Dhaka : april 29 , 2021; Baishakh 16, 1428 BS; Ramadan 16,1442 hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.Da~2065, Vol.19; N o. 23 ; 12 Pages~Tk.8.00


US Navy fires warning

shots in new tense

encounter with Iran

>Page 7

art & Culture

‘Bir’ to be

aired on

Eid day

>Page 10


Madrid and Chelsea draw

1-1 in Champions League


>Page 9

Proposals to set up 15 MW HFO-power

plant in Hatiya approaved

Munia's grieving

family seeks


CUMILLA : The grieving family

of Musharrat Jahan Munia,

whose hanging body was

recovered from her rented flat

in Dhaka, have demanded

exemplary punishment of

those responsible for her


Police on Monday recovered

the hanging body of

Musharrat Jahan, 21, daughter

of late Shafiqur Rahman, a

freedom fighter of

Monoharpur in Cumilla district,

from a flat in Dhaka's

Gulshan area.

Following the recovery of

her body, the victim's sister,

Nusrat Jahan, filed a case

under section 306 of

Bangladesh Penal Code with

Gulshan Police Station around

1:30 am on Tuesday, reports


In the case, Nusrat Jahan

accused Sayem Sobhan Anvir,

managing director of

Bashundhara Group, as the

lone accused of abetting the

death of the 21-year-old college


While talking to UNB, she

said: "Making a call over my

phone on April 25, Munia said

Anvir won't marry her. She

was crying during the conversation.

She said Anvir threatened

her of dire consequences

saying that she met one of his


"I'm scared...anything may

happen," Nusrat quoted

Munia as telling her.


04:08 AM

12:00 PM

04:31 PM

06:29 PM

07:47 PM

5:26 6:26


Ramadan Date Sehri Iftar

16 April 29 04:01 AM 06:30 PM

17 April 30 04:00 AM 06:30 PM

18 May 01 03:59 AM 06:31 PM

At least ten buses of "N Mallik paribahan" and several shops were gutted in a fire that broke out at

Bandura Bus Stand in Nawabganj upazila on Wednesday.

photo : Star Mail

Bangladesh approves local

production of Russian,

Chinese Covid vaccines

Dhaka : The Cabinet Committee on

Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved

in principle a proposal for producing

Russian and Chinese Covid-19 vaccines in


"The cabinet body has approved in principle

the Health Ministry's proposal to

facilitate the production of Russian and

Chinese vaccines," said Dr Shahida Aktar,

additional secretary of the Cabinet

Division, while briefing reporters after the


She noted that the government will purchase

vaccine technology from Russian

and China through direct procurement

method (DPM) which means the Health

Ministry will not require to follow any

competitive bidding princess.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal

presided over the virtual meeting where

the proposal was placed by the Health

Ministry on an emergency basis.

Dr Shahida Aktar said Russia's Sputnik-

V and China's Sinopharm will be produced

in Bangladesh using the facilities and logistics

of different private pharmaceutical


"No name of any specific companies was

discussed at the meeting. But it was agreed

in principle that the Russian and Chinese

authorities will examine facilities and then

things will be settled about who will produce

the vaccines,"he added.

The approval from the government's top

authority came within a day of the government's

move toproduceCovid-19 vaccinesfrom

Russian and China after India

imposed ban on the export of Oxford-

AstraZeneca vaccine by Serum Institute to


Mustafa Kamal said though Bangladesh

approved Russian and Chinese vaccines'local

production, it will continue to its

drive to have vaccine doses from India.

"We didn't give up the hope about getting

vaccine jabs from India," he told the


Bangladesh, China, others call for

avoiding vaccine nationalism

Bangladesh, China and four South Asian

countries have said "vaccine nationalism"

will hinder the global efforts to defeat

Covid-19, and underscored the need for

avoiding the "immunity gap".

The six countries agreed that vaccines, as

a key weapon to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic,

should be distributed in accordance

with the principle of equity and justice,

reports UNB.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister of

China Wang Yi, acting Foreign Minister of

Afghanistan Mirwais Nab, Bangladesh

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen,

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar

Gyawali, Pakistan Foreign Minister

Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh

Gunawardena held a video conference on

joint response to Covid-19 on Tuesday.

They exchanged views on international

and regional cooperation on pandemic

response and post-Covid economic recovery,

according to a joint statement issued on

Wednesday. To push forward practical

cooperation in relevant fields, China

announced its decision to establish a China-

South Asian Countries Emergency Supplies

Reserve, set up a China-South Asian

Countries Poverty Alleviation and

Cooperative Development Center, and hold

a China-South Asian Countries E-commerce

Cooperation Forum on Poverty

Alleviation in Rural Areas.

The other participating countries also

expressed support.

The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction

the concerted and productive efforts

made by their countries since the start of

Covid-19 to combat the virus and promote

economic recovery in the spirit of overcoming

challenges through cooperation and

mutual assistance.

The Foreign Ministers pointed out that

Covid-19 is a common enemy of

humankind, and that countries should step

up solidarity and cooperation to win the

final victory over it.


Bangladesh sees

77 deaths, new

cases 2,955

TBT RepoRT :

Bangladesh on Wednesday reported

77 more coronavirus-related deaths

and 2,955 new cases as the country

grapples with the 2nd wave of the


The daily infection rate dropped to

10.48 percent from Tuesday's

12.51percent but the mortality rate

rose to 1.50 percent.

So far 754,614 cases and 11,305

deaths have been recorded, the

Directorate General of Health

Services said in a handout.

The number of recoveries now

stands at 672,319 including 5392 new

cases. This means, 89.09 percent of

the patients have recovered.

Bangladesh has so far tested

5,423,730 samples, including 28,206

in the last 24 hours.

Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus

cases on March 8 last year and

the first death on the 18th of that


DHAKA : The Cabinet Committee on

Public Purchase in a virtual meeting on

Wednesday approved 5 proposals

including one for setting up a 15 MW

Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO)r -fired power

plant in Hatiya island of Noakhali and

another for installing 40,000 solar

home systems (SHS) in three hill districts.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa

Kamal presided over the online meeting.

According to a proposal of the Power

Division, Desh Energy Ltd. will set up

the 15 MW power plant at Hatiya Island

from which the state-owned

Bangladesh Power Development Board

(BPDB) will purchase electricity for

over the next 15 years.

The levelised tariff of each kilowatt

hour (each unit) of electricity was set at

US Cents 12.1042 and they government

has to spend Tk 1,396.15 crore in the

next 15 years to purchase the power

from the plant.

The Parbatya Chattagram Unnayan

Board (PCUB) under the Chittagong

Hill Tracts Affairs Ministry will set up

40,000 solar home systems, each having

100 watt peak, and 2,500 community

solar system, each having 320 watt

peak, at the three hill districts.

The PCUB will purchase the entire

solar home systems from BGB Welfare

Trust at a cost of Tk 204.37 crore.

The committee approved a Railway

Ministry's proposal for extending the

contract value of consultancy services

for setting up of 3rd and 4th dualgauge

rail line at Dhaka-Tongi Section with

signaling and dualgauge double line at

Tongi section by Tk 16.03 crore.

The Joint Venture of Aarvee

Associates Architects Engineers and

Consultants Pvt. Ltd., India and Ayesa

Ingenieria Y Arquitectura, India have

been engaged in the project as consultant.

Two separate proposals of the Public

Works Department under the Ministry

of Housing and Public Works received

approval of the committee.

Bangladesh extends

lockdown until May 5

DHAKA : The government has issued

six fresh directives imposing restrictions

on people's movement alongside

the existing ones as the country is struggling

to contain the Coviid-19 transmission.

The Cabinet Division on Wednesday

issued a notification extending the

ongoing lockdown from April 28 to

May 5, reports UNB.

Shops and shopping malls will

remain open from 10 am to 8 pm

ensuring health guidelines, the notification


Commerce Ministry, Labour and

Employment Ministry, trade organisations

and bazar managing committees

will take effective measures in this

regard. Legal action will be taken

against those to be found violating the


According to the directives, no one

will be allowed to enter the country

through land, river and air routes from

India other than goods-laden vehicles.

Besides, the Bangladeshi people, who

are now in India and their visas have

expired, can only enter the country after

taking a release/certificate from the

Bangladesh High Commissioner in

India. In that case, they will have to follow

a 14-day quarantine rule and the

Health Services Division, Public Safety

Division, Security Services Division,

Shipping Ministry and deputy commissioner

concerned will take necessary

measures in this regard.

Those coming from the Middle East,

Singapore, Malaysia and China with

non-Covid-19 and vaccination certificates

will have to follow a 14-day quarantine

rule at their respective homes. In

this case, they will have to contact local

police stations about their arrival and

quarantine period.

But those who have only have non-

Covid-19 certificates and returned from

those countries mentioned above have

to stay in the government facilitated

institutions, and within 3-5 days, if the

physicians allowed them to go to their

respective houses after the test, will

have to go for a 14-day quarantine at

their homes.

The people who come from other

countries will have to stay in government

facilitated institutions for

14 days.

Drought is going on in the south-western part of the country. The above picture is the dried up canal which was

taken from Debitala village in Dakop upazila of Khulna on Wednesday.

photo : Star Mail

thursday, april 29, 2021


Microsoft profits jump as cloud

services keep momentum

WASHINGTON : Microsoft said

Tuesday profits rose sharply in the past

quarter amid strong momentum in cloud

services for businesses amid the

extended pandemic.

Profits in the three months to March 31

jumped 44 percent from the same period

a year ago to $15.5 billion while revenues

increased 19 percent to $41.7 billion,

reports BSS.

The results showed ongoing

momentum for Microsoft as it focuses on

services for enterprises in the internet

cloud, which has become more critical

during the global health crisis of the past

year. "Over a year into the pandemic,

digital adoption curves aren't slowing

down. They're accelerating, and it's just

the beginning," said chief executive Satya


"We are building the cloud for the next

decade, expanding our addressable

market and innovating across every layer

of the tech stack to help our customers be

resilient and transform."

Microsoft said its commercial cloud

revenue was up some 33 percent in its

fiscal third quarter as part of the growing

trend. It reported strong gains in its

Office suite of products and a more

modest increase in similar software and

services for consumers. Microsoft saw

gains across a range of products and

services, including its Xbox gaming

content and services (revenue up 34

percent), search advertising (17 percent),

the LinkedIn professional social network

(25 percent) and its Surface line of

computing products (12 percent).

The surging market for personal

computers helped drive revenue for the

Windows operating system up 10

percent year-over-year, with a similar

increase in Windows commercial

products and cloud services. The results

come with Big Tech firms facing growing

scrutiny for dominating key economic

sectors, while seeing their influence and

profits rise during the pandemic.

Shares in Microsoft, whose market

value has approached $2 trillion in

recent days, dipped some three percent

in after-hours trade following the results.

Dan Ives at Wedbush Securities said

the results showed "strong numbers that

will be another feather in the cap for

Microsoft" and pointed to "the stock

selling off after hours in knee jerk fashion

as the Street was hoping for a bigger topline


Foundation stone of

Muktijoddha Memorial

Museum laid in Panchagarh

PANCHAGARH: The foundation stone of Muktijoddha

Memorial Museum has been laid at the Debiganj-Domar

highway in front of Upazila Secondary Education Office in

Debiganj upazila of the district yesterday, reports BSS.

Upazila Chairman of Debiganj Abdul Malek Chistee

formally laid the foundation stone for construction of the

Muktijoddha Memorial Museum as the chief guest.

The museum would be built aiming for preserving the

historical documents of the district during the Liberation

War in 1971.

The Local Government Engineering Department

(LGED) would implement the construction work at a cost

of Taka 65. 57 lakh.

Upazila Nirbahi officer (UNO) Prottoy Hasan, Upazila

Engineer (LGED) Md, Mominul Islam, Upazila Awami

League President Gias Uddin Chowdary and freedom

fighter Commander Sodesh Chandra were present,

among others, on the occasion.

ADB lifts Asia growth forecast on

Covid-19 vaccines, export demand

MANILA : The Asian Development Bank has raised its growth

forecast for developing Asia this year on the rollout of Covid-19

vaccines and the strength of global export demand, but warned that

resurgent virus outbreaks threatened the recovery.

China and India are expected to lead the rebound across the vast

region stretching from the Cook Islands in the Pacific to Kazakhstan

in Central Asia, the lender said Wednesday.

The Philippines-based ADB predicted growth of 7.3 percent,

compared with its previous forecast in December of 6.8 percent and

a contraction of 0.2 percent in 2020 - but said the recovery would be

"patchy". "Some economies continue to struggle to contain the virus

and its new variants," the ADB said in its flagship Asian Development


"Tourist-dependent economies in the Pacific and elsewhere face a

slow road back. Conversely, a handful of economies in the region that

have contained domestic outbreaks and are benefiting from the

recovery in global demand will continue to show resilience and


The ADB warned that delayed vaccine rollouts could also prolong

economic disruptions in the region where "progress varies

considerably" in getting jabs into arms.


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Bangladesh eyes Guinea Bissau

as new export destination

DHAKA : Bangladesh has

requested Guinea Bissau, a

county in West Africa, to

consider accrediting a nonresident

Ambassador to

Bangladesh at least for

maintaining a regular

contact in both ways to help

boost relations between the

two countries exploring

trade potential.

Terming the trade

between two countries as

not up to its potentials,

Bangladesh suggested that

Guinea Bissau can import

quality goods at affordable

price from Bangladesh,

such as, RMG,

pharmaceuticals, ceramics,

electronics, ICT products,

bicycles, motor cycles and

even ships.

Bangladesh Ambassador

to Portugal Tarik Ahsan

presented his credentials to

the President of Guinea

Bissau Umaro Mokhtar

Sissoco Embalo in the

capital city Bissau on

Tuesday as the nonresident

Ambassador to

that country with residence

in Lisbon and raised the


The President expressed

his willingness to

concurrently accredit a

non-resident Ambassador

of Guinea Bissau to


He expressed keen

interest in expanding

cooperation with

Bangladesh, particularly in

the proposed areas of trade

and capacity building, and

suggested that the two

Foreign Ministries remain

in contact for promoting

the cooperation.

Citing Bangladesh's

success in grass roots level

development, the

Ambassador viewed that, in

a spirit of South-South

cooperation, Bangladesh

and Guinea Bissau can

cooperate and exchange

best practices, particularly

in rural development and


He attached importance

to working together at

multilateral fora on the

common issue of climate


Ambassador Ahsan

requested for continued

support of Guinea Bissau,

at UN and OIC platforms,

in the efforts for ensuring

repatriation of the forcibly

displaced Rohingyas from

Bangladesh to Myanmar.

The Ambassador was

escorted in a motorcade

from his hotel

accommodation in Bissau

to the Palace of the


On his arrival at the

Palace, the Ambassador

received a gun salute from

the Presidential Guards,

while national flags of both

the countries were flying.

Ambassador Ahsan then

ceremonially presented his

letter of credence to the

President of Guinea Bissau.

In an audience with

President Embalo, the

Ambassador conveyed the

greetings of Bangladesh

President Abdul Hamid

and Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina to him.

The Ambassador stated

that he was privileged to be

the first Bangladesh

Ambassador to present

credentials to the Head of

State of Guinea Bissau.

He mentioned with pride

that Bangladesh and

Guinea Bissau have similar

historical backgrounds of

achieving independence

through glorious wars of

liberation and that flags of

both countries were raised

at the United Nations

Secretariat in New York on

the same day on 18

September 1974.

While there had not been

much bilateral contact

between the two countries

in the past, the Ambassador

expressed the hope that,

with this formal acceptance

of an Envoy, relation would

now be progressively

enhanced to a higher level.

President warmly

welcomed the Ambassador

to Guinea Bissau and

congratulated him on being

the first Bangladesh

Ambassador to present

credentials in his country.

The President extended

warm greetings to

Bangladesh President

Abdul Hamid, Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina

and the people of


The President expressed

his belief that bonds of

friendship between

Bangladesh and Guinea

Bissau would be further

strengthened in the days to


He assured the

Ambassador of all

cooperation and support

during his tenure as

Ambassador to Guinea


LGRD Minister Md. Tajul Islam visiting the progress of the work plan given to the city corporation

during the handing over of the canal from WASA and the land acquired for 'Kalyanpur Pump

Retention Pond'.

Photo : Courtesy

BARVIDA demands

car market expansion,

rationalising import


DHAKA : Bangladesh

Reconditioned Vehicles

Importers and Dealers

Association (BARVIDA) on

Wednesday demanded

measures for expansion of

car market, and increasing

the government's tax

collection by rationalising

the import duty on

reconditioned vehicles and

new cars. Leaders of the

BARVIDA placed the

demands at a virtual press

conference held from its

Bijoynagar office, reports


Putting emphasis on the

stability in the alreadyestablished


car industry, they said with

the current perspective, the

country needs a realistic,



implementable policy so

that a real automotive

manufacturing industry is

established which will also

guarantee the protection of a

stability in the years-long

business of import of

reconditioned vehicles.

Moreover, it is very

important to reduce the

discrimination in tariff in

import of reconditioned cars

and new ones for a greater

interest of the market

expansion of the cars in the

country, said the BARVIDA

leaders. They said the

government can collect huge

revenue from the higher

sales of cars among the

growing middle income


Khaleda Zia admitted

hospital for treatment


BNP chairperson and former

Prime Minister Begum

Khaleda Zia has been

admitted in the capital's Ever

Care Hospital for some

physical tests. She will remain

in the hospital until the

examination results are

reviewed, said Professor Dr.

FM Siddiqui, head of her

medical team. He told

reporters after the BNP

chairperson was admitted to

Ever Care Hospital in

Bashundhara on Tuesday

night. He said we will do the

other tests of her, which she

has not been able to do in the

last one year. We will review

the tests reports when we

receive that. Dr. FM Siddiqi

said it doesn't look good that I

made her restless and

admitted her. I didn't see the

report properly and I took her

to the hospital again for one or

two tests. That's why we

admitted her to the cabin of

ever care hospital to complete

various tests. After finishing all

the tests she will come back

her residence in Gulshan.

Asked how long Khaleda Zia

could stay in the hospital, FM

Siddiqui said, one or two days

maximum. After getting the

reports we will review that.

Then we will bring her at

home. Asked about Khaleda

Zia's physical condition, he

said, Her condition is stable.

She has no symptoms of covid.

She is fine. Professor FM

Siddiqui said, Today we did a

CT scan of her chest. Today's

report is much better than the

first CT scan I did. In that

respect, Alhamdulillah, she

has recovered overall. Other

parameters of Covid are okay.

Khaleda Zia came to Ever

Care Hospital from her

Gulshan home at 9:30 pm.

After a few tests, including a

CT scan, she was admitted to

that hospital on the advice of

doctors. She is in a cabin of

Ever Care. Earlier, BNP

secretary general Mirza

Habibullah Siraji's condition

stable after intestinal surgery

DHAKA : Director General of Bangla Academy Habibullah

Siraji has been kept under close observation after a successful

intestinal operation.

AHM Lokman, secretary of Bangla Academy, confirmed

the matter to BSS yesterday afternoon.

Earlier on April 25, Siraji was admitted to city's Darus

Salam Hospital with severe abdominal pain, Lokman said.

Physicians formed a board for his treatment. After various

check-ups, Siraji underwent an abdominal obstruction and

intestinal tumor operation on Tuesday.

According to the duty doctors of the hospital, his condition

is stable now. At present he has been kept under close

observation for 72 hours.

Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and

joint secretary general

Mahbubuddin Khokon and

her doctors came to Gulshan's

residence around 8:30 pm.

Later, the doctors including

the BNP secretary general

went to the hospital in

Khaleda Zia's convoy.

It is learned that, Khaleda

Zia was brought to the hospital

on April 14 for a CT scan

(chest). The result of that CT

scan test is 'nominal'. After

corona infected of Khaleda Zia

on April 11, her personal

physician Professor FM

Siddiqui is treating her at her

home in Gulshan. Khaleda

Zia's corona was tested 14 days

after on Saturday (April 24)

the corona attack but the

result was again positive.

Apart from the BNP

chairperson, 14 others were

attacked by corona at Firoza's

house. Four of them, including

Khaleda Zia, are now positive.

Former Prime Minister

Khaleda Zia has been

convicted in two corruption

cases. She was sentenced to

three years in prison. At the

request of the family after the

outbreak of coronavirus in the

country, the government on

March 25 last year took

'humanitarian consideration;

she was released with

conditions. Since then, he has

been receiving treatment from

her rented house in Gulshan

under the supervision of

private doctors. Contact with

her someone from outside is


Members of Bangladesh Navy distributing relief among the destitute families at Kurmitola High

School and College ground on Wednesday.

Photo : ISPR

Occupational safety, health of all workers

must be a national priority: ILO

DHAKA : International Labour

Organisation (ILO) has said the

occupational safety and health (OSH) of

all workers in all industries must be a

national priority, reports UNB.

"The second wave of the pandemic is

sweeping across Bangladesh as we

mark World Day for Safety and Health

at Work 2021. Many hundreds of

thousands of workers continue to work

hard to keep the society and the

economy functioning," said Tuomo

Poutiainen, Country Director of ILO


The pandemic has clearly shown the

importance of OSH in creating a safe

working environment and its impact on

public health and the occupational

safety and health of all workers in all

industries must be a national priority,

said Poutiainen.

The ILO has helped develop a

national Covid-19 OSH guideline which

was approved and published by the

Ministry of Labour and Employment in


"The safety of workers and business

sustainability can both be secured if the

measures recommended in this

guideline are implemented across all

industries and workplaces," Poutiainen


Countries need to put in place sound

and resilient OSH systems that would

minimize the risks for everyone in the

world of work in the event of future

health emergencies, says ILO in a

report, released on World Day for

Safety and Health at Work.

The report says small and micro-sized

enterprises have often found it hard to

meet official OSH requirements

because many have lacked the

resources to adapt to the threats posed

by the pandemic.

According to the ILO report, in the

5 hurt in



at CMC


five leaders and activists

of Bangladesh Chhatra

League (BCL) were

injured in a clash between

two factions of

Chattogram Medical

College (CMC) unit BCL

over a trifling matter on

the campus on Tuesday

night, reports UNB.

An altercation ensued

between the supporters of

two BCL factions-one led

by AJM Nasir while

another by Deputy

Minister for Education

Mohibul Hasan

Chowdhury Nowfel-over

satire on a supporter of

another group in front of

the main gate of the

campus, said Deputy


Mokhlesur Rahman of

Chattogram Metropolitan


At one stage, a scuffle

took place between them

triggering a chase and

counter chase that left

five people injured.

On information, police

rushed in and brought the

situation under control.

Additional police have

been deployed to avoid

further trouble.

global informal economy, many of the

1.6 billion workers, especially in

developing countries, have continued

working despite lockdowns, restrictions

on movement and social interaction,

and other measures.

This has put them at high risk of

catching the virus, yet most do not have

access to basic social protection, such as

sick leave or sick pay.

"In the absence of protection such as

sick leave or unemployment benefits,

millions of workers are forced to make a

cruel choice between their health and

their livelihoods, which not only puts

them at risks but also others they come

in contact with. The current crisis

highlights the need for equitable,

inclusive and human-centred

responses," said Tuomo Poutiainen.

In Bangladesh, the government,

employers and workers' organizations

must work together to continue

strengthening the OSH institutional

and regulatory frameworks and OSH

management system at national and

workplace levels, said the ILO Country


Investing in OSH systems will not

only contribute towards responding to

the current pandemic and recovering

faster by avoiding further contagion but

will create resilience to face any future

crises that might lie ahead.

At the same time, it is important to

establish urgent safety net programmes

for low-wage workers, the selfemployed,

and workers and enterprises

in all the hard-hit sectors including

informal ones, added Poutiainen.

This will require investment in OSH

infrastructure and integrating it into

overall national crisis emergency

preparedness and response plans so

that workers' safety and health is

protected, and the business continuity

Farzana Ahmed obtains

Ph.D. Degree

Farzana Ahmed, Assistant

Professor of Graphic Design

Department under the

Faculty of Fine Art of Dhaka

University has obtained Ph.D.

Degree from the same

university recently. The title of

her Ph.D. thesis was

'Bangladesher Shishutosh

Gronther Prochhod O

Sochitrakoron (1971-2012)'.

Prof. F M Kaiser and Prof.

Mohammad Yunus were

supervisor and co-supervisor

respectively of her research.

Dhaka University Syndicate

awarded this Ph.D. Degree to

Farzana Ahmed at a meeting

held on April 08, 2021 with

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Md.

Akhtaruzzaman in the chair.

Farzana Ahmed is the only

daughter of Mr. Jalal Uddin

Hawlader and Mrs. Hasina

Jalal of Maluhar village under

Nalchity upazilla of Jhalokati


Khulna DC distributes food

aid among 550 poor people

KHULNA : Khulna deputy commissioner (DC) Md Helal

Hossain yesterday distributed foodstuffs among 550 day

labourers, saloon workers, unemployed , low-income workers

and poor people to minimize the present adverse impact of

novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the city .

Khulna District Administration organised the programme

at Dighalia upazila parishad premises .

DC disbursed rice, pulse, chicken, oil, potato and vegetable

for mitigating their financial hardship amid the coronavirus

(COVID-19) situation by strictly maintaining health safety

guidelines. Lawmaker of Khulna-4 constituency Salam

Murshedi virtually attended the programme as chief guest.

Besides, DC distributed same food stuff among poor people

as part of Ashryan project

Deputy Director of local government in Khulna Md Iqbal

Hossain, Chairman of Dighalia upazila parishad chairman

Sheikh Maruful Islam, among others, were present on the


Later, Khulna DC inaugurated Bangabandhu corner at the

upazila premises.

of enterprises is supported.

The report, "Anticipate, prepare and

respond to crises. Invest now in resilient

OSH systems", examines risk

prevention and management relating to

the pandemic, and analyses other

health and safety risks associated with

the changing work arrangements

arising from virus control measures.

The report outlines the critical roles

played during the pandemic by

occupational safety and health

regulatory frameworks and institutions,

compliance mechanisms, health and

advisory services, data, research and


"There could be no clearer

demonstration of the importance of a

strong, resilient, occupational safety

and health environment. Recovery and

prevention will require better national

policies, institutional and regulatory

frameworks, properly integrated into

crisis response frameworks," said ILO

Director-General, Guy Ryder.

The report says International labour

standards (ILS) provide tools to

implement OSH measures and to

ensure that workers, employers and

governments can maintain decent work

while adjusting to the socio-economic

consequences of the pandemic.

ILS also encourages social dialogue as

the best way to ensure that procedures

and protocols are effectively

implemented and accepted.

While the public health system has a

responsibility to prevent the spread of

the Covid-19 virus and other public

health threats to the entire population,

strong and effective national OSH

systems are essential to safeguard the

life and health of workers, and for this,

they must be equipped with adequate

human, material and financial


IU assistant proctor

removed for

assaulting student


The authorities of Islamic

University in Kushtia have

removed Assistant Proctor

Ariful Islam from his post

for assaulting a student.

IU acting registrar M

Ataur Rahman confirmed

the matter to the journalists

on Tuesday night.

IU vice-chancellor

Professor Shaikh Abdus

Salam suspended the

Biomedical Engineering

department's lecturer Ariful

Islam from the post of

assistant proctor for

violating the rules and

regulations of the university.

of Accounting and

Information Systems

department of the university

The decision was made at

an emergency meeting with

vice-chancellor Professor

Shaikh Abdus Salam in the

chair, the registrar said.

The assistant proctor

slapped Hasan Ali, a master

student of the Accounting

and Information Systems

department, for plucking

mangoes from tree in front

of Begum Fazilatunnesa

Mujib Hall on April 23.

The student lodged a

written complaint to the

university authorities in this

regard on the same day.

The authorities formed a

three-member committee to

prepare a report on the


Later on Sunday, the

committee submitted its

report to the VC.

THURSdAy, APRIL 29, 2021


Can the pandemic bring India and Pakistan together?

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Banksto look after

longer term interests

The private commercial banks (PCBs) were shown

as earning high operating profits in recent years.

If the banks scored this substantially higher

profits from increasing notably their credit

disbursement or funding a large number of new

borrowers and helping them with entrepreneurship,

then the same would be well earned indeed.

Banks profiting from extending resources to

entrepreneurs or enterprising means their playing a

facilitating role in economic growth. Economic growth

occurring, thus, not only underwrites the security of

the economy, it does the same for the banks.

From acquiring additional customers or expanding

their client base, the banks only add to their

resourcefulness over the long haul. The growing

customer base means expansion of the banks'

business well into the future. But according to

statistics of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), credit growth in

commercial banks has been decreasing in recent


So, the banks have not got their markedly increased

profits in the desired way, i.e. through energizing the

wheels of the economy. The greater part of the

increased profits of the banks came from their

management maintaining their hard squeeze on their

existing customers to repay their debts to the banks at

the high lending rates fixed earlier. Not only the high

rates of interest on borrowing were retained, the rates

were also moved up further.

The high interest rate on borrowing helped the short

term profit hunger of the banks . But this high profit

trend for now will likely be at the cost of their longer

term profitability or viability .Businesses or potential

entrepreneurs never like a high bank borrowing rate.

Existing customers of the banks are, no doubt,

servicing their old debts at the high interest rates which

is helping the banks to show high operating profits.

But what about the future ? Businesses are presently

showing a disinterest in taking bank loans at such high

rates of interest. Specially, this mood is deepening in

the background of the corona pandemic when business

activities have not revived fully or business confidence

has not been restored up to expectations or need. As it

is, Bangladesh Bank (BB) has been admonishing the

banks to supply credits liberally to their customers or

would be customers.

The ones who would like to try their hands at

business through bank finance, they are sitting on the

fence, watching. They will not opt for investment

operations till the banksactually push down their

interest rates on borrowing. Thus, on the whole,

additional investment operations are slowing down as

a result of the high cost of banking funds. In the longer

run, this could have adverse repercussions on the

economy from reduced investments.

Two factors are contributing to the banks'

unwillingness or inability to decrease their lending

rate. One is their unbridled operating costs. The other

is seen as sheer greed on the part of their owners or

management. Both are capable of being cut short from

the management embracing ideas that would be best

for the long term health of their institutions.

Operating costs can certainly be pruned through

conscious policies and their efficient implementation.

As for greed, the owners-management should see the

very sensible point of controlling the same from taking

a hard look at how far they can go with high interest

rate on borrowing without hurting their long term


The Bangladesh Bank (BB)appears to have become

truly conscious only from 2019 of the imperative to

push down the lending rate. From April of last year, it

issued directive that no PCB ought to charge more than

9 per cent interest while lending while 6 per cent was

fixed as maximum interest to be given for receiving

deposits. However, it remains to be seen how far these

stricter guidelines are being actually followed.

Reportedly, BB's persuasive advices to the banks on

these matters have gone largely unheeded in some

cases. Therefore, it needs to step harder on the pedal.

Most of the PCBs used to maintain a difference of

much over 5 per cent in the spread of interest between

lending and receiving of deposits. Some banks had

spreads ranging in the double digitsfavouring mainly

lending. The international standards for this spread is

between 2 to 3 per cent only.

BB should use its authority and dictate a spread

conforming to the international standard to be

followed by the PCBs. It should at least enforce its

declared guideline of a 9 and 6 per cent spread,


Presently, banking deposits are also taking flight

considerably from the low interests received against

deposits. While this process is not hurting the banks

in their present positions, it could be a worrying

factor over the long run.

But BB's fixing of a reasonable yield against

deposits can solve this problem. Steps taken by BB

for facilitating adjusting upwards interests on

deposits, should help in the meeting targets of

deposit mobilisation by the PCBs. But this has to be

a delicate exercise without 'unduly' widening again

the present aspired spread of interest between

lending and deposits.

Prime Minister Imran Khan,

leading politicians, journalists,

and citizens from all walks of life

in Pakistan have "expressed support

and offered prayers for people in India,"

where a new outbreak of Covid-19 has

collapsed the "country's health


Although this is not the right time to

criticize the Indian government for its

failure to protect its people from Covid-

19, ordinary people in India should be

reminded how they have offended

Imran Khan's offer of help by

responding, "Mind your own business!"

Sadly, this is not the first time the

Indian government has insulted

Pakistan on this issue. Last June, New

Delhi crowed, "Our Covid package as

large as Pak's GDP," while in one other

instance, India responded, "A

government surviving on China's alms

thinks it can help India. A leader with a

cash-strapped economy wants India to

learn from him."

Undeterred, Khan last week urged

"solidarity with India to fight Covid-19,"

saying, "This must be fought together."

Now that Pakistan "desires peace," it

should be valued and responded to with

matching gestures. Perhaps this is a

good time to consult the recent history

of natural disasters and pandemics and

learn from the experiences of Turkey

and Greece.

It is worth recalling a 2005 report:

"The 1999 earthquake in the Marmara

region of Turkey prompted Greek

expressions of sympathy that improved

relations between the traditional rivals,

and the Indonesian government and

Aceh separatists agreed to a peace deal

after the December 2004 tsunami

ravaged the region."

The latest wave of Covid-19 has

traumatized the social and political

landscape of India. Sadly, today it is

India that is suffering; tomorrow it

could be any nation on this planet. So

what can be done? A resolve to ask for

forgiveness, forget the past and strive

for a peaceful future.

Remember, the law of nature never

changes. "What goes around comes

around," so let's give everyone space to

breathe and live peacefully. Let's move

forward with a resolve to respect


Long before the invention of the

Internet and social-media networking,

"Photos from a Century of Epidemics"

were evidence that images of people

affected by diseases have changed

"history's course and reinforced human

perceptions of frailty." So in brief,

"Pandemics that changed history" is not

an illusion but a reality.

A powerful image can bring

significant change in society. It can

move people's opinions, shake the

power corridors and force governments

to take action.


The popular English proverb "A

picture is worth a thousand words"

seems relevant. Recall, for instance, the

tragic death of Syrian toddler Alan

Kurdi on a Turkish beach that "changed

the world." The world will never forget

the iconic image of Alan, or many other

incidents like the iconic picture of

"Napalm girl" Kim Phuc during in the

Vietnam War.

In 2015, The Guardian columnist

Sean O'Hagan document this

phenomenon under the headline, "The

photographs that moved the world to

tears - and to take action."

Fast-forward to last week, when in

India millions watched on TV screens

and social-media sites desperate people

running for help for their loved ones

dying of Covid-19.

As it turned out, the very next

morning I learned from an article in

The Print that the viral photo was an old

picture of an incident that "took place in

Agra, Uttar Pradesh, in April 2018."

Nevertheless, the image had an

impact on millions of ordinary people in

India and Pakistan, so I don't much care

about its authenticity in these testing

times. Within hours, a Pakistani

charity, the Edhi Foundation offered


medical aid to India.

Social media's reach, power, and

impact are undeniable. But

unfortunately, still, not many people in

the underdeveloped world can afford

this technology, or know how to use it.

A research report reveals that of

Pakistan's total population of 223

million, only 46 million use social

media. Hence it is difficult to say how

many active Twitter, Facebook, and

YouTube users there are, as forged

accounts are also a reality.

However, the increasing number of

social-media posts and solidarity

campaigns in favor of people fighting

Covid-19 in India and beyond shows

that any one of us regardless of color,

creed, faith or ethnicity can be moved.

Emotional Pakistani Twitter users

began to implore their prime minister

to offer help to India - even as their own

country is also being hit hard by the

virus. There is hope, then, that the longheld

antipathy between the two sides

could be turned into sympathy by

shared efforts to save lives. It's time for

peace and time to save lives. Will these

sentiments stay alive once the deadly

Covid wave vanishes, or will these

feelings simply evaporate? It is also

time to remind peace lovers in India

that the lives of Kashmiris, Dalits,

Sikhs, Christians and Muslims

equally matter.

Irfan Raja has studied international

journalism at the University of Leeds. Also,

he has received a PhD from the University

of Huddersfield. He is a campaigner,

volunteer, activist and freelance journalist

Biden's recognition of Armenian genocide a message to Erdogan

For decades, US presidents have

failed to recognize the 1915

massacres committed by the

Ottoman Empire against Armenians as

"genocide." The main reason was

geopolitical. Turkey was a key Western

ally on the forefront of confronting the

Soviet Union at the height of the Cold

War. As a member of NATO, it hosted

strategic military bases and presented

itself as a bridge between Europe and

Asia. In addition, it had made a slow

transition from a military dictatorship to a

civilian democracy and was quickly

emerging as an economic powerhouse.

And, for decades, Turkey and its

lobbyists threatened the West that it

would not tolerate any attempt to

recognize the Armenian massacres as

genocide. That would lead to closing down

military bases, quitting NATO and

shifting toward Russia and China.

But, on Saturday, US President Joe

Biden said in a statement marking the

annual Armenian Genocide

Remembrance Day that, "each year on

this day, we remember the lives of all

those who died in the Ottoman-era

Armenian genocide and recommit

ourselves to preventing such an atrocity

from ever again occurring."

Turkey's reaction was furious. Officials

denounced Biden's statement and the

Foreign Ministry summoned the US

ambassador to Ankara. In a statement,

the ministry said that Biden's remarks

caused "wounds in ties that will be hard to

repair," and that Turkey "rejected it, found

it unacceptable and condemned (it) in the

However, the increasing number of social-media posts and solidarity campaigns

in favor of people fighting Covid-19 in India and beyond shows that any

one of us regardless of color, creed, faith or ethnicity can be moved. Emotional

Pakistani Twitter users began to implore their prime minister to offer help

to India - even as their own country is also being hit hard by the virus.

strongest terms."

Turkey has acknowledged that many

Armenians died between 1910 and 1915,

but rejected reports that the massacres

had cost the lives of 1.5 million and that

they amounted to ethnic cleansing. In

response to Biden's announcement,

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that

"we have lived together in peace in this

land for centuries; we find peace under

the shadow of our crescent and star flag."

Reports say that Biden called Erdogan

on Friday and told him about his

imminent decision. It was the first call

between the two leaders since Biden

entered the White House. It was described

by CNN as "tense."

The question is why did Biden take this

decision? The US did little to support

Armenia during last year's military

conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed

Nagorno-Karabakh region. A ceasefire

was negotiated by Moscow. Turkey

supported Azerbaijan.

Biden's move is a clear message that his

view of Turkey and its president is

different from that of his predecessors.

Biden's main foreign policy mantra rests

on upholding human rights and

furthering democracy - two issues that

Erdogan is accused of undermining. More

critically, it now appears that the US is

downplaying Turkey's regional role and

Erdogan only has himself to blame.

One key issue is Erdogan's controversial

2017 decision to acquire Russia's strategic

S-400 air defense system despite US and

NATO protests. The decision resulted in

the halting and later canceling of a deal to

supply Turkey with advanced F-35 fighter

jets. The purchase of the S-400 by a main

NATO ally is said to undermine the

alliance's security and expose its military

The US is not happy with Erdogan's regional adventures in northern Syria

and in Libya, where he has sent mercenaries and weapons to help the

Tripoli government. It is certainly worried about Erdogan getting close to

Russia's Vladimir Putin and the regime in Tehran. Turkey's tensions with

Greece, a close US ally, have also added to the growing problems.

technology to the Russians.

Erdogan defied then-President Donald

Trump and pushed for the delivery of the

Russian air defense system even as the US

imposed sanctions on Turkey. In March, it

was reported that Ankara was considering

buying a second regiment of S-400 antiaircraft

missile systems from Russia,

despite US objections. The S-400 - a

mobile surface-to-air missile system - is

said to pose a risk to the NATO alliance as

well as the F-35, America's most

expensive weapons platform. Doubling

down, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut

Cavusoglu told US Secretary of State

Covid-19 exacerbates North Korea's bad choices

Covid-19 has been a disaster for

North Korea. Last week Kim Jong

Un was quoted as warning that "his

country faces the 'worst-ever' situation."

He said this situation was creating

conditions like the "arduous march"

North Korea faced with the famine of the

late 1990s, this time because of the

coronavirus, United Nations and US

sanctions, and bad weather.

In the late 1990s, "millions of North

Koreans reportedly died from widespread


It was surprising that the leader of

North Korea would admit such dire

circumstances, circumstances that at face

value suggest major failures on his part.

But Kim is once again refusing to accept

responsibility for his bad choices, and

making the results seem more dire than

they are in reality.

Yes, the situation may be terrible in

North Korea, but there is no evidence to

suggest that the economic situation is

nearly as dire as the Arduous March of the


For some time now, Kim has denied

that he has a coronavirus problem. But

there was considerable evidence that this

North Korean claim was not true even a

year ago. And Kim Jong Un could not

afford to have a major spread of the

coronavirus because the decrepit North

Korean health-care system was unable to

handle it.

So Kim closed North Korea's borders,

blocking trade that would normally

provide badly needed food, energy, funds,

and other goods.

While the sanctions on North Korea cut

its exports significantly, it was the border

closure that cut needed imports,

especially from China, and had a greater

overall impact than the sanctions. And

despite the bad weather, the food harvest

was only down 5% in 2020.

In his January Workers' Party Congress,

Kim admitted the failures of the North

Korean economy but turned to his normal

scapegoating of other parties and

situations, blaming them for the country's


But North Korea's economic problems

rest squarely on Kim. After all, the UN and


US sanctions have been applied because

North Korea has defied the United

Nations and the United States, continuing

and even expanding its nuclear-weapon

and ballistic-missile programs when the

international community has told

Pyongyang not to continue destabilizing

peace in Northeast Asia.

Kim has spent his country's scarce

But North Korea's economic problems rest squarely on Kim. After all, the UN

and US sanctions have been applied because North Korea has defied the United

Nations and the United States, continuing and even expanding its nuclearweapon

and ballistic-missile programs when the international community

has told Pyongyang not to continue destabilizing peace in Northeast Asia.

resources on nuclear weapons and

ballistic missiles, going well beyond the

military capabilities he needs to deter

outside intervention in North Korea. He

has done this rather than providing food

for his people or improved health care.

He is not even telling his people that

Covid-19 vaccines have been developed,

offering both South Korea and the United

States a powerful information-operation

opportunity.And even though his country

periodically experiences heavy rains, he

has not built the infrastructure required to

Antony Blinken that Ankara's purchase of

the Russian missile defense system was "a

done deal."

The US is not happy with Erdogan's

regional adventures in northern Syria and

in Libya, where he has sent mercenaries

and weapons to help the Tripoli

government. It is certainly worried about

Erdogan getting close to Russia's Vladimir

Putin and the regime in Tehran. Turkey's

tensions with Greece, a close US ally, have

also added to the growing problems.

It now appears that the US is

downplaying Turkey's regional role and

Erdogan only has himself to blame.

Furthermore, Erdogan's ties with the

EU have worsened in recent years, as

Turkey has shifted to the east and Central

Asia. His support of the Muslim

Brotherhood has soured his relations with

Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile,

Erdogan lost a great deal of his popularity

at home due to his clamping down on the

free press and political opponents, along

with Turkey's worsening human rights

record, a falling currency and declining

economic conditions.

In the view of experts, Biden's move is

meant to put pressure on Turkey more

than to appease the Armenians. The

geopolitical reality is that Turkey still

needs the US, while America's reliance on

Ankara is waning. The two leaders are

expected to meet at a NATO summit in

May. By then, the future of bilateral ties

could become clearer.

Osama Al-Sharif is a journalist and

political commentator based in Amman.

protect his people against these

predictable events.

Anxious to maximize his control of his

people, he has also experimented with

closing the markets in North Korea, only

to be then forced to back off or face even

more dire economic consequences.

Kim knows that a major problem in

North Korea is official corruption and

mismanagement, and yet he has not

addressed the conditions underlying this

corruption. So why is Kim admitting that

dire circumstances are developing in

North Korea? We do not know for sure.

But it appears that he is hopeful he can

convince the Chinese and the Russians

that North Korea is becoming increasingly

unstable and thus dangerous.

Beijing has historically moderated its

demands on Pyongyang despite providing

it major subsidies, fearing that North

Korean instability could create a major

threat to Chinese security. Kim appears to

be hoping that China will accept his

alarmist declaration and provide North

Korea increased sanctions relief.

Bruce W Bennett is a senior

international/defense researcher at the

nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. This

article was originally published by The National

Interest and is republished with permission.

ThURSdAY, APRil 29, 2021


Covid certificates may

reopen overseas travel


Spain aims to reopen to

overseas holidaymakers

from June under the Covid

digital health certificate

scheme, the country's

secretary of state for tourism

has said. Fernando Valdés

told the World Travel &

Tourism Council summit in

Mexico on Tuesday that the

programme - under which

tourists could show they

have been vaccinated, tested

negative or recently

recovered from the virus -

Ursula von der Leyen has

warned that the EU will not

hesitate to use the "real

teeth" in the Brexit deal to

punish the British

government for breaching

its obligations as MEPs

prepared to consent to the

historic agreement,

marking the end of four

years of high political


Speaking ahead of an

evening vote by MEPs,

where a positive result is

not in question, the

European commission

president said the trade

and cooperation agreement

would give the EU more

leverage over the UK.

The UK government has

been accused of breaching

its commitments in

Northern Ireland and on an

agreement on fisheries,

which was brought into

force provisionally along

with the rest of the trade

deal in January, ahead of

scrutiny by MEPs and their

formal consent.

MEPs had delayed their

consent vote to the end of

April in part in response to

unilateral decisions by

Downing Street to extend

grace periods on checks at

the border on goods

moving between Great

Britain and Northern

Ireland, a move

would prove "fundamental

to offering travellers


Valdés said Spain would

participate in a pilot digital

certificate scheme in May

and would be "ready to

receive visitors in June". He

said the new scheme - and

Spain's vaccine rollout -

represented "a before and an

after" in comparison with

the situation last year, but

stressed the certificates were

"not a magic wand".

EU to hold UK accountable

over Brexit breaches

condemned as a breach of

the withdrawal agreement

and international law by

the commission.

Von der Leyen said she

hoped the trade deal would

be a foundation for a

"strong and close"

partnership, citing the

vision of Theresa May in

her letter of 29 March 2017

that had started the

negotiations. But she

conceded relations were at

a crossroads.

"This agreement comes

with real teeth with a

binding dispute settlement

mechanism and the

possibility for unilateral

remedial measures where

necessary," Von der Leyen

told MEPs.

"And let me be very clear:

we do not want to have to

use these tools, but we will

not hesitate to use them if

necessary. They are

essential to ensure full

compliance with the [trade

and cooperation

agreement], and with the

withdrawal agreement,

which both were negotiated

in such fine details and

agreed by both sides.

"Honourable members,

on this point of compliance,

I know that there was some

reluctance in different parts

of the house on whether it

is right to ratify this

What they did offer, he

said, in comments reported

by the Spanish news agency

Europa Press, was a degree

of security because they

would allow tourists to travel

if they had been vaccinated,

if they had tested negative

despite not having had the

Son Bou beach, one of the most popular beaches on the island of Menorca,


Photo: Alamy

jab, or if they had already

recovered from Covid.

Spain, which depends on

tourism for about 12% of its

GDP, is in its fourth wave of

the pandemic. To date,

agreement when existing

commitments are not being

respected by one side. I

agree with you that this

agreement on paper is only

as good as implementation

and enforcement in


Von der Leyen said there

had been constructive talks

in recent days between

Lord Frost, the UK's

minister for Brexit affairs,

and Maroš Šef?ovi?, the

vice-president of the

commission, over the

border issues in Northern


However, there remain

difficult issues to resolve,

particularly over checks on

dairy, meat and plant

products and on Tuesday

France's EU affairs

minister, Clément Beaune,

said he was concerned by

the UK's attitude to French

fishers since the UK left the

common fisheries policy.

"We are asking for the

whole deal, nothing but the

deal, and for as long as it

has not been implemented

… we will carry out reprisals

in other sectors if it is

necessary," Beaune told the

BFM Business channel.

French fishers recently

blockaded the port of

Boulogne sur Mer, claiming

that only 22 of the 120

boats that usually work

coronavirus has infected

3,496,134 people in the

country and claimed 77,855


Efforts to vaccinate Spain's

population of about 47

million people are gathering

pace, with 14,994,667 doses

of the vaccine administered,

and 4,020,945 people

already receiving both doses.

The country's socialist-led

coalition government has

said it is aiming to have 70%

of the population vaccinated

by the end of the summer.

News of the planned

reopening came as it

emerged that talks over the

mechanics of reopening

travel routes between the

UK and the European Union

over the summer holidays

will open with Brussels

within days.

Officials in Whitehall are

working on a proposal for

the mutual recognition of

Covid passports, which will

contain information on

vaccines administered to the

holder and recent test

results. Earlier this month,

Boris Johnson said he was

"hopeful" about restarting

international travel on 17

May. EU countries with

large tourist sectors are

pushing for the European

commission to coordinate

with London.

from the Hauts de France

had been given access to

the zone six to 12 miles

from the UK coast. The

government has denied the

claim. The UK Single

Issuing Authority has

issued licences to fish in the

UK six to 12 nautical mile

zone to all 87 French

vessels that have applied

for them and met the

qualifying criteria, it said.

About 40 additional

applications require further

information and checks.

"We have obviously seen

a number of issues arise,"

Von der Leyen said. "Some

were to be expected. Others

are teething issues, and

many are the consequences

of the type of Brexit the UK


"But regardless of the

reasons we need to focus on

joint solutions - unilateral

decisions will get us

nowhere. And this is one of

the reasons ratification is so


"It will give us the tools

we need to ensure full and

faithful compliance with

the obligations, to which

both sides signed up. And it

will also focus minds on

finding pragmatic solutions

where they are needed

most urgently around the

protocol of Ireland and

Northern Ireland."

European commission president speaks before MEPs prepare to consent to Brexit agreement.

Photo: Collected

Maria Ressa has been awarded the Unesco press freedom prize

Maria Ressa wins Unesco

press freedom prize

The UN's cultural agency has

awarded its annual press freedom prize

to Philippine journalist Maria Ressa

whose reporting has made her a target

of her country's judiciary and online

hate campaigns. Ressa, a former Asia

lead investigative reporter for US

network CNN and head of domestic

network ABS-CBN News, now

manages the news website Rappler

whose reporting has attracted the

wrath of Philippine leader Rodrigo


She has been involved in many

international initiatives to promote

press freedom, and arrested several

times "for alleged crimes related to the

exercise of her profession", Unesco


She has also been subject to a

When pandemic will be

declared over?

AARon E. CARRoll

During the pandemic, good

management and guidance

have often been lacking. If we

want to make our exit from

the crisis better than our

entrance and passage

through it, we've got to start

planning now. A good first

step would be to agree on our

definition of an ending.

When can we declare the

pandemic over? Not yet, of

course. Cases are stalled or

rising in many areas. Virus

variants are becoming more

prevalent. While many

people are vaccinated, many

more are not.

Hospitalizations and deaths

are still occurring, especially

in those groups not yet fully

immunized. Community

spread is far too rampant,

and risks still abound.

Recently the director of the

Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle

Walensky, warned of

"impending doom" from a

fourth surge if we aren't


But things are significantly

better than they were a few

months ago. As we continue

to improve, it would be useful

to have guidance on how we

might ease the policies that

have kept us protected.

Too many people, though,

are unwilling to talk about

any lowering of our guard -

even in the future - because

some danger still exists. They

want to know that no one is

dying of Covid-19 in their

community anymore, or they

want to know that there are

no cases in the area and that

there is no chance of their

being exposed.

I understand the

sentiment, as we have been

overwhelmed with

messaging about how

dangerous Covid-19 is. But

the sentiment is not realistic,

nor is it reasonable. Such

extreme vigilance can also

backfire: Each day we wait,

more people become

impatient and abandon their


Normal has never meant

"perfectly safe." A safer world

will likely still have Covid-19

sustained campaign of gendered online

abuse, threats, and harassment, the

agency said in a statement. At one point

she received an average of over 90

hateful messages an hour on Facebook,

it said.

"Maria Ressa's unerring fight for

freedom of expression is an example for

many journalists around the world,"

jury chair Marilu Mastrogiovanni said

in the statement.

"Her case is emblematic of global

trends that represent a real threat to

press freedom, and therefore to

democracy," Mastrogiovanni said.

Ressa, who is 57, was in court last

month to deny charges of dodging taxes

as authorities continued a crackdown

against the country's independent

media. Rappler was three years ago

A safer world will likely still have Covid-19 in it. Photo: Ashley Gilbertson

in it. Ideally, we should

reduce restrictions gradually

while we closely monitor the

situation. First, we might

liberalize outdoor gatherings

and open schools and maybe

even camps more fully. If all

goes well, we could allow for

denser indoor public events,

with masks. We could allow

restaurants and bars to

increase to full capacity in


While we do all this, we

sometimes collectively act to

reduce risk, but we almost

never eliminate it.

That doesn't mean that

public health officials should

stop pushing for the best

outcome. That's their job.

When the risk is immediate

and severe, as it has been for

the past year, we pay close

attention, as we should. But

when the risk is lower and

the gain more incremental,

we often don't.

should track cases, On the one hand, I've

hospitalizations and written extensively on how

the C.D.C.'s advice on salt

and alcohol can feel excessive

positivity rates. We will still

need to test widely, even

asymptomatic people, to

measure our progress.

Should all go well, eventually,

we could get rid of masking

requirements. If enough

people are vaccinated and

transmissions slow, we will

reach a place where we are

much, much safer than we

are now.

Americans are generally

willing to live with a greaterthan-zero

level of risk in

exchange for what we used to

consider a normal life. The

roads are full of cars, even

though accidents are the No.

1 killer of children. We don't

seem that eager as a country

to restrict access to guns,

even though they cause

injuries or deaths every day.

Bottom line: We can

and how the World Health

Organization thinks

seemingly everything causes

cancer. On the other, I think

Americans don't take those

groups seriously enough

when it comes to the flu.

Others may disagree. The

important thing for people to

do is to strike a balance

between the ideal and the


The danger from Covid-19

is still great enough in some

places that we need to be

vigilant. But if we can get the

pandemic to a point that a

vast majority of people who

become sick get well, that the

number of people who are

hospitalized and dying is low

and that this really isn't any

worse than your average

Photograph: Rolex dela Peña/EPA

branded a "fake news outlet" by

Duterte and Ressa has since been the

subject of at least 11 investigations into

her business.

She said the legal cases are payback

for her criticism of the president's

policies including his war on drugs that

has killed thousands of people.

Last year Ressa, who was named

Time's person of the year in 2018, was

convicted of cyber libel by a Manila

court but is free on bail pending an

appeal in a case that could see her

handed six years in jail. Other cases

against her are pending.

Duterte has faced international calls

to drop all charges against the veteran

reporter, with rights groups saying they

amount to state harassment, but the

pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

seasonal respiratory virus,

then it's time to start

seriously relaxing our


Well over 100 people die of

influenza in the United States

on an average day in a typical

flu season, but that figure

doesn't approach the

alarming numbers from

Covid-19. We aren't close to

eliminating that gap, but it's

absolutely possible as

vaccination increases. We

can't be afraid to set

benchmarks on our way

there for the gradual

relaxation of guidelines.

Announcing goals and

expectations will give

Americans something to

shoot for and a reason to

hold fast for now.

Of course, it would be

welcome if we could learn

from this experience and set

a new normal. If people want

to remain more vigilant in

the coming years and stay

home when sick, mask up

when they have a cough or

other cold symptoms, wash

their hands more often and

get vaccinated every year, I'd

be all for it. It would save

lives from Covid-19, and it

would greatly reduce the

morbidity and mortality

from other infectious

diseases as well.

ThuRsDAY, APRIL 29, 2021


1100 poor families receive

Iftar items in Guimara


Tribal Refugee Task Force Chairman

Kujendra Lal Tripura MP distributed

Iftar items gifted by Prime Minister to

the destitute, helpless and unemployed

people in Guimara and Manikchhari of

Khagrachhari due to Covid-19 and Holy


Iftar items received from the Ministry

of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs were

distributed among a total of 1100

families in Guimara and Manikchhari

upazilas on Wednesday (April 26)

morning at the Guimara Model

Auditorium building and Manikchhari

school grounds at the initiative of

Khagrachhari District Council.

The chief guest during the

distribution was Kujendra Lal Tripura

MP along with Khagrachhari Zilla

Parishad Chairman Mansuipru

Chowdhury Apu, Zilla Parishad

members Memong Marma, Jewel

Tripura, Upazila Mahila Vice Chairman

Jharna Tripura UP Member Chaithoai

Chowdhury and Redak Marma.

During the time, Kujendra Lal

Tripura MP said that the Prime

Minister's Iftar items received from the

Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts

Affairs are being distributed among

various families in 9 upazilas of

Khagrachhari district in different


A press conference was held at Bogura Press Club on Tuesday.

Photo: TBT

Lotus allegedly occupied roads,

drains to construct buildings


Sabur Shah Lotus, director of the

Institute of Information Technology

Bogura (IITB), has been accused of

illegally constructing buildings in

Bogura's Sadar upazila by occupying

government roads and drainage

systems. At the same time, the building

is being constructed by entering the

boundaries of the surrounding land.

The victims alleged that he was doing

this by intimidating them with firearms

(pistols). In this regard Advocate

Mohammad Abdus Sobhan held a

press conference at Bogura Press Club

on Tuesday afternoon on behalf of the


Advocate Abdus Sobhan told a press

conference that Sabur Shah Lotus was

illegally constructing a multi-storey

building in the Chowkfarid area of

Sadar. The construction work of the

building is being carried out in front of

the entrance road from Sherpur Road

to Chawkfarid area of the colony

without heeding the rules and

regulations. Thousands of people travel

on foot and in rickshaws and vans every

day on that road in Chakfarid area.

But Lotus has begun work on

occupying some parts of the road.

Periodically Lotus is increasing its

share of possession. Road drainage

system has also been shut down. The

locals have become impatient with such

activities of Lotus. Complaints have

also been lodged with Sadar Police

Station and Bogra Municipality in this


At the press conference, Abdus

Sobhan complained that Lotus always

intimidated the locals with firearms

and pistols. He (Lotus) says openly, 'My

hand is too long, I will manage

everyone and carry out illegal

construction work.' The cooperation of

the concerned authorities including the

law and order forces was sought

through the press conference.

Tribal Refugee Task Force Chairman Kujendra Lal Tripura MP distributed Iftar items gifted by

Prime Minister to the destitute, helpless and unemployed people in Guimara and Manikchhari on


Photo: Didarul Alam

Lt. Col. Tajul Islam Taj, zone commander of Rajnagar (37 BGB) zone in Langadu addressed a view

exchange meeting in the upazila on Wednesday.

Photo: Omor Faruk Musa

Rajnagar (37 BGB) zone holds

view exchange meeting


Lt. Col. Tajul Islam Taj, zone

commander of Rajnagar (37 BGB) zone

in Langadu, Rangamati, said, "this

country belongs to all of us." All the

different ethnic groups living in this hill

country have equal rights. So everyone

has to live in harmony. No one benefits

from spreading hatred. Living together

can lead to minor misunderstandings.

It cannot be caused by rumors.

He further said that the hill Bengalis

here will continue to live in harmony as

they have done in the past while

maintaining communal harmony.

Zone Commander Lt Col Tajul Islam

Taj made the remarks at a view

exchange meeting organized by the

37th Border Guard Battalion (BGB)

Rajnagar Zone in Langadu Upazila on


During the time, RMO of the zone

Captain Md. Fakhrul Islam Rajan,

Assistant Director AD Jamal Uddin,

Serboatli UP Chairman Tushar Kanti

Dey, Amtali UP Chairman Russell

Chowdhury, local teacher Jotish

Chakma, UP member Bindu Chakma,

Subhash Kusum Chakma Member, UP

Women Member Nur Ayesha, Belal

Hossain and former Member Bashi

Karbari were also present at the


RANGPUR: A total of 17,860 people have

been infected with coronavirus (COVID-

19), and of them, 16,471 already cured in

all eight districts of Rangpur division,

reports BSS.

Health officials said the number of

Covid-19 cases reached 17,860 as 44

more patients were reported after testing

376 samples at the infection rate of 11.70

percent on Tuesday in the division.

"The coronavirus infection rate

continues rising amid a declining

recovery rate and a rising casualty rate in

recent weeks in the division," said Focal

Person of COVID-19 and Assistant

Director (Health) for Rangpur division

Dr. ZA Siddiqui.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, a

total of 1,24,583 collected samples of all

eight districts in the division were tested

till Tuesday, and of them, 17,860 people

were found Covid-19 positive with an

average infection rate of 14.34 percent.

"The district-wise break-up of total

17,860 patients stands at 4,651 in

Food grain procurement officially

inaugurated in Birol


Upazila Food Grain Procurement and

Monitoring Committee organized a

lottery program on the occasion of

selection of real farmers through open

lottery with the aim of bringing selfsufficiency

in the paddy, rice and wheat

collection activities in Dinajpur.

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra

Majumder, MP, was the chief guest at

17,860 infected,

16,471 cured in

Rangpur division

Rangpur, 824 in Panchagarh, 1,519 in

Nilphamari, 1,041 in Lalmonirhat, 1,135

in Kurigram, 1,638 in Thakurgaon, 5,355

in Dinajpur and 1,697 in Gaibandha," he


Meanwhile, the number of recovered

patients rose to 16,471 with the healing of

43 more infected people on Tuesday in

the division. The average recovery rate

currently stands at 92.22 percent in the

division where the recovery rate crossed

the 97 percent mark a month ago.

Talking to BSS, Divisional Director

(Health) Dr. Md. Ahad Ali said the

number of fatalities remained steady at

345 with no more death reported from

anywhere in the division on Tuesday.

the conference room at the Upazila

Nirbahi Office, where the food grains

were procured through a video

conference organized by the Food

Department and the Food Ministry.

After that, Upazila Nirbahi Officer Jinat

Rahman started collecting paddy and

wheat from paddy and wheat farmers

in Birol Upazila Government Food


During the time, Agriculture Officer

The district-wise break-up of the 345

fatalities stands at 80 in Rangpur, 123 in

Dinajpur, 36 in Thakurgaon, 34 in

Nilphamari, 18 in Kurigram, 20 in

Panchagarh, 21 in Gaibandha and 13 in

Lalmonirhat of the division.

The average casualty rate currently

stands at 1.93 percent in the division.

Among the total 17,860 infected

patients, 74 are undergoing treatments at

isolation units, including 22 critically sick

patients at ICU beds, after recovery of

16,471 patients and 345 deaths while 997

remaining in home isolations across the


Since the beginning, a total of 1,02,497

people of the division were put in

institutional isolation or home.

Meanwhile, the number of citizens who

got the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

remained steady at 5,96,952 in the

division where inoculation of people with

the first dose of the jab continues

remaining suspended since Monday.

Mahbubar Rahman, Upazila Food

Controller Nurunnabi, Food Officer-in-

Charge (OCLSD) of Birol Upazila Food

Warehouse Lutfar Rahman, Food

Officer-in-Charge (OCLSD) of

Mangalpur Food Warehouse (OCLSD)

Amirul Islam, President of Birol Press

Club MA Quddus, Former President

Tajul Islam and General Secretary

Matiur Rahman were also present at

the occasion.

RAJSHAHI: Drought-like situation has

been prevailing in the region including its

vast Barind tract for the last couple of

months posing a serious threat to the

living and livelihood condition of the

people, particularly the poor and

marginalized ones, reports BSS.

"We've not seen any significant rainfall

in the region since February last because

of the adverse impact of climate change,"

said Professor Rezaur Rahman of the

Department of Geography and

Environmental Sciences in Rajshahi

University (RU). He opined that the

prolonged rainless condition has created

a detrimental situation in overall public

health in terms of drinking water as well

Climate change causes

prolonged drought in

Rajshahi Barind

as ecosystem and biodiversity.

Illustrating his academic and research

expertise on the issue Prof Rahman said

global warming has been escalating

gradually due to various reasons

including carbon emission resulting in

climate change. There is no way but to

reduce global warming.

Massive afforestation can be the

effective means of substantial and

sustainable reduction of carbon emission,

he added. Besides, utmost importance

should be given on transforming the

existing irrigation system in the Barind

area into surface water based instead of

the groundwater ones to mitigate the

existing water-stressed condition.

Promotion of less-water consuming crops

can also be the best ways in this regard.

Prof Bidhan Chandra Das of the

Department of Zoology in RU mentioned

that adverse impacts of climate change

have triggered recurrence of natural

calamities, posing a serious threat to the

farming of summer fruits including

mango and litchi and the living

conditions of farmers in Rajshahi.

Food grain procurement was officially inaugurated in Birol upazila on Wednesday.

Photo: Tajul Islam

ThURSDAY, APRIl 29, 2021


India crossed a grim milestone Wednesday of 200,000 people lost to the coronavirus as a devastating

surge of new infections tears through dense cities and rural areas alike and overwhelms health

care systems on the brink of collapse.

Photo : AP

India tops 200,000 dead as virus

surge breaks health system

NEW DELHI : India crossed a grim

milestone Wednesday of 200,000

people lost to the coronavirus as a

devastating surge of new infections

tears through dense cities and rural

areas alike and overwhelms health care

systems on the brink of collapse.

The health ministry reported 3,293

daily COVID-19 deaths in the last 24

hours, bringing India's total fatalities to

201,187, as the world's second most

populous country endures its darkest

chapter of the pandemic yet.

The country also reported 362,757

new infections, a new global record,

which raised the overall total past 17.9

million. The previous high of 350,000

on Monday had capped a five-day

streak of recording the largest singleday

increases in any country

throughout the pandemic.

India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion

people, is the fourth to cross 200,000

deaths, behind the United States, Brazil

and Mexico. And as in many nations,

experts believe the coronavirus

infections and fatalities in India are

severe undercounts.

The first known COVID-19 death in

India happened on March 12, 2020, in

southern Karnataka state. It took five

months to reach the first 50,000 dead.

The toll hit 100,000 deaths in the next

two months in October 2020 and

150,000 three months later in January

this year. Deaths slowed until mid-

March, only to sharply rise again.

For the past week, more than 2,000

Indians have died every day.

India thought it had weathered the

worst of the pandemic last year, but the

virus is now racing through its

population and systems are beginning

to collapse.

Hospitalizations and deaths have

reached record highs, overwhelming

health care workers. Patients are

suffocating because hospitals' oxygen

supplies have run out. Desperate family

members are sending SOS messages on

social media, hoping someone would

help them find oxygen cylinders, empty

hospital beds and critical drugs for their

loved ones. Crematoriums have spilled

over into parking lots, lighting up night

skies in some cities.

With its health care system sinking

fast, India is now looking at other

nations to pull it out of the record surge

that is barreling through one state and

then another.

Many countries have offered

assistance, including the U.S., which

has promised to help with personal

protective equipment, tests and oxygen

supplies. The U.S. will also send raw

materials for vaccine production,

strengthening India's capacity to

manufacture more AstraZeneca doses.

Health experts say huge gatherings

during Hindu festivals and mammoth

election rallies in some states have

accelerated the unprecedented surge

India is seeing now.

They also say the government's

mixed messaging and its premature

declarations of victory over the virus

encouraged people to relax when they

should have continued strict adherence

to physical distancing, wearing masks

and avoiding large crowds.

The national capital New Delhi is in

lockdown, as are the southern states of

Maharashtra and Karnataka. Some

other states, too, have enforced

restrictions in an attempt to curb the

spread of the virus.

Biden to propose free preschool,

as speech details emerge

WASHINGTON : President Joe Biden

will call for free preschool for all threeand

four-year-old children, a $200

billion investment to be rolled out as

part of his sweeping American Families

Plan being unveiled Wednesday in an

address to Congress.

The administration said the historic

investment would benefit 5 million

children and save the average family

$13,000. It calls for providing federal

funds to help the states offer preschool,

with teachers and other employees

earning $15 an hour.

"These investments will give

American children a head start and

pave the way for the best-educated

generation in U.S. history," the

administration said.

The new details are part of Biden's $1

trillion-plus package, an ambitious next

phase of his massive infrastructure

investment program, this one focused

on so-called human infrastructure -

child care, health care, education and

other core aspects of the household

architecture that undergird everyday

life for countless Americans.

Together with Biden's American Jobs

Plan, a $2.3 trillion infrastructure

investment to be funded by a corporate

tax hike, they add up a whopping $4

trillion effort to fulfill his campaign vow

to Build Back Better. The American

Families Plan would be paid for by

hiking taxes on the wealthiest 1% of

Americans, in keeping with the

president's vow not to raise taxes on

those making less than $400,000 a


Ahead of Wednesday's speech,

lawmakers have been pushing to make

sure key priorities are included.

A group of leading centrist and

progressive Democrats met late

Tuesday with the White House to

discuss its priority of making

permanent the Child Tax Credit, which

was increased to as much as $300 a

month as part of a COVID-19 relief

package. Right now, that benefit

expires in 2022 and Biden has

suggested extending it to 2025.

"We're hopeful," said Sen. Sherrod

Brown, D-Ohio, the chairman of the

Banking Committee and advocate for a

permanent child tax credit. "We want it

to be permanent because it's so

important for so many people's lives."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears

to have secured one top priority for

Democrats, lowering the cost of buying

health insurance under the Affordable

Care Act.

Biden's plan is expected to extend the

enhanced health insurance subsidies

that had been approved as part of

COVID-19 relief, rather than allowing

them to expire in 2022, according to a

Democratic aide granted anonymity to

discuss private conversations.

But another key priority of Pelosi and

Democrats - lowering prescription drug

costs - is not expected to be in the

package, the aide said.

President Joe Biden will call for free preschool for all three- and four-year-old children, a $200

billion investment to be rolled out as part of his sweeping American Families Plan being

unveiled Wednesday in an address to Congress.

Photo : AP

Pakistan counts

201 dead in

highest 1-day toll

ISLAMABAD : Pakistani

authorities on Wednesday

reported 201 deaths from

coronavirus, the country's

highest single-day toll of the

pandemic, reports UNB.

According to National

Command and Control

Center, 5,292 new cases of

infection were reported in

the past 24 hours.

Since last year, Pakistan

has reported 17,530 deaths

from COVID-19 among

810,231 cases.

The current surge has

forced the government of

Prime Minister Imran Khan

to deploy troops to help

ensure people follow social

distancing rules in cities

hard hit by coronavirus

cases. Pakistan is planning a

lockdown in the worst-hit

cities in the first week of

May. Khan has resisted

demands for a nationwide

lockdown, citing its

economic impact, but he has

also warned that he will be

forced to impose a lockdown

if people do not stop

violating social distancing


US Navy fires warning

shots in new tense

encounter with Iran

DUBAI : An American warship fired

warning shots when vessels of Iran's

paramilitary Revolutionary Guard came too

close to a patrol in the Persian Gulf, the U.S.

Navy said Wednesday.

The Navy released black-and-white

footage of the encounter Monday night in

international waters of the northern reaches

of the Persian Gulf. In it, lights can be seen

in the distance and what appears to be a

single gunshot can be heard, with a tracer

round racing across the top of the water.

Iran did not immediately acknowledge

the incident, reports UNB.

The Navy said the USS Firebolt fired the

warning shots after three fast-attack Guard

vessels came within 68 yards (62 meters) of

it and the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat

USCGC Baranoff.

"The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings

via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer

devices, but the (Guard) vessels continued

their close range maneuvers," said Cmdr.

Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the

Mideast-based 5th Fleet. "The crew of

Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the

(Guard) vessels moved away to a safe

distance from the U.S. vessels."

She called on the Guard to "operate with

due regard for the safety of all vessels as

required by international law."

"U.S. naval forces continue to remain

vigilant and are trained to act in a

professional manner, while our

commanding officers retain the inherent

right to act in self-defense," she said.

The incident Monday marked the second

time the Navy accused the Guard of

operating in an "unsafe and unprofessional"

manner this month alone after tense

encounters between the forces had dropped

in recent years.

Footage released Tuesday by the Navy

showed a ship commanded by the Guard

cut in front of the USCGC Monomoy,

causing the Coast Guard vessel to come to

an abrupt stop with its engine smoking on

April 2.

The Guard also did the same with another

Coast Guard vessel, the USCGC Wrangell,

Rebarich said. Such close passes risk


The interaction marked the first "unsafe

and unprofessional" incident involving the

Iranians since April 15, 2020, Rebarich said.

However, Iran had largely stopped such

incidents in 2018 and nearly in the entirety

of 2019, she said.

An American warship fired warning shots when vessels of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard

came too close to a patrol in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday.

Photo : AP

Vaccinated Americans

don't need masks

outdoors away from

crowds: official


vaccinated against the

coronavirus no longer need

to wear masks outdoors,

except at crowded events,

US government health

authorities said Tuesday.

Under the newly released

guidance from the Centers

for Disease Control, fully

vaccinated people can eat,

walk or attend small

gatherings outside without a

mask."If you are fully

vaccinated, you can start

doing many things that you

had stopped doing because

of the pandemic," the

government body said in a


Masks are still considered

necessary for vaccinated

people if they are at concerts,

parades or large sporting

events, even when outdoors,

the CDC said.

Indian PM assures

all possible help to

quake-hit Assam

NEWDELHI : Indian Prime

Minister Narendra Modi on

Wednesday assured all

possible help from the

Centre to Assam after the

state was hit by an

earthquake. An earthquake

of 6.4 magnitude hit Assam

on Wednesday morning,

causing widespread damage

in the Northeast state.

"Spoke to Assam CM Shri

@sarbanandsonwal Ji

regarding the earthquake in

parts of the state. Assured all

possible help from the

Centre. I pray for the wellbeing

of the people of

Assam," Modi tweeted.

Tremors were felt in the

entire region, including

neighbouring Meghalaya

and northern parts of West


US school bars vaccinated

teachers, falsely citing

risk to students

MIAMI : A private school in Florida is

barring teachers who have been vaccinated

against Covid-19 from coming into contact

with students, arguing against all evidence

that the educators pose a health risk.

Critics have held up the move by the

Centner Academy as a particularly glaring

example of the dangers of misinformation as

the US works to get its population inoculated.

In an email to parents on Monday, cofounder

Leila Centner wrote that vaccinated

people "may be transmitting something from

their bodies" that could harm others, in

particular the "reproductive systems, fertility,

and normal growth and development in

women and children."

Centner acknowledged that the assertion,

which is false, "is new and is yet to be


The school urged faculty and staff who have

not yet been vaccinated to wait until the end

of the school year to do so, saying they should

hold off "until there is further research

available on whether this experimental drug

is impacting unvaccinated individuals."

The claims, which have been circulating on

social media, have previously been debunked

by experts and fact-checkers.

"There's no evidence to suggest that

vaccination will cause a person to shed the

SARS-CoV-2 virus. In fact it's an

impossibility, since all of the vaccines cause

cells to produce only the spike protein, and

no other components of the virus. So there's

no way the virus can be produced by the

vaccine," said Jamie Scott, professor

emeritus and former research professor of

molecular immunity at Simon Fraser

University in Canada.

Dasantila Golemi-Kotra, associate

professor of microbiology at York University,

said that "no spike protein gets shed when we

get vaccinated. This is skewed science."

US health regulators and the World Health

Organization have said that the three

vaccines being used in the US on an

emergency basis are safe and effective.

The Centner Academy was founded in

2018, has about 300 students and charges

some $30,000 a year in tuition for middle

school, according to its website.

Centner founded the school with her

husband David Centner, a former tech and

electronic highway tolling entrepreneur.

Mexico hails signs of improvement

in Covid battle

MEXICO CITY : Mexican President Andres

Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday welcomed

signs of an easing of the pandemic in his hardhit

nation, in stark contrast to the new wave of

cases hitting other parts of Latin America.

"Covid-19 infections are falling. The harmful

effects of the pandemic are decreasing across

the country," Lopez Obrador said at his daily

news conference.

"It's more encouraging. It's a breath of fresh

air," he said.

"We still have to take very good care of

ourselves, but it's good news," added the leftwing

populist, who announced in February

that he himself had overcome a coronavirus


Mexico's official Covid-19 death toll of

around 215,000 is the third highest in the

world after those of the United States and

Brazil, and the actual figure is believed to be

significantly worse.

In contrast to many parts of the world,

however, new cases and fatalities have declined

since a surge in January that the authorities

blamed on social gatherings around the New


A few months ago, desperate families were

queuing in the streets for oxygen for sick

relatives and paramedics often struggled to

find available hospital beds.

But the situation has gradually improved,

unlike in other nations in the region such as

Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador that are

facing a new wave of infections.

THuRSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021


Future economic growth to depend on domestic

economic recovery: Manmohan Parkash

DHAKA : Asian Development Bank

(ADB) Country Director Manmohan

Parkash on Wednesday said the future

economic growth of Bangladesh will

depend on recovery in domestic

economic activities fueled mainly by

implementation of stimulus packages,

strong inflow of remittances and

rebound in global trade amid projected

growth in major export destinations.

"The economy was showing signs of

recovery with higher remittances,

exports and other indicators, but the

recent surge in pandemic and the

lockdowns are likely to trim our GDP

growth projection of 6.8 percent for

fiscal year 2020-2021 by at least one

percentage point," he said.

He spoke while addressing virtually

the launching of the latest Asian

Development Bank (ADB) report "Asian

Development Outlook (ADO)


Manmohan said Bangladesh economy

has withstood the impacts of the first

wave of Covid-19 pandemic with timely

and effective stimulus measures,

ensuring basic services and

commodities for the poor and

vulnerable. "The economy is now going

through the second wave of the

pandemic and the future growth will

depend on how effectively it is


"Expanding social safety nets,

enhancing investments, creating

employment, ensuring mass

vaccination and improving the health

sector are critical actions for achieving

the Eighth Five Year Plan goals," he


ADB senior economist at Bangladesh

resident mission Soon Chan Hong made

a power-point presentation on the

report of ADO.

The ADB Country Director said

attaining the targets of development and

other spending could be challenging as

revenue collection in the first eight

months of FY 2021 grew by only 5.2

percent compared to 9.1 percent growth

in the same period a year earlier.

"Concerted efforts are needed for

achieving the annual development

programme spending and boosting

revenue. The outlook is subject to

downside risks. Resurgence in Covid-19

cases and delays in availability in the

supply of vaccines-both globally and

domestically- could undermine the

economic growth outlook," he


Parkash said under sustained global

recovery and effective Covid -19

management, GDP growth is expected

to further strengthen to 7.2 percent in


The report said despite headwinds

from the Covid-19 pandemic,

Bangladesh's GDP growth is forecast

higher in FY2021 and FY2022 in line

with a projected global economic


It said the GDP growth in FY21 is

expected to moderate from the earlier

estimate of 6.8 percent to 5.5-6.0

percent due to the resurgence of the

Covid-19 cases.

When asked about the possible GDP

growth, Manmohan said that the second

wave of the deadly virus has severely

impacted the economy of the country

while the economic activities are also

down due to the countrywide lockdowns

to rein in the infection rate.

He said the earlier estimate of 6.8

percent of growth for Bangladesh in

FY21 made in March is likely to be

impacted by at least one percent and it

will possibly range between 5.5 to 6


"Actually this will be a very good one

as Bangladesh has done quite well…We

need to break the cycle of infections and

protect the lives of people," he said

adding that the infection rate is coming

down gradually.

Asked about ADB's overall support in

Covid-19 response to Bangladesh,

Manmohan said the government is in

discussion with the ADB for availing

US$940 million as loan to procure

vaccines and it would be available at any


Besides, he informed that US$500

million budget support from ADB is

under process to expand social

protection and promote financial

inclusion while another US$500 million

is under process to strengthen public

financial management and enhance

access to finance.

Manmohan said as support for

immediate and urgent needs, the ADB

provided US$500 million budget

support to fund immediate

expenditures and programmes for

expansion of social safety nets and

support to industries to protect jobs

(with co financing of US$651 million).

Besides, it ensures US$100 million

loan to support procurement of

urgently needed medical equipment

and supplies and upgrading of health

and testing facilities, US$3 million

grant to procure 200,000 RT-PCR test

kits, US$3.50 lakh grant to bring in

urgently needed, life-saving medical

supplies and equipment and US$1.34

million to support trainees from Skills

for Employment Investment


The 20thAnnual General Meeting (AGM) of Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited held on 28thApril 2021

through a Digital Platform (Online Video Conference). The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the

Bank Md. Sanaullah Shahid presided over the meeting. The Annual General Meeting (AGM)

approved 12 percent Dividend (5% Stock and 7% Cash) for the Shareholders and the Directors

Reported & audited Balance Sheet and the Profit & Loss account for the year ended on 31stDecember

2020. The Chairman of Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited Md. Sanaullah Shahid, the Managing Director

& CEO M. Shahidul Islam delivered speech in the Annual General Meeting (AGM).The EVP and

Company Secretary of the Bank Mr. Md. Abul Bashar moderated the program. Photo : Courtesy

MetLife Bangladesh announces Tele-Doctor

service for customers and agents

In response to the rising need

for timely and trusted medical

advice during the ongoing

COVID-19 situation in the

country, MetLife Bangladesh

is launching a new initiative

called "Sathe Achi Tele-Doctor

Service" which can help

customers and agents access

medical advice without

needing to go to a hospital or

clinic in person. Early

detection, advice, and

treatment are key components

that can help contribute to

better management of the

illness. The new initiative

provides, free of charge, online

doctor consultation via chat or

voice/video calls for COVID-19

or any other health issues and

can be accessed from mobile

phones or computers, a press


The service is available for

MetLife Bangladesh

customers and agents. Users

will have to register to avail the

service. However, customers

who have registered for

previous year's "Sathe Achi -

COVID-19 Customer Support

Program" don't have to register

again and can use the service

immediately provided their

policies are currently active.

Registration for "Sathe Achi

Tele-Doctor Service" will remain

open till June 15, 2021.

Registration link and other

information are available on this

website: in addition, this website

will also feature a link to

"SUROKKHA Web Portal" to

get vaccination related services.

The Tele-Doctor service is

managed by Digital Healthcare

Solutions which is a division of

Grameen Telecom Trust.

Commenting on the

program, MetLife Bangladesh's

General Manager, Ala Ahmad,

said, "Our commitment to stay

beside our customers and agents

in their times of need remains

as strong as ever. We hope

our users will find "Sathe

Achi Tele-Doctor Service"

helpful in getting primary

medical advice from their


135thmeeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Standard Bank Limited held

on 26 April 2021 through digital platform. Chairman of the committeeS. A. M. Hossainpresided over

the meeting. The meeting was attended by the members of the committee Kamal Mostafa

Chowdhury, Ashok Kumar Saha, Ferozur Rahman.Mohammed Abdul Aziz, Md. ZahedulHoque,

Managing Director & CEO KhondokerRashedMaqsood, Additional Managing Director Md.

TouhidulAlam Khan, Deputy Managing Director Mohammad Rafiqul Islam and acting Company

Secretary Md. Ali Reza FCMA, CIPA.

Photo : Courtesy

Priorities demanded for local

industries in govt procurement

Bangladesh is self-sufficient in

manufacturing of electronics

and technology products.

After meeting local demand,

the 'Made in Bangladesh'

labelled products are being

exported to different

countries including Europe.

But the home made products

are being neglected in

government procurement. So,

it is the demand of the time to

give priorities for local made

products in government

procurement process. The

Public Procurement Rules

(PPR) should be amended in

favorer of domestic

industries. Economic

development of the country

will be accelerated through

the fourth industrial

revolution only if the domestic

industrial favorable policy is

formulated, says a press


Speakers at a webinar titled



Industrialization' came up

with the remarks on Tuesday

(April 27, 2021). Bangladesh

Electrical, Electronics and



Manufacturing and Exporters

Association (BEEMEA)

organized the webinar.

Planning Minister MA

Mannan was present as chief

guest of the webinar while

Additional Secretary of the

Ministry of Planning, also the

Director General of CPTU,

Shoheler Rahman

Chowdhury was present as

the special guest. BEEMEA



Mohammad Sirajul Islam

presented the keynote paper.

Bangladesh University of

Engineering and Technology

(BUET) Vice Chancellor Prof.

Dr. Satya Prasad Majumder,

Distinguished Fellow at the

Centre for Policy Dialogue

(CPD) Prof. Dr. Mustafizur

Rahman, President of

Bangladesh Engineering

Industry Owners Association

(BEIOA) Abdur Razzak,

Chairman of Minister Hi-Tech

Industrial Park, also the Vice-

President of Bangladesh TV

Manufacturing Association,

Abdur Razzak Khan and

Additional Managing Director

of Walton Hi-Tech Industries

Limited Abul Bashar

Howlader were panel speakers

at the webinar moderated by

journalist Mridul Islam.

In the key-note paper,

Mohammad Sirajul Islam

mentioned that Bangladeshi

industrialists manufacture

their products maintaining the

suitability of local weather and

electrical infrastructure with

huge investment on research

and development. The BSTI

standard certificate is

mandatory for domestic

products. However, this

certificate is not mandatory for

similar kind of foreign

products imported to the

country. As a result, low quality

foreign products enter into the

country while domestic

products are being neglected.

BSTI certificate should make

mandatory for imported

foreign goods. The domestic

made products should also be

given priorities in government

procurement as well.

The 22nd Annual General Meeting of Mercantile Bank Limited was held virtually from its Head Office

on Wednesday. The Profit & Loss A/c, Balance Sheet as on December 31, 2020 and 10% Cash and 5%

bonus Dividend have been approved by the Shareholders. The meeting was presided over by Morshed

Alam M.P. Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercantile Bank Limited. Bank's Managing Director

& CEO Md. Quamrul Islam Chowdhury delivered his welcome speech at the AGM. Al-Haj Akram

Hossain (Humayun) and M. Amanullah, Vice Chairmen; Md. Anwarul Haque, Chairman, Executive

Committee and Risk Management Committee; Dr. Gazi Mohammad Hasan Jamil, Chairman, Audit

Committee; A. S. M. Feroz Alam, Md. Abdul Hannan, Md. Nasiruddin Choudhury, Alhaj Mosharref

Hossain, M A Khan Belal, Mohammad Abdul Awal and Dr. Md. Rezaul Kabir Directors; were connected

the AGM virtually. Bank's company secretary Abu Asghar G. Haruni, Chief Financial Officer Tapash

Chandra Paul, PhD, Sponsors, significant number of Shareholders along with senior executives and

officers were also connected to the AGM virtually.

Photo : Courtesy

Daraz Eid Shopping Fest Brings Lucrative

Eid deals to satiate the shopaholics

Country's largest e-commerce

platform Daraz Bangladesh

(https://daraz.com.bd/) has launched

Eid Shopping Fest ahead of the holy

occasion to keep the vibe of celebration

and shopping intact amidst the

pandemic, a press release said.

Eid is just around the corner, but it is

also true that there is no respite in

sight, at least for the next few weeks,

from the virus. But, Eid celebration

never gets complete without sharing

joy with your near and dear ones,

which is only possible through

shopping for your kith and kin.

Meanwhile, it will not be a prudent

decision to visit the shopping malls

physically as there will be a huge

crowd there, and experts are

suggesting everyone maintain health

guidelines to contain the spread of


Under such circumstances, Daraz

has come up with varieties of Eid deals

so that people can have the joy of

shopping right from the comfort of

their homes without putting their

safety and health in jeopardy.

Customers can enjoy different

incredible offers and deals in various

categories such as grocery, fashion,

health and beauty, electronics, etc.

Using 'I love voucher,' customers can

enjoy a discount of up to BDT 6,000.

There will be flash sales as well when

limited products will be offered at

huge discounts at a particular time. So,

keep an eye on Daraz App for the right

moment! Moreover, new customers

are always welcomed at Daraz. That's

why Daraz is offering a flat 25%

discount on the first purchase

(minimum purchase BDT 100,

maximum discount BDT 150) for the

new users.

THuRSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021


Chelsea's head coach Thomas Tuchel, 2nd right, reacts as Chelsea's Christian Pulisic, left, celebrates

after scoring the opening goal during the Champions League semifinal first leg match between Real

Madrid and Chelsea at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday. Photo: AP

Madrid and Chelsea draw 1-1 in

Champions League semifinals


With a dominant start and a milestone

goal by Christian Pulisic, Chelsea showed

its strength against Real Madrid in the

Champions League semifinals, reports


Chelsea took control early in Tuesday's

first leg to hold the Spanish powerhouse

to a 1-1 away draw, with Pulisic becoming

the first U.S. international to score in the

tournament's last four. He also surpassed

DaMarcus Beasley to become the top

American scorer in Champions League

history with five goals. A red-hot Karim

Benzema equalized for a lackluster

Madrid squad on a rainy night at the

Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium in the first

Champions League match since the

controversial Super League folded last

week amid widespread criticism.

The largely closed breakaway

competition would have had Real

Madrid as one of its leaders, and

Chelsea also was among its founding

members before dropping the idea

along with the other English clubs.

Madrid didn't officially back out of the

Super League but had downplayed the

possibility of retaliation by UEFA in its

Champions League matches. There

were no refereeing controversies in

Tuesday's match.

The second leg is on May 5 in

London. Manchester City hosts Paris

Saint-Germain in the other semifinal

on Wednesday.Chelsea got off to a fast

start and had chances to add to its lead

after Pulisic opened the scoring with a

nice finish in the 14th minute off a high

pass by Antonio Rudiger inside the

area. Pulisic calmly got past goalkeeper

Thibaut Courtois before hitting the net

past the Madrid defenders trying to

block his shot at the goal line.

"It was a great finish, great

composure," Chelsea captain César

Azpilicueta said of the 22-year-old

Pulisic, who has been thriving after

being marred by injuries early in the

season. "He's an amazing player, he's a

young player, he's growing and

improving. I'm very pleased with his

goal because he's an important player

for the team."

Pulisic is the second U.S.

international to play in a Champions

League semifinal after Beasley for PSV

Eindhoven in a first-leg game against

AC Milan in 2005.

Madrid evened the match on

Benzema's volley from inside the area

in the 29th, and there were few

significant chances either way during

the rest of the game.

Benzema's goal came a few minutes

after he clipped the post with a longrange

shot. The French striker

controlled a loose ball with his head

before turning and firing a volley into

the top of the net for his 13th goal in his

last 14 matches. It was Benzema's 16th

goal in his last 17 home games with

Madrid.Chelsea gave little space to

Madrid and was the more dangerous

team early on at the Di Stéfano in

Madrid's training complex. The hosts

struggled defensively with their setup

of three central defenders.

"We started the game very, very well -

very aggressively, with a lot of quality,"

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel said.

"We deserved to win the first half. We

had a lot of chances. We should have

scored at least one more when the

chances and half-chances were there."

Not long before Pulisic's opener,

Timo Werner had his strike from in

front of the goal stopped by a superb

reflex save by Courtois, a former

Chelsea player.

"It's true that it was a complicated

first half," Real Madrid coach Zinedine

Zidane said. "But we are still alive going

into the second leg. We are happy with

the result in general."

Former Chelsea forward Eden

Hazard, coming off a long injury layoff,

entered the match in the second half

but couldn't find spaces to spark

Madrid to victory.

Madrid, making a record 14th

semifinal appearance, won three

straight Champions League titles from

2016-18, before Cristiano Ronaldo left,

but the 13-time champion was

eliminated in the round of 16 in the last

two editions.

Former Sri Lanka bowler Nuwan Zoysa banned

for six years for trying to fix matches


Former Sri Lanka seamer and coach

Nuwan Zoysa was on Wednesday

banned from all cricket for six years after

being found guilty of trying to fix

matches and failing to disclose corrupt

approaches from a suspected Indian

bookie, reports UNB.

The ban on Zoysa, a left-arm seamer, is

backdated to October 31, 2018, when he

was provisionally suspended.

"In his role as a national coach, he

should have acted as a role model.

Instead, he became involved with a

corrupter and attempted to corrupt

others," Alex Marshall, ICC General

Manager- Integrity Unit said in a release.

"Contriving to fix a game betrays the

basis of sporting principles. It will not be

tolerated in our sport."

The 42-year-old, who played 30 Tests

and 95 ODIs for Sri Lanka, was originally

charged in 2018 after his stint as bowling

coach of Team Sri Lanka in a T10

tournament organised in the UAE in


In its full judgement, the ICC said

Zoysa was introduced to the Indian

suspect in Colombo in 2017 during his

time as Sri Lanka A's bowling coach.

After a few interactions, the former

bowler became aware that the man,

referred to as Mr W in ICC documents,

"was involved in fixing matches, or

aspects of matches" and wanted to have

Zoysa on board because, "as a coach he

knew players and would be able to get

them to fix matches".

"At (Mr W)'s request, Mr Zoysa

approached (Player A) late in 2017 and

asked him whether, in connection with

Sri Lanka's then upcoming series against

Bangladesh and/or Zimbabwe, he would

be willing to give away 12-15 runs in

an over while bowling, or to get out

deliberately when batting," the ICC

judgement said.

"Mr Zoysa told (Player A) that he could

get good money if he under-performed

in this way. (Player A) immediately

refused that approach and told Mr Zoysa

that he wouldn't agree to do that," it


Following full hearings and

arguments, the Tribunal found Zoysa

guilty of breaching articles relating to

trying to fix matches, enticing others to

breach the code of conduct and failing to

report approaches by corrupt

individuals. Zoysa was also charged by

the ICC on behalf of the Emirates Cricket

Board for breaching three counts of their

ECB Anti-Corruption Code for the T10

League and these proceedings are


Nuwa Zoysa Zoysa is the latest in a long line of Sri Lankan cricketers who have been banned by the

ICC for corruption.

Photo: Reuters/FILE

Bayern Munich appoints Leipzig coach

Julian Nagelsmann to replace Hansi Flick


Bayern Munich hired Leipzig coach

Julian Nagelsmann on Tuesday to

replace the departing Hansi Flick

starting next season, report UNB.

The 33-year-old Nagelsmann will

move to Bayern on July 1 with a

contract that runs through 2026.

Bayern said it agreed to terminate

Flick's contract after he asked to be

released early.

Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff said

Bayern agreed to its demand for a high

fee for Nagelsmann, without specifying

a sum.

Nagelsmann grew up near Munich

and came through the youth system at

another club in the city.

"There were some inquiries from

other clubs. I told Oli (Mintzlaff) that I

wouldn't want to end my contract for

any other club but this one,"

Nagelsmann said.

He added the first contact from

Bayern came on April 16 after Leipzig's

game against Hoffenheim. That was

after Flick told Bayern management he

wanted to leave but a day before he

went public.

Nagelsmann has been with Leipzig

for three years and led the team to the

Champions League semifinals in 2020.

Leipzig is in second place behind

Bayern in the Bundesliga, and will play

Werder Bremen on Friday for a place in

the final of the German Cup.

Nagelsmann was the youngest head

coach in league history when he took

over at Hoffenheim at 28 in 2016. The

team then qualified for the Champions

League for the first time in its history.

Nagelsmann was a professional

player but moved into coaching when

his career ended early because of knee


"Julian Nagelsmann signifies a new

generation of coaches," Bayern

president Herbert Hainer said.

"Despite his young years, he has

already built an impressive career. We

are convinced that we will build on the

great successes of recent years together

with Julian Nagelsmann."

Nagelsmann will join up again with

defender Dayot Upamecano, who is

also moving to Bayern from Leipzig at

the end of the season.

Bayern was forced to look for a new

coach after Flick said this month he

wanted to leave the club despite having

a contract through 2023. Flick won the

league, German Cup and Champions

League last season with Bayern and is

on the verge of bowing out with another

league title.

Bayern will secure the Bundesliga

title if it wins its next game on May 8

against Borussia Mönchengladbach or

if Leipzig loses to Borussia Dortmund

the same day.

Bayern initially appointed Flick in

2019 as an interim coach when Niko

Kovac was fired. He was supposed to

step in for a few weeks but the team's

winning run meant he was given an

extension, first until the end of the

2019-20 season, then until 2023.

Flick has not been able to celebrate

any trophies in front of the team's fans

because of the pandemic. Only the

European Super Cup in Hungary and

Club World Cup in Qatar were won in

front of small numbers of supporters.

Leipzig's head coach Julian Nagelsmann reacts during the German Bundesliga soccer match

between RB Leipzig and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Leipzig, Germany, Friday.

Photo: AP


Shakib and Liton

set to feature in PSL


Veteran Bangladeshi

allrounders Mahmudullah

Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan and

wicketkeeper-batsman Liton

Das are set to feature in the

resumption of this year's

chequered Pakistan Super

League (PSL), a T20 league

organized by Pakistan Cricket

Board (BCB), as the

replacement players, reports


These three Bangladeshi

players are among the 19

overseas players who have been

picked up by the PSL teams

from the replacement draft. The

other players are from Australia,

West Indies, South Africa, Sri

Lanka and New Zealand.

Right-handed allrounder

Mahmudullah will represent

Multan Sultans in the

remainder of the PSL. He had

previously played for Quetta

Gladiators in this event.

BCB announces

unchanged squad for

2nd Sri Lanka Test


For the 2nd and final Test of

the two-match series against

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh

Cricket Board (BCB) on

Wednesday announced an

unchanged 15-member

squad, reports UNB.

The 2nd Test will

commence on Thursday at

the Pallekelle International

Cricket Stadium in Kandy.

The first Test of the series

ended in a draw as the

wicket was flat and fruitless

for the bowlers. Bowlers of

both teams together were

able to take only 17 wickets

in five days. But this time

around, the participant

teams are expecting a better

wicket which would be

helpful for all.

Pakistan look to tame

Zimbabwe without

injured Yasir


Pakistan take on Zimbabwe without key

leg-spinner Yasir Shah in a two-Test series

which starts in Harare on Thursday, but

are "confident" after beating South Africa

earlier this year, reports UNB.

Yasir has been an integral part of

Pakistan's Test bowling attack since

making his debut in 2014, only missing

two tours - to Ireland for a single Test and

a two-match visit to England - both in


Yasir, who has taken 235 wickets in 45

Tests, is absent with a knee injury.

The visitors will also be without frontline

seamer Mohammad Abbas, now starring

for Hampshire in English county cricket,

who lost favour with selectors early this


The Babar Azam-led Pakistan will

instead rely on the pace trio of Shaheen

Shah Afridi (15 Tests), Hasan Ali (11) and

Faheem Ashraf (eight), while Nauman Ali

(two Tests) is the frontline spinner.

They also have leg-spinner Zahid

Mahmood and off-spinner Sajid Khan to

chose from, who both have not played a

Test yet.

Hasan's 10 wickets anchored a victory

over South Africa in Pakistan's last Test in

Rawalpindi two months ago.

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq

believes his team can kick on from that 2-

0 series win.

"Our confidence level is good after

winning the home series against South

Africa so we hope to carry that good

performance," Misbah told AFP.

"Yes, we don't have Yasir but the back-up

spinners, like Sajid and Mahmood, are

good and in the absence of Yasir they have

a good opportunity to perform."

Pakistan's batting will revolve around

veteran Azhar Ali, Babar, Fawad Alam and

in-form wicketkeeper Mohammad


Azhar is one of the two survivors from

the last Test between the two sides in

Harare seven years ago, when the hosts

upset Pakistan by 24 runs to achieve a 1-1

series draw.

Pakistan still lead the teams' head-tohead

record with 10 wins in 17 bilateral

Tests. Zimbabwe have won three, with

four drawn.

Improving Zimbabwe -

Zimbabwe will hope to continue their

form from the preceding three-match

Twenty20 series. Despite losing 2-1, they

gave their higher-ranked opponents a

tough contest.

"It was a very good series with a young

side," said skipper Sean Williams, who has

hit hundreds in each of his last three Tests.

Zimbabwe drew a two-match Test series

1-1 against Afghanistan in the United Arab

Emirates last month.

"We've got some talented young

batsmen and bowlers and we are really

excited for the Test series."

Besides Williams, the other crucial

batsman remains Brendan Taylor, the only

other player who featured in the Pakistan-

Zimbabwe Test in 2013.

In Blessing Muzarabani and Victor

Nyauchi, Zimbabwe have a potent pace

attack strengthened by Luke Jongwe,

expected to make his Test debut after

taking nine wickets in the T20 series.

The second Test will also be in Harare

from May 7, with the full tour played

behind closed doors due to Covid-19.


Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Imran

Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar

Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha

Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad

Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz

Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf,

Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz

Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood,

Sajid Khan

Zimbabwe: Sean Williams (captain),

Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chisoro, Tanaka

Chivanga, Luke Jongwe, Roy Kaia, Kevin

Kasuza, Wellington Masakadza, Prince

Masvaure, Tarisai Musakanda, Blessing

Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Victor

Nyauchi, Milton Shumba, Brendan Taylor,

Donald Tiripano

Umpires: Langton Rusere (ZIM) and

Marais Erasmus (RSA)

TV umpire: Iknow Chabi (ZIM)

Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

THURsDAY, ApRIL 29, 2021


Imtiaj Rasel running for

Sovereign Asian Art Prize

Bangladeshi artist Imtiaj Rasel is in the running for

a prestigious art prize in Asia, reports UNB.

He is among 30 artists from the Asia-Pacific

region who have been nominated for this year's

Sovereign Asian Art Prize. With his artwork,

'Journey by Bus', being shortlisted, Rasel is now

competing with artists rom India, Australia,

Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea,

Malaysia, China, Japan,

Iran, Singapore,

Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Sri

Lanka, Cambodia and

host Hong Kong for the


Rasel, an ICCR

scholarship recipient,

holds an MFA degree in

painting from Rabindra

Bharati University

(2019). He went to

Kolkata for higher

studies after earning a

bachelor's degree in

painting from the

Faculty of Fine Arts at

Dhaka University in

2015. "I received an email

on September 18, 2020 from the Sovereign Art

Foundation (SAF) about my nomination, which

was sent on behalf of me by artist Tayeba Begum

Lipi. After that, I applied before the October 19

deadline. The authorities informed me by email

about being a finalist on February 22, 2021," he told

UNB. Using his travel experiences as a visual

language, Rasel explores connections between

places, culture, environment, time, and memory.

Through this practice, he is instilled with a sense of

wanderlust, through which new narratives are


On his 'Journey by Bus', Rasel told UNB, "My travels

instilled in me a wanderlust, which makes me explore

Britney Spears to speak

directly to LA court on

her conservatorship

Pop star Britney Spears will

personally address the Los

Angeles court dealing with her

long-running conservatorship in

June, a judge agreed on Tuesday.

Spears, 39, has been under a

conservatorship since 2008, but

rarely takes part in court

hearings and has not publicly

commented on the legal

arrangement where a courtappointed

adviser controls her

personal and financial affairs,

including her medical treatment,

security and career.

"My client (Britney Spears) has

requested a hearing at which she

can address the court directly,"

the singer's lawyer Samuel

Ingham told the court on

Tuesday. "My client has asked

that it be done on an expedited

basis." The judge set a June 23

hearing for Spears to speak to the

court. It was not known which

matters the singer planned to

the landscape from a visual and research point of view.

I continued observing people during those bus

journeys and made instant drawings, sometimes

captured photographs. Later, I painted those elements

on the bus tickets."

"Here I have tried to communicate with the

characteristic of the local community, society and

situations," he added. Rasel has received the Artist

Grant for the Brihatta

Home Art Project,

Brihatta Art Foundation

(2020), and the Kazi

Abdul Baset Memorial

Award from the Faculty

of Fine Arts, University

of Dhaka (2016). His

artworks were exhibited

at the 52nd Annual

Exhibition, Birla

Academy of Fine Art,

Kolkata (2019); 23rd

National Exhibition,

Bangladesh Shilpakala

Academy, Dhaka (2019),

and All India Fine Art

Annual Exhibition,

Academy of Fine Arts,

Kolkata (2018), to name a few.

The Sovereign Asian Art Prize was launched in

2003 to increase the international exposure of

artists in the region while raising funds for

programmes supporting disadvantaged children

using expressive arts. Held annually, the prize is now

recognised as the most established and prestigious

annual art award in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Prize invites mid-career contemporary

artists, nominated by a board of independent art

professionals, to each enter up to three artworks

online. A judging panel comprising world-class art

experts shortlist the 30 best artworks from a range

of digital images.

address. The singer's father,

Jamie Spears, was appointed his

daughter's conservator in 2008

after the pop star was

hospitalized for psychiatric

treatment following a widely

publicized breakdown.

Britney Spears, who became a

teen phenomenon 20 years ago

with hits like "…Baby One More

Time" and "Toxic," made clear

last year through her lawyer that

she no longer wants her father

involved in her affairs.

A previous bid to remove him

failed in August 2020 and a

hearing on Tuesday on a new

request to replace him with

someone else was postponed

until July without discussion.

Vivian Thoreen, an attorney for

Jamie Spears, said in interviews

last month that the pop star had

never requested the termination

of the legal arrangement.

Spears has not performed in

public since October 2018, though

she frequently posts photos and

videos of herself dancing at her Los

Angeles area home. In 2019, she

pulled out of a Las Vegas concert

residency and briefly entered a

mental health facility. The release

of a television documentary in

February brought new scrutiny to

the case and to the #FreeBritney

movement started by fans.

#FreeBritney supporters, who

rallied outside the courthouse on

Tuesday, believe Spears is being

kept prisoner and she is sending

cryptic signals begging to be

freed through her social media


Source: AP


Obscure Artist of Bangladesh, a social mediabased

artist group, is going to organise an

online art competition from May 1 to May 30

with an exciting prize pool to support cryptic

enthusiastic artists of the country. Through the

event titled 'Thoughts Behind My Painting',

'Bir' to be aired

on Eid day


Shakib Khan and Shabnom Bubly starrer Bangla movie 'Bir' will be

premiered on Deepto TV on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr festival. The

film will be aired on the first day of Eid.

Veteran director Kazi Hayat has directed the political action film

while Shakib Khan and Mohammad Iqbal have jointly produced it

under the banner of SK Films.

Besides Shakib Khan and Bubly, actors Misha Sawdagor, Sadek

Bacchu, Ariana Zaman, Shiba Shanu, Jackie Alamgir and Sohel

Khan will be seen acting in different roles.

Shakib Khan said about the film, the story of the film is such that

it forced him to prepare a new. Because, 'Bir' is a picture of country

and love.

The film was released in theaters on February 14 in 2020.

Author and former actor Twinkle Khanna

along with husband actor Akshay Kumar

have donated 100 oxygen concentrators as

India battles the second wave of Covid-19.

She said that she was in 'bit of a hole' due to

family's ill health.

Taking to Instagram she shared a post,

"Wonderful news-Dr Drashnika Patel & Dr

Govind Bankani of London Elite Health

through Daivik Foundation are donating

120 oxygen concentrators and as

@akshaykumar and I have managed to get

our hands on 100 as well,we have a total of

220.Thank you for the leads.Let's all do our


Captioning the post she wrote, "I think for

the last few weeks with members of my own

family ill I have been in a bit of a hole. But I

couldn't stay there for long. I implore all of

you in your own way to do whatever you can

so we can look back at this bleak moment

and at least say it took the worst but it

brought out the best in all of us.


Several celebs, as well as fans, appreciated

the move taking to the comments section.

Reacting to the post, Anaita Shroff Adajania

wrote, "Amazing! Thanks!" A fan wrote, "My

silver lining for the day." Another fan wrote,

"Absolutely amazing news." A third wrote,

"that is wonderful. Time and again you and

@akshaykumar have shown that humanity

stands above everything else. #stayblessed."

underrated enthusiastic artists of Bangladesh

will be trained into international level artists,

said a media statement. Participants have to

submit their paintings in the group along with

their 'thoughts'. Famous Bangladeshi artist

and founding administrator of Obscure Artist

of Bangladesh Khadizatul Qubra said, "Most of

the artists in our group are self-taught, but

Recently, Akshay recovered from Covid-

19. Twinkle updated her fans about his

health in a unique way by sharing a

caricature with her husband. Sharing the

art, Twinkle had said, "Safe and sound and

good to have him back around. #allizwell."

Akshay was hospitalised after testing

positive for coronavirus in April.

The couple tied the knot in 2001 and have

Online painting

contest by Obscure

Artists of Bangladesh

next month

their potentiality reflects possibilities of

standing internationally."

"Due to the lack of a proper platform, they

are unable to expose their outstanding

creativity to the world. So, we are here to give

them an equal opportunity to showcase their

artworks and encourage them to keep

practicing," she said.

She said through the event, all members of

the group will enrich their knowledge of

thought process and style of their painting.

Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna

donate 100 oxygen concentrators

two children-son Aarav and daughter

Nitara. She made her Bollywood debut with

Barsaat in 1995 and also starred in

Baadshah, International Khiladi, and Yeh

Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan till 2001. Currently,

she is an author as well as a popular

columnist, interior designer, and producer.

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.

thursday, april 29, 2021


Saudi prince strikes conciliatory

tone with rival Iran

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RIYADH : Saudi Arabia's

crown prince on Tuesday

struck a conciliatory tone

towards the kingdom's archnemesis

Iran, saying he

sought "good" relations,

after sources said the rivals

held secret talks in Baghdad.

The two countries, locked

in a fierce struggle for

regional dominance, cut ties

in 2016 after Iranian protesters

attacked Saudi diplomatic

missions following the

kingdom's execution of a

revered Shiite cleric.

"Iran is a neighbouring

country, and all we aspire for

is a good and special relationship

with Iran," Saudi

Crown Prince Mohammed

bin Salman said in a television

interview broadcast late


"We do not want Iran's situation

to be difficult. On the

contrary, we want Iran to

grow… and to push the

region and the world

towards prosperity."

He added that Riyadh was

working with regional and

global partners to find solutions

to Tehran's "negative


That marks a change in

tone compared to Prince

Mohammed's previous

interviews, in which he

lashed out at Tehran, accusing

it of fuelling regional


The prince did not mention

any negotiations with


The talks in Baghdad,

facilitated by Iraqi Prime

Minister Mustafa al-

Kadhemi, remained secret

until the Financial Times

reported that a first meeting

had been held on April 9.

An Iraqi government official

confirmed the talks to

AFP, while a Western diplomat

said he had been

"briefed in advance" about

the effort to "broker a better

relationship and decrease


Riyadh has officially

denied the talks in its statebacked

media while Tehran

has stayed mum, asserting

only that it has "always welcomed"

dialogue with Saudi


The initiative comes at a

time of shifting power

dynamics, as US President

Joe Biden is seeking to

revive the tattered 2015

nuclear deal that was abandoned

by Donald Trump.

Saudi Arabia and Iran

have backed opposite sides

of several regional conflicts,

from Syria to Yemen, where

a Saudi-led coalition is fighting

the Huthi rebels.

Iran supports the Huthi

rebels, who are battling the

Saudi-led military coalition

that intervened in Yemen's

war in 2015.

Britney Spears to appear in

court for guardianship case

LOS ANGELES : Britney Spears has requested to speak in

court in the legal battle over her father's control of her affairs,

her attorney said Tuesday.

The 39-year-old US pop singer is the subject of a "FreeBritney"

online campaign from her adoring fans who believe the

guardianship in place since 2008 should be ended, but has

rarely spoken directly about the issue herself.

A Los Angeles judge set a June 23 hearing following a

request from her lawyer which did not explain why the singer

wanted to address the court.

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MÖvg kn‡ii DbœwZ

we`ÿ r/Rb-942(2)/28/4/2021

GD-746/21 (5x3)


GD-750/21 (6x 3)

GD-751/21 (10x3)

GD-749/21 (8x3)

Thursday, Dhaka, april 29, 2021, Baishakh 16, 1428 BS, Ramadan 16, 1442 hijri

Krishnachura trees have a reddish color with green leaves. The flowers are decorated in red. The picture was

taken from Batiaghata area of Khulna on Wednesday.

Photo : Star mail

Bank will remain

open till May 5

limited basis

Shafiqul iSlam

The Cabinet Division has issued a notification

extending the ongoing ban on

coronavirus infection till midnight on

May 5 (Wednesday). During this time

banking services will also be open to a

limited range.

On Wednesday (April 26),

Bangladesh Bank's Department of Offsite

Supervision issued a new directive

on 'banking activities in the context of

restrictions imposed by the government

to prevent coronavirus infection'.

It said in the circular of Central Bank

that the directive issued on April 13,

2021 to continue banking activities has

been extended till May 5. Bank transactions

will be from 10 am to 1 pm every

day except weekly holidays. The bank

will be open till 2.30 pm to complete

post-transaction ancillary activities.

Each bank will have a branch in the

upozila town open on Thursdays,

Sundays and Tuesdays. In addition, a

branch within two kilometers of the City

Corporation area should be kept open

every working day.ATM booths will be

open all the time during the restrictions.

At the same time online services including

internet banking will be launched. In

addition, bank branches at sea, land and

airport can be kept open for importexport

activities. In addition, branches

with foreign currency transactions (AD)

will be able to keep open with a limited

number of manpower in case of need of

their own bank.

Earlier, due to restrictions, the central

bank increased the limit on cash withdrawals

from banks' ATM booths to TK

1 lac a day to reduce customer conges-

Govt to collect vaccines

from anywhere to

protect people: Quader

Countrywide Boro paddy

procurement begins

DHAKA : The government on

Wednesday started the procurement

of Boro paddy and rice across

the country, reports UNB.

Food Minister Sadhan Chandra

Majumder inaugurated the nationwide

procurement of Boro paddy

through a videoconference at


Boro paddy is being procured

directly from farmers at Tk 27 per


The Directorate General of Food

will collect 6.50 lakh metric tonnes

of Boro paddy directly from farmers

as well as 10 lakh metric tonnes of

boiled rice and 1.5 lakh metric

tonnes of non-boiled rice from the

rice millers during the current Boro


The boiled rice is being procured

at Tk 40 per kg, while the nonboiled

one at Tk 39 per kg.

The Food Minister directed the

officials and employees concerned

to be careful so that no farmer

would be subjected to any sort of

harassment going to provide paddy

to godown.

He also asked them not to compromise

with the quality of paddy

and rice during this procurement.

Sadhan Chandra asked all concerned

to expedite the Boro collection

following health hygiene rules,

including social distancing and

masking up.

The minister asked them to fix the

problems of farmers with due

importance during registration

through apps in the upazilas where

the app registration system has

been introduced to procure paddy.

Food Secretary Dr Mosammat

Nazmanara Khanum, Food Director

General Sheikh Muzibar Rahman

and other high officials from the

ministry and the Directorate

General of Food were connected

with the virtual inauguration.

Besides, officials from district

administrations, district food

offices, mill owners and farmers'

representatives from Netrakona,

Kishoreganj, Naogaon, Bogura,

Dinajpur, Sylhet, Habiganj,

Maulvibazar and Sunamganj districts

were connected with the inaugural

event through the virtual platform.

DHAKA : Awami League General

Secretary and Road Transport and

Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today

said the government will collect COVID-

19 vaccines from anywhere in any away

to protect the country's people.

"There is no need to have a special

relationship with anyone over coronavirus

vaccines. The government will

collect the vaccines from wherever it can

to protect people," he said while talking

to reporters after placing wreath at the

grave of Shaheed Sheikh Jamal at

Banani graveyard here.

On behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina and the Awami League, Quader

placed wreath at the grave of Sheikh

Jamal on the occasion of his 68th birth


He said: "We need vaccines to save

people. We will collect vaccines from

where we would get those. We need not

maintain a special relationship with

anyone…we need vaccines and we will

collect those".

Quader said dealing with the coronavirus

crisis together, shunning the politics

of blame game, is the main challenge


Mentioning that Sheikh Jamal was

one of the instances of Bangabandhu

family's courageous politics, he said:

"Let us swear on his birthday that the

nation must be made free from the

tragedy of the politics of murder and


The AL general secretary said the politics

of killing is never acceptable at all

and those involved in the brutal 1975

massacre were not spared too.

He said if Father of the Nation

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

was not killed in 1975, another murderous

group would not have dared to kill

Ziaur Rahman.

Ziaur Rahman was the mastermind of

the Bangabandhu killing and that is why

he had to suffer the consequences,

Quader said.

Asking BNP to shun the politics of

conspiracy, he said the BNP must leave

the path of murder, conspiracy and terrorism

in order to establish the true

democracy in Bangladesh.

AL joint general secretaries Mahbubul

Alam Hanif and AFM Bahauddin

Nasim, organising secretaries Ahmad

Hossain, Abu Sayeed Al Mahmud

Swapan, SM Kamal Hossain and

Advocate Afzal Hossain, relief and disaster

affairs secretary Sujit Roy Nandi,

office secretary Biplab Barua and science

and technology affairs secretary

Abdus Sabur were, among others, present.

Later, the leaders of the AL units of

Dhaka City North and South, Juba

League, Krishka League,

Swechchhasebak League, Mahila

Sramik League, Sheikh Jamal Jatiya

Smriti Parishad, Bangabandhu

Sangskritik Jote and other social and

cultural organisations placed wreaths at

the grave of Sheikh Jamal.

Myanmar unity govt

tells ASEAN no talks

until prisoners freed

Myanmar's pro-democracy unity government,

formed to oppose the military

junta that seized power nearly three

months ago, on Wednesday ruled out

talks on the crisis until all political prisoners

are released.

The 10-member Association of

Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has

been trying to find a path for Myanmar

out of the bloody turmoil that followed

the Feb. 1 coup and has called for an end

to violence and talks between all sides.

But the junta has already declined to

accept proposals to resolve the crisis

that emerged from an ASEAN summit

last weekend that was attended by

Myanmar's Senior General Min Aung

Hlaing, while no-one from the civilian

side was invited.

The pro-democracy National Unity

Government (NUG), which includes

members of parliament ousted by the

coup, said Southeast Asia's regional bloc

should be engaging with it as the legitimate

representative of the people.

"Before any constructive dialogue can

take place, however, there must be an

unconditional release of political prisoners

including President U Win Myint

and State Counsellor Daw Aung San

Suu Kyi," the NUG prime minister,

Minister Mahn Winn Khaing Thann,

said in a statement.

Intelligence agencies

to identify Hefazat

financers: Minister

DHAKA : Home Minister

Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on

Wednesday said intelligence agencies

are trying to identify the financers of

Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh.

"Intelligence agencies are working to

identify those who provide financial

support to Hefazat. We've got some

information about them, but we don't

want to disclose that now. We'll inform

you once the investigation is over," the

Home Minister said while talking to

reporters at his Dhanmondi residence

on Wednesday, reports UNB.

The Home Minister said: "Everything

- where's the money coming from and

how much is coming to whose accountwill

be dug out through the investigation."

The Home Minister went on saying,

"As per our investigation, Hefazat-e-

Islam carried out violence with an aim

to repeat the incident of Shapla Chattar

it unleashed in 2013."

"They certainly had a political ambition.

Our law enforcement agencies are

investigating various secret activities of

the organisation," Asaduzzaman Khan


He said that the constitution of

Hefazat-e-Islam clearly states that they

will not be involved in any political issue

and remain above politics."But we've

noticed that identified terrorists andmilitants

have become involved in politics

and creating a volatile situation in the


Asked about Hefazat Ameer

Babunagari, who was sued but no action

has been taken yet against him, the minister

said, "There was a case filed against

Babunagari in 2013. He was arrested at

that time and later he was released on

bail. I can share with you after having an

idea about the status of the case."

The Home Minister said legal action

would be taken against those who will

commit any crime.

No respite from

soaring mercury

The people are not getting any respite

from the heatwave sweeping across the

country at least in the next two days,

says the Met Office.

A mild to moderate heatwave is

sweeping over Dhaka, Sylhet,

Rangpur, Khulna and Barishal divisions

and the regions of Sitakunda,

Rangamati, Cumilla, Feni, Rajshahi

and Pabna and it may abate from

some part of the country.

Issued at 9 am on Wednesday, the

bulletin forecasts that day temperature

may remain nearly unchanged and

night temperature may rise slightly over

the country. A trough of low lies over

West Bengal and adjoining area, it said.

Rain/thundershowers accompanied

by temporary gusty wind is likely to

occur at one or two places over Rangpur,

Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions and

the districts of Kishoreganj and Cumilla.

The weather may remain mainly dry

with temporary partly cloudy sky elsewhere

over the country, said the report.

But the Met office's five-day outlook

says that there may be rain or thundershowers,

and the day temperature may

also fall.

Covid fallout

ADB lowers Bangladesh’s

FY21 growth forecast

DHAKA : TheAsian Development

Bank (ADB) has lowered Bangladesh's

growth forecast for the current fiscal,

with the second wave of Covid-19 posing

risks to economic recovery, reports


The regional lender, however, anticipates

a sharp economic recovery in the

next financial year, notwithstanding the

Covid-19 headwinds. The projections

were reflected in the Asian

Development Outlook (ADO) 2021

report released on Wednesday.

In January this year, the Bangladesh

government revised its gross domestic

product (GDP) growth projection for the

current fiscal to 7.4 percent from the

earlier 8.2 percent, considering the

Covid situation in the country.

However, ADB has anticipated a drop

in GDP growth this fiscal due to the

onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The economy was showing signs of

recovery with higher remittances,

exports and other indicators, but the

recent surge in the pandemic and the

lockdown are likely to trim our GDP

growth projection of 6.8% for fiscal year

2020-2021 by at least one percentage

point,"ADB's Country Director

Manmohan Parkash said. He said that

the government managed the first wave

of Covid-19 in 2020 well as the stimulus

measures and economic policies have

largely been effective.

"The ongoing pandemic is an opportunity

to undertake further reforms in

social protection and health sector,

improving competitiveness of the private

sector, reducing cost of doing business,

diversifying exports, and developing

skills," Parkash said.

"Expanding social safety nets, enhancing

investments, creating employment,

ensuring mass vaccination, and improving

the health sector are critical actions

for achieving the Eighth Five-Year Plan

goals," the ADB Country Director said.

According to Parkash, future economic

growth will depend on recovery in

domestic economic activities fuelled

mainly by implementation of stimulus

packages, strong inflow of remittances,

and rebound in global trade amid projected

growth in major export destinations.

"Current account balance is expected

to cross into surplus of 0.7% of GDP in

FY2021, contributed by remittance

growth. The main risk to this growth

projection is further surge of Covid-19

cases and delayed availability and supply

of vaccines both globally and domestically,"

he added.

The ADO 2021 says that continued

strong remittance inflow is likely to support

domestic demand with growth in

private consumption. Remittances from

workers overseas increased by 35.1% in

the first nine months of FY2021 due to

the 2% cash incentive offered by the government

and reduced documentation


Private investment is expected to pick

up as moderate growth in private sector

credit improves confidence. Higher

public investment is anticipated as the

government expands capital spending.

Inflation is expected to reach 5.8% in

FY2021 from 5.7% in FY2020 as price

pressures are increasing from higher

public expenditures to implement

stimulus measures and a rise in global

food and fuel prices due to pick up in

global economic activity, according to

the report.

Quake of magnitude 6

strikes India's Assam,

damages some buildings

An earthquake of magnitude 6 struck

India's rugged northeastern state of

Assam on Wednesday, causing cracks in

the walls and floors of some structures,

but no immediate casualties were


The quake hit at a depth of 34 km (21

miles) near the town of Dhekiajuli, 140

km (86 miles) north of the main city of

Guwahati, the United States Geological

Survey said.

"This earthquake was the biggest I can

remember, there was first a big jolt and

then a smaller one," said a police official

in the town. "We did not receive any distress

calls, but people did run out of their


People streamed into the streets for

fear of fresh tremors, with some saying

the quake left cracks in their homes.

"Our entire multi-storied apartment

has witnessed massive damage with

roofs and walls caving in," said Subham

Hazarika, a businessman living in an

upmarket apartment in Guwahati.

"Luckily no one got injured."

Strong tremors repeatedly struck

other northeastern areas and the neighbouring

mountainous region of Bhutan.

"We don't have reports of any casualties

but we are seeing images and visuals of

extensive damage," Health Minister

Himanta Biswa Sarma told Reuters.

Earlier, the European Mediterranean

Seismological Centre (EMSC) had put

the quake's magnitude at 6.2.

India's disaster management officials

were assessing reports of destruction

and casualties, said one of the officials,

who sought anonymity.

"I pray for the well-being of all and

urge everyone to stay alert," Chief

Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told

Reuters television partner ANI.

a man searches for his belongings amidst the debris after a boundary wall of his house collapsed following

an earthquake in Nagaon district in the northeastern state of assam, india. Photo : Reuters

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