

sending streams of people

into the streets. Even twostory

homes shook strongly

in the satellite cities of

Tangerang, Bogor and


Earthquakes occur

frequently across the

sprawling archipelago

nation, but it is uncommon

for them to be felt in Jakarta.

"The tremor was horrible

... everything in my room

was swinging," said Laila

Anjasari, a Jakarta resident

who lives on the 19th floor of

an apartment building, "We

ran out and down the stairs

in panic."

Libya's oil, gas revenues

top 4 bln USD in

November, December

TRIPOLI : Libya's revenues

of oil and gas exports in

November and December

reached record high,

exceeding 4 billion U.S.

dollars, the country's stateowned

National Oil

Corporation (NOC) said on


"... the net revenues for the

months of November and

December of the year 2021,

for sales of crude oil, gas,

condensate, petroleum and

petrochemical products

have reached record levels,

driven by a boom in prices

around the world, where the

net revenues during the two

months amounted to

4,321,675,360.58 U.S.

dollars," the NOC said in a

statement, reports UNB.

NOC Chairman Mustafa

Sanalla called on the Libyan

authorities to provide more

funds to the corporation to

execute vital projects, in

order to increase

productivity and achieve


sUNDAY, JANUArY 16, 2022


2 held without bail in robbery,

killing of Los Angeles cop

LOS ANGELES : Two alleged gang members charged in the

robbery and killing of an off-duty Los Angeles police officer will

remain in federal custody without bail, a judge ruled Friday.

Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, was fatally shot at about 9:15

p.m. Monday in an unincorporated area of south Los Angeles

County that is in the territory of the Florencia 13 (F13) gang.

The suspects allegedly targeted him because of two silver

chains or necklaces around his neck, authorities said Thursday

when they announced federal charges against three alleged

gang members and one associate, reports UNB.

Authorities have said Arroyos was shopping for a house with

his girlfriend when a pickup truck approached. Several

suspects got out, there was an argument and gunfire was

exchanged between the assailants and the officer. Arroyos was

shot once; his girlfriend was not hurt.

The defendants are charged with violent crime in aid of

racketeering because the crimes were allegedly committed in

furtherance of the gang, authorities said.

The suspects are alleged gang members Luis Alfredo De La

Rosa Rios, 29, known as "Lil J"; Ernesto Cisneros, 22, known

as "Gonzo" and Jesse Contreras, 34, known as "Skinny Jack"

and "Flaco." Rios' girlfriend, 18-year-old Haylee Marie

Grisham, is considered an associate of the gang.

Rios and Contreras were ordered held without bail Friday

and are scheduled to return to federal court on Jan. 28,

according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Their attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for

comment Friday night. Grisham is expected to appear in court

on Tuesday. Cisneros is in the hospitals for injuries sustained

during the attack and it is not known when he will be in court.

It was not immediately clear whether they had lawyers who

could speak on their behalf. All four were taken into custody

Wednesday. Rios and Cisneros are the defendants who

allegedly robbed and shot at Arroyos and his girlfriend but all

four suspects were at the scene and involved in the crime,

authorities said.

Gators fouled by diesel spill get

a scrubbing, teeth cleaned

NEW ORLEANS : Wildlife rehabilitators are

decontaminating dozens of alligators,

brushing their pointy teeth and scrubbing

their scaly hides in the weeks after a pipeline

rupture dumped 300,000 gallons (1.1

million liters) of diesel fuel into a New

Orleans area wetland, reports UNB.

Diesel poured into the area outside the

New Orleans suburb of Chalmette on Dec. 27

after a severely corroded pipeline broke,

according to federal records.

Seventy-eight alligators have since been

rescued, and 33 of them had been cleaned

and released by Friday into a national

wildlife refuge located in New Orleans and

about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the spill

site in St. Bernard Parish, the Louisiana

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said.

Cleaning a six-foot-long (2-meter) alligator

on Thursday required eight people: four

holders, two scrubbers, one person with a

hose for hot-water rinses and one to change

the wash water, said Laura Carver, who

became the department's oil spill

coordinator in February 2010, less than

three months before a massive BP oil spill off

Louisiana in the Gulf.

Carver said the impact of December's

diesel spill on wildlife was relatively high

compared to most spills in Louisiana.

Rehabilitating that many alligators at once

"is a new one for us," Carver said.

She said a hard piece of wood "almost like

a really old-fashioned mop handle" is used to

hold the alligator's jaw open while its teeth

are scrubbed.

The teeth cleaning comes toward the end

of a series of body washes using gradually

smaller concentrations of Dawn dish

detergent to clean off the gunk. "They

literally get their mouths washed out with

soap. But it's the only thing that works,"

Carver said.

She said nearly all of the spill went into two

artificial ponds, and only the smaller pond

was completely covered with diesel.

The vast majority has been recovered from

the ponds and contractors for operator

Collins Pipeline Co. of Collins, Mississippi,

are working on plans to deal with

contaminated soil, Louisiana Department of

Environmental Quality spokesman Gregory

Langley said Friday.

Collins Pipeline, a subsidiary of New

Jersey-Based PBF Energy, had known about

corrosion on the outside of the pipe at the

site of the spill since an Oct. 2020 inspection,

according to federal records. However, it

delayed repairs after a second inspection

showed the corrosion was not bad enough to

need immediate attention. At the time of the

spill the company was awaiting permits for

the work and planned to start it later this

month, the records show.

The Gulf Coast is in constant danger of

spills from corroded oil and gas pipelines,

said Dustin Renaud, spokesman for the

environmental nonprofit Healthy Gulf.

"It's time we take a systematic approach to

reviewing the vulnerability of our oil and gas

infrastructure, and start the process of

repairing and removing these rust buckets,"

he said in an email.

The spilled fuel killed about 2,300 fish in

two pits from which dirt was once excavated

for construction. Most were minnows and

bait fish, Carver said, along with some shad,

gar, sunfish and small bass.

Tanzania launches Chinese

financed project to enhance

civil aviation safety

DAR ES SALAAM : Tanzanian authorities on

Friday launched the enhancement of the civil

aviation safety oversight systems project

financed by the Chinese government for 1

million U.S. dollars grant.

The Chinese government through its South-

South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF)

provided the grant to finance the project to be

implemented for one year by the International

Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) through

its Technical Cooperation Bureau.

Launching the project in the commercial

capital Dar es Salaam, the Deputy Minister for

Works and Transport, Godfrey Kasekenya,

said the aviation industry must assure that

safety and reliability compliance remained

robust and ambitious so that air transport's

core value offerings are duly safeguarded.

"Aviation is a major contributor to global

economic prosperity," said Kasekenya, adding

that through providing the only safest rapid

worldwide transportation network, aviation is

essential for global business, and generates

economic growth, creates jobs, and facilitates

international trade and tourism.

Hamza Johari, the director general of the

Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA),

said the main purpose of the project is to

provide technical assistance to Tanzania to

enhance its aviation safety oversight system.

Barry Kashambo, the ICAO regional

director for Eastern and Southern Africa,

thanked China for its donation to the ICAO

through its South-South Cooperation funding


He said out of the 4 million U.S. dollars

initially donated by China to ICAO, 1 million

U.S. dollars has been allocated to Tanzania for

the technical assistance project, 2 million U.S.

dollars was allocated for the development and

conduct of training courses for civil aviation

senior and middle managers program that has

been completed, and 1 million U.S. dollars will

be supporting ICAO efforts to provide

capacity-building assistance in the Republic of


Xu Chen, the Minister Counselor in the

Chinese Embassy in Tanzania, said through

this project, China hoped to help Tanzania

strengthen capacity building in civil aviation

safety oversight, promote the integration of

Tanzania's civil aviation industry with the

international standards.

Xu added that the project will also train

more outstanding aviation professionals for

Tanzania and make contribution to the

development of scrubbers, one person with a

hose for hot-water rinses and one to change

the wash water, said Laura Carver, who

became the department's oil spill coordinator

in February 2010, less than three months

before a massive Tanzanian civil aviation


He said China is willing to support Tanzania

in developing its civil aviation industry and

promoting its connectivity with other African

countries as well as the world, including




Higher costs hit JPMorgan Chase

as it reports huge 2021 profits

Two-day long Annual Business Conference-2022 of Social Islami Bank Limited was held at hotel Le

Meridien Dhaka during 14-15 January. Dr. Md. Mahbub Ul Alam, Chairman of the Board of Directors

of the Bank was present as Chief Guest while Md. Kamal Uddin, Dr. Md. Jahangir Hossain and Mrs.

Jebunnessa Akbar, Directors of Social Islami Bank Limited were present as Special Guests. The program

was presided over by Zafar Alam, Managing Director & CEO of the Bank. Abu Reza Md. Yeahia,

Additional Managing Director delivered address of welcome in the program. In his speech, Dr. Md.

Mahbub Ul Alam stated that SIBL has been contributing to national economy through its innovation,

competence, accountability, technology and financial inclusion for last 26 years. He added that Islami

Banking is a sustainable banking system which is very beneficial for the well-being of the people. All

employee will be enlightened by the beauty of Islamic banking and our clients will also be enlightened

by this beauty, he urged. In his speech, Zafar Alam mentioned that despite a lot of challenges in 2021

we have been successful to keep consistent business growth with our professional competence and

hard work. He also said that Management of the Bank has taken strategic business policy to increase

the overall business growth of the Bank in 2022. He hoped Social Islami Bank Limited will be able to

maintain a steady growth in all its business indicators and business targets. Additional Managing

Directors, Deputy Managing Directors, Divisional Heads, Senior Executives and all Branch Managers

of the Bank attended the program.

Photo : Courtesy

NEW YORK : Higher labor costs bit

into JPMorgan Chase's fourthquarter

results, but the US bank on

Friday still reported record annual

profits of $48.3 billion, reports BSS.

The financial giant pointed to a

broadly solid US economy that

allowed it to release reserves it had set

earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic in

case of defaults, which boosted


It also has seen an uptick in overall

lending, another sign of increasing

economic activity.

Two other large banks, Citigroup

and Wells Fargo, also released

reserves, pointing to the healthy state

of consumers and businesses that

translates to low delinquencies and


But shares of both JPMorgan and

Citigroup fell as executives

acknowledged an economic outlook

clouded somewhat by rising inflation

and lingering Covid-19 uncertainty.

"The economy continues to do quite

well despite headwinds related to the

Omicron variant, inflation and supply

chain bottlenecks," said JPMorgan

Chief Executive Jamie Dimon.

"We remain optimistic on US

economic growth as business

sentiment is upbeat and consumers

are benefiting from job and wage


Citigroup Chief Financial Officer

Mark Mason said it was still "early

days" on the latest coronavirus

variant, but the bank is watching

Omicron "and how that may impact


On inflation, Citi's business clients

are mostly able to pass on higher

costs and "not really yet feeling a

pinch," he said. "But again we're

watching it closely and it's kind of

early days to call."

At JPMorgan, fourth quarter

earnings came in at $10.4 billion,

down 14 percent from the year-ago

period. Revenues were flat at $29.3


The quarterly results included $1.8

billion in net reserve releases from

funds that were set aside earlier in the

pandemic in case of bad loans.

Strong points in the report included

higher investment banking fees tied

to what Dimon called

"unprecedented" merger and

acquisition activity offset somewhat

by a drop in trading revenues in some


But the bank saw an 11 percent

jump in fourth-quarter expenses,

with much of it due to higher labor


Chief Financial Officer Jeremy

Barnum pointed to "somewhat

elevated attrition" in the workforce

that has resulted in wage hikes.

JPMorgan Chase also signaled

spending would remain elevated,

projecting 2022 expenses of $77

billion, up from $70.9 billion last


Dimon said the current uptick in

inflation includes elements that are

"not transitory," such as housing, oil

prices and wages.

"They're elevated for a while,"

Dimon said on a conference call with

journalists. "And the Fed really needs

to thread the needle... to slow down

the growth in inflation a little bit

without stopping the growth."

Eric Compton, senior equity analyst

Morningstar, said in a note he was "a

bit surprised" by the extent of the

spending increases, as well as by

JPMorgan's forecast on the benefit of

higher Federal Reserve interest rates

on net interest income.

As a result of the shifts, estimates

for JPMorgan shares "will be tamped

down," he said in a note.

At Citigroup, profits in the fourth

quarter came in at $3.2 billion, down

26 percent, partly reflecting higher

costs tied to consumers business

divestitures in Asia.

Revenues rose one percent to $17


Shirin Akhter

joins as MD of

MetLife Bangladesh launches

‘360Health’ mobile app to help

people manage serious illnesses

The Managing Director of Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB) Md. Ismail Hossain payed tribute with a bouquet

at the shrine of the father of nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman & prayed for his departed

soul and signed the book of condolences at Tungipara of Gopalgonj on Friday. The Deputy Managing

Director (DMD) Chanu Gopal Ghosh, the General Manager of Faridpur Division Shekh Altap Hossain and

the officials of different levels of the region were present on the occasion.

Photo : Courtesy

IBBL Business Development Conference begins

A two-day Business

Development Conference of

Islami Bank Bangladesh

Limited begins at Pan Pacific

Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka on

Saturday. Professor Md.

Nazmul Hassan, Ph.D,

Chairman of the bank

inaugurated the conference as

chief guest. Presided over by

Mohammed Monirul Moula,

Managing Director and CEO of

the bank, the conference was

attended by Professor Dr. Md.

Salim Uddin, FCA, FCMA,

Chairman, Executive

Committee, Major General

(Retd.) Engr. Abdul Matin,

Chairman, Risk Management

Committee, Mohammad

Solaiman, FCA, Chairman,

Audit Committee, Professor

Md. Kamal Uddin, Ph.D, Md.

Joynal Abedin, Professor Dr.

Qazi Shahidul Alam, Syed Abu

Asad, Dr. Tanveer Ahmad, Md.

Quamrul Hasan, Professor Dr.

Mohammad Saleh Jahur,

Professor Dr. Md. Fashiul

Alam, Khurshid-Ul-Alam,

Mohammed Nasir Uddin,

FCMA and Md. Kamal Hossain

Gazi, Directors of the bank as

special guest. Muhammad

Qaisar Ali, Additional

Managing Director addressed

the welcome speech while Md.

Omar Faruk Khan, Additional

Managing Director thanked the

audience. Professor Dr.

Mohammad Abdus Samad,

Member Secretary of IBBL

Shari'ah Supervisory

Committee along with Deputy

Managing Directors, Head

Office Executives, Head of

Zones and Head of 384

Branches of the Bank attended

the conference through virtual

platform from 11 venues across

the country.

The conference disclosed that

IBBL has reached deposit

milestone of Tk.1383 billion by

adding more than Tk.200

billion (as on December 31,

2021) last year in its deposit

portfolio. The bank has

achieved general investment

base of Tk.1177 billion. The

bank has consolidated its

leadership in handling import,

export and remittance business

of Tk.645 billion, Tk.302 billion

and Tk.505 billion respectively

in 2021. IBBL is currently

providing state-of-art banking

services through 384 Branches,

219 Sub-Branches, 2778 Agent

Banking Outlets and 2318

ATM/CRM Booths.

Professor Md. Nazmul

Hassan, Ph.D in his speech of

chief guest said, IBBL has

conducted banking activities in

2021 by addressing the changes

and coping with the challenges.

He called for taking the country

forward through quality and

inclusive investment. He said

that it is necessary to adapt with

neo-normal situation and work

with modern financial

technology (FinTech). He

directed the employees to work

more seriously for the

expansion of the bank's CellFin

App, card and App based

services, POS machines,

mCash, iBanking and other

technology-rich services.

Mohammed Monirul Moula,

Managing Director and CEO

said, Bangladesh is now the

41st largest economy in the

world which will become the

24th largest economy by 2036.

In this continuum of

development of the country,

IBBL has been contributing in

all the indicators of business by

overcoming various challenges,

he added. IBBL is at the top of

the banking sector distributing

the stimulus packages

announced by the Honorable

Prime Minister. He thanked

the various departments of the

Government of Bangladesh,

Ministry of Finance,

Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh

Securities and Exchange

Commission, all other

regulatory authorities, clients

and well-wishers for their

continued support for the

prosperity and success of the


Speakers at the conference

said that, IBBL has been

achieving global recognition

and fame overcoming the

national border by trust of the

people, strength of Shariah,

technology-rich and sincere

services. In order to maintain

this position of the bank, it is

necessary to develop

sustainable business

relationship by developing

human values and using

Financial Technology

(FinTech) in conducting

business, they added.

A two-day Business Development Conference of Islami Bank Bangladesh

Limited begins at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka on Saturday. Professor

Md. Nazmul Hassan, Ph.D, Chairman of the bank inaugurated the conference

as chief guest.

Photo : Courtesy

Rising Argentine

inflation ends

2021 over 50pc

BUENOS AIRES : Argentine

inflation continued to rise in

2021, ending the year at more

than 50 percent, the state

statistics institute said on


It was grim news for the

South American country,

given cumulative inflation in

2020 -- a year when the

economy was almost

paralyzed by the Covid-19

pandemic-was just 36

percent. The largest price

increases in 2021 were in

hotels and restaurants (65.4

percent), transport (57.6) and

food (50.3).

MetLife on Saturday launched 360Health, a

first-of-its-kind healthcare mobile app aimed

at helping people in Bangladesh prevent and

manage serious illness.

The new app-based solution is the only one

in the market to comprehensively focus on

five key aspects of managing critical illnesses:

prevention of diseases; early diagnosis;

access to treatment; ongoing care; and

financial protection from insurance, to help

users manage serious illnesses through a

simple and engaging experience.

Busy lifestyles, poor diet and stress have led

to a sharp rise in serious illnesses, including

non-communicable diseases like cancer and

diabetes, which are now estimated to account

for 67% of deaths in Bangladesh.[i] A recent

MetLife study also found that affordability of

healthcare; access to quality healthcare

professionals; and quality of the hospitals are

major concerns for Bangladeshis seeking to

manage their health. The research also

China’s economy grew 8pc in 2021

but property, virus threats loom

BEIJING : China's economy expanded at its

fastest pace for 10 years in 2021, according to

an AFP poll of analysts, but its strong recovery

from the Covid-19 pandemic is threatened by

Omicron and a property sector slowdown.

The eight percent growth would be well

above the government's target of more than six

percent, and comes on the back of a strong start

to the year as a "zero-Covid" policy allowed the

country to lead the global economic recovery.

China's exports surged nearly 30 percent last

year on solid global demand as countries

reopened from pandemic lockdowns, boosting

its stuttering economy.

But the country's recovery in the second half

of 2021 was hobbled by a series of outbreakswith

officials reimposing strict containment

measures-as well as power outages caused by

an emissions-reduction drive, supply chain

problems and surging energy costs.

While the forecast marks a healthy annual

tick-up from 2.3 percent in 2020 -- those issues

put a dampener on factory activity and led to

businesses shuttering.

indicated that most people would opt for

contactless online medical consultations,

provided the quality is of a high standard

given the current COVID-19 situation.

Anyone can download the app for free from

Google Play Store

https://metlifebd.online/d4454e to access

health awareness and disease prevention

tools like BMI (Body Mass Index), COVID-19

symptom checker, individual health risk

assessment, and the option to analyze one's

financial priorities to find suitable financial

protection solutions.

Based on specific insurance product

subscription, MetLife customers can unlock

exclusive features like free virtual doctor

consultations, special discounts on

diagnostic tests through digital their life card,

and preferential access to specialists like

Cardiologists, Psychologists, Nutritionists,

Gynecologists, Gastrologists and General


They were compounded by a crackdown on

debt in the property sector, which accounts for

a huge part of the economy.

"Key factors... were the impact of power

shortages, the residential construction sector

slowdown and moderating retail sales," said

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at

IHS Markit.

The analysts tipped growth of just 3.5 percent

on-year for the fourth quarter, down from 4.9

percent the previous three months and 7.9

percent from April-June.

And headwinds from the construction sector

slowdown, as well as the impact of Covid

measures on consumer spending, will likely

pose a "significant drag" on growth this year,

Biswas added. Beijing has been on high alert as

it prepares to host the Winter Olympics next

month, with its zero-Covid policy powering

lockdowns, border restrictions and lengthy


"These delays and backlogs could exacerbate

the inflation in shipping costs as well as exert

pressure on export volumes," he told AFP.

SUndAY, JAnUARY 16, 2022


Portugal and Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview broadcast late on

Thursday there are "difficult battles" ahead if his country are to qualify for the World Cup for the

sixth successive time.

Photo : AP

Ronaldo says road to Qatar

World Cup ‘difficult’

SAO PAULO : Portugal and

Manchester United star Cristiano

Ronaldo said in an interview broadcast

late on Thursday there are "difficult

battles" ahead if his country are to

qualify for the World Cup for the sixth

successive time, reports BSS.

Portugal, the 2016 European

champions, face Turkey in a play-off

semi-final in March before a potential

final against Italy, the team that

succeeded them last year as kings of the


"It would be very sad if we did not

reach our objective, which is the World

Cup," the five-time Ballon d'Or winner

told ESPN Brasil.

Zverev says no

Djokovic would

make Australian

Open wide open


champion Alexander Zverev

nominated himself Saturday

among a small cohort

capable of winning what is

shaping as an "interesting"

Australian Open should

defending champion Novak

Djokovic not play, reports


The world number three

German also included

Spanish great Rafael Nadal,

Russian Daniil Medvedev

and Stefanos Tsitsipas of

Greece among his tips.

The unvaccinated

Djokovic is facing

deportation with his hopes

of playing his first-round

match next week rapidly


Zverev said if the Serb

does take to the court "he

would be the favourite.

That's just the way it is".

"But I think a lot of other

guys have been proving to be

playing well here, have

proven to be playing well last

year," he added. "I think you

need to talk about

Medvedev, Tsitsipas, who

has been playing extremely

well here over the last few

years. I think myself, I have

been playing well the last six

months of last year. "I have

practised with Rafa who I

think is playing incredible

right now again.

"There are still a lot of guys

that have the potential to

make this tournament really

interesting. I think it's going

to be a fun one to watch."

Zverev captured his second

ATP Finals title in

November, producing a

brilliant performance to

defeat world number two

Medvedev, adding to the

Olympic gold medal he won

in Tokyo. That trophy in

Turin was his sixth of the

year and he is keen to carry

the momentum forward,

starting at Melbourne Park.

He said would not get a

proper feel for where his

game was until he got on

court and played a few


Ronaldo has not missed a major

international tournament since making

his debut for Portugal in 2003.He has

played in four World Cups and five

Euros, also reaching the final in 2004.

"In football and in life we go through

difficult moments but what matters is

the ability to get back up," the 36-yearold


"We know we have difficult battles,

first against Turkey. And if we win, I

think it will be against Italy. We will see.

In March we will be prepared, it will be

a battle, it will be great for football


Portugal host Turkey on March 24

while Italy entertain North Macedonia,

with the final five days later.

At least one of the last two European

champions will not make it to the

World Cup in Qatar from November 21

to December 18.

"That's life, there are no perfect

scenarios. We have to face things as

they are," said Ronaldo, who has

experienced a mixed return to Old

Trafford this season.

While his personal return of 14 goals

in 21 games in all competitions is

impressive, the United are struggling

down in seventh place in the Premier

League, although they have reached the

Champions League last 16 and FA Cup

fourth round.

Eighteen-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert said Friday she has

been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, saying she decided to share the

news in hopes of helping others.

Photo : AP/File

Tennis great Evert

reveals ovarian

cancer diagnosis

LOS ANGELES : Eighteentime

Grand Slam

champion Chris Evert said

Friday she has been

diagnosed with ovarian

cancer, saying she decided

to share the news in hopes

of helping others.

"I wanted to share my

stage 1 ovarian cancer

diagnosis, as a way to help

others," Evert wrote in a

statement posted on

Twitter. "I feel very lucky

that they caught it early and

expect positive results from

my chemo plan.

"Thanks to all of you for

respecting my need to focus

on my health and

treatment plan. You will see

me appear from home at

times during ESPN's

coverage of the Aussie


Evert, 67, expanded on

her diagnosis in an article

posted on ESPN's website

that noted that in many

cases ovarian cancer goes

undetected until it is in a

later, less treatable phase.

Evert's younger sister,

Jeanne Evert Dubin, died

of the same disease in

February of 2020 at the age

of 62. In this October, Evert

discovered through

improved genetic testing

that she, too, was at risk

and her cancer was

diagnosed in December

after she underwent a

preventive hysterectomy,

according to the ESPN

article co-written by the

tennis legend.

She began the first of six

planned rounds of

chemotherapy, and cancer

has not been detected

elsewhere in her body. "I've

lived a very charmed life,"

Evert noted. "Now I have

some challenges ahead of

me. But, I have comfort in

knowing the chemotherapy

is to ensure that cancer

does not come back." Evert

was a dominant figure in

women's tennis in the

1970s, earning 157 WTA

singles titles and reaching

at least the semi-finals in 52

of 56 Grand Slam

tournaments in which she

played. Her two-handed

backhand and ruthless

precision from the baseline

influenced generations of

women players. Her rivalry

with Martina Navratilova,

stretching from 1973 until

1988 and including 14

Grand Slam final clashes, is

one of the greatest in sports

history. Since retiring,

Evert has worked as a

television commentator,

and she has also been a

mentor to talented young

players navigating the early

stages of their WTA


BOA pays

homage to


DHAKA : The members of the

newly elected executive

committee of Bangladesh

Olympic Association (BOA),

paid a rich tribute to

Bangabandhu at his

Dhanmondi 32 residence in

the city on Friday morning,

reports BSS.

The newly elected

committee of BOA, led by its

president and Chief of Army

Staff General SM Shafiuddin


PHD, paid homage by placing

wreaths at portrait of Father

of the Nation Bangabandhu

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and

prayed eternal peace of the

departed soul.

BOA secretary General Syed

Shahed Reza and BOA vice

president Sheikh Bashir

Ahmed Mamun, among

others, were also present.

Talking to the pressmen,

BOA's president said: "We are

celebrating the golden jubilee

of independence and the birth

centenary of Father of the

Nation. The programme

undertaken on the occasion of

the birth centenary of the

Father of the Nation has been

extended till March 26 as it

was not possible to do

everything due to COVID-19

pandemic. At such a time,

taking responsibility for this

committee is especially


The BOA president, who

considers himself as lucky to

have been given the

responsibility of the

committee at this special time,

said: "We are really lucky to be


Bangabandhu was not only

the Father of the Nation but

he was also a good player. He

had enough passion for sports

which he showed as long as he

lived. Today, I feel really lucky

to be able to pay my respect to

him. We have said before that

this committee wants to do

something better than before.

In sha'Allah we will do that."

Nadal happy

to 'feel like a

tennis player

again' after

injury woe


Nadal said Saturday that he

was happy just to be back

playing tennis at the Australian

Open after a turbulent

few months dogged by

injury and then being "very

sick" with Covid.

The 35-year-old Spaniard

will be chasing a record 21st

Grand Slam crown when he

begins his Melbourne title

charge on Monday against

the 66th-ranked American

Marcos Giron.

The draw could open up

nicely for him with the grave

uncertainty surrounding

reigning champion Novak

Djokovic, but Nadal said

that he is not expecting too

much of himself.

"I came here just with the

clear goal to be back on the

tour, that's the most important

thing," said Nadal, who

battled a foot injury for

much of last year, ended his

season in August and contracted

Covid in December.

Garbine Muguruza.

Benzema crowns France comeback

with player of the year prize

PARIS : Karim Benzema has crowned his

surprising rehabilitation with Les Bleus by

being named France Football's national

player of the year, reports BSS

The Real Madrid striker was recalled by

France coach Didier Deschamps after being

dropped by him in late 2015 following a

scandal involving a sex tape featuring a

former teammate.

"It had been almost six years since I last

played, I had to feel my way a little, watch,

adapt. It didn't take long," Benzema, who

turned 34 in December, told France Football

in an interview published on Saturday.

Benzema edged two previous winners,

Kyian Mbappe and N'Golo Kante, in the

France Football poll announced on Friday,

despite receiving a one-year suspended

sentence in November.

Benzema is appealing his conviction for

complicity in a bid to blackmail former

France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena with a

sex tape. Benzema has scored nine goals for

France since his return.

Karim Benzema has crowned his surprising rehabilitation with Les Bleus

by being named France Football's national player of the year. Photo : AP

Muguruza fears ‘real truth’

about Peng Shuai may

never be known


number three Garbine

Muguruza said Saturday

that the "real truth" about

what happened to Peng

Shuai may never be known

after the tennis star accused

a senior Chinese politician of

sexual assault.

Peng, a former

Wimbledon and French

Open doubles champion,

alleged on social media in

November that former vicepremier

Zhang Gaoli forced

her into sex during a longterm

on-off relationship.

It was the first time that

the #MeToo movement had

touched China's ruling

Communist Party but Peng's

online post was deleted and

her claims censored, then

she disappeared from

public, only to reappear

three weeks later.

However, there remain

doubts about how free Peng

really is and having made

global headlines for weeks,

the outcry about her plight

has since died down and the

focus of the tennis world

shifted to Novak Djokovic's

visa saga.

"Are we going to know

something about this? I

don't know, I think it's a

complicated country to deal

with," Muguruza told

reporters of Peng and China,

which will host the Winter

Olympics next month in the

capital Beijing.

"It's a little bit not moving

forward, I feel. It's just there

since months and months,"

two-time Grand Slam

champion Muguruza said

ahead of the start of the

Australian Open on

Monday, where Peng will be


"It seemed like for a

moment, okay, we're going

to find out what's


"I think it's going to be

Filling the roll of a traditional central

striker, he has meshed well with the other

two attackers, Mbappe and Antoine

Griezmann. "I find myself in the best

circumstances" in the French team, he told

France Football, saying that the partnership

with Mbappe and Griezmann is "working

well", and has grown even "better" than

when he first returned last summer.

"Now, when one drops, the other goes

long, and vice versa. It's better," he said.

Benzema scored four goals at the European

Championship, including a pair as the world

champions were surprisingly eliminated in

the round of 16 by Switzerland, who fought

back with two late goals to draw 3-3 and then

won on penalties. He finished the calendar

year with a bang, scoring five goals in four

internationals as France rebounded by

winning the Nations League and completing

a succesful World Cup qualifying campaign.

"I just have to stay at this level," he said.

"Now we have to win collective trophies," he


very difficult to find a real

truth and for her to be able

to talk freely."

The Women's Tennis

Association led the way in

demanding to know what

happened to Peng and

suspended tournaments in

China over it.

"I feel like this is

something that the WTA has

done great," added Spain's


"I think they've showed a

lot of courage and character

by supporting these and

taking these strong


Australia's world number

one Ashleigh Barty said as

far as the players and the

WTA were concerned on

Peng, "our message hasn't


"We hope that she's well,

we really do hope that she's

well, she's okay, and

hopefully we see her back

out here soon," she said.

Photo : Internet

sUNDAY, JANUARY 16, 2022


Mim receives

digital award

Tanvir Tareq to be seen in Afzal Hossain’s

film ‘Maniker Lal Kakra’

National Award-winning composer

Tanvir Tareq will be seen on the big

screen as a musician along with

directing music for film maker Afzal

Hossain's upcoming children's film

"Maniker Lal Kakra.", reports UNB

Tanvir said that this was a

surprising offer for him.

"Afzal one day asked me whether I

could come with the guitar in the next

day's shoot and his request was like

an order to me."

The actress was singing the song

and I had to play the guitar with her

'Mortal Kombat' has emerged as

the victor of the 2021 Warner Bros.

released films on HBO Max with

the most viewers. Towards the end

of 2020, Warner Bros. parent

company WarnerMedia decided to

premiere their entire 2021 film

slate in theaters and on HBO Max

alongside Wonder Woman 1984

for Christmas of 2020. The move

was a controversial one but one

that Warner Bros. saw as a way to

not only drive subscribers for

their new streaming service but

also as a way to give audiences the

option to choose how to see

movies safely during the

uncertain Covid-19 crisis.

Warner Bros. released a wide

in that scene, he said.

Afzal at first told about two songs

for the film. One was for the story

where actress Sohana Saba will lip

sync and another was the theme

track, said Tareq.

The filmmaker chose a song of

Tagore, "Diner Belay Bashi Tomar

Bajiyechile," he said. Both the songs

were composed for guitar as Afzal

requested, said the music director.

Regarding his new experience of

acting Tanvir said," Probably this is

the first and last time I'd be seen

array of films on HBO Max

through the year, from highly

anticipated franchise installments

like The Matrix Ressurection and

The Suicide Squad, to adultskewing

films like King Richard

and The Many Saints of Newark,

to family-friendly offerings like

Tom & Jerry and Space Jam: A

New Legacy.

While some films like Godzilla vs

Kong and Dune were box office

hits, others like In The Heights and

The Suicide Squad suffered at the

box office for being available to

stream at home. With Warner Bros.

and HBO Max's experimental year

now over, the streaming numbers

have been gathered, and it appears

acting. But at least I can now say I've

acted in a film once!"

"Being a part of a legendary

filmmaker like Afzal Hossain's film

was a big achievement for me. Maybe

he included me in this small part on

the screen out of affection".

Maniker Lal Kakra is a film based

on writer and novelist Manik

Bandopadhyay's story while Masum

Reza has written the script of the


Ferdous Ahmed and Sohana Saba

have been casted for the movie.

‘Mortal Kombat' was last year’s moststreamed

new film on HBO Max

the winner is Mortal Kombat.

According to Business Insider,

of the entire 2021 Warner Bros.

slate released on HBO Max,

Mortal Kombat had the best

weekend of any of the Warner

Bros. releases on HBO Max with a

total of 3.8 million viewers. The

data was provided by SambaTV,

which had records for all Warner

Bros. films released on HBO Max

in their first four days of release

based on a household watching at

least five minutes of the movie,

and the data is limited to

connected-TV devices in the US,

such as Roku and gaming


Source: Variety


Actress Bidya Sinha Saha Mim, one of the winners in the

category 'Notable contribution to Bangladesh film industry' at

the second edition of Films and Frames Digital Awards based

in Kolkata, received her trophy on Wednesday.

Confirming the news on Thursday, Mim said, "I am very

happy and delighted for this. Though the award was

announced few months back, I received the trophy on

Wednesday. I feel really honoured that they choose me from

Bangladesh for my contribution in the film industry".

Films and Frames Digital Film Awards, popularly known as

FAFDA, are awards to reward artistic and technical merit in

the Bengali Film Industry.

With over 40 award categories, the award show is said to be

the first of its kind that gives viewers the unique experience of

'at home' (AH) virtual award show by harnessing the power of

social and digital media platforms. The second edition of the

show partnered with Instagram.

At the FAFDA 2021, Bangladeshi actors Nusraat Faria and

Siam Ahmed were also recognised for their 'Notable

Contribution in the Bangladeshi Film Industry' along with



All have to pay for our sins -

This is the central message

of 'Raat Jaga Phool' that gain

audiences praise. The heart

of this film, which marks the

silver screen directorial

debut of Mir Sabbir, lies in

the storyline. It sheds light

on the co-existence of

human beings and animals

like dogs, owls, monkeys,

snakes, lizards, and tigers.

Such animals play vital roles

in the movie.

Particularly, the first 40

minutes of this film will have

viewers glued to the screen.

The story, music, and

cinematography are

enchanting. "Raat Jaga

Phool" is shot in beautiful

locations. Scenes of villages

and the rural fair are

memorable. Nature is deeply

intertwined into the


The music of the film is

excellent. "Bandor Bondhu",

‘Rare to find a

project that can

consume you…’

Actress Vaani Kapoor, who

will be next seen in

'Shamshera', says she never

chooses films thinking that

she would win awards for

them, but picks them from

her heart.

Vaani says: "I have never

chosen films thinking I will

win awards for them. I have

always chosen projects from

my heart and that's why I'm

fortunate that I have films like

'Chandigarh KareAashiqui' in

my filmography.

"It is rare to find a project

that can consume you, make

you dissolve yourself on

screen to become someone

like Maanvi. Maanvi is an

idea and an ideal for the

world and I'm blessed that I

got to play this character with

all my heart and soul," Vaani

Kapoor said.

She said that if people have

loved my performance it's

because the character was

written so "beautifully and

with so much dignity."

Vaani Kapoor added: "If I

were to win awards, I would

dedicate them to the

transgender community in

India because we wanted to

speak about inclusivity. If the

film wins or my performance

wins, it will show people that

mainstream media is

embracing this thought of

much-needed change."

Source: Bollywood Hungama

The Best Film award was given to 'Biye Dot Com' directed by

Sudeshna Roy and Abhijeet Guha.

The Best Actor award was won by Tota Roy Chowdhury for

his performance in the film 'Feluda Ferot' while the Best

Actress award was given to Sohini Sarkar for the film

'Judgement Day'.

Mim is currently awaiting release of her films 'Damal' and

'Poran'. She has films like 'Ittefaq' and 'Antarjal' in the


‘Raat Jaga Phool’ gains

audiences praise

voiced by Rahul Ananda to

the composition of Emon

Chowdhury, stands out.

People will be humming the

song once they step out of

the cinema hall, without

knowing the lyrics. Besides,

the last song of the film,

"Phote Phool Phote, Raat

Jaga Phool Phote", voiced by

Momotaz, will win over


It is evident that Mir Sabbir

made "Raat Jaga Phool", a

government-granted film,

with a lot of passion. Besides

directing, he was involved

with the story, screenplay,

dialogues, and music of the

project. He has also acted in

the film. However, it cannot

be said that he succeeded in

every area.

The script and dialogues of

the movie could have been

sharper. Some characters

seemed unnecessary, while

others were not properly

utilised. The story also felt

slow at times. Mir Sabbir's

acting in the role of Rais

Pagla fell short at times. I

hope he will take note of such

matters before making his

second directorial movie.

That being said, "Raat Jaga

Phool" is a likable film in

many ways.

Fazlur Rahman Babu, as

expected, is outstanding in

the film. The rest of the cast

also did a commendable

job. "Raat Jaga Phool" was

released on the last day of

2021. Such films can make

a positive impact on our

film industry, if people

accept them and rush to

the cinema halls to watch


H O R O s c O P E


(March 21 - April 20) : Today you might learn

something about a friend that could be rather

disconcerting, Aries. There could be a dark

side to this person that you weren't previously aware of, and

this could cause you to want to withdraw for a while and

reevaluate your involvement with this individual. When

considering it, remember that we all have our dark sides.

Could what you've discovered simply be this factor, or does

this go too far beyond it for you? Think about it!


(April 21 - May 21) : Outside responsibilities

might temporarily interfere with your love

life, Taurus. You may feel a strong desire to

get together with a love partner early in the

evening, but circumstances may necessitate your working

odd hours. This can be frustrating, as you've been looking

forward to this for a long time, but you could meet your

friend later in the evening. Don't be afraid to ask. Most

people understand when situations like this crop up.


(May 22 - June 21) : Today you're likely to find

your routine too boring for words, Gemini,

and may have a sudden powerful urge to cut

loose and play some serious hooky. Still, you

may feel the pull of obligation. This conflicted feeling should

pass. If it persists beyond today, however, you might need to

reevaluate certain areas of your life. There are lots of

opportunities out there, and life is too short to be stuck in a

situation that doesn't allow you to grow.


(June 22 - July 23) : You could be feeling

especially sensual and passionate today,

Cancer, and you'll want to get together

with a love interest. However, other responsibilities

could get in your way. This could provide you with the

perfect excuse to sink into gloom, but don't fall into this

trap. Get whatever business you're facing handled and

out of the way. Or perhaps you can arrange to finish it

tomorrow. Then set up that hot date!


(July 24 - Aug. 23): You may feel a bit of

disappointment today, Leo. You might

tend to view whatever snags you've hit on

the path to accomplishing your goals as

personal failures, and if you let it, this idea could persist

with you throughout the day. Try to remain objective,

and don't lose sight of the big picture. You haven't even

lost a battle - at worst, it's a minor conflict! Chances are

that if you continue working hard you'll still win the war!


(Aug. 24 - Sept. 23): A rather disheartening

phone call could come to you today, Virgo.

This might bring news of a setback in one

of your projects that is only temporary but

nonetheless frustrating. You'll probably have to deal with

some trivial little details you'd rather not bother with,

and this could take up too much valuable time. Hang in

there - you're still doing well! Don't let your frustrations

get the best of you.


(Sept. 24 - Oct. 23): After the rush of

energy over the past few days, Libra,

today you may feel a powerful letdown.

Not every day can be filled with

adventure and excitement. For now, you just need to

take care of the routine matters that are a byproduct

of life on Earth. However, keep in mind that there are

many weekends coming up, and with the right kind

of planning you can get excitement back into your life.


(Oct. 24 - Nov. 22) : A goal that you've been

trying to reach may be temporarily

stalled, Scorpio, and you could be

tempted to slip into despair, wondering

if it will ever really happen. Remember that the

keyword for today is "temporary." Whatever obstacles

are in your way will eventually be overcome and your

goal should be to continue to advance in the direction

you want. In the meantime, take care of your chores.


(Nov. 23 - Dec. 21): Today you might realize

that you need to make a certain purchase,

Sagittarius. Perhaps your home or car

requires some important repairs, or maybe

some new equipment is necessary for your work. This could

prove rather disheartening, as it might involve spending

money that you'd rather use for something more exciting.

Think of the trouble this expenditure should save you,

however, and you'll see the value of it all.


(Dec. 22 - Jan. 20): The weight of too many

responsibilities, perhaps involving family, a

job, or group affiliation, could be very much

on your mind today, Capricorn. You may feel like Atlas,

carrying the world on your shoulders! You're tired. Perhaps

you need to reevaluate your commitments - your innate

kindness may have caused you to make too many. Fulfill the

ones you have, but think twice before making any new ones.

You're important too, after all.


(Jan. 21 - Feb. 19) : You may have your

ups and downs today, Aquarius. You

could get at least one phone call of the

"good news, bad news" variety, and this

could have your moods swinging back and forth like a

pendulum. Try to stay centered. Take the good news

as encouragement, and as for the bad news, try to

consider it objectively and figure out ways to turn it to

your advantage. There's always a way. Hang in there!


(Feb. 20 - Mar. 20) : Normally you tend to be a very

spiritually oriented person, Pisces, but today you

might find metaphysical concepts of all kinds

rather baffling. Whether these are ideas you've

embraced for a long time or new ones you've just discovered, you

may find nagging little doubts creeping in, temporarily causing

your faith to waver. This is a healthy development, however. A

little doubt now and then can weed out concepts that don't work

for you and reaffirm your belief in others.



32-yr-old man

found dead in

Magura shop

MAGURA : A 32-year-old

man, the son of a former

police officer, has been

found dead in a shop in

Magura's Sreepur upazila,

cops said on Saturday,

reports UNB.

The deceased was

identified as Murad

Hossain, son of Siddiqur

Rahman of Vitasair village in

Magura Sadar upazila. He

worked at the same shop in

Sabdalpur Bazar, where he

died on Friday evening.

His father alleged that

Murad was killed, while

shop owner Malek Khan's

son Matiar Khan claimed

that he died of an illness.

Sreepur police station

officer-in-charge Shukdev

Roy said the body was sent

to the morgue of Magura

Sadar Hospital for an

autopsy. "A case has been

registered at the police

station in this regard."

6 robbers

held in Cox's


COX'S BAZAR : Members of

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab)

detained six robbers along

with arms from Maheshkhali

channel in Maheshkhali

upazila of Cox'a Bazar district

Friday midnight, reports


The detainees are Nezam

Uddin, Shakil, Sazzad, Sujon,

Manik and Omar Faruk of

the upazila. Tipped off, a

team of Rab-15 conducted a

drive in the area and detained

the robbers along with three

guns and 11 bullets, said

Senior Assistant Director of

Rab-15 Abu Salam


The elite force members

detained them when they

were taking preparation to

loot valuables from a fishing

trawler in Sonadia Channel of

the Bay of Bengal, he said.

On the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur

Rahman, a sports competition was organized at Nilphamari Kishoreganj Upazila Stadium on


Photo : Mafi Mohiuddin

Bayer enhances leadership role

for its key South Asia executives

Bayer, a global life sciences

company present in

Bangladesh for over four

decades, on Wednesday

announced enhanced

leadership roles for D

Narain and Simon Thorsten

Wiebusch, two senior

executives from

its South Asia

team, to support

its strong

commitment to

improve the

livelihood of 100

m i l l i o n

s m a l l h o l d e r s

globally and deliver

sustainable farming

solutions, a press release


D Narain, currently

President, Bayer South Asia,

takes on additional

leadership responsibilities

as Global Head of

Smallholder Farming for

Bayer.Simon Thorsten

Wiebusch,COO of Bayer's

CropScience business for

India, Bangladesh, and Sri

Lanka (IBSL) takes over as

the Country Divisional

Head of the Crop Science

business in these countries.

D Narain and Simon will

continue to be based out

ofMumbai, India.

Over the last four decades,

Bayer CropScience and its

legacy companies have been

working closely with

farmers and key

stakeholders in Bangladesh,

to improve the agricultural

productivity and livelihood

of smallholder farmers in

the country.

Bayer CropScience

Limited Bangladesh is a

joint venture between

g o v e r n m e n t - o w n e d ,



I n d u s t r i e s

Corporation (BCIC)

and Bayer AG and

is helping farmers

through innovative

and climate-smart

hybrid seeds,

research based

modern crop

protection solutions,

advisory services and

capacity building


The new initiative of

'Better Life Farming'

provides support to

smallholders & rural agrientrepreneurs

across the


Abdul Bari Joarddar (97), a heroic Freedom Fighter, language soldier and veteran politician from

Kumarkhali, Kushtia, breathed his last on Friday evening at his residence in Serkandi area of the city

due to old age. He was given a guard of honor at the Eidgah ground of Kumarkhali Bara Jame

Mosque on Saturday afternoon.

Photo : MR Nayan

Thieves raiding rail cargo

containers in Los Angeles

RMCH records

one more fatality

in Covid-19 unit

RAJSHAHI : Rajshahi

Medical College Hospital

(RMCH) recorded one more

fatality in its Covid-19 unit

during the last 24 hours till

6am on Saturday, reports


RMCH Director Brigadier

General Shamim Yazdani

said the deceased was a

female and hailed from

Rajshahi district. She had

symptoms of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, thirty-one

patients, including eleven

tested positive for Covid-19,

are undergoing treatment in

the designated unit of the

hospital at present.

Another patient returned

home after being cured in

the unit during the period.

Eighteen more people

were found Covid-19

positive after testing 150

samples in Rajshahi's two

laboratories on Friday,

showing 12 percent infection


2 killed in

Feni road


FENI : Two brothers were

killed and two people

injured when a private car

hit a tree near BSCIC

Industrial area on Dhaka-

Chattogram highway in Feni

on Saturday, reports UNB.

The deceased were

identified as Biplob, 32, an

assistant teacher of Mirsarai

Sasarat Government

Primary School and his

brother Tushar, 40, an


They were sons of Dinesh

of Sasrat Banglabazar area

of Ichakhali union in

Mirsarai upazila of


Police said the private car

carrying the two brothers

rammed a tree when its

driver lost control over the

steering, leaving them dead

on the spot.

Journalist Manik Saha's 18th death

anniversary observed in Khulna

KHULNA : Journalists and other sociocultural

and political organizations in the city

on Saturday observed the 18th death

anniversary of eminent journalist Manik

Saha demanding to unearth the

masterminds behind his killing and ensure

capital punishment.

"We were not satisfied with the verdict of

the journalist Manik Saha murder case

which Khulna Speedy Trial Tribunal

announced on November 30, 2016" speakers

told a commemoration meeting held

coinciding with the death anniversary of

Saha, who was killed in a bomb attack on

January 15 in 2004 near the Khulna Press

Club (KPC).

They also noted with sorrow that at least

25 newsmen including Humayun Kabir Balu

were killed in the region over the past two

decades but most of the masterminds and

assassins still remained beyond the reach of


Shaha was a senior reporter of vernacular

Bangla daily Sangbad. He did also work for

the New Age, Ekushey TV and BBC radio.

Chaired by President of Khulna Press Club

S M Nazrul Islam, the meeting was

addressed, among others, by Mokbul

Hossain Mintu, Sheikh Abu Hassan, Md.

Saheb Ali, Mahbub Alam Sohag and Shah


The speakers earlier placed wreaths at a

monument built on the KPC premises in

memory of the slain journalists.

Different organizations, including Manik

Saha Smrity Parisad, ruling Awami league,

CPB, Udichi, Khulna Union of Journalists

(KUJ), Swadhinata Sangbadik Forum, also

paid tributes to his memory while Chhatra

Union of Khulna unit staged a candlelight

vigil there at dawn.

Immediately after the murder police filed

two cases, one under Explosives Act,

accusing "anonymous killers" for the

assassination and after investigations

submitted the charge sheet in the court of

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate naming 13

suspects on December 12, 2008.

On November 30, 2016, Khulna Divisional

Speedy Trial Tribunal sentenced nine

outlaws of banned Biplobi (Janajuddha) and

Purba Banglar Communist Party to life term

imprisonment and acquitted two outlaws of

Manik Saha killing case.

Mexico sees fake molnupiravir, 1

week after drug approved

MEXICO CITY : Mexico said Friday it is

already seeing black market or fake

versions of molnupiravir circulating for

sale, just one week after authorities

approved the drug to treat those at risk of

severe COVID-19.

The real medication is produced by U.S.

pharmaceutical company Merck. But

Mexico's health regulatory agency found

versions labelled molnupiravir for sale from

an array of companies like "Merit," "Molaz"

and "Azista."

The agency said Friday that it had no

record of any permits for import or sales of

those companies' drugs and considered

them a health risk, reports UNB.

The Federal Commission for Health

Protection wrote that, because

molnupiravir is approved only for

prescription use, "any product advertised

as over-the-counter molnupiravir should be

considered a health risk because of its

dubious origin." Mexico's government

approved molnupiravir from Merck for use

last week for adults with COVID-19 and "a

high risk of complications." On Friday the

agency approved a second pill, Paxlovid,

from Pfizer, for use on adult patients "at

risk for complications." Mexico has long

been plagued by counterfeit medicines,

corruption within the regulatory agency,

and a penchant for self-medication due to

the country's inadequate health care


The country has seen coronavirus cases

spike by over 200% in the last week,

apparently due to the omicron variant, and

faces a shortage of tests, which tends to

drive consumers toward the black market.

Mexico does so little testing that, while

test-confirmed COVID-19 deaths hover

around 300,000, a government review of

death certificates places the real toll at

around 460,000.

Pilot, passenger presumed dead

in Louisiana helicopter crash

THIBODAUX : A pilot and passenger are

presumed dead after the crash Friday of a

helicopter in a south Louisiana marsh, a

local government official said.

The sheriff's office in coastal Lafourche

Parish got a call from a witness who saw

the aircraft going down about 10:15 a.m.

in south Louisiana wetlands. The

wreckage was found in a marshy area

about 2:45 p.m., parish President Archie

Chaisson told reporters, reports UNB.

"It appears that the aircraft nosedived

and basically sunk into the mud, so

there's very little of the aircraft above the

water line," Chaisson said. A part of the

fuselage was found about 150 yards (140

meters) away, he said.

The bodies had not been found as of

Friday afternoon, according to the


Representatives of the Federal Aviation

Administration and the National

Transportation Safety Board were

traveling to the area to investigate.

Separately, the U.S. Coast Guard said in

a statement that its New Orleans sector

coordinated the dispatch of an MH-65

Dolphin helicopter crew, as well as a

special-purpose shallow water boat to

assist at the site.

The statement said the sheriff's office

was conducting an investigation into what

was believed to be the aircraft's debris

field, which was first identififed by the

aircrew sent from Air Station New


The Coast Guard said a privately held

helicopter operator, Rotocraft Leasing

Co., had alerted the agency that the

aircraft was overdue with two people


Chaisson said the company was

expected to release the names of those

aboard later.

There was no immediate statement

from the leasing company.

Dbœq‡bi MYZš¿

†kL nvwmbvi g~jgš¿

LOS ANGELES : Thieves have been

raiding cargo containers aboard

trains nearing downtown Los

Angeles for months, taking packages

belonging to people across the U.S.

and leaving the tracks blanketed

with discarded boxes, reports UNB.

The packages are from retailers

including Amazon, REI and others,

CBSLA reported Thursday. The sea

of debris left behind includes items

that the thieves apparently didn't

think were valuable enough to take.

While CBSLA cameras were on the

scene, one person was spotted

running off with a container used to

hold small packages, and a Union

Pacific railroad police officer was

spotted pursuing two other people

who were apparently going through


The scene was the same in

November, when NBC4 showed

thousands of boxes discarded along

the tracks lined with homeless

encampments northeast of

downtown in the Lincoln Park area.

Passing trains carried containers

with doors wide open and packages

tumbling out, NBC4 reported. Video

showed two men, one holding what

looked like bolt cutters, walking

along the tracks, the station said.

Union Pacific said in a statement

to CBSLA that the railroad was

concerned about increased cargo

thefts in California.

"We have increased the number of

Union Pacific special agents on

patrol, and we have utilized and

explored additional technologies to

help us combat this criminal activity.

We also will continue to work with

our local law enforcement partners

and elected leaders," the railroad


Amazon said it was directing

inquiries to police. The United

Parcel Service, UPS, declined to

comment on investigations into the

cargo thefts but said it was

cooperating with authorities.

"The safety of our customers'

goods and our employees is our

highest priority," UPS said in a


Luis Rosas, who makes about $20

an hour working for a company

subcontracted by Union Pacific to

salvage items from the tracks in the

Los Angeles area, says he's

encountered the brazen thieves in

action before. Using bolt cutters,

they break locks on the containers

and load up vans or trucks with the

stolen merchandise.

Rosas has been doing this work

almost daily for about six months

and while he's been told not engage

in confrontations, he still feels


"They don't even run off anymore.

They do it right in front of us," he

told The Associated Press on Friday,

wearing a bright yellow vest before

he headed to work to pick up car

tires along the tracks. "At first I was

shocked. I was amazed by it."

GD-93/22 (5x4)

sunday, dhaka: January 16, 2022; magh 2, 1428 bs; Jamadi-us sani 12, 1443 hijri

President to

address maiden

JS session of

2022 today

DHAKA : President M Abdul Hamid will

address the 16th session of the 11th Jatiya

Sangsad (JS) commencing today at 4 pm

as it is the maiden session of 2022,

reports BSS

In line with the parliamentary practice,

the President addresses the first parliamentary

sitting every year. Earlier, the

President convened the first parliament

session of 2022 exercising the power

bestowed upon him as per the Article 72

(1) of the Constitution.

The President's speech has already

been approved in the cabinet. The successes

and future plans, including the

development activities of the Awami

League government, will get priority in

his speech. Besides, several bills are likely

to be placed before the House and

passed as well in this session.

Before commencing the House proceedings

on the day, the Parliamentary

Business Advisory Committee is scheduled

to hold a meeting, with Speaker Dr

Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair,

to fix the duration and agendas of the session.

A spokesman of the parliament secretariat

told BSS that due to coronavirus

pandemic, this session is likely to be

short. This session will be held in compliance

with all health protocols amid

COVID-19 pandemic. Usually, the duration

of the first session of the year is held

relatively longer period as discussions

are taken on the 'Thanksgiving Motion

on President's Speech".

Gen Shafiuddin

vows to bridge

the gap between

military & media

DHAKA : Bangladesh Army chief

General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed has

vowed to bridge the gap between the military

and the media, reports BSS.

"After taking charge as the Army Chief,

I told the Prime Minister that there

should be no gap between the Army and

the public or the media. I feel we can all

work together," he told defense journalists

last week.

"Media management is actually part of

the Army training," he said during an

interaction with members of the Defense

Journalists Association of Bangladesh on

the sidelines of the Army's winter exercise

in Savar.

Blaming the media for sometimes creating

a rift by putting out "embarassing"

news about the Army, the General said,

"We will help each other."

A media cell is already there at the

Army headquarters and it will work with

the defence journalists, he said. "The

Army is prepared to perform any duties

as per the directives of the government."

On the exercise, the director of the

Directorate General of Military

Intelligence, Mamun Ur Rashid said, "Our

motto is 'hard training, easy war'."

Killing of ex-DU teacher

Arrested mason


GAZIPUR : A Gazipur court placed

mason Anwarul Islam on a three-day

remand on Saturday in a case over the

killing of former professor of Dhaka

University Saida Gaffar.

Gazipur Additional Chief Metropolitan

Magistrate Court-2 Judge Mehedi Pavel

Sweet passed the order after police produced

the arrestee before it and sought a

10-day remand to interrogate him,said

Dipankar Roy, sub-inspector of

Kashimpur police station.

Saida Gaffar, a former Professor of

Institute of Nutrition and Food Science

of the university, was found dead at

Kashimpur in Gazipur on Friday, two

days after she had gone missing.

The professor was buried on Friday

night at Mirpur Martyred Intellectuals

Graveyard, said her family.

Anwarul was arrested from Gaibandha

district earlier in the day following a

missing diary filed by the deceased's

daughter Sahida Afrin at Kashimpur

Police Station. Anwarul worked at the

under-construction building of the DU

teacher. Sub-Inspector (SI) Dipankar

Roy of Kashimpur Police Station said

Prof Saida's body was recovered from a

place away from her rented house at

Panishail in Kashimpur on Friday based

on the arrestee's information.

She used to live in the area to supervise

the construction work of her flat under a

Dhaka University Housing project.

modern quality dividers is being constructed on the road of Tejgaon-gulshan link

road of the capital city. The picture is taken yesterday.

photo: pba

Biggest incident of human rights

violation is to block the trial of

Bangabandhu's assassination:Hasan

Jaglul huda, rangunia CorrespondenT

Information and Broadcasting

Minister Hasan Mahmud said that "the

biggest violation of human rights in the

country is to block the way of

justice after the assassination of

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur

Rahman. This is the topmost human

rights violation in Bangladesh. In the

meantime, when Ziaur Rahman was in

power, many military officers were

hanged without trial. Human rights

have been violated at that time, but

now those who make various statements

about human rights do not

speak out."

He was speaking as the chief guest at

the bi-annual conference of the Upazila

Human Rights Commission at

the Advocate Nuruchfa Talukder

Auditorium of Rangunia Municipality

in Chattogram on Friday morning.

The Minister further said that the

government has taken various steps to

protect human rights in the country.

"From time to time various organizations

from abroad make statements

about the protection of human rights in

Bangladesh, but they never raise their

voices about the extreme human rights

violations in the countries where these

organizations make statements", the

minister said.

Chairman of the Upazila Human

Rights Commission KM Musha

presided over the ceremony and

General Secretary Master Iskander Mia

Talukder and Organizing Secretary SM

Abul Fazal co-chaired the discussion.

The inaugural speech was given by

Upazilla Parishad Chairman Sajon

Kumar Talukder.

Aminul Haque, Governor of

Chittagong Divisional Human Rights

Commission delivered the special

remarks. Rangunia Municipality

Mayor Shahjahan Sikder and

Chattogram District Council Member

Kamrul Islam Chowdhury were the

special guests.

Among others, UP Chairman Shafiul

Alam Shafi, Lawyer Sekander Chowdhury,

Rehena Akhter, Master Abdur Rauf,

Nirmal Kanti Das, Ranjan Barua, Former

Upazila Parishad Vice Chairman Akhtar

Hossain, Human Rights Leader Engineer

Oli Ahmed, Joint Secretary Rubaiyat

Rashedul, Md. Shahidullah were present

on the occasion.

BCS officers have to work as

servants:Shirin Sharmnin

safiqul islam (Jami)

Speaker of the National Parliament

Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury said

BCS officials should work to ensure

justice for the people and serve the

people. She said that their role

should be to bring the touch of development

to the doorsteps of the common

man at first.

The Speaker called upon the young

officials to be engaged in building a

better Bangladesh while maintaining

the continuity of development. She

was speaking as the chief guest at a

function titled '9th Anniversary of

Joining and Entering the 10th Year'

organized by the 31st BCS Cadre

Association at Bangamata Sheikh

Fazilatunnesa Mujib Auditorium of

the National Museum in the capital.

Meanwhile, the Speaker unveiled the

cover of the book 'The Politician' written

by the 31st BCS Cadre Association.

Officials of the 31st BCS Cadre

Association and media personnel were

present on the occasion.

The Speaker said Father of the

Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur

Rahman has worked for the realization

of the rights of the people of

Bengal through 24 years long struggle

and repeated imprisonment.

Our freedom gained in exchange

for his sacrifice, 3 million martyrs, 2

lac mothers and sisters. Today,

everyone can walk with their heads

held high in independent

Bangladesh. It is a great honor for the

officials to be able to work for the betterment

of the common man in an

independent country.

Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury

said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

is working tirelessly for building a

better Bangladesh and for the

socio-economic development of

the common people.

BCS officials are at the forefront

of all development activities in the

country. They have the greatest

opportunity to work for the betterment

of the economic condition of

the country and to bring smiles on

the faces of farmers, fishermen and

the general public.

She said that Egyptian writer

Mohsen Al Arishi has written a book

named 'Hasina: Hakaik wa Asatir' on

the rise of Bangladesh by the hands

of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his

daughter Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina which is very realistic.

The respect and reverence of the

Egyptian writer Mohsen Al-Arishi

towards the struggle and self-sacrifice

of the people of Bangladesh without

being a Bengali is truly

admirable. She sincerely thanked the

author for writing such a deeply

researched and enlightening book.

The 31st BCS Cadre Association

President Abdullah Al Hadi presided

over the function and General

Secretary Mrityunjay De Sajal conducted

the function and Chairman of

PSC Sohrab Hossain, Egyptian

researcher, writer and journalist

Mohsen Al Arishi and translator

Isfandiar Arion spoke on the occasion

as a special guest.

Kurigram sets an

example in reducing

child marriage,

says Speakers

DHAKA : Kurigram can be a role

model for other districts in bringing

down child marriage rate but more

coordinated efforts are required from

all level of stakeholders, said discussants

at a round table discussion on

Saturday, reports UNB.

The round table titled "Child Marriage

Free Kurigram, A Journey Towards A

Dream" was organised at the conference

room of Kurigram Deputy Commissioner

in Kurigram.

The round table was organised by

international development organisation

Plan Int’l Bangladesh and its local partner

RDRS Bangladesh under the project

"Building Better Future for Girls

(BBFG)" with the support of Sweden

Embassy in Bangladesh.

Addressing the discussion as the Chief

Guest, the Deputy Commissioner Md.

Rezaul Karim said Kurigram's District

Action Plan implementation is an example

for other districts of the country to

reduce the curse of child marriage.

"To bring the child marriage rate to

zero, we all are working together, and are

committed to continue the effort in

future. We have identified all the relevant

stakeholders, engage them with the

implementation process which is a big


This made us able to reach to the

community level. We are working to

bring a positive change in the society

through engaging different stakeholders,

activating different committees,

forming youth forums, strengthening

cultural activities."

Md Nazrul Islam, Project Manager of

BBFG, presented the key note article

where he mentioned, in 2017, the child

marriage rate of Kurigram was 65pc.

In a mid-time assessment in 2019, the

rate was found to be decreased to 46.8

pc. "We have developed a tool to collect

child marriage related information on

monthly basis.

DPDC blames delay in launching

Dhanmondi underground

cable project on DSCC

DHAKA : Despite huge efforts Dhaka

Power Distribution Company (DPDC) has

failed to start physical work on taking

overhead cables underground in the

Dhanmondi area as planned with the utility

officials blaming it on the Dhaka South

City Corporation (DSCC), reports UNB.

"We had full preparation to start the job

in September last as per plan. But we did

not receive permission from DSCC to dig

the streets to lay our cables and install

other equipment", said a top official of the


He, however, said they have been receiving

good cooperation from the Dhaka

North City Corporation (DNCC) to replace

the overhead cable with underground one.

"That's why we have been able to implement

another similar project from the

city's Jahangir Gate in Cantonment to

Bangabhaban, the presidential palace", he

said adding that cables were already laid

from Jahangir Gate to Farmgate area.

According to official sources, the DPDC

had undertaken a huge project of

Tk20,500 crore, funded by China, to take

its overhead electricity lines underground

as part of a mega plan to ensure an uninterrupted,

safe, secured electricity supply

to its part in Dhaka city.

"Making the views beautiful by removing

the ugly and hazardous cables is

Illegal establishments risk

survival of rivers in Khulna

TiTas ChakrobarTy, khulna CorrespondenT

The rescue operation has started on

the banks of Bhairab river and Rupsha

river in Khulna. The first eviction will

be carried out in 10 out of 25 mouzas.

The Bangladesh Inland Water

Transport Authority (BIWTA) has

started issuing letters to 1,274 illegal

occupants of these 10 mouzas. Khulna

Deputy Director AH Razzak confirmed

the information.

According to sources, the Bhairab river

has been occupied by influential people

for many years in some parts of Khulna

city and district and in some areas of the

adjoining Abhaynagar upazila. There are

permanent and temporary constructions

in these areas.

However, the river boundary is getting

smaller due to the illegal occupation

along the Khan Jahan Ali Bridge from

Khalishpur of Khulna city of Bhairab

river to Jelkhana Ghat and Custom Ghat

area of Rupsha river.

The length of Bhairab river is 142 km

and the average width is 60 meters but in

the south-west (Khulna) the width of

Bhairab river is 8 meters. At present the

width of the south-west has come down

to half.

According to AH Razzak, Deputy

Director, Khulna Shipping and Port

Authority, one of the reasons for this is

illegal settlement on both sides of the

river for a long time.

Influential quarters occupy both sides

of Bhairab in Khalishpar and Daulatpur

illegal settlements on the banks of bhairab river in khulna.

another main objective of the project",

said Bikash Dewan, managing director of

the DPDC.

He also said the overhead cables from

Jahangir Gate to Bangabhaban via

Karwan Bazar-Kakrail-Fakirapool-Dainik

Bangla crossing will disappear once the

project is completed.

He appreciated DNCC for cooperation

to implement this project as other utilities

like internet and TV cable operators have

showed positive attitudes to join the project.

About the failure to start the job in

Dhanmondi area in September, Bikash

said he is hopeful of settling some issues

with DSCC to convince it to give the nod to

dig the streets and start the physical work

of the project.

"I think, during next few meetings we

would be able to settle the issue with the

DSCC", he told UNB.

At present, a number of utility bodies

including Desco, DPDC, cable TV operators

and internet service providers (ISPs)

and state-owned land phone operator

BDCL use overhead cables to reach their

services to consumers.

All these utilities hang their respective

cables in the same poles used by the electricity

supply company which creates an

eyesore and carries a risk of accidents,

including fire.

areas of Khulna city especially known as

industrial hinterland. From the east side

of the Khulna office of the Bangladesh

Inland Water Transport Authority

(BIWTA) to the Customs Ghats, various

classes of traders are occupying. At low

tide in the Barabazar area, the mighty

Bhairab will feel like a canal. Due to the

reduced navigability of this river, at one

time large ships anchored at port 4, but

now they are anchored at the mouth of

Bhairab and Rupsa.

A meeting was held at the Khulna

Deputy Commissioner's Office on

December 22 with the concerned officials

of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport

Authority (BIWTA) and concerned officials

of Khulna City Corporation to evict

the illegal occupants. At that time,

according to the list of illegal occupants

on both sides of Bhairab river and

Rupsha river, it had been decided to give

letters to 1274 people.

According to the decision, out of the

total 25 mouzas, illegal occupants have

been evicted in 10 mouzas so far. The

mouzas include Baniakhamar, Helatala,

Putimari, Labanchara.

Goalpara, Pabla, Daulatpur, Mahesh-

Rapasha, Mirerdanga and Shyamganj.

Illegal establishments include government-private

and business entities.

In the Khulna part of the Bhairab river,

especially from the Sadar Hospital Ghat

area to the Customs Ghat area, brickand-sand

traders have occupied it.

photo : TbT

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