Dhaka : april 22, 2021; Baishakh 9, 1428 BS; Ramadan 9,1442 hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.Da~2065, Vol.19; N o. 16; 8 Pages~Tk.8.00


India records fresh high of

nearly 300,000 new COVID-19

cases, over 2,000 more deaths

>Page 3


Covid research to

solve mysteries of

other viruses

>Page 5

art & culture

Actor Alamgir

tests COVID-19


>Page 6

Minimum Fitra

Tk 70, maximum


DHAKA : The minimum Fitra

for this year has been fixed at

Tk 70 per person while the

maximum at Tk 2,310, reports


The decision was taken at a

virtual meeting of the National

Fitra Fixing Committee held

on Wednesday with its chairman

and Baitul Mukarram

National Mosque's senior pesh

imam Hafez Maulana

Mizanur Rahman in the chair.

Fitra, a compulsory charity

is paid to the needy before the

jamaat (congregation) of Eidul-Fitr.

Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the two

major festivals of the Muslim

community is scheduled to be

celebrated on May 13 (depending

on the moon sighting) this


Journo held under

DSA in Khulna

KHULNA : Aby Taiyab, the

Khulna Bureau Chief of NTV

news, has been arrested in

connection with a case filed

under the controversial Digital

Security Act (DSA), reports


Aby was picked upfrom his

residence in Khulna's Nur

Nagar area lateon Tuesday

night by a police team. "He

was arrestedaround 10.30

pm,"said Ahsraful Alam, officer-in-charge

of Khulna Police



04:13 AM

12:01 PM

04:30 PM

06:27 PM

07:44 PM

5:31 6:24


Ramadan Date Sehri Iftar

09 April 22 04:07 AM 06:27 PM

10 April 23 04:06 AM 06:27 PM

11 April 24 04:05 AM 06:28 PM

The movement of ordinary people in Dhaka increased on Wednesday, the eighth day of the strict lockdown

to prevent the transmission of coronavirus. The picture was taken from Jatrabari area. Photo : Star Mail

Covid-19 in Bangladesh

PM allocates Tk 10.50cr

for affected poor

DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on

Wednesday allocated Tk 10.50 crore in

favour of deputy commissioners of the country

to provide assistance to the poor, distressed

and insolvent people who have been

affected due to the ongoing lockdown that the

government enforced for containing the

spread of Coronavirus, reports UNB.

"The assistance has been provided from the

PM's Relief and Welfare Fund," said PM's

press secretary Ihsanul Karim.

He said the deputy commissioners will provide

the assistance after making lists of the

poor, distressed and insolvent people who

have been affected most by the going on lockdown.

The amount of the allotted money will vary

depending on the number of poor, distressed

and insolvent people in the districts.

Karim also said all the deputy commissioners

of 64 districts will get the share of the

allotted money.

The government has imposed a nationwide

limited scale lockdown for one week from

April 5 as part of its move to contain the spike

in both coronavirus infections and fatalities.

After the weeklong lockdown, the government

enforced a fresh one week lockdown

with harsher measures from April 14 and

later it was extended till April 28 midnight.

On April 18, the Prime Minister declared to

provide financial assistance to some 36 lakh

families who have been hit hard by the ongoing

coronavirus pandemic and recent natural


The 36 families include 35 lakh low-income

ones engaged in different occupations but hit

hard by the current coronavirus situation,

and the rest one lakh are farmers affected by

recent natural disasters.

An amount of Tk 2,500 will be provided as

cash support to 35 lakh families, while Tk

5,000 each will be given to one lakh families

of farmers.

The government will spend a total Tk 930

crore to disburse cash among 36 lakh families

as the allocation for Covid-hit low-income

families is Tk 880 crore and for disasteraffected

farmers is Tk 50 crore.

Out of 30,94,249 hectares of cropland in 36

districts, 10,301 hectares of cropland was

completely destroyed while 59,327 hectares

partially damaged due to strong winds, hailstorms

and cyclones on April 4, 2021. Some

100,000 farmers were directly affected due to

the recent disaster, according to the data of

the Department of Agricultural Extension.

Under the circumstances, the Ministry of

Agriculture has recommended providing Tk

5,000 to each farmer as they are affected by

double blows-natural calamity and Covid-19


The ministry has already started enlisting

one lakh farmers incorporating their names,

national identity card and mobile numbers in

the list. The actual allocation for the farmers

can be more or less depending on the number

of farmers in the final list.

In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the government

disbursed Tk 2,500 as cash aid to each 35

lakh families scrutinising a list of 50 lakh families

hit hard by the first wave of the Covid-19

pandemic. The allocation for providing cash

support to the poor families was Tk 1257.50


The Prime Minister in May 2020

inaugurated the disbursement of cash

support through G2P (Government-to-

Person) through mobile financial services


Ex-DUCSU VP Nur sued

under DSA in Rajshahi


Haque Nur was accused in another case under

the Digital Security Act in Rajshahi on

Wednesday for allegedly hurting religious sentiment.

Jubo League's Rajshahi city unit Joint

General Secretary Towrid Al Masud Rony filed

the case at Boalia Police Station.

Nur was accused of delivering provocative,

fake and defamatory comments on social

media and stoking religious hatred on April 15,

said Nibaran Chandra Barman, Officer-in-

Charge of Boalia Police Station.

The case documents have been sent to the

Cyber Crimes Tribunal and legal action will be

taken against Nur, the OC said.

Earlier, several more cases were filed against

the student leader on similar charges in

Chattogram, Dhaka and Sylhet.

The case statement said Nur has hurt religious

sentiment of Awami League supporters

with his comments during a programme on

April 16 in Shahbagh.

No Muslim can support Awami League, Nur

said in his speech adding that only some extortionists,

cheaters, drug traders, fortune seekers

support AL, the statement added.

The ex-DUCSU VP also placed the badge of

'Fake Muslims' against supporters and leaders

of Awami League, appearing on a Facebook

live on April 15.

Another top Hefazat

leader held in city

DHAKA : Members of Rapid Action

Battalion (Rab) arrested Maulana

Ataullah Amin, assistant general secretary

of Hefazat's Dhaka Metropolitan

Unit and joint secretary general of

Bangladesh Khilafat Majlish, from the

city's Mohammadpur area early

Wednesday, reports UNB.

According to Rab headquarters, the

elite force members arrested Amin

from a madrasha around 12:30 am.

He was arrested in connection with a

case filed with Paltan Police Station.

Detectives arrested Mawlana Qurban

Ali Kasemi, Vice-President of Hefazate-Islam

and Joint Secretary General of

Khilafat Majlish, from Dhaka's Basabo

area on Tuesday.

Earlier on April 18, Hefazat's Joint

Secretary General Mamunul Haq was

arrested from a madrasah in

Mohammadpur area.

Some other senior Hefazat leaders

were arresed in recent time after

Hefazat's activists acts of violence at different

parts of the country protesting

against the visit of Indian Prime

Minister Narendra Modi marking the

celebration of golden jubilee of the

country's independence last month.

Other arrested leaders include

Hefazat's Dhaka city unit president

Junaid Al-Habib, assistant general secretary

Jalaluddin Ahmed, its Dhaka

City unit vice-president Maulana

Jubair Ahmed, Assistant Publicity

Secretary Sharifullah and organising

secretary Azizul Haque Islamabadi.

Covid-19 in Bangladesh

95 more die with infection

rate falling to 15.07pc

DHAKA : Bangladesh registered 95

more Covid-related deaths in 24 hours

until Saturday that pushed up the total

number of fatalities to 10,683.

Besides, 4280 people were found

infected during the period after testing

28,408 samples, the Directorate

General of Health Services said in a


With the latest figure, the mortality

rate rose to 1.46 percent while the infection

rate declined to 15.07 percent from

Tuesday's 16.85 percent.

On Monday, the country had broken

all the previous records of Covid-19

deaths registering 112 fatalities.

Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus

cases on March 8 last year and

the first death on the 18th of that

month. Health authorities have so far

confirmed 732,060 cases. Among

DHAKA : BNP Secretary General

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on

Wednesday alleged that the government

has turned the country

into a 'hell' by arresting and

repressing the opposition leaders

and activists amid a pandemic,

reports UNB.

In a statement, he alleged that

police are not only arresting BNP

leaders and activists in different

parts of the country, including

Brahmanbaria, Dhaka and

Narsingdi, but also raiding their

houses, launching a crackdown.

"The Awami League government

has turned the whole country into a

hell. They're arresting the leaders

and activists of BNP and its associate

bodies every day. Even in the

month of Ramadan, the monstrous

image of the government seems to

have taken a bigger shape,"

Fakhrul said.

He urged the government to

immediately stop such arrests and

release the arrested opposition

leaders and activists.

Amid people's anxiety and panic

over the coronavirus pandemic, the

BNP leader said, the government

did not reduce its level of repression

on the opposition leaders and

activists. "Rather it has multiplied

them, 635,183 people - 86.77 percent of

all patients - have recovered.

April has been the deadliest month

since the beginning of the coronavirus

pandemic in the country as the highest

1637 deaths and 117,292 new cases

were recorded in 21 days of the month.

The virus claimed 568 lives in

January this year, 281 in February and

638 in March.

Dhaka division remains the worst-hit

region of the country.

Sixty of the 58 deaths reported on

Wednesday are from Dhaka division

while 17 from Chatogram and eight in

Rajshahi, three each in Rajshahi,

Sylhet, Rangpur, two in Barishal and

one in Mymensign divisions.

Among the total deceased, 6237 died

in Dhaka division, which is 58.38 percent

of the total fatalities.

Govt made Bangladesh

a ‘hell’: Fakhrul

many times."

Fakhrul said the people of

Bangladesh are now going through

a tough time under the 'barbaric'

rule of an 'oppressive regime'.

Poor people to get highest

priority in next budget:

Finance Minister

DHAKA : Finance Minister AHM

Mustafa Kamal has said that the

improvement of life and livelihood of

the poor people will get highest priority

in the next national budget, reports


"Our next national budget will be

dedicated to the poor people," he said

while briefing reporters on the outcomes

of the meeting of the Cabinet

Committee on Public Purchase on


Responding to a question on a survey

report which shows that poor people

are getting poorer, he said the government's

target is to bring the poor people

out of poverty.

He informed that implementation of

a government plan to provide Tk 2,500

each to 3.5 million low-income group

people as Covid-19 financial support is

getting delayed due to lack of introduction

of a formal system.

Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Md Atiqul Islam visited the ongoing development activities at Kalyanpur

Storm Water Pump Area on Wednesday morning.

Photo: PBA

ThURSDAY, APRIl 22, 2021


Community Radio Broadcasting for Tackling

2nd Wave of COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Community Radios have been

broadcasting various programs 160

hours a day for tackling the 2ndWave of

COVID-19 pandemic and Info-demic by

following the government instructions.

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio

and Communication (BNNRC) has been

exploring and sharing the updated

information and materials needed by the

radio stations. The content of the

program motivates community people to

stay at home and be safe, Take COVID-19

vaccine immediately, avoid gathering,

wear the mask, wash hands frequently,

etc. Community Radio broadcasts are a

useful means to share community

information, especially to the most

remote populations. In rural Bangladesh,

people depend on it as their primary

source of information, a press release


Since the Lockdown is going on and

the community radio stations have been

broadcasting COVID -19 related

program through community service

announcement (CSA) Radio Spots,

Jingle, Drama, magazine, interviews of

Upazila and District Corona Prevention

Committee, District and Upazila

Administration, and vaccination team on

COVID-19 and community people's

voices too. Community Radio

broadcasters are working by maintaining

a close liaison with the Local Corona

Committees, Communities, District, and

Upazila Administration for updates.

Community Radios have restricted

visitors' entry in the premises, make the

security alert, monitored body

temperature of broadcasters, and

disinfecting equipment and other

accessories frequently and regularly.

The Community Radios are a

Broadcasting program with special

emphasis to provide COVID-19 vaccine

to the disadvantaged and marginalized

community people and ensure

government incentive package for the

most vulnerable, disadvantaged, and

marginalized community during the


Community peoples are making phone

calls and sending SMS during the live

broadcasting to share their queries. They

are maintaining social distancing,

handwashing with soap, and avoiding all

public gatherings. National print and

online dailies have published the

initiatives that are fostering by the

community Radios to prevent the second

wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

BNNRC has been working for

adaptation and coping with the new

normal situation of COVID-19 pandemic

demands and reset new objectives to

enhance the capabilities of affected

communities through an equity lens for

adapting, coping, surviving with the new

normal situation. Focus on enhanced

capabilities of Broadcasters and

Stakeholders for exercising new normal

and building resilience.

In Mymensingh's Dhobaura, 36 bags of seeds and 28 sacks' fertilizer of government incentive were

seized by public from the east side of the Upazila Bazar Bridge.

Photo : Azharul Islam

Customers get lucrative discounts on

Walton products’ online purchase

A smuggler was arrested with 900 gram hemp from the Satkhira government high school area yesterday.

Photo : Motiar Rahman Modhu

GD-703/21 (5x3)

we`ÿ r/Rb-902(2)/21/4/21

GD-702/21 (5x3)

Krishak League men

join farmers in

paddy harvesting

DHAKA : Bangladesh

Krishak League activists on

Thursday joined farmers in

paddy harvesting to help

them during the Covid-19

pandemic, reports UNB.

Its presidentSamir

Chandaand general

secretaryAdv. Umme Kulsum

Smriti joined farmers in

harvesting Boro paddy in

haor of Gerajur of Sutarpar

union of Karimgang Upazila

under Kishoreganj district on

the inaugural day.

The central leaders also

instructed the district,

upazila, union and ward level

leaders, activists to make the

harvesting programme

successful like the previous


Samir Chanda, also an

agriculturist, said " When

farmers are facing problem

with their ripen paddy during

the coronavirus lockdown,

the leaders and workers of

Bangladesh Krishak League

are helping them in cutting

the paddy. Like last time,

Bangladesh Krishak League

men will participate in

harvesting paddy across the

country in accordance with

the health rules as per the

instructions of Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina."

Adv. Umme Kulsum Smriti

asked the leaders and

workers of Krishak League

across the country to cut the

paddy and hand it over to the

helpless farmers.

Among others, joint general

secretary of Bangladesh

Krishak League agriculturist

Bishwanath Sarkar Bittu,

office secretary Rezaul Karim

Reza, central committee

member and general

secretary of Kishoreganj

district Krishka League

Anwar Hossain Bachchu,

Krishak League central

committee member

Akhtaruzzaman Shipon and

Kishoreganj district Krishak

League president Ahmad

Ullah were present. .

Krishak League leaders and

activists will cut the paddy in

the Haor region on priority

basis to protect the crops

from flood caused by heavy


Customers are offered Walton

brand's electronics, electrical,

home and kitchen appliances as

well as IT devices with lucrative

facilities on E-plaza, says a press


The country's super brand's

online sales platform Walton E-

plaza is offering several facilities

like home delivery, attractive

discounts and so many for its

online buyers.

Walton is providing home

delivery services to the online

buyers through properly

maintaining the health safety

rules. Customers could buy all

kinds of products including

refrigerators, air conditioners,

televisions, mobile phones,

laptop-computer, electrical and

home appliances from E-plaza


with various facilities, including

maximum 50 percent discount,

installment facility and EMI

(Equal Monthly Installment)

facility at zero percent interest.

Customers can pay off the

prices through cash on delivery,

online banking or mobile


Nafis Ishtiaque, coordinator of

the campaign management and

business development of Walton

E-plaza, said the customers will

get flat 30 percent discount on the

purchase of certain models of

GD-700/21 (8x4)

refrigerators from e-plaza. With

the 12-month EMI facility, the

customers can also enjoy

attractive discount on the

refrigerator purchase. Customers

will be able to buy all other

models of refrigerators at home at

the MRP price and get home

delivery facility with charge.

Walton e-plaza is also

providing up to 40 percent

discount on certain models of air

conditioners. Customers can buy

air conditioners with 12 months

EMI facility at 10 percent

discount. Free home delivery and

installation facilities are being

given for all models of ACs.

Customers of all models of

LEDs, smart LEDs and voice

control TVs are also getting flat 10

percent discount on purchasing

from e-plaza. Walton is providing

the opportunity to buy TVs in

installment facility at home with a

down payment of only BDT 999

under its 'Kisty Mela'. There is an

exchange facility to buy a new

Walton TV instead of any old TV

with discount.

In addition, customers can get

up to 20 percent discount on

various accessories including

Walton laptops, desktops, all-inone

PCs, monitors from e-plaza.

Washik Jahan Ishan,

marketing co-ordinator of Walton

Mobile, said Walton is giving up

to 50 percent discount on buying

certain models of smartphones.

Customers will get the products

within 48 to72 hours.

Sources say, Walton is

providing information and

services to customers online in

the wake of the Corona virus

pandemic. Customers can contact

Walton's hotline numbers (16267

and 09612316267) for any

product related information. In

addition, customers can visit



www.waltonbd.com and the

official Facebook page

India recorded 295,041 new COVID-19 cases and 2,023 more deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing

the caseload to 15,616,130 and the death toll to 182,553, according to data released by the health ministry

on Wednesday.

Photo : China Daily

German court refuses effort to

block EU recovery fund

FRANKFURT : Germany's top court

has refused to issue an injunction

blocking the country's participation in

the European Union's 750 billion-euro

(more than $900 billion) coronavirus

recovery fund, clearing the way for the

launch of the fund and its common

borrowing aimed at supporting green

and digital economic development,

reports UNB.

The Federal Constitutional Court

said Wednesday it turned back a

motion for a preliminary injunction

from a group including economics

professor Bernd Lucke, a founder of

the populist Alternative for Germany

who has since left the party.

The group argued that the European

Union treaty forbids the common

borrowing backed by member

countries' taxpayers to support the

recovery fund and its spending on

projects to help bring the economy

back up to speed after the pandemic


Germany's participation was

approved by a wide majority in the

parliament March 25. The Lucke group

filed suit immediately, asking the court

to halt Germany's participation in the

fund until the case could be decided on

its merits. Wednesday's rejection of

that request by the court opens the way

for President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

to sign the legislation governing

Germany's participation into law.

The economic stimulus from the

fund is intended to buttress monetary

support from the European Central

Bank in the form of bond purchases

and rock bottom interest rate


The court said a "summary

examination" didn't point to a "high

probability" of the plan violating

provisions that protect the German

parliament's responsibility for the

budget, but didn't indicate when it

would decide on the substance of the

complaint - whether such debt is


Analysts have downplayed its

chances of success, but said any delay

could hurt the recovery.

Top European Central Bank official

Isabel Schnabel said in an interview

with Der Spiegel published on April 9

that an indefinite delay of the funding

"would be an economic catastrophe for


Germany's top court has refused to issue an injunction blocking the country's participation in the

European Union's 750 billion-euro (more than $900 billion) coronavirus recovery fund, clearing the

way for the launch of the fund and its common borrowing aimed at supporting green and digital economic


Photo : Internet

UK leader denies

breaking lobbying rules

with texts to Dyson

LONDON : The British

government said Wednesday

that Prime Minister Boris

Johnson did nothing wrong

when he exchanged text

messages with a wealthy

industrialist and promised he

would "fix" the tax rules for


The BBC reported that it

had seen messages between

Johnson and James Dyson,

the vacuum cleaner inventor

and homeÓÓÓxtra taxes if

they came to Britain to work

on the project.

According to the BBC,

Johnson texted: "I will fix it

tomo (tomorrow)! We need

you. It looks fantastic."

The main opposition

Labour Party said the "jawdropping"


suggested that the prime

minister had "used the power

of his office to personally hand

public money to a billionaire

friend in the form of tax


The British government

denied wrongdoing, saying it

"did everything we could in

extraordinary times to protect

our citizens and get access to

the right medical equipment."

US-backed Afghan peace

meeting postponed, as

Taliban balk

KABUL : An upcoming

international peace

conference that was meant

to move Afghanistan's

warring sides to a powersharing

deal and ensure an

orderly U.S. exit from the

country has been

postponed, its sponsors

announced Wednesday,

citing a lack of prospects for

meaningful progress,

reports UNB.

The decision came several

days after Taliban

insurgents, who are key to

peace efforts, dismissed the

U.S.-promoted conference

in Istanbul as a political

spectacle serving American


No new date was given for

the conference, which was

to have started Saturday

under the sponsorship of

the United Nations, Turkey

and Qatar. Turkey's foreign

minister said the conference

was delayed until after the

Muslim fasting month of

Ramadan which ends in


The delay underscored the

difficulties the Biden

administration and NATO

are facing in orchestrating

an orderly exit from conflictscarred

Afghanistan. Both

have said they would begin

withdrawing their

remaining troops - a total of

close to 13,000 - from the

country on May 1 and

complete the pullout by

Sept. 11, no matter what.

Just hours before the

announcement of the

postponement, a suicide

bomber attacked a convoy of

Afghan security personnel,

wounding seven people in

the capital of Kabul. The

interior ministry said

civilians and security

personnel were among the


The attack was the first in

weeks in the capital, even as

targeted killings have

escalated and Afghanistan's

security personnel have

come under relentless

attacks by Taliban

insurgents. Recent months

have also seen an increase in

government bombing raids

on suspected Taliban

positions and increased

raids by Afghan special


Residents fear the attack

could be a harbinger of

what's to come as foreign

troops prepare to begin their

final withdrawal from

Afghanistan. No one took

immediate responsibility for

the attack.

Turkish Foreign Minister

Mevlut Cavusoglu sad the

conferenc, was postponed

because of "lack of clarity"

by the participants, without


India records fresh high

of nearly 300,000 new

COVID-19 cases, over

2,000 more deaths


recorded 295,041 new

COVID-19 cases and 2,023

more deaths in the past 24

hours, bringing the caseload

to 15,616,130 and the death

toll to 182,553, according to

data released by the health

ministry on Wednesday,

reports UNB.

There are still 2,157,538

active cases in the country,

with an increase of 125,561

through Tuesday, while

13,276,039 people have

been cured and discharged

from hospitals.

Although the COVID-19

figures continue to peak in

the country, the federal

government has ruled out a

complete lockdown. The

capital Delhi has been put

under a week-long lockdown

till April 26.

The number of daily active

cases has been on the rise

over the past few weeks,

after once coming down to

below 10,000 in January.

So far over 130 million

vaccination doses have been

administered in India since

the country started the

nationwide inoculation

drive in January.

Meanwhile, 271,053,392

tests have been conducted

till Tuesday, out of which

1,639,357 tests were

conducted on Tuesday

alone, according to the latest

data issued by the Indian

Council of Medical Research

on Wednesday.

The national capital Delhi,

one of the most COVID-19

affected places in the

country, witnessed 28,395

new cases and 277 deaths

through Tuesday. A total of

12,638 people have died in

the national capital due to



Delhi's health department.

Oxygen leak leaves

22 Covid-19 patients

dead in India

At least 22 Covid patients

have died in a hospital in

India after they lost oxygen

supply due to a leak, reports


The incident occurred on

Wednesday while an oxygen

tanker was refilling a storage

tank at the Zakir Hussain

hospital in Nashik city.

It's unclear how the

accident happened and why it

interrupted supply to


But officials said there was

no oxygen flowing to

ventilators for about 30

minutes, leading to the


"We will enquire into the

matter and take action," the



commissioner Kailash Jadhav


The hospital had called in

tankers after it had begun to

run out of oxygen. Hospitals

across the country are

struggling to keep oxygen

supply going amid soaring


"We want strict action

against the culprits," Amol



grandmother was one of the

patients who died due to a

lack of oxygen, told BBC


Hitting latest vaccine

milestone, Biden

pushes shots for all

WASHINGTON : The U.S. is set to meet

President Joe Biden's latest vaccine goal of

administering 200 million COVID-19 shots in

his first 100 days in office, as the White House

steps up its efforts to inoculate the rest of the


With more than 50% of adults at least

partially vaccinated, Biden on Wednesday

will reflect on his efforts to expand vaccine

distribution and access in his first three

months in the White House. But with all those

16 and older now eligible for shots, the

president is expected to outline his

administration's plans to drive up the

vaccination rate even further.

With roughly 28 million vaccine doses

being delivered each week, demand has

eclipsed supply as the constraining factor to

vaccinations in much of the country. While

surveys have shown that vaccine hesitancy

has declined since the rollout of the shots,

administration officials believe they have to

make getting vaccinated easier and more


Maximizing the number of Americans

vaccinated in the coming months is critical for

the White House, which is aiming to restore a

semblance of normalcy around the July

Fourth holiday and even more so by the

beginning of the next school year.

Biden was not expected to set new public

targets for vaccinations, and administration

officials have been careful to avoid predicting

when they project the country will have

vaccinated enough people to reach herd

immunity. The U.S. is on track to have

enough vaccine supply for every adult by the

THUrSDAY, APrIl 22, 2021


end of May and for every American by July,

but administering them will be another


In recent weeks the White House has

launched a massive outreach campaign to

Americans to get vaccinated, relying on

funding from the $1.9 trillion virus relief

package passed last month to launch ads and

fund direct community engagement to undervaccinated


Biden set his 200 million shot goal last

month after meeting his 100 million-in-100

days goal just over a month ago. At the time

the U.S. was well on pace to meet the higher

target, and the pace of vaccinations has only

accelerated, to about 3 million shots per day.

The 100 million-dose goal was first

announced on Dec. 8, days before the U.S.

had even one authorized vaccine for COVID-

19, let alone the three that have now received

emergency authorization. Still, it was

generally seen within reach, if optimistic.

By the time Biden was inaugurated on Jan.

20, the U.S. had already administered 20

million shots at a rate of about 1 million per

day, bringing complaints at the time that

Biden's goal was not ambitious enough. He

quickly revised it upward to 150 million doses

in his first 100 days.

It a deliberate effort by Biden to set clear -

and achievable - metrics for success as part of

a strategy of underpromising, then

overdelivering. Aides believe that exceeding

his goals breeds trust in government after the

Trump administration's sometimes fanciful

rhetoric on the virus.

The U.S. is set to meet President Joe Biden's latest vaccine goal of administering

200 million COVID-19 shots in his first 100 days in office, as the White

House steps up its efforts to inoculate the rest of the public. Photo : Internet

Chauvin guilty of murder and

manslaughter in Floyd's death

MINNEAPOLIS : Former Minneapolis Officer

Derek Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of

murder and manslaughter for pinning George

Floyd to the pavement with his knee on the

Black man's neck in a case that triggered

worldwide protests, violence and a furious

reexamination of racism and policing in the


Chauvin, 45, was immediately led away with

his hands cuffed behind his back and could be

sent to prison for decades.

The verdict - guilty as charged on all counts,

in a relatively swift, across-the-board victory

for Floyd's supporters - set off jubilation mixed

with sorrow across the city and around the

nation. Hundreds of people poured into the

streets of Minneapolis, some running through

traffic with banners. Drivers blared their horns

in celebration. "Today, we are able to breathe

again," Floyd's younger brother Philonise said

at a joyous family news conference where tears

streamed down his face as he likened Floyd to

the 1955 Mississippi lynching victim Emmett

Till, except that this time there were cameras

around to show the world what happened.

The jury of six whites and six Black or

multiracial people came back with its verdict

after about 10 hours of deliberations over two

days. The now-fired white officer was found

guilty of second-degree unintentional murder,

third-degree murder and second-degree


Chauvin's face was obscured by a COVID-19

mask, and little reaction could be seen beyond

his eyes darting around the courtroom. His bail

was immediately revoked. Sentencing will be in

two months; the most serious charge carries up

to 40 years in prison.

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THuRSdAy, APRIl 22, 2021


Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Defying international

system, universal culture

Notwithstanding wars, conflicts, dissensions,

discords, rabid nationalisms, and all kinds of

divergence, humankind could over the last

twentieth century and the on going twenty first one

develop certain universally upheld code of conduct in

relations between themselves. Thus, we have today an

internationally adhered to system or the uniform

global culture. Thus, even amid intense differences

in perceptions and actual hostile postures, state

actors can and actually do meet in warm spirit of

friendliness to further mutual interests.

Last year, we witnessed former President Donald

Trump of USA visiting North Korea and embracing its

supreme leader when USA and North Korea remained

practically in a belligerent or hostile state of relations.

Many other examples of receiving of heads of

government in foreign countries can be cited when

both guest and host countries otherwise remained

in potentially warlike conditions. For example,

the famous visit of a former US President Nixon

to Beijing in 1969. Writing about all of these

events that helped shape the international

system over the last two centuries are not

possible within the limits of this column.

Only what we wish to emphasize here is that we have

today an international system in place when unlike the

days of Timurlane or Genghis Khan the order of one

man isnot considered sufficient to behead millions of

innocent but physically conquered humans.

Humankind moved on towards justice, humanity

and civilized impulses. Today, even prisoners of

war enjoy mutually respected rights to life and

repatriation . Today, we have a globally recognized

and more importantly upheld 'civilized' world

order based on rights and responsibilities of the

state as well as non state actors.

Therefore, under today's international system and

dominant international culture, it matters not if a

leader of a certain country is not welcome to small and

inconsequential groups in another state. Such groups

cannot arrogate to themselves any right to physically

thwart the visit of that foreign leader just because they

wish for such an outcome.

The government and the majority approving people

of that country have every right to welcome him and

hold discussions with him and any physical challenge

thrown towards such an outcome would be construed

as criminal activities under domestic law and a flagrant

violation of currently and supremely upheld values of

the international system and culture.

From declaring their opposition to Indian Prime

Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh to what

lawless activities they have been engaging in the last

couple of days, the Hefajat-e-Islam party today is a

glaring example of the type of utterly uncivilized and

outdated forces that remain still in the body politic of

Bangladesh. Needless to say, they are but a tiny part of

the total population of our country. They are not

representative of Bangladesh in any way. But they have

destructive potential and our government must

appreciate this fact before more harms are done.

Not only they have issued a threat to the international

system and culture, they are now actively trying to fan

the flames of hatred and bigotry. In their mindless

rampage of violence, they are attacking state properties

(for example setting fire to buildings and destroying

railway's signaling systems, etc.). Indeed, hard boiled

observers of the Bangladesh situation are portending

that centering on PM Modi's visit, the Hefajat and its

veiled bed followers are gradually seeking to start a

destabilization process in the country which they

perceive could start an widespread agitation for the

toppling of the present government.

We, in Bangladesh, have been celebrating the half a

century of development and progress of our country in

all respects. It is too bad that a few among us remain

uncivilized and in the middle ages in terms of their

thought processes. Why should their abnormality lead

to the unfortunate creation of a notion internationally

that such obscurantist forces are gaining ascendancy in

Bangladesh. Ironically, any easy going attitude of our

government could help in the formation of such a

notion. Foreign investors may shy away from

Bangladesh on sensing that the uncivilized and

intolerant ones are creeping back to acceptance.

Even our great friend and benefactor from the time

of independence, India, may misunderstand us from

any wrong perception that their Prime Minister may

not be welcome in Bangladesh.

It is high time, therefore, to put a hard brake on

such most undesirable developments. The Hefajat

members and its allies must immediately be

subjected to the due processes of the laws. Specially

the violence mongers of the last few days need to be

identified andpicked up with no loss of time.

Government should send clear signals of its coming

hardline to the Hefajat and its cloaked supporters.

Artificial-intelligence systems are

shaping the contours of our lives.

With applications in agriculture,

health care, education, transportation,

manufacturing and the media, AI has

become as pervasive as the Internet.

While it can significantly improve the

well-being of humanity, it also has certain

downsides - reinforcement of human

biases, displacement of jobs and

industries, and privacy risks. Thus, like all

technologies, it requires governance to

create an enabling environment and

regulatory policies that maximize its

benefits and reduce risks.

AI governance, however, poses many

challenges. There is no single, universal

idea of what its goals and outcomes

should be. For instance, an aviation safety

system seeks to prevent accidents. But AI

regulators cannot have a similar exclusive

aim. Moreover, since AI is not a single

application but an underlying technology

with diverse uses, terms like "good AI" or

"bad AI" are as meaningless as "good

electricity" or "bad electricity." Thus

governance must take into account the

range of contexts and uses of AI.

Further complicating matters is the

speed with which AI learns and evolves,

often in ways that are not understood. As

our current regulatory models cannot deal

with these rapid changes, they might end

up stifling innovation and fail to prevent

harmful AI applications. To explore

potential roadmaps, we build upon

insights shared by industry experts,

government officials, leading thinkers and

practitioners at two critical events we at

the Rockefeller Foundation were part of:

the AI for Social Good Summit and the

Innovating AI Governance Symposium.

Here's how policymakers can negotiate

some of the challenges posed by AI

governance and harness its

transformative potential. While each pilot

use case may require a bespoke approach


The end of America's 'forever war'

There was little surprise in President

Joe Biden's announcement last

week that the US will

unconditionally withdraw all its military

forces from Afghanistan by September

and end its "forever war." The US

president had long been of the view that

retaining troops in Afghanistan was not

only untenable but had lost any rationale

once the Al-Qaeda threat had been

downgraded. That is how he framed it in

his much-anticipated address.

"We delivered justice to Osama bin

Laden a decade ago," he said, but "stayed

in Afghanistan for a decade since… Our

reasons for remaining in Afghanistan

have become increasingly unclear." He

added another compelling reason for his

decision: The new strategic challenges

that Washington needed to focus on.

To pre-empt expected domestic

criticism, especially in view of the

Pentagon's advice of a gradual conditionsbased

drawdown, he said: "We cannot

continue the cycle of extending or

expanding our military presence in

Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal

conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a

different result."With this announcement,

the US is set to start pulling out its forces

on May 1 and complete the drawdown by

Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the

attacks on America that led to the invasion

of Afghanistan. What does this mean for

the future stability of Afghanistan? How

will this affect the Afghan peace process,

Keys to making AI a force for social good

until the consequences of that model are

fully realized, here are a few examples. To

promote innovation, governments must

create safe, enabling spaces for

experimentation. They can do this by

deploying AI applications at a limited

scale under the observation of regulators.

Such pilot tests can help determine the

potential benefits and downsides, and

further fine-tune technologies before

releasing them in the public sphere

through an effective feedback loop.

AI localism, the governance of AI use

within a community or city, can nurture a

bottom-up regulatory approach. It allows

policies to be adapted to local conditions

and the needs of communities as opposed

to a cookie-cutter approach. At the local

level, citizens can also closely observe and

have more of a say in how AI is used.

For such regulation to be effective,

policymakers must understand the

development process of AI systems, their

strengths and weaknesses, and the types

of data used. They must become more

technology-literate and form working

groups that enable collaboration among

regulators, developers, and users.

In such collaborative efforts, however,

policymakers must regulate acceptable

outcomes of AI use rather than specific

technologies and applications.

Take the case of AI systems that

determine if applicants are eligible for a

loan or a job. There have been incidents of

algorithms discriminating against people

based on their race, gender or address. In

which has been deadlocked for months

now? What of the peace plans

Washington unveiled more than a month

ago, which envisaged UN-mediated talks

between the Afghan parties in Turkey,

scheduled for April 24 to May 4, as well as

a conference of regional states to mobilize

consensus to support the peace process?

The Taliban, even before Biden's

announcement, said it would not

participate in the talks in Turkey and

threatened "consequences" if the

withdrawal deadline agreed in the

February 2020 US-Taliban Doha accord

was shifted. Its initial response to Biden's

announcement reiterated the position

that a delay in the withdrawal was a

violation of the Doha agreement, which

freed the group to take "every necessary

countermeasure." Otherwise, the

statement was nuanced enough to leave

space open for diplomatic engagement. It

is possible that the Taliban might come

round to accepting the new drawdown

end date, as it is clear and unconditional,

and also rethink its participation in the

such cases, governance should find and

stem biases rather than regulate the

mechanism the AI system uses to make

decisions. They can do this through peer

reviews with diverse participants who can

challenge each other's presumptions and

ensure representation of different points

of view. While AI will create many jobs, it

will also upend old ones, which has

prompted a pushback against certain

technologies. For instance, taxi drivers

have lobbied against self-driving vehicles.

While various studies show that job losses

to automation could be in the millions,

quite a few, such as by the World

Economic Forum, also point out that AI

will create more jobs than it displaces.

Here's how policymakers can negotiate some of the challenges

posed by AI governance and harness its transformative potential.

While each pilot use case may require a bespoke approach until the

consequences of that model are fully realized, here are a few examples.

To promote innovation, governments must create safe,.

Thus policymakers need to address the

concerns of those who might lose jobs and

create alternatives such as reskilling, job

transition support, and employment

guarantees. They must also strengthen

social safety nets to cushion the impact of

job losses.

In the long run, they must overhaul the

education system to focus on life-long

learning and helping workers transition

rather than preparing them for a single

career. Besides, with the demand for AI

workers exceeding the supply,

governments will have to develop and

retain talent to capitalize on the AI

revolution. While governments have

been investing in research, technologies,

and infrastructure to promote AI, these

measures alone are insufficient. They

should further boost the AI ecosystem by


Istanbul conference. Having won

international recognition, the Taliban is

unlikely to risk losing it by adopting an

intransigent stance. Their leaders may

also see this as an opportunity and

therefore take a restrained position.

The focus will now be on the upcoming

diplomatic parley in Turkey - the Istanbul

Conference on the Afghan Peace Process -

which aims to accelerate the intra-Afghan

dialogue and take it forward from where it

was left in Doha last November. The

prolonged impasse has had much to do

with the wait-and-see posture adopted by

both parties in light of the new US

One of the critical factors in whether the Turkey peace process will succeed - or even start

- is how seriously the uS engages, especially the pressure it brings to bear on President

Ashraf Ghani to abandon his uncompromising stance and how the Taliban plays its cards.

uS special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is in the region intensifying efforts to persuade the two

sides to go to the Istanbul conference with an open mind, which is a formidable task.

administration's review of its Afghan

policy. The UN mission has described the

Istanbul conference as an "important

opportunity to put in place a concrete plan

to end the war." If the path of negotiations

is spurned and talks fail, Afghanistan

could once again descend into chaos and a

bloody civil war that would only prolong

the tragedy for its long-suffering people.

The indications are that the US will

intensify its diplomacy to push the Afghan

AbdullAH bElHAIF Al NuAImI

identifying potential uses of AI

applications and encouraging prospective

customers within and outside the

government to adopt them.

By becoming a market player and

facilitator, governments can create a

demand for AI applications that

contribute to social good. India, for

example, is setting up a National Center

for Artificial Intelligence to incorporate AI

in government applications and public

service delivery with support from a team

of young professionals from the

International Innovation Corps. Some

regard stronger privacy protections as an

impediment to the growth of AI as they

could limit data availability. However,

that does not have to be the case.

For instance, policymakers can

safeguard privacy by legislating

frameworks to anonymize data. This

ensures that sensitive data is available to

AI applications without compromising

the privacy of individuals. Japan has

taken this route with a law permitting

research institutions to use the

anonymized medical data of patients

collected by hospitals. Policymakers can

also explore relevant data stewards that

can make sensitive data accessible by

anonymizing and centralizing it. Such

stewards could ensure proper

management and sharing of data with

informed consent and requisite

permissions from data providers.

The adoption of these strategies to

govern AI varies across nations. Their

socio-economic conditions, access to

technology, and ethical approaches

determine to a large extent whether they

can channel AI for social good. Thus to

ensure that AI systems create a more

inclusive playing field and do not deepen

disparities among countries, we require

global governance.

Source : Asia Times

parties to break the stalemate in Istanbul

and then start substantive negotiations in

Doha. Whether the announcement that

the Americans are leaving will force the

Afghan parties toward accommodation,

as some hope, is yet to be seen. What is

known about the UN-led peace summit is

that talks between the Afghan

government and the Taliban will be

preceded by a meeting of foreign

ministers and representatives of regional

states, which is expected to evolve a

"unified approach" in support of an

inclusive peace process and a call for a

reduction in violence.

One of the critical factors in whether

the Turkey peace process will succeed -

or even start - is how seriously the US

engages, especially the pressure it

brings to bear on President Ashraf

Ghani to abandon his uncompromising

stance and how the Taliban plays its

cards. US special envoy Zalmay

Khalilzad is in the region intensifying

efforts to persuade the two sides to go to

the Istanbul conference with an open

mind, which is a formidable task. The

US certainly has an interest in leaving

Afghanistan having achieved progress

in negotiations for a peace settlement.

But the question is how much leverage

does it have now that it is leaving and

what tools is it prepared to use to

achieve a last-ditch outcome?

Source : Arab News

Earth Day 2021: we are ready for the future

Tomorrow, we celebrate Earth Day

under the theme 'Restore Our

Earth'. The annual movement aims

to garner support for the environment and

mobilise concerted action for protecting

the Earth with a consensus that a healthy

planet is not an option - it is a necessity. In

recent years, climate action has taken

center stage at Earth Day events. As a clear

acknowledgement of the power of Earth

Day, the Biden administration is holding a

global leaders' summit on the day to

galvanise efforts to tackle the climate crisis

and pave the way for more ambitious

climate commitments that can put the

world on track to meeting the targets of the

Paris Agreement.

Given the Paris Agreement's overarching

goal of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG)

emissions in the second half of this

century, carbon neutrality is emerging as

one of the touchstones for defining climate

ambition.Several countries and private

sector companies have announced their

pledges to go carbon-neutral. Today,

neutrality commitments cover 70 per cent

of the global economy.

The socioeconomic case for decisive

climate action is clear. A 2018 report from

the Global Commission on the Economy

and Climate put forth a conservative

estimate of $26 trillion in direct economic

gains by 2030, resulting from bold climate

action as compared to business as usual.

Further, according to an analysis by the

International Renewable Energy Agency

(IRENA), for an energy transition

consistent with the temperature goals of

the Paris Agreement, every $1 spent would

bring a payback of between $3 and $8 in

environmental and health externalities.

The number of renewable energy jobs

would reach 42 million by 2050, about

four times higher than the current level. As

part of its future readiness drive, the UAE

has taken great strides in cutting down on

carbon emissions. The country has set an

enhanced emissions reduction target in its

second Nationally Determined

Contribution (NDC) under the Paris

Agreement, and is investing in nuclear

energy and renewables, carbon capture,

utilisation, and storage (CCUS),

electrification of transport, sustainable

agri-tech, and blue and green hydrogen.

The UAE Strategy for the Fourth

Industrial Revolution focuses on achieving

Further, according to an analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency

(IRENA), for an energy transition consistent with the temperature goals of the

Paris Agreement, every $1 spent would bring a payback of between $3 and $8 in

environmental and health externalities. The number of renewable energy jobs

would reach 42 million by 2050, about four times higher than the current level.

future water and food security through

bioengineering and renewable energy,

enhancing economic security through

digitalisation and blockchain technologies,

and optimally utilising satellite data for

urban planning.

Notably, a low-carbon future can only

become a reality with the active

engagement and full commitment of the

private sector. Many UAE private sector

entities have adopted science-based

emission reduction targets. Others are

managing their resource consumption,

and monitoring and reporting their

emissions. Prime examples that fill us with

hope are Etihad Airways that pledged to

achieve net zero emissions by 2050 as the

first airline in the GCC region and one of

the first in the industry to set a target of this

scale, and Majid Al Futtaim Holding that

has announced a long-term goal to

produce more energy and water than it

consumes, reaching a Net Positive

business model by 2040.Our partners in

the private sector recognise that

mainstreaming climate-friendly business

models and carbon footprint reduction

into their future growth plans is not only

an environmental imperative but can also

yield economic dividends.

The private sector is our long-standing

trusted partner in steering our country

towards a brighter tomorrow. We call on

businesses across all domains to raise the

bar, and take concrete steps to reduce their

carbon emissions. Let's make sure we are

ready for the future!

Source : Gulf News

THURSDAY, APRil 22, 2021


Covid is providing a new opportunity to understand complications of many common viral


Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka

Covid research to solve mysteries

of other viruses

Gina Kolata

Barie Carmichael lost her sense of taste

and smell while traveling in Europe.

She remembers keeping a dinner date

at a Michelin-starred restaurant but

tasting nothing. "I didn't have the heart

to tell my host," she said.

It may sound like a case of Covid-19.

But Ms. Carmichael, 72, a fellow at the

University of Virginia's business school,

lost her ability to taste and smell for

three years in the 1990s. The only

respiratory infection she'd had was


Medical scientists say that although

the complications of Covid have riveted

peoples' attention, many symptoms -

like a loss of smell - are not unique to

Covid. Heart inflammation, lung and

nerve damage and small blood clots in

the lining of lungs occur in a small but

noticeable percentage of patients who

have had other respiratory and viral

infections. And these patients, too, can

also have their own version of "long


No one is saying Covid is the

equivalent of, say, the flu that circulates

each year. The usual seasonal flu has

not killed millions worldwide in a single

year, and more than half a million

Americans, while upending society and

ravaging economies. But Covid-19 is

providing a new opportunity to

understand the complications of many

common viral infections.

Before the pandemic, research grants

to study a loss of smell were hard to

come by, said Danielle R. Reed,

associate director of the Monell

Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit

research group, in Philadelphia.

"It seemed like nobody cared," she

said. But now, "there is an explosive

growth of interest among funders."

(She added that most who say they

have lost a sense of taste have really lost

a sense of smell.) Monell researchers

want to compare how often people lose

their sense of smell after a bout with the

flu versus a bout with Covid-19 - and

how long the loss lasts. Is there a

genetic predisposition to this


Researchers at other institutions

want to know who is susceptible to

heart infections, blood clots or lung

damage after having a respiratory virus

like the flu. For the most part, little is

known. Part of the problem was that

only a minority of patients with

respiratory viruses were affected with

these conditions, and until the

coronavirus, that tended not to be a big

number. Many of these effects were

noticed but then forgotten.

Heart problems following a viral

infection are among the best studied.

Myocarditis - an inflammation of the

heart muscle - affects as many as 1.5

million people worldwide each year,

most of whom had a prior respiratory

virus infection. Most recover fully.

But symptoms like fatigue are often

not recognized as being related to

myocarditis. And Dr. McManus

suspects that the fatigue that

sometimes follows a bout with Covid-

19 might be caused by this heart

problem."We think of Covid-19 and

influenza as respiratory diseases, and in

fact they are," said Dr. Bruce M.

McManus, an emeritus pathology

professor at the University of British

Columbia. "But the reason many

patients reach their demise in many

instances is myocardial."

Some severely ill Covid patients have

lung damage. That too can also occur

with other viruses, said Dr. Clemente

Britto-Leon, a lung researcher at the

Yale School of Medicine. He lists some

possibilities."You can have lung injury

and scarring with influenza, with

herpes viruses and with

cytomegalovirus infections, for

example," Dr. Britto said, referring to a

common virus that usually causes no

symptoms. All these viruses can wreak

damage on rare occasions, he said.

In the pandemic following

routine is essential

Routine can shield one from chaos.

Jason Diamond

I was laid off in December. I can't say I

wasn't anticipating it. Everything was

falling apart everywhere, including the

media world. But when it happened, the

first thing I worried about - before

questions of how I'd make money or what

I'd do about insurance - was if I'd lose the

routine that I had developed, lost, and

then worked so hard to get back.

We all had our routines before the

pandemic, and so many of them were

upended. Just about any personal

routine, if it wasn't halted outright,

changed somehow, from the mundane

to the essential. The older man I used to

see slowly savoring an espresso every

day at the coffee shop had to take it in a

to-go cup and drink it outside. Until

lockdown, a friend had gone uptown to

see his parents every Sunday morning,

but had to stop. Children stopped going

to school and much of the work force

stopped going to offices. Trying to

maintain a routine was difficult enough

with the world feeling as if it was going

to pieces; trying to set new ones without

any clear indication of what the future

held felt downright impossible.

Photo: Monika Aichele

Life is a series of routines. We go to

sleep, we wake, we work, we play. But

for some, routines and rituals help us

function against the chaos of the world,

and in many cases, our minds. Some

minds just aren't made for routines;

that's why I've had to work extra hard

and discipline myself to live and work a

certain way.

I grew up constantly uncertain,

thanks to an unstable home life as a

child, parents who moved around a lot

and, starting at 16, being without a

home of my own. The trauma from

those experiences began to prey on me,

it wore me down and mingled with my

diagnoses of A.D.H.D., depression and

obsessive-compulsive personality

disorder, making it almost impossible

for me to concentrate, work, and

generally be productive and happy on a

daily basis.

At some point, by chance, I started to

realize that the more I implemented

boundaries and schedules - waking and

eating and meditating at specific times,

working out, writing down the next

day's schedule - the more I started to

feel not only some control, but also

happiness. By setting routines for

myself, I was able to shield myself from


"It helps you feel like you're in

control," Charles Duhigg, who wrote

"The Power of Habit," said in an

interview. "It helps you remember how

to do things that - maybe because of

your A.D.H.D. - you'd forget because of

short-term memory." In his book, Mr.

Duhigg explores the sort of ouroboros -

the ancient symbol of a snake eating its

own tail - I was performing on myself. I

needed some sort of cue, a routine and

then a reward. I hadn't thought of

rewards as part of the process, but they

are essential.

For me, I thought the reward was

peace of mind. What I didn't realize was

I was also giving myself other little

trophies: If I went to the gym five days

every week, there was a little voice in

my head that would say "You've earned

two slices of pizza." When I'd clean the

house on Sunday morning, I'd always

crack open a beer by afternoon. And

sometimes you aren't even conscious of

the rewards you're giving yourself for

routine, and I find those are the most

important ones. With those rewards,

I'm being good to yourself, telling

myself I did something, so I earned


"You're forcing yourself to anticipate

rewards," Mr. Duhigg said. "All of that

is really good."For Esme? Weijun

Wang, author of the essay collection

"The Collected Schizophrenias,"

"Routines and rituals are a core part of

maintaining my mental health," she

told me. Ms. Wang's routines include

"my analog planner, where I journal,

manage my appointments and jot

down tasks - that, along with an array

of other notebooks and binders,

organize things in a way that help life to

feel less overwhelming."

Equally important - and perhaps

more challenging - is maintaining your

routines. So, while writing down

appointments is important, reminding

myself to wake up at a certain time.

Sleeping Too Little in Middle Age May

Increase Dementia Risk, Study Finds

Pam Belluck

Could getting too little sleep increase

your chances of developing

dementia?For years, researchers have

pondered this and other questions

about how sleep relates to cognitive

decline. Answers have been elusive

because it is hard to know if insufficient

sleep is a symptom of the brain changes

that underlie dementia - or if it can

actually help cause those changes.

Now, a large new study reports some

of the most persuasive findings yet to

suggest that people who don't get

enough sleep in their 50s and 60s may

be more likely to develop dementia

when they are older.

The research, published Tuesday in

the journal Nature Communications,

has limitations but also several

strengths. It followed nearly 8,000

people in Britain for about 25 years,

beginning when they were 50 years old.

It found that those who consistently

reported sleeping six hours or less on

an average weeknight were about 30

percent more likely than people who

regularly got seven hours sleep (defined

as "normal" sleep in the study) to be

diagnosed with dementia nearly three

decades later.

"It would be really unlikely that

almost three decades earlier, this sleep

was a symptom of dementia, so it's a

great study in providing strong

evidence that sleep is really a risk

factor," said Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a

professor of neurology and psychiatry

at the University of California, San

Francisco, who was not involved in the


Pre-dementia brain changes like

accumulations of proteins associated

with Alzheimer's are known to begin

about 15 to 20 years before people

exhibit memory and thinking

problems, so sleep patterns within that

time frame could be considered an

emerging effect of the disease. That has

posed a "chicken or egg question of

which comes first, the sleep problem or

the pathology," said Dr. Erik Musiek, a

neurologist and co-director of the

Center on Biological Rhythms and

Sleep at Washington University in St.

Louis, who was not involved in the new


"I don't know that this study

necessarily seals the deal, but it gets

closer because it has a lot of people who

were relatively young," he said. "There's

a decent chance that they are capturing

people in middle age before they have

Alzheimer's disease pathology or

plaques and tangles in their brain."

Drawing on medical records and

other data from a prominent study of

British civil servants called Whitehall

II, which began in the mid-1980s, the

researchers tracked how many hours

7,959 participants said they slept in

reports filed six times between 1985

and 2016. By the end of the study, 521

people had been diagnosed with

dementia at an average age of 77.

The team was able to adjust for

several behaviors and characteristics

that might influence people's sleep

patterns or dementia risk, said an

author of the study, Séverine Sabia, an

epidemiologist at Inserm, the French

public-health research center. Those

included smoking, alcohol

consumption, how physically active

people were, body mass index, fruit and

vegetable consumption, education

level, marital status and conditions like

hypertension, diabetes and

cardiovascular disease. To clarify the

sleep-dementia relationship further,

researchers separated out people who

had mental illnesses before age 65.

Depression is considered a risk factor

for dementia and "mental health

disorders are quite strongly linked with

sleep disturbances," Dr. Sabia said. The

study's analysis of participants without

mental illnesses found a similar

association between short-sleepers and

increased risk of dementia.

The correlation also held whether or

not people were taking sleep

medication and whether or not they

had a mutation called ApoE4 that

makes people more likely to develop

Alzheimer's, Dr. Sabia said.The

researchers found no general difference

between men and women.

"The study found a modest, but I

would say somewhat important

association of short sleep and dementia

risk," said Pamela Lutsey, an associate

professor of epidemiology and

community health at the University of

Minnesota, who was not involved in the

research. "Short sleep is very common

and because of that, even if it's

modestly associated with dementia

risk, it can be important at a societal

level. Short sleep is something that we

have control over, something that you

can change."

Still, as with other research in this

area, the study had limitations that

prevent it from proving that inadequate

sleep can help cause dementia. Most of

the sleep data was self-reported, a

subjective measure that isn't always

accurate, experts said.

Technology is not compulsory

for vaccine passports

Shira Ovide

I have been reluctant to write about

whether and how Americans might

provide proof of vaccination against

the coronavirus. It's a political,

cultural, ethical and legal minefield.

Technology is not the point at all.

But if some workplaces, schools,

public gathering spots and travel

companies start requiring a "vaccine

passport," it makes sense for them to

do so in ways that preserve people's

privacy, are simple to use, win

people's trust and don't cost a

fortune.Let me tell you about an

intriguing proposal from PathCheck

Foundation, a health technology

nonprofit. The central premise is

that technology related to our health

should be as minimal as possible.

That philosophy should be our North


Here is one problem with some

early technology approaches to

digital vaccine credential systems:

They create too many middlemen

that tap into your health records,

The study followed nearly 8,000 people in Britain for about 25 years,

beginning when they were 50 years old. Photo: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

said Ramesh Raskar, an associate

professor at the M.I.T. Media Lab

who also founded PathCheck.

In the United States, states are

mostly the ones maintaining records

of which residents are vaccinated.

Early efforts to create vaccine

credentials, like the Excelsior Pass in

New York, essentially create a

replica of those state databases with

information including your name,

date of birth, address, the batch

numbers of your shots and so on.

And that's what businesses and

others access when they check

whether people walking in the door

are vaccinated, Dr. Raskar said.

When you add multiple layers of

technology into any system, it

increases the possibility of your

sensitive data leaking out. It's also

expensive and complicated for

everyone involved. "It's completely

unnecessary," Dr. Raskar told

me.PathCheck's idea is to create

simple software code that anyone -

workplaces, schools or airlines - can

incorporate into apps, without the

We need dumb technology that does as little as possible and

knows as little about us as possible.

Photo: Simoul Alva

need to replicate health records.

When you need to show a

vaccination credential, a one-time

code would transmit two pieces of

information: your identity, and that

you're vaccinated. Yes, there's still a

middleman, but the difference is that

the apps would do as little as

possible to access your sensitive

information. The relevant data is

communicated more directly

between your phone and the state

health records. You might have to

show your ID, too.

He compared this proposal to

paying for a sandwich with cash

instead of a credit card. There is no

need for a complicated paper trail

to buy lunch. The metaphor isn't

perfect, but it's useful.Some of the

organizations pitching vaccination

credential technology, including

IBM and the airport screening

company Clear, are making a

similar pitch that their

technologies are as minimal as

possible.Dr. Raskar says that

they're often not, because tech

companies, states and others have

tried to throw a lot of smarts at the

problem. If you hear the word

"blockchain" with vaccine

credentials, know that something

has gone off the rails. The risk is

that we get complicated,

potentially incompatible

technology for people to provide

proof of vaccination.

What we really need is dumb

technology that does as little as

possible and knows as little about us

as possible. "How can we make it

simple, simple, simple as opposed to

what technology companies are

doing, which is to add more?" Dr.

Raskar said.

PathCheck is just one of multiple

companies and nonprofit groups

that are developing fraud-proof

vaccination credentials. It's going to

be confusing for awhile as these

technologies are evaluated and


But PathCheck deserves credit for

turning the approach to vaccination

credentials on its head. Less and

dumber technology is usually the


THURsDAY, ApRIL 22, 2021


Actor Alamgir tests

COVID-19 positive

Tajreen Gahar with new

song 'Kichu Ari'


Tajreen Gahar, daughter of renowned lyricist

Nayeem Gahar. Not a professional singer, but loves

to sing. Last year she gifted two songs. They got the

response of the audience.

This time Tajreen Gahar's another new song titled

is 'Kichu Ari'. The song has been released in video

format under the banner of G series, a well-known

audio-video production company of the country.


Tangia Zaman Methila who

clinched the title of 'Miss

Universe Bangladesh' 2020 will

not be able to participate at the

prestigious Miss Universe 2020.

The 27-year-old model

triumphed over nine other

finalists and clinched the title in

a national final held at the

Radisson Blu Dhaka Water

Garden in Dhaka on Saturday,

April 3.

She succeeded Shirin Akter

Shela and was set to represent

the country at the 69th Miss

Universe pageant in the USA

this May. According to an official

statement by 'Miss Universe

Bangladesh', the model will not

be able to represent it; due to

lockdown and travel restrictions

we could not finalize the

preparations. So we will not be

able to participate Miss Universe


"We already informed Miss

Universe USA management

accordingly earlier this week,"

Samrin Shirin wrote the song arranged in such

a way that 'Kichu Ari Bhanga Jeto, Kisu Krod

Maya Hoto, Bukay Ashay Jodi Makhatay

Bishader Chya'. The melody is composed by

Tanim Hayat Khan Rajit. Music arranged by

Ejaz Farah.

The video for the song was made by Mohammad

Russel. The video has been edited and color

corrected by Farhan Ahmed Rafat. Singer Tajreen

Gahar herself took part in the video.


drops out of

69th Miss



they added.

Methila was previously named

'Miss Supranational Bangladesh

2019' and travelled to Katowice,

Poland, to compete in the 'Miss

Supranational 201'9 pageant.

Ever since Methila's crowning,

social media has been brimming

with reactions. Some

congratulated her while others

called her out for knowing the

judges a little too well and for

posting a private video of a man

that was commonly dubbed as

sexual harassment.

Methila's target was to go to

USA and win the title of 'Miss

Universe 2020', said in an


"My target is Top 1. I feel if I

target Top 1, then I can be in the

Top 3 at least. If I target Top 10,

then maybe I'll reach Top 50.

There's nothing wrong with

being a big dreamer."


Nine-time National Award

winner actor Alamgir has been

hospitalised after testing

positive for COVID-19.

His wife and eminent singer

Runa Laila shared the news via a

Facebook post on Tuesday


"Alamgir Sahab has tested

positive for Covid 19. He's being

treated in a local hospital by a

team of excellent doctors,

nurses and hospital staff who

are monitoring him and taking

very good care. He is in excellent

spirits and is doing well.

Masha'Allah," Runa Laila wrote

on Facebook.

The 71-year-old actor has

already taken two doses of the

coronavirus vaccine.

"We as a family would like you

to join us in prayer for his early

and complete recovery. Our

combined good wishes and

prayers will heal him quickly.

Insha'Allah. God is merciful.

God is great. Subhan Allah," she

added. On February 14, Alamgir

and Runa Laila, along with their

children including singer Akhi

Alamgir, received the first dose

of coronavirus vaccine. They

took the second dose on April

17. Alamgir is considered one of

the greatest actors in the

Kate Winslet's daughter slips 'under the

radar' to follow in her mother's footsteps

Kate Winslet has revealed that her daughter

Mia Threapleton was able to "slip under the

radar" and follow in her mother's acting

footsteps without people knowing the pair

are related. The Oscar-winning actress told

British TV host Lorraine Kelly on Monday

that 20-year-old Threapleton is currently in

the Czech Republic working on a TV series.

"That's been a wonderful thing that I think

I knew was coming," said Winslet. "I think I

always suspected. And then sure enough, a

couple years ago, she turned around and

said, 'I think I would like to give it a go.'"

"What's been really great for her is that she

has a different surname so that initial job

out of the gate, she slipped right under the

radar," added Winslet.

"The people who cast her had absolutely

no idea that she was my daughter. And of

course, that was my biggest fear and most

important for her self esteem," the

Hollywood star told Kelly.

Winslet, 45, also discussed her

appearance in TV series "Mare of Easttown,"

in which she plays a detective in small-town

Pennsylvania, as well as her reunion with

director James Cameron on "Avatar 2."

Winslet and Cameron previously worked

together on 1997 blockbuster "Titanic."

Bangladesh film industry. He

received nine National Film

Awards - seven as a lead actor

and two for best supporting


Shehnaaz Gill's swag is

on point as she lip-syncs to

Justin Bieber

Every Shehnaaz Gill post on social media gives her fans more

reasons to love her. Just a day ago, she grooved to Selena Gomez's

"Baila Conmigo", looking cute as a button in her night suit. On

Tuesday, she treated her fans to a video of herself stylishly grooving

and lip-synching to pop star Justin Bieber's viral song "Peaches".

The 28-second long Instagram reel has Shehnaaz casually sitting on

a floor and enjoying the song while looking at the camera. Dressed

in a black bottle neck top and light blue pants, the Bigg Boss 13 star

looks like a diva. She completed her look with a loose bun. As soon

as she posted the video, her fans filled the comments section of the

post with lavish praise.

"Omg wow you are looking amazing and awesome and your looks

kill me omg and amazing and you are doing great work and I'm

really happy for you and love you so much and lots of love from

Nepal," wrote one fan. Another fan commented, "Swag ki dukan

shehnaazians ke dillo ki dhadkan one and only shehnaaz gill." Some

fans even wrote that Shehnaaz looked Hollywood ready in her reel.

On the work front, Shehnaaz Gill is set to make her film debut with

Diljit Dosanjh-starrer Rakh later this year. The film, which marks

Diljit's debut as a producer, also features Sonam Bajwa. The team

wrapped up the film's shoot last month.

Source: News Tube

Winslet also recently appeared in the

movie "Ammonite," in which she plays

unsung pioneer of paleontology, Mary

Anning. Anning made several pivotal fossil

discoveries in the early 1800s on the

beaches of Dorset in southwest Englandnow

known as the Jurassic Coast-despite

living in dire poverty and lacking a formal

education. She forged an unusual path in the

face of the deeply ingrained sexism and rigid

social structures of the Victorian era.

Source: Hindustan Times

H o R o s c o p e


(March 21 - April 20) : There's an

emotional intensity inside you today that's

squirming to find a way out, Aries. Sudden

outbursts are likely, so take care to hold

your temper in check. Surround yourself with good

friends who can support your erratic feelings. Don't be

clingy. Seek friends who are thoughtful listeners, not

permanent crutches. They may be feeling the same strong

tension and don't need an extra burden.


(April 21 - May 21) : Today may have

some crazy emotional ups and downs,

Taurus. There seems to be an intense

cloud seeping into every part of your day.

Don't try to fool people. They will see right through

you. Bursts of positive energy will pop out of nowhere

to remind you of your more important purpose. Try

not to get so bogged down in the heaviness of the day

that you fail to spot opportunities that arise.


(May 22 - June 21) : This day will be filled

with many exciting surprises for you, Gemini.

Approach it with gratitude and you will be

amazed at the number of things that just

naturally seem to flow your way. Your generous heart will be

rewarded in unexpected ways. Old friends are likely to show

up. Open yourself up to conversations. Act spontaneously

and with a great deal of passion.


(June 22 - July 23) : There's a larger

trend operating in your life, Cancer. It's

asking you to break the rules and enter a

new realm - a new mindset or way of

living. Today that trend comes into focus, as emotional

outbursts call attention to the changes. Your heart may

want to go one way while your brain wants to go

another. Take deep breaths and infuse a wave of calm

into the situation before you proceed.


(July 24 - Aug. 23): Pour yourself a

comforting cup of tea today, Leo. Take

a hot shower or a long bath. In short,

pamper yourself. You may be picking

up on the extra tension of the people around you.

Be conscious of this and make a mental note to

strip away the garbage that others dump on you.

You're a sensitive individual. Pat yourself on the

back and look out for sudden moves from others.


(Aug. 24 - Sept. 23): It may be that people

are a bit upset by some of your recent actions or

words, Virgo. The offhand remark you made a

couple weeks ago is catching up to you. What

you may consider friendly, lighthearted sparring may actual do

a bit of damage to someone's sensitive emotions, especially

today. Think before you speak. Others might not have as tough

a skin as they seem to have.


(Sept. 24 - Oct. 23): This is an exciting

day for you, Libra. You can accomplish

quite a bit. Your intuition is especially

acute and your sensitivity is strong.

Computers might irritate you today. It's possible to

get all worked up if your laptop crashes. Save your

work often. Keep in mind that it's just a machine.

Don't let it get the better of you.


(Oct. 24 - Nov. 22) : You might be a bit

jittery, even without caffeine,

Scorpio. Sudden actions may cause

people to freak out, since people will

be on edge in general today anyway. Save the

surprises for another time. If you need to tell your

boss that you're going on vacation for a little

while, now isn't the time. There's a rough edge to

the astral energy. Relax to soothe your soul.


(Nov. 23 - Dec. 21): Things may be

coming at you from all angles today,

Sagittarius. Sooner or later you will be

forced to take action. It may seem like

the walls of the room are slowly caving in. The

pressure is building and the air is getting stagnant.

Go out for a run. Exercise will help you release some

of that pressure you feel.


(Dec. 22 - Jan. 20): You may be excited

about an idea today, Capricorn, but

unfortunately no one else may be. You

spring up with enthusiasm only to

smack into a brick wall. One side of you may be

communicative and witty while the other is

confused. The two sides aren't really connecting well,

so perhaps you should just lay low. Hold on to your

ideas, and save their presentation for a later day.


(Jan. 21 - Feb. 19) : Much of today will

be a continuation of yesterday, but

with perhaps a bit more intensity for

you, Aquarius. There's an added buzz

in the air, like static on a radio. This background

noise may not provide the best environment to

work in, but you should be able to navigate with no

problem. Tune out the chatter and move on.


(Feb. 20 - Mar. 20) : Today is one of those

days when you might feel like four people

have a hold of each of your limbs, Pisces. The

people are tugging and you're getting

stretched in every direction. Someone wants you to go there,

someone wants you to come here. Take some time out for

yourself and clearly state your needs to others. Make it known

what the best situation for you would be.

ThurDAY, APril 22, 2021


The police have arrested a journalist named Abu Tayeb in connection with a case filed by Khulna City

Corporation Mayor Talukdar Abdul Khalek under the Digital Security Act.

Photo : TBT

Regional cooperation can bolster South Asian

capabilities to fight pandemic: ICCB

DHAKA : Regional cooperation can

bolster the South Asian capabilities to

fight the pandemic and its economic

losses in the near term and

simultaneously bring long-term

benefits through increased intra

regional trade, acceleration in shared

growth and poverty reduction,

according to International Chamber of

Commerce Bangladesh (ICCB)

quarterly News Bulletin.

As per the bulletin, just a year ago, on

March 11, 2020, the World Health

Organization (WHO) declared COVID-

19 a global pandemic.

According to WHO, the virus has

infected over 135.65 million people

worldwide and 2.93 million deaths, as

of 31 March. To control the infection,

the associated lockdowns have

devastated economies. Analysts have

identified the pandemic as a turning

point in world history, with

Walton launches two new models

of second generation compressor

Bangladeshi electronics giant Walton

launched two new models of the second

generation refrigerator compressor.

These new models are the world's most

silent and durable refrigerator

compressors, which are also the new

invention of the country's only

compressor manufacturer Walton's

compressor research and development

department, says a press release.

These two new models' are

HVY94AA and HVYX9AA, which were

launched at an online platform

programme held at Walton Hi-Tech

Industries Limited's (WHIL)

Headquarter at Chandra in Gazipur on

Monday last (April 5, 2021).

Walton Hi-Tech Industries'

Managing Director Engineer Golam

Murshed attended the launching

ceremony virtually as the chief guest

while the company's Deputy Managing

Director Alamgir Alam Sarker, Walton

Refrigerator's Chief Operating Officer

(COO) Yusuf Ali, Walton Compressor's

Chief Executive Director (CEO) Rabiul

Alam, Walton R&D's Chief Coordinator

Tapas Kumer Mojumder, Compressor

R&D's Head Meer Muzahedin Islam,

Compressor's COO Nasir Uddin

Mandal, Mechanical Maintenance

Department's Head Nizam Uddin

Mojumder, Electrical Maintenance

Department's Head Kamrul Hasan,

ramifications for everything from

climate change to the global balance of


South Asia has done better in

containing the pandemic in the form of

a single metric: the number of deaths

from COVID-19 per million people.

According to World Bank South Asia

Economic Focus released on 31 March,

prospects of an economic rebound in

South Asia are firming up as growth is

set to increase by 7.2 percent in 2021

and 4.4 percent in 2022, climbing from

historic lows in 2020 and putting the

region on a path to recovery. But

growth is uneven and economic activity

is still well below pre-COVID-19

estimates, as many businesses need to

make up for lost revenue and millions

of workers (mainly informal sector),

still reel from job losses, falling

incomes, worsening inequalities, and

human capital deficits.

Process Development Department's

Head Krishnanda Bairagi, Quality

Control Department's Head Tahasin

Haque, Walton International Business

Unit's President Edward Kim and

Walton's Additional Operative Director

Shamiul Islam.

WHIL's Managing Director Engineer

Golam Murshed said, "The

development of second generation's

new models of compressor, invented by

the RnD team, is a great success for

Walton. Undoubtedly this success

belongs not only to Walton; it's a

milestone for Bangladesh towards the

progress of the compressor like

domestic hi-tech product's

manufacturing industrial sector."

Compressor manufacturing industry

is another potential sector in

Bangladesh and also has a colossal

international market, mentioning it the

WHIL managing director noted that

Walton's target is to establish itself as

one of the world's top compressor


Compressor's CEO Rabiul Alam said,

Walton compressors are being

exported to Europe, Middle East and

other countries of the world by meeting

own internal demand.

The export volume of compressor is

also quite good, saying it he is hopeful

that the export of compressors will

The region is set to regain its

historical growth rate by 2022.

Electricity consumption and mobility

data is a clear indication of recovering

economic activity. India, which

comprises the bulk of the region's

economy, is expected to grow more

than 10 percent in the fiscal year 2021-

22-a substantial upward revision of 4.7

percentage points from January 2021

forecasts. The outlook for Bangladesh,

Nepal and Pakistan has also been

revised upward, supported by better

than expected remittance inflows, WB


According to United Nations World

Economic Situation Prospects (WESP)

2021 released in January, the

pandemic and the global economic

crisis have consequently left deep

marks on South Asia, turning this

former growth champion into the worst

performing region in 2020.

increase several times as the innovation

and production of these two new

models begin.

Compressor R&D's Head Meer

Muzahedin Islam said, "Walton has

been manufacturing and marketing the

world's most 'silent and durable'

compressor and the necessary

components. They are strictly following

'Zero Tolerance' in quality control at

every stage of production, he said

adding that the countries only

compressor manufacturing industry

was equipped with world-class quality

control laboratories, state-of-the-art

testing equipment and machineries.

The motherboard is being made in its

own unit at Walton factory. The

minimum noise level of the compressor

is ensured through the Hemi An-

Echoic Acoustic Chamber, imported

from the United States."

Mentionable, Bangladesh is the 8th

compressor producing country in Asia

and 15th in the world. Country's only

compressor manufacturing industry

Walton has the annual production

capacity of about 4 million. Walton

plans to increase production capacity to

10 million by 2025.

From the very beginning, Walton has

been exporting large quantities of

compressor's parts to a German based


Walton's higher officials virtually attend the launching ceremony of two new models of second generation


Photo: Courtesy

Pandemic ‘exposed’ UK households'

finances, report finds

LONDON : Households

in Britain, especially

poorer ones, are far more

likely to have suffered a

severe income shock

during the coronavirus

pandemic over the past

year than their

counterparts in France

and Germany, a wellrespected


think tank said


The Resolution

Foundation also said that

households in the U.K.

are also more likely to

have run up more debt in

response to the financial

shockwaves emanating

from the pandemic.

In a report, which was

entitled "After Shocks"

and was supported by

U.S. investment bank

JPMorgan Chase,

researchers said typical

household incomes in the

U.K., France and

Germany were broadly

similar in the year before

the pandemic but that

higher levels of inequality

and a weaker safety net

meant the poorest fifth of

British households

entered the crisis in a

weaker financial position.

"These holes in U.K.

households' financial

resilience have been

exposed during the

COVID-19 crisis," said

Maja Gustafsson, an

economist at the

Resolution Foundation.

The report found that

among households in

which at least one person

had fallen out of work,

41% of British households

had suffered a severe

income fall of at least

25%, substantially more

than the 20% recorded in

France and 28% in

Germany. It also found

that 33% of British

households have cut back

their spending, more than

the 23% recorded in

France and 21% in


The report also found

that British households

with an income hit were

also twice as likely to have

taken on more debt

during the pandemic to

cover living expenses than

German and French

households, with the

Evading law enforcement agencies, businessmen are doing business. The picture was taken from

picture palace area of Khulna city.

Photo : Star Mail

Myanmar refugee crisis brewing

as turmoil hits economy

BANGKOK : Aid workers

and activists are warning

Myanmar's political

upheavals risk causing a

regional refugee crisis as the

strife following a February

coup displaces growing

numbers of people who have

lost their livelihoods, reports


Tom Andrews, the U.N.

special rapporteur for

Myanmar, said violence has

left nearly 250,000 people

displaced. As Myanmar's

neighbors prepare for a

summit this week to discuss

the coup, he and other rights

advocates are warning that

the situation could spiral out

of control.

"The world must act

immediately to address this

humanitarian catastrophe,"

Andrews said in a Twitter

post on Wednesday.

A mass civil disobedience

movement and efforts by

security forces to crush it

have left many out of work.

Disruptions of internet

service by authorities are

also wrecking the means

many in the impoverished

country rely on to make a


The 10-member

Association of Southeast

Asian Nations, or ASEAN,

called a meeting Saturday on

the crisis that has left more

than 700 civilians dead,

according to the Assistance

Association for Political

Prisoners, which tracks the

casualties since the military


ASEAN's stance of noninterference

in each others'

internal matters, and the

relatively undemocratic

nature of many of the

members own governments,

has left Myanmar's

neighbors wary of imposing

any sanctions against the

regime that seized power

from the elected civilian

government of Aung San

Suu Kyi. She has been

imprisoned along with more

than 3,000 others.

"It is the ASEAN countries

that can put pressure on

Myanmar because they are a

trading bloc," Thompson

said in a briefing at the

Foreign Correspondents

Club of Thailand.

we`ÿ r/Rb-904(2)/21/4/2021

GD-701/21 (5x3)

proportion of households

doing so at 17%, 9% and

8% respectively.

The foundation said the

uneven impact of the

pandemic on household

finances was likely to last

far longer than the

pandemic itself, with a

higher proportion of

l o w e s t - i n c o m e

households drawing on

savings or taking on debt

to support living

standards compared with

the highest-income


By several measures,

the British economy

suffered one of the

deepest and most

protracted recessions in

the developed world in

the wake of the pandemic,

with the economy

shrinking around 10% in

2020. Many blame that

on the Conservative

government's repeated

failures to back lockdown

restrictions early enough,

delays that have

contributed to the U.K.

recording more than

127,000 coronavirusrelated

deaths, Europe's

GD-704/21 (3x2)


There are hopes that the

rapid rollout of

coronavirus vaccines in

the U.K. and the gradual

lifting of lockdown

restrictions will see the

economy make up some

of that lost output this


Though the underlying

safety net in the U.K. is

relatively less generous

than those in France and

Germany, the British

government has been

credited with swiftly

enacting financial support

measures to help offset

the impact of the

pandemic, notably its job

retention program that

has helped keep a lid on

unemployment. Under

the program, which is due

to expire later this year,

the government has been

paying the lion's share of

the incomes of those

workers retained by firms

during the series of

lockdowns that have been


Thursday, Dhaka, april 22, 2021, Baishakh 9, 1428 BS, Ramadan 9, 1442 hijri

Rebuilding partnership key to apparel

value chain recovery: Speakers

DHAKA : Speakers at a webinar emphasised

rebuilding the partnership among

brands, suppliers, governments and international

organisations as key to recovery

of the apparel value chain, reports UNB.

The medium-term recovery of the global

apparel value chain from the disruptions

of the COVID-19 pandemic has been

set back by the prolonged demand slump.

Global imports of apparels during the

period of January-August 2020 contracted

by 23 percent compared to the same

period in 2019.

Addressing medium-term challenges

through national-level interventions alone

will be difficult.Initiatives of major

brands/buyers were limited to inventory

smoothening, reshoring, and over-concentration

of orders to a limited number of


The recovery of many supplying countries

has been slow, including that of

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Innovative

'value chain-based solutions' are required

to help all the market players cope with the

crisis, ensure rebound and smooth recovery

and ultimately make the value chain


These observations emerged at an international

webinar titled 'Recovery of the

Apparels Sector of Bangladesh and Sri

Lanka: Is a Value-chain-based Solution


The webinar was jointly organised by

Flights resumed in

domestic routes

sixteen days later

Shafiqul iSlam

After 16 days, flights on domestic routes of

the country have started from Wednesday

morning. On Tuesday (April 20) Civil

Aviation Authority (Bebichak) allowed

limited range flights from yesterday

(Wednesday). After receiving permission,

Biman Bangladesh Airlines, US-Bangla

Airlines and Novo Air announced the

launch of the flights. According to Hazrat

Shahjalal International Airport sources,

US-Bangla Airlines has flown one flight

each to Sylhet, Chittagong, Barisal,

Syedpur and Jessore since this morning.

Other airlines are also scheduled to operate

flights during the day. The number of

passengers is still a bit low as it was decided

to start the flight yesterday (Tuesday)

afternoon. However, with the increase in

the number of passengers on the flights.

However, no airline has announced flights

to Cox's Bazar and Rajshahi routes.

Kamrul Islam, General Manager-Public

Relations (GM-PR) of US-Bangla Airlines,

told, we got the opportunity to operate the

flight due to uncertainty during the

Corona period. The number of passengers

on the morning flight was slightly lower.

However, many tickets for the afternoon

flights have already been sold.

Domestic flights have been suspended

since April 5 due to restrictions

announced by the government. According

to Bebichak, expatriates from different

districts of the country going to Middle

Eastern countries cannot return home by

road due to lockdown. So the flight has

been launched mainly for them.

the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and

the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka

(IPS) in partnership with Southern Voice

on Tuesday.

CPD's Chairman Professor Rehman

Sobhan said ILO could consider playing

an entrepreneurial role in bringing together

international buying countries with

supplying countries to restructure of global

demand management.

He said tripartite exercise should be carried

out, including government, employers,

and workers to produce a mutually

accommodating system of unemployment

insurance to address not just the immediate

impact of the COVID crisis but a

longer-term crisis.

In the keynote presentation, CPD's

Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam

Moazzem and Research Economist of IPS

Kithmina Hewage stated that the study

found that major sourcing countries have

either reshored or over-concentrated to

limited number of sourcing countries during

the pandemic period.

There is limited level of initiatives of

major market players to keep the suppliers

of major sourcing countries and the world

of work in uncertainty to address the

medium-term challenges.

A major shift in the distribution of

export orders by buyers during the

COVID-19 period (January-June 2020)

has deprived a number of major supplying

Quader urges BNP to stand by

countrymen amid pandemic

countries, including Bangladesh and Sri


Analysis shows that an additional US$2

billion worth of orders could be redistributed

to supplying countries if the pre-

COVID period's market share of export

orders is maintained in case of the largest

supplying country - China.

The study proposes that in case of a

major global crisis, a redistributive

approach should be maintained to ensure

export orders at least at the pre-crisis level,

particularly for countries that have fiscal

constraints and weak social support programmes

to support their suppliers and


Husni Salieh, Director of Strategic

Transformation at MAS Holdings in Sri

Lanka shared that the value of a value

chain is truly optimised when its stakeholders

work collaboratively particularly

during the crisis.

He also added that building resilience

within a relatively diversified but existing

value chain has the capability to face the

current and future crisis successfully.

Founder and CEO of Bangladesh

Apparel Exchange Mostafiz Uddin said

that there is a lack of responsible business

practices among the brands during the

ongoing crisis. He opined that the brands

should consider their suppliers as business

partners and act responsibly.

DHAKA : Awami League General

Secretary Obaidul Quader yesterday

urged BNP to stand by the country's

people amid the ongoing coronavirus

pandemic by stopping its "lip service".

He came up with the call while

exchanging views with the officials of

Khulna zone of the Bangladesh Road

Transport Corporation (BRTC) and

Bangladesh Road Transport Authority

(BRTA) through videoconferencing

from his official residence here.

Quader, also the road transport and

bridges minister, said the politics of

people's welfare is an urgent now as

BNP and fundamental forces affect the

country's politics, the values of

Liberation War and the advancement of

the country's democracy.

BNP and its allies have made the

every achievement of the country questionable,

he said.

The AL general secretary said BNP

continues ill-efforts to make the glorious

days of the country and society controversial

as the party is looking for a

dark path to assume power without

public support.

He said stigmatising the golden

achievements of the nation, BNP wants

to restore the trend of Pakistan's politics

in the country, which is not possible at

all and people will not allow the party to

do so.

The people-oriented politics and the

politics of development of Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina have put the socalled

political parties in trouble and

halted the ambitious path of their politics,

Quader said.

About the ongoing coronavirus situation,

he said many people become

workless due to lockdown, urging the

AL men and affluent people of the society

to stand by the poor and destitute

people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AL general secretary said as

financial assistance, Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina will provide Taka 2,500

each to 35 lakh low-income families hit

by COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides, he said, one lakh farmers'

families affected by natural disaster will

get Taka 5,000 each.

Mentioning that about 10 kilometres

on Jashore-Khulna Highway from

Naopara to Jashore was badly damaged,

he instructed the authorities concerned

to complete the repair work of

the damaged road as soon as possible.

"Khulna-Mongla road is very important

as a thermal power plant and

Mongla seaport are located there", he

said asking the authorities concerned to

take steps soon to upgrade the road into

four lanes.

Quader asked the engineers to

strengthen monitoring work in the

ongoing infrastructure projects and

proceed necessary works for tender

flouting in new projects so that works of

these projects could start soon after


more than 200 tin-shed houses were gutted in a devastating fire at mostafa member's slum in

Ranavola village of Turag in the capital on Wednesday.

Photo: PBa

DNCC Dedicated Corona hospital has been opened in mohakhali of the capital to deal with the Corona epidemic.

Patients are flocking here as iCus are not available in different hospitals.

Photo : Star mail

‘Shishu Bokta’ Rafiqul


DHAKA : A court on Wednesday placed

stunted preacher Rafiqul Islam, popularly

known as 'Shishu Bokta' for his

short stature, on four-day remand in a

case lodged for attacking and engaging

in fight with police in the capital.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Abu

Sufiyan Mohammad Noman passed the

order as police produced him before the

court virtually and pleaded to show

Rafiqul arrested in the case.

The law enforcing agency also pleaded

to place him on 10-day remand. After

hearing the plea, the court placed the

accused on four-day remand.

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on

April 8 arrested Rafiqul from his house

in Netrokona in a case lodged under

Digital Security Act.

Bangladesh Chhatra Odhikar

Parishad brought out a rally in Motijheel

area on March 25, protesting the visit of

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rafiqul joined the rally. As police tried to

push them away from the road, they

locked in a battle with the law enforcers.

200 shanties

gutted in Uttara

slum fire

DHAKA : At least 200 shanties were gutted

in a fire at a slum in the city's

Ranavola area of Uttara sector-10 on

Wednesday, reports UNB.

Sources at the Fire Service and Civil

Defence control room said the fire originated

at the slum known as 'Mustafa

member balurmath basti' around 12:20

pm and gutted the shanties.

Five firefighting units rushed to the

spot and brought the fire under control

at around 1:35pm, said duty officer Lima


The fire was doused at around 2:45


DHAKA : Among various diseases, cancer has posed a big

threat to human beings across the country. The disease denotes

a horrifying sight in each and every person as most people perceive

cancer means death.

Cancer occurs in people of all ages and can affect any part of

the body while the disease is a leading cause of death for children

and adolescents worldwide.

Physicians say it is also important to know that cancer as a

disease mostly affects the senior population, higher life

expectancy means higher cancer rates.

It is afflicting that the number of cancer patients has been

increasing day by day due to food habit, bad lifestyle and negative

impact of industrialization and technology.

Such situation underscores the importance that if left

untreated, cancer generally expands, invades other parts of the

body and causes death.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), in the country,

the number of cancer patients is more than 15 lakhs where

children and teenagers are mostly affected by the deadly disease.

According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, among the

cancer affected people, about one-third is children and adolescents

in city areas. And their age is between one and nineteen

years. Of them, children aged between 15 and 19 are mostly


On the other hand, about 13 percent children are affected by

cancer before reaching the age of only four years.

Besides, one percent children are affected between 10 and 14

years and two percent between 5 and 9 years.

Legendary Bengali poet Sankha

Ghosh dies of Covid

NEW DELHI : Bangladesh-born

legendary Indian poet Sankha

Ghosh, widely known by his pen

name Kuntak, died at home in the

eastern city of Kolkata on

Wednesday morning. He was 89,

reports UNB.

Ghosh passed away around 11.30

am on Wednesday, barely a week

after contracting coronavirus, his

family said. The poet was in home

isolation since April 14 when he

tested positive for Covid-19. He was

put on life support on Monday after

his condition worsened.

In fact, the eminent poet had been

suffering from age-related ailments

for a while. In January this year, he

was briefly hospitalised.

Born at Chandpur in present-day

Bangladesh and brought up in West

Bengal, Ghosh belonged to the era

of Bengali poets after Jibanananda

Das. Dinaguli Rataguli and Nihita

Patalachaya are some of his celebrated

works that have been translated

into English.

He is also the recipient of several

coveted awards-Jnanpith and

Sahitya Akademi awards to name a

few. In 2011, Ghosh was conferred

with the Padma Bhushan, the thirdhighest

civilian award in India.

Theprolific poet, who studied in

Kolkata's prestigious Presidency

College and completed his master's

degree in Bengali from Calcutta

University in 1954, also taught at

many varsities, including Calcutta

University, Jadavpur University,

Delhi University and Visva Bharati.

India's ruling Bharatiya Janata

Party's president JP Nadda took to

social media to pay his tribute to the


"I am deeply saddened by the

death of renowned Bengali poet

Sankha Ghosh, who was honoured

with Padma Bhushan, Sahitya

Akademi Award, Rabindra Award,

Saraswati Award and Jnanpith

Award. May his soul rest in peace,"

he tweeted.

Last year, Bengal lost another legend

to Covid. Celebrated

actorSoumitraChatterjee, the

favourite of India's Oscar-winning

filmmaker Satyajit Ray, passed

away at a hospital in Kolkata on

November 15.

Last week, India became the second

worst-affected country in the

world in terms of Covid cases. On

Tuesday, India reported as many as

259,170 new cases and 1,761 fatalities

in 24 hours, the highest daily

death toll since the pandemic broke

out in 2020.

India's Covid tally and death toll

currently stand at 1,53,21,089 and

1,80,530, respectively, according to

the country's Health Ministry.

Cancer dreads all, still early diagnosis

enhances survival rate

Experts said environmental challenges in city life, chemical

reaction in foods and impact of Genealogy are the main causes

of cancer in cities.

Assistant Professor of Child Hematology and Oncology

Department of Dhaka Medical College Dr SM Rezanur

Rahman said gene is the mostly reason of cancer. If there is any

cancer patient in a clan, it would be a problem for the next generation.

Besides, he said, environmental pollution, food habit and

indiscipline lifestyle are also main reasons for cancer.

As per the survey, mostly men are affected by the cancer after

their birth while the women are affected when they become


The differences of cancer affected children and teenagers

between cities and villages are also alarming. The rate of affected

children in city areas is about 27 percent more compared to

villages. And it is about six percent in villages while the cancer

patients aged between zero and four years are 3.33 percent.

And the cancer patients aged between 10 and 14 are 2.28 percent.

Head of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Department of

DMC Professor Dr AKM Amirul Morshed Khasru conducted a

research about the types of cancer of children and teenagers.

As per the research, they (children and teenagers) are mostly

affected by leukemia. Thirty-one percent cancer patients are

affected by leukemia. And 26 percent children and teenagers

are affected by brain and spinal cancers while 10 percent

patients are affected by lymph cancer.

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam, Executive Editor : Sheikh Efaz Ahmed, Managing Editor: Tapash Ray Sarker, News Editor : Saiful Islam, printed at Sonali Printing Press, 2/1/A, Arambagh 167, Inner Circular Road, Eden Complex, Motijheel, Dhaka.

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

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