30-04-2021

tbtbangla

FrIday

DHaka : april 30 , 2021; Baishakh 17, 1428 BS; Ramadan 17,1442 Hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.Da~2065, Vol.19; N o. 24 ; 12 Pages~Tk.8.00

InternatIonal

India cases set new

global record; millions

vote in 1 state

>Page 7

art & Culture

Nadia in Eid

special drama

'Hilla Biye'

>Page 10

SportS

manchester City rally to

win 2-1 at pSG in first leg

of Cl semifinal

>Page 9

Covid-19 in Bangladesh

88 more die, Infection

rate drops below 10 pc

TBT reporT

The death toll from Covid-19 in

Bangladesh rose to 11,393 with

88 more mortalities in a 24-

hour period until Thursday

morning. Besides, health

authorities detected 2,341 new

cases during the period.

The infection rate dropped

to 9.39 percent from

Wednesday's 10.48 percent

while the mortality rate rose to

1.51 percent from 1.50 percent.

So far, 756,955 cases have

been reported, the Directorate

General of Health Services

said in a handout.

Bangladesh reported its first

coronavirus cases on March 8

last year and the first death on

the 18th of that month.

First ever BD-Indonesia

FOC held

DHAKA : Bangladesh and

Indonesia yesterday held their

first ever Foreign Office

Consultations (FOC) and

agreed to expand the volume

of bilateral trade and investment

between the two Asian

nations.

Bangladesh Foreign

Secretary Masud Bin Momen

and Director General for the

Asia Pacific and Africa of

Indonesian foreign ministry

Abdul Kadir Jailani led respective

delegations at the virtual

Consultations, a foreign ministry

press release said here .

Zohr

04:08 AM

12:00 PM

04:31 PM

06:29 PM

07:47 PM

5:26 6:26

RAMADAn

Ramadan Date Sehri Iftar

16 April 30 04:00 AM 06:30 PM

17 May 01 03:59 AM 06:31 PM

18 May 02 03:58 AM 06:31 PM

Combined harvesting machine is being used to harvest paddy. The picture was taken from patuakhali

on Thursday.

photo : Star mail

BD approves China's vaccine

for emergency use

aShraful iSlam aSharaf

Bangladesh has approved the emergency

use of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine

amid a supply squeeze.

Major General Mahbubur Rahman,

director general of the Directorate General

of Drug Administration, informed journalists

of the development on Thursday noon

during a briefing.

In his speech he said that 'the country is

in the process of producing Chinese and

Russian vaccines at the same time. Three

companies in Bangladesh can produce

vaccines'. He further said that it would take

at least six months to go into vaccine production

following all the procedures.

Earlier on Tuesday, the emergency use of

the Russian vaccine Sputnik-V has been

approved in the country.

The approval was given by the

Committee on Emergency Public Health

Medicines, Experimental Medicines,

Vaccines and Medical Equipment in the

Ministry of Health. The decision to

approve the vaccine was taken at a meeting

of the Directorate General of Drug

Administration. After that approval, there

were no legal restrictions on the import

and use of the vaccine in Russia.

It is to be noted that Sinopharm uses

inactivated coronaviruses to make their

vaccines - a tried-and-true method dating

back over 130 years.

The company uses chemicals to disable

the virus's genes so that it cannot replicate.Yet

the inactivated coronavirus can

still cause the body's immune system to

produce antibodies against it.

Experts say there are drawbacks to inactivated

vaccines like the one made by

Sinopharm, The New York Times reported.

The vaccine requires starting off with

large batches of live coronavirus samples,

which can pose a biosecurity risk, according

to the report.

Once the live samples are inactivated, it

takes an extra manufacturing step to

ensure that none of them survive the treatment.

Last month Hungary agreed to pay about

$36 per dose of Sinopharm's vaccine, making

it one of the most expensive in the

world, according to The New York Times.

People who were previously vaccinated

in China have said that the two-dose regimen

costs about $60 to $150, the Times

said.

Sinopharm has said the cost of two doses

should be lower than $150.

Munia's death

HC refuses to hear Bashundhara

MD's anticipatory bail plea

DHAKA : The High Court on Thursday

declined to hear the anticipatory bail petition

filed by Managing Director of Bashundhara

Group Sayem Sobhan Anvir in a case filed over

abetting the suicide of 21-year-old Mosarat

Jahan Munia, reports UNB.

The bench of Justice Mamunur Rahman

and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman

refused to hear the petition saying that it has

no jurisdiction to hear any anticipatory bail

during the lockdown.

A notice placed on the door of the courtroom

in the morning reads, "Amid the

current lockdown and Covid-19 situation,

the court has ruled that it will not hear any

anticipatory bail petition until further

notice." During virtual proceedings, the

HC bench said, "The issue of the anticipatory

bail petition was included in the

cause list by mistake. We have no instruction

on hearing an anticipatory bail plea

during the lockdown. Therefore, the

bench will not hear the petitions no 13 to

27 in the cause list."

As per law, the accused must appear

before court physically for a hearing on an

anticipatory bail plea but the accused could

be connected virtually with the court during

the virtual hearing.

On Monday, police recovered the hanging

body of Mosarat Jahan Munia, 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 on

Tuesday.

In the case, Nusrat Jahan made Sayem

Sobhan Anvir, managing director of

Bashundhara Group, the lone accused of

abetting the death of the 21-year-old college

student.

Quader for quick start

of Chittagong-Cox's

Bazar 4-lane work

DHAKA : Road Transport and Bridges

Minister Obaidul Quader on Thursday

asked the authorities concerned to

begin work as soon as possible to

upgrade the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar

road into a four- lane one, reports UNB.

He said this in a meeting with officials

of Chittagong Road Zone, Bangladesh

Road Transport Corporation ( BRTC) and

Bangladesh Road Transport

Authority(BRTA) on Thursday morning.

Obaidul Quader joined the meeting

virtually from his official residence.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

announced the contraction of the road

while she was addressing a function

marking the inauguration of Cox's

Bazar-Teknaf Marin Driveway at Inani

beach of Ukhia upazila of Co's Bazar on

May 6,2017. "Already the Dhaka-

Chittagong Highway has been made

four-lane. Now the Cox's Bazar-

Chittagong Highway will be turned into

a four-lane one soon", she said.

Chattogram- Cox's Bazar highway

is one of the busiest highways in

Bangladesh. Roads and Highways

Department (R and D dept.) started a

survey project to develop the road in

2013 considering the significance of

tourism.

Quader also directed the officials concerned

to give importance to the roads

in Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Covid-19 variants continue spreading

amid rise in cases globally

DHAKA : Covid-19 infections have

increased for the ninth consecutive week

globally as variants continue their spread,

the UN health agency has confirmed,

reports UNB.

Nearly 5.7 million new cases were

reported in the last seven-day period,

above previous highs, the World Health

Organization (WHO) said in its latest

coronavirus update published late

Tuesday.

The number of deaths from the virus

also increased - now for the sixth consecutive

week - with more than 87,000 confirmed

victims, reports UN News.

All parts of the world reported falling

numbers of infections, apart from

Southeast Asia and Western Pacific

regions. And although Southeast Asia

reported the highest increases in infections

and deaths for the third week in a

row, it was India that accounted for the

vast majority of cases, with 2.17 million

new cases-a 52 percent increase.

This is the equivalent of nearly four in

10 global cases reported in the past week,

followed by the United States (with

BERC reduces LPG prices

Shafiqul iSlam

The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices

have been falling in the world market for

the last three months. As a result, the

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory

Commission (BERC) has adjusted the

price of LPG in the country to reduce the

global market. In the private sector, the

price of 12 kg cylinder LPG including VAT

has been reduced from TK 975 to TK 906.

This is the highest retail price, effective

from May 1. And the price of LPG of the

state-owned company has not changed as

the cost has not changed at the production

stage. The official price of 12 kg LPG

has remained at TK 591. The new price of

LPG used in cars is TK 44.70 per liter.

Earlier it was 47 TK 92 Paisa.

BERC announced the new prices at an

online press conference on Thursday

(April 29th). BERC members

Mohammad Abu Farooq, Maqbool E

Ilahi Chowdhury, Mohammad Bazlur

Rahman, Md. Kamruzzaman were also

present at the press conference. At the

beginning, the secretary of the commission

Rubina Ferdousi welcomed everyone.

Earlier, on April 12, BERC fixed the

price of LPG for the first time in the country.

At that time, it was said that the price

would be adjusted every month keeping

in line with the world market. It is learned

that the main ingredients for making LPG

are propane and butane imported from

different countries. Saudi Aramco publishes

the price of these two components

406,001 new cases, representing a 15 percent

decrease), Brazil (404,623 new

cases, a 12 percent decrease), Turkey

(378,771 cases, a nine percent decrease)

and France (211,674 new cases, a nine

percent decrease). On the three known

coronavirus variants of concern, WHO

said that the so-called UK strain has been

detected and verified in three more countries

since last week, bringing the total to

139; that's effectively most of the world,

except Greenland and several central and

southern African nations.

The South African origin variant is in 87

countries and the mutations first found in

Brazil and Japan, has been reported in 54.

Monitoring is ongoing into seven other

so-called "variants of interest", the UN

health agency said.

Globally, there have been more than

148 million confirmed cases of Covid-

19, including 3.1 million deaths, according

to WHO.

As of 27 April 2021, a total of

961,231,417 vaccine doses have been

administered.

of LPG every month. This is known as

Cargo Price (CP). BERC has adjusted the

price of LPG in the country based on this

Saudi CP base price.

At the press conference BERC chairman

Abdul Jalil said the price adjustment

was based on the Saudi CP. Therefore,

nothing else was considered. Propane and

butane are calculated at an average of

540.50 per ton of Saudi CP. Related to

this, the value of money against VAT and

dollar has changed proportionately.

Regarding the implementation of the

price, the chairman of BERC said, "It cannot

be said that it has not been implemented,

just as it cannot be said that it has

been implemented 100%. The commission

must take action to implement the

order."

The price announcement order said

that the BERC committee comprising the

prices made a proposal to the commission

on April 25. Then the online hearing was

held on April 27. So, the new price is finalized.

LPG suppliers proposed a price hike

at BERC last December. The technical

evaluation committee formed by BERC

evaluated their proposal. After that, on

January 14, BERC held a public hearing

on LPG pricing.

It is known that the business of LPG in

the private sector started 20 years ago.

Over the last few years, the market

demand and business expansion has seen

exponential growth. But in the long run,

BERC could not fix the price of LP gas for

the customer.

at least two persons were charred to death and more than three others sustained burn injuries in a fire that

broke out at an oil tanker on the Karnafuli river at Chattogram port on Thursday.

photo : Star mail


friday, april 30, 2021

2

GD-753/21 (10x3)

Hefazat leader Mufti

Harun arrested

CHATTOGRAM : Members

of Rapid Action Battalion

(Rab) arrested Hefazat-e-

Islam leader Mufti Harun

Izhar from a madrasha in the

city's Lalkhan Bazar area on

Wednesday midnight, reports

UNB.

Mufti Harun Izhar was the

Education and Cultural

Secretary of the just defunct

Hefazat-e-Islam and son of

Mufti Izhar, said Enamul

Hasan, press secretary of the

party's convening committee.

A team of the elite force

conducted a drive at Jamiatul

UlumAl Islamia Madrasha

around 12 am and arrested

Harun Izhar. He was wanted

in eleven cases and had

served in jail in a case filed

over the grenade attack in

Lalkhan Bazar.

Madrasha that left two

students of the institute dead

and several injured on

October 7, 2013.

4 IU teachers selected

for Erasmus Training

in Turkey

ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY : Four

teachers of different faculties of

the Islamic University in

Kushtia have been selected for

the Erasmus training

programme in Turkey, reports

UNB.

A press release, signed by IU

acting registrar M Ataur

Rahman, was issued in this

regard on Wednesday night.

The teachers selected for

the programme are-Professor

M Mahbubur Rahman of

Information

and

Communication Technology

department under

Engineering and Technology

faculty, Professor M Kamal

Uddin of Statistics department

under Sciences faculty,

Professor M Rezuanul Islam of

Biotechnology and Genetic

Engineering department

under the Biological Sciences

faculty and Professor M

Mizanoor Rahman of

Accounting and Information

Systems department under

Business Administration

faculty of the university.

The teachers will join in the

programme under Turkey's

Cankiri Karatekin University,

scheduled to be started in

June this year, said IU

International Affairs Division.

GD-759/21 (5x 4)

GD-760/21 (6x4)

GD-754/21 (8x 4)

GD-761/21 (7 x4)


FRIDAY, APRIL 30 2021

3

Dhaka Ahsania Mission organized a workshop on the online platform Zoom on April 29 at noon with

the aim of giving fellowships in anti-tobacco journalism in Bangladesh.

Photo : Courtesy

Emphasis on Amending Current Tobacco

Control Laws in Fellowship Workshop

Dhaka Ahsania Mission organized a

workshop on the online platform

Zoom on April 29 at noon with the aim

of giving fellowships in anti-tobacco

journalism in Bangladesh. Initially 25

journalists participated in the

workshop. Iqbal Masud, Director,

Health and Wash Sector, Dhaka

Ahsania Mission gave a welcome

address at the workshop. He urged the

participants to prepare and publish a

report emphasizing the importance of

amending the tobacco control law, a

press release said.

Md. Shariful Islam, Coordinator,

Tobacco Control Project, Dhaka

Ahsania Mission, presented the

keynote paper of the workshop

conducted by Rezaur Rahman Rizvi,

Media Manager, Tobacco Control

Project, Dhaka Ahsania Mission.

Sarkar Shams Bin Sharif,

Communications Officer, Campaign

for Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh, also

answered the questions of the

participating journalists. Mamun

Farajee, President of Dhaka Sub-

Editors Council and Senior Journalist

of Daily Jugantor spoke as a resource

person at the workshop. Abdus Salam

Mia, Grand Manager of Campaign for

Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh

delivered the closing speech of the

workshop.

The 25 journalists who participated

in the workshop are: Masud Rumee

(Kaler Kantha), Zahidur Rahman

(Shamakal), Ishtiaq Mahmud

(Inquilab), Mohammad Jonaed

(Alokito Bangladesh), Monir Ahmmad

Zarif (Manobkantha), Md. Salauddin

Chowdhury (Bangladesher Khobor),

Shah. Md. Elahia Nakib (Bangladesh

Journal), Nasir Uddin Anik

(Bangladesh News), Md.

Akhtarujjaman (Amader Orthonity),

Rabiul Alam (Ajker Patrika), Jannatul

Ferdous Panna (Amader Natun

Somoy), Lashkar Saif-ud-Daulah

(Khola Kagoj), Nasir Uddin Bulbul

(Nawroj), Md. Sifayet Ullah (Suprovat

Bangladesh), Hasan Mahmud

(Gonomukti), Md. Mehedi Hasan

Dollar (71 television), Md.

Mahibbullah Muhib (Banglavision),

Allama Iqbal Anik (GTV), Mohaimanul

Islam Neon (Deepto TV), Md. Hasan

Taimum Wahab Sainik (Nexus TV),

Sanjoy Chowdhury (Radio Sagar Giri

99.2 FM), Selina Sheuly (BSS), Md.

Bahauddin Al Imran (Bangla Tribune),

Nahid-ul-Hasnat (Dhaka Post) and

Md. Ishaque Faruqee (United News).

The purpose of the fellowship

program in anti-tobacco journalism is

to enhance the skills of journalists in

preparing and publishing anti-tobacco

reports. Elected journalists will publish

reports in various media outlets with

the theme 'Amendment of the law is

necessary to build a tobacco-free

Bangladesh'. Fellowships will be

awarded for the top 4 reports selected

from the published reports. The

Fellowship recipient will be awarded a

Certificate and Honors as a Fellow in

Anti-Tobacco Journalism, subject to

successful performance.

DIU distributes 'A

Bag of Happiness'

to 3,000 needy

people

Daffodil International

University has distributed

relief goods titled 'A Bag of

Happiness' among 3,000

helpless needy people in

association with Daffodil

Institute of Social Sciences

(DISS) to share the joy of

being ranked 1st among

Bangladeshi universities in

the Times Higher Education

Rankings 2021. The 'A Bag

of Happiness' program

started on Thursday at

Daffodil International

University, located in

Daffodil Smart City, Ashulia,

Dhaka. In the morning,

maintaining the social

distance and following

proper health rules, the food

items of the holy month of

Ramadan were handed over

to the needy people at the

playground of Daffodil

International University.

Relief food stuffs include

rice, pulses, oil, gram and

other daily necessities, a

press release said.

Times Higher Education

Ranking is one of the most

prestigious rankings in the

world. This ranking is an

unprecedented source of joy

for Daffodil as well as for

Bangladesh. Daffodil

International University has

taken this exceptional

initiative to celebrate this joy

with helpless people. In the

future too, Daffodil

International University is

committed to sharing all

kinds of joys with the

underprivileged.

Govt formulating 'Mujib Climate

Prosperity Plan': Shahab Uddin

DHAKA : Environment, Forest

and Climate Change Minister

Md Shahab Uddin yesterday

said the government is

formulating the 'Mujib Climate

Prosperity Plan' under the

leadership of Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina, also the chair of

Climate Vulnerable Forum

(CVF).

"The Mujib Climate

Prosperity Plan is underway

now, which will provide a

holistic pathway to prosperity

highlighting Bangladesh as a

global benchmark," he told the

"GCA, CVF and V20 Briefing

and Reporting Session with the

Ministers" arranged by the

Environment, Forest and

Climate Change Ministry

through videoconferencing

from his official residence here.

The minister said this

flagship project will be a

significant step towards a

green, nature-based and

resilient recovery, and

addressing post COVID-19

impacts.

He said: "We're taking

necessary measures to deal

with climate change impacts as

the fight against climate change

is a struggle of survival for

Bangladesh."

Shahab Uddin said despite

many challenges, Bangladesh

has become a global example in

climate change adaptation.

"We've already planted 11.5

million saplings across the

country to initiate a strategic,

low-carbon investment

framework for growth and

prosperity," he said.

The environment minister

stressed the need for taking a

collaborative effort involving

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

the Finance Ministry, the

Public Administration Ministry

and other ministries concerned

aiming to address the growing

climate related challenges and

enhance resilience to climate

change.

Finance Minister AHM

Mustafa Kamal, Foreign

Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen,

State Minister for Public

Administration Farhad

Hossain, Special Envoy of

Climate Vulnerable Forum

Abul Kalam Azad, Foreign

Secretary Ambassador Masud

Bin Momen, Environment,

Forest and Climate Change

Secretary Ziaul Hassan,

Economic Relations Division

Secretary Fatima Yasmin, CEO

of the Global Center on

Adaptation, Dr Patrick

Verkooijen, CVF Chair of

Expert Advisory Group Dr

Saleemul Huq , Regional

Director of GCA South Asia and

the Focal Point of CVF A

Shamim Al Razi, Additional

Secretary of the Public

Administration Ministry

Anisur Rahman and CVF and

V20 Programme Head

Matthew McKinnon, among

others, spoke at the meeting.

At the meeting,

representatives from

international organisations

discussed the Bangladesh

leadership as Chair of the CVF

and V20; GCA, CVF and V20

update; key milestones of the

GCA Regional Office; V20

Ministerial Dialogue VII;

Climate Diplomacy in 2021;

upcoming CVF and V20 events

and COP26 Policy Priorities

with Dhaka-Glasgow

Declaration of the CVF.

Lower courts allow bail to

21,461 accused through

virtual hearing

DHAKA : Lower courts and tribunals across the country in

the last 12 working days have granted bail to 21,461 accused

after hearing their pleas virtually.

Confirming the matter to BSS, Supreme Court

spokesperson and High Court Division Special Officer Md

Saifur Rahman said the lower courts and tribunals across the

country in the last 12 working days have disposed of 38,966

bail pleas and allowed bail to 21,461 accused.

"Of the total number of accused those who were granted

bail in the last 12 days, 269 were juvenile. The lower courts

and tribunals on April 28 disposed of 2,736 bail pleas and

allowed bail to 1,422 accused," he added.

Govt plans to give subsidy for jute

seed production: Dr Razzaque

DHAKA : The government

has a plan to give subsidy

to the farmers for jute seed

production as an

integrated project is

underway for achieving self

sufficiency in jute seed

production.

Agriculture minister Dr

M Abdur Razzaque said

this while addressing a

virtual meeting.

"To curb dependency on

foreign countries for jute

seed, we have to achieve

self-sufficiency in jute seed,

but the farmers are

reluctant to produce jute

seed as jute seed

production is less

profitable compared to

other crops," said the

minister.

So, the government will

give incentive or subsidy to

encourage the farmers in

jute seed production, he

added.

Claiming that the yield of

local jute variety is

comparatively more than

the Indian variety, the

agriculture minister said

the scientists already have

discovered high yielding

jute variety by using

genome sequence which

was recently developed by

the Jute Research Institute.

"So, we will achieve selfsufficiency

in jute seed

production, if we can make

the high yielding jute

variety popular among the

farmers," he added.

He urged the scientists

and extension workers to

take a short and long term

initiatives for quick

implementation of a road

map of achieving selfsufficiency

in jute seed

production.

Moderated by Senior

Agriculture Secretary M

Meshbahul Islam, the

programme was also

attended, among others, by

Additional secretary M

Mahbubul Islam,

Additional Secretary (PPC)

M Ruhul Amin Talukder,

Additional Secretary

Hasanuzzaman Kallol and

Director General (seed)

Balai Krishna Hajra.

Regarding the land

scarcity for cultivating jute

seed, the agriculture

secretary said, "We have

land scarcity for cultivating

jute seed, so the land under

the sugar mills could be

used for jute seed

production. The

government will take

initiatives in this regard,"

he added.

Of the cultivated jute

varieties, over 85 per cent

is tosha variety and 85-90

per cent jute seed are being

imported from India.

To offset the rising

demand of jute seed, the

Agriculture Ministry is

implementing a five-year

long project with a target to

produce 4,500 tonnes jute

seed during this time.

DU admission

tests escheduled

amid pandemic

DHAKA : The Dhaka

University (DU) authorities

have rescheduled the dates

of the Bachelor entrance

examinations considering

the country's Covid-19

situation, reports UNB.

The Public Relations

officer of the university

issued a notice in this regard

on Thursday.

According to the revised

schedule, 'Ka' unit

admission test will be held

on August 6, 'Kha' unit

admission test on August 7,

'Ga' unit on August 13, 'Gha'

unit on August 14 and 'Cha'

unit (general knowledge) on

July 31.

The date for 'Cha' unit

admission test (drawing)

will be informed in due time,

it said.

The decision was taken at

an emergency virtual

meeting of the DU General

Admission Committee

chaired by the Vicechancellor

Professor Dr Md

Akhtaruzzaman on

Thursday.

State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Faruk distributing relief and hand sanitizers among the

poor people at Barishal Sadar upazila hall room yesterday.

Photo : Star Mail

'A Bag of Happiness' is being distributed among 3,000 helpless needy people by Daffodil

International University in association with Daffodil Institute of Social Science (DISS) to share the

joy of being ranked 1st among Bangladeshi universities in the Times Higher Education Rankings

2021 on Thursday at Daffodil Smart City, Ashulia, Dhaka. Photo : Courtesy

Armanitola fire:

Death toll climbs

to six

DHAKA : The death toll from the

massive fire that broke out at a

building in Armanitola area of

Old Dhaka in the early hours of

April 23, climbed to six as another

victim succumbed to injuries on

Wednesday night, reports UNB.

The deceased was identified as

Ashikuzzaman, 32.

Dr Partha Shankar Paal,

resident medical officer of Sheikh

Hasina National Institute of Burn

And Plastic Surgery, said

Ashikuzzaman breathed his last

around 11:45 pm while

undergoing treatment at ICU.

Among the injured, three

people are now at the ICU while

the others are being treated at

Post Operative Ward, he said.

On April 23, four people were

killed and 35 others sustained

burn injuries after a massive fire

broke out at the six-storey

building.

Another victim identified as

Shafayet succumbed to his

injuries at the hospital on April

25.

What happened?

Officials said the fire broke out

at Hazi Musa Mansion in

Armanitola and soon spread to

other portions of the building.

And it took 19 fire tenders nearly

three hours to douse the flames.

Initially, two bodies were

recovered by the firefighters but

later two more were pulled out

from a small room near the stairs

of the building, officials said.

Projects must be implemented

before timelines: Nasrul

DHAKA : Stressing on implementing

projects before scheduled timeframe,

State Minister for Power, Energy and

Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid

yesterday said there is no alternative way

of hundred percent achievement of

Annual Development Programme (ADP)

without implementing projects before the

stipulated time amid coronavirus

pandemic.

"We have to continuously make efforts

for implementing projects before the

scheduled timeframe for achieving ADP

by maintaining necessary health

guidelines of the Covid-19 pandemic," he

said while addressing an online review

meeting on implementation progress of

the development projects under the

Power Division.

Underscoring the need for publicity of

the works of the Power Division, the state

minister said, "We have to enhance

communication with the subscribers."

Expressing his satisfaction over the

implementation of the ADP, Nasrul

Hamid said the ADP implementation

progress of the Power Division is still good

as the financial progress is 54.70 percent

with an expenditure of Taka 13,503 crore

till March 2021 against the overall ADP

allocation of over Taka24,768 crore.

The virtual programme also was

attended, among others, by Bangladesh

Power Development Board (PDB)

Chairman Engineer Belayet Hossen,

Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board

(REB) Chairman Major General (Retd)

Mayeen Uddin , Power Cell Director

General Mohammad Hossain and agency

chiefs of different organizations under

Power Division.

234 people get govt

humanitarian

assistance in Sylhet

SYLHET : Some 234 people of different

professions were given humanitarian

assistance to mitigate their sufferings in

the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19)

pandemic.

Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet M Kazi

Emdadul Islam distributed the

government assistance among them at a

function held at the deputy commissioner

office hall room on Wednesday.

DC Emdadul Islam said the district

administration provided the assistance

from the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's

relief fund and as a part of the

government's instant humanitarian

support.

Earlier on April 28, Tk 3,28,00 were

given to the unemployed people in the

district to mitigate their financial

hardship in the Covid-19 pandemic

situation. People of different professions

including unemployed public transport

workers, stone workers, day laborers, cart

drivers, restaurant workers, saloon

workers, tea-stall workers have received

the grants.

Under this program, financial and

humanitarian assistance will be provided

to the other professionals and distressed

people later, the DC said.


fRIDAy, APRIl 30, 2021

4

How worrying is the risk of blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Friday, April 30, 2021

Upholding the international

system at any cost

Notwithstanding wars, conflicts, dissensions,

discords, rabid nationalisms, and all kinds of

divergence, humankind could over the last

twentieth century and the on going twenty first one

develop certain universally upheld code of conduct in

relations between themselves. Thus, we have today an

internationally adhered to system or the uniform global

culture. Thus, even amid intense differences in

perceptions and actual hostile postures, state actors can

and actually do meet in warm spirit of friendliness to

further mutual interests.

Last year, we witnessed former President Donald

Trump of USA visiting North Korea and embracing its

supreme leader when USA and North Korea remained

practically in a belligerent or hostile state of relations.

Many other examples of receiving of heads of

government in foreign countries can be cited when both

guest and host countries otherwise remained in

potentially warlike conditions. For example, the famous

visit of a former US President Nixon to Beijing in 1969.

Writing about all of these events that helped shape the

international system over the last two centuries are not

possible within the limits of this column.

Only what we wish to emphasize here is that we have

today an international system in place when unlike the

days of Timurlane or Genghis Khan the order of one

man isnot considered sufficient to behead millions of

innocent but physically conquered humans.

Humankind moved on towards justice, humanity and

civilized impulses. Today, even prisoners of war enjoy

mutually respected rights to life and repatriation . Today,

we have a globally recognized and more importantly

upheld 'civilized' world order based on rights and

responsibilities of the state as well as non state actors.

Therefore, under today's international system and

dominant international culture, it matters not if a leader

of a certain country is not welcome to small and

inconsequential groups in another state. Such groups

cannot arrogate to themselves any right to physically

thwart the visit of that foreign leader just because they

wish for such an outcome.

The government and the majority approving people of

that country have every right to welcome him and hold

discussions with him and any physical challenge thrown

towards such an outcome would be construed as

criminal activities under domestic law and a flagrant

violation of currently and supremely upheld values of

the international system and culture.

From declaring their opposition to Indian Prime

Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh to what

lawless activities they have been engaging in the last

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

glaring example of the type of utterly uncivilized and

outdated forces that remain still in the body politic of

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

the total population of our country. They are not

representative of Bangladesh in any way. But they have

destructive potential and our government must

appreciate this fact before more harms are done.

Not only they have issued a threat to the international

system and culture, they are now actively trying to fan

the flames of hatred and bigotry. In their mindless

rampage of violence, they are attacking state properties

(for example setting fire to buildings and destroying

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

observers of the Bangladesh situation are portending

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

veiled bed followers are gradually seeking to start a

destabilization process in the country which they

perceive could start an widespread agitation for the

toppling of the present government.

We, in Bangladesh, have been celebrating the half a

century of development and progress of our country in

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

uncivilized and in the middle ages in terms of their

thought processes. Why should their abnormality lead

to the unfortunate creation of a notion internationally

that such obscurantist forces are gaining ascendancy in

Bangladesh. Ironically, any easy going attitude of our

government could help in the formation of such a

notion. Foreign investors may shy away from

Bangladesh on sensing that the uncivilized and

intolerant ones are creeping back to acceptance. Even

our great friend and benefactor from the time of

independence, India, may misunderstand us from any

wrong perception that their Prime Minister may not be

welcome in Bangladesh.

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

most undesirable developments. The Hefajat members

and its allies must immediately be subjected to the due

processes of the laws. Specially the violence mongers of

the last few days need to be identified andpicked up

with no loss of time. Government should send clear

signals of its coming hardline to the Hefajat and its

cloaked supporters.

COVID-19

pandemic

continues to

test the

inhabitants of

this earth. As

it spread at

lightning

speed around

the world,

after its first

appearance in

Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, even

the countries with the best healthcare

facilities in the world became helpless

before it. In many lands, the second

wave, or even the third wave, continues

to strike. In the absence of any specific

treatment for the disease, scientists

have been focusing on developing

vaccines since its onset.

Scientists' hard work began to bring

success in making vaccines within a

year of the onset of the pandemic.

Notable among the vaccines that have

already been approved for mass

inoculation in various countries so far

are: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,

Moderna-NIAID vaccine, Oxford-

Astrazeneca vaccine, Johnson &

Johnson (J&J) vaccine, Sinopharm-

Beijing vaccine, Sinovac vaccine and

Sputnik V vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna

vaccines are based on synthetic m-

RNA encoding for the coronavirus

spike protein. AstraZeneca, J&J and

Sputnik V vaccines are based on nonreplicating

adrenovirus vectors

containing genetic coding of the spike

protein. These viruses normally cause

common cold in humans and other

animals. Sinopharm and Sinovac

vaccines used an inactivated version of

coronavirus.

Bangladesh has signed an agreement

with the Serum Institute of India for 30

million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine.

Another 68 million doses of the same

are expected to come under the

COVAX program. The Serum Institute

has already sent 7 million doses of the

vaccine under the agreement and

another 3.3 million doses as a gift from

the Government of India, and a mass

immunization program has been

launched in the country since

February. Notable advantages of the

AstraZeneca vaccine include its low

cost (only $ 4-8 per dose) and

provision for its storage and transport

at normal refrigeration temperature (4

DR MohAMMAD DIDARE AlAM MUhSIN

°C). Moreover, it has been proven to be

70% effective in protecting against

COVID-19.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is

undoubtedly a good option for us in

terms of price and storage

temperature. However, there are

concerns about its effectiveness against

the South African variant that seems to

have become widespread in the

country recently. According to news

sources, Oxford-AstraZeneca has

already begun work on a modified

version of the vaccine suitable for the

South African variant, which is

expected to be available by the end of

the year. The vaccine has also been

making headlines in recent times for

another reason. The vaccine caused a

specific type of blood clotting in a very

small fraction of recipients, which has

even proven fatal in some cases. Due to

this problem, many countries in the

world have suspended its use. One

country - Denmark has stopped its use

altogether.

This problem involves blood clots

mainly in the veins of the brain or

abdominal region and a simultaneous

decrease in platelet counts. The

problem is usually observed within 5-

20 days of receiving the vaccine.

Symptoms that appear in the patient

include shortness of breath, chest pain,

swelling of the legs, persistent

abdominal pain, persistent severe

headache, blurred vision, small red

spots on the skin, etc. Earlier, this kind

of problem was considered in medicine

as a rare side effect of heparin, an

anticoagulant, and has been known as

heparin-induced thrombocytopenia

(HIT). In imitation of this, scientists

have named the problem with vaccines

as vaccine induced thrombotic

thrombocytopenia (VITT). It may be

mentioned here that COVID-19 can

also cause this type of blood clotting

KEN MoAK

problem (Covid-19 Associated

Coagulopathy - CAC).

In case of HIT, heparin binds with a

protein called platelet factor 4 and in

turn kicks off an immune response

producing antibodies against it, which

eventually breaks down the platelets

and releases clot-promoting material.

These antibodies have also been found

in people developing blood clots after

receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

However, it is not yet clear to scientists

whether the vaccine recipients already

had some of these antibodies before

they were vaccinated, or whether their

production was triggered by the

adenovirus, the spike protein encoded

or some contaminants.Aaron Petrie, an

immunologist at the University of

Utah, thinks the same antibodies work

in blood clotting problems caused by

COVID-19. However, in this case

additional mechanisms contribute to

make the problem more serious.

(Blood Clot Risk from COVID-19

Higher than After Vaccines: Study |

The Scientist Magazine®, April 16,

2021)

The J&J vaccine has also been shown

to cause blood clots. As both vaccines

are based on adenovirus, there is good

reason to believe that these antibodies

are triggered by the adenovirus

component of the vaccines or a

contaminant mixed with it. However,

Sputnik V, another vaccine based on

adenovirus, has been claimed to have

no such side effects. Although the

manufacturer has made various

arguments in favor of this, including

the use of different adenovirus and

advanced purification process, it will

not be wise to draw a final conclusion

right away. (Russia seeks to distance

Sputnik V from blood clotting cases |

The Pharma Letter, April 15, 2021)

The important question for

regulatory bodies is how serious the

risk of blood clots is compared to the

benefits of protection offered by the

vaccine against the disease. A recent

study from the University of Oxford

found that the risk of cerebral venous

thrombosis (CVT), a blood clot in the

brain, from a COVID-19 is 39 per

million, while it is just 5 per million

after the first dose of the AstraZeneca

vaccine. This means that the risk of

CVT from COVID-19 is about 8 times

higher than the AstraZeneca vaccine.

(Risk of rare blood clotting higher for

COVID-19 than for vaccines |

University of Oxford, NEWS &

EVENTS, April 15, 2021) In addition, it

is important to note that the

AstraZeneca vaccine canprovide nearcomplete

protection against severe

disease and death. Therefore, it is clear

that the benefits of the vaccine are

many times greater than the rare risk

of blood clots. "The risks of severe

disease and death from Covid-19 are

many times higher than the very small

risks related to the vaccine.", says

WHO director-general Tedros

Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (AZ Covid-19

vaccine and blood clots: the risks

explained | PHARMACEUTICAL

TECHNOLOGY, April 12, 2021)

However, there is no alternative to

seeking medical advice without delay if

someone experiences abovementioned

symptoms of blood clots

after taking the vaccine.

Another issue needs to be discussed

here. Is there any risk factor like age or

sex for the blood clotting problem seen

with the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Although so far most of the cases have

occurred in women under the age of

60, both the UK and EU regulators are

of the opinion that, based on the

currently available evidence, no

specific risk factors have yet been

confirmed. One possible explanation

for women making the largest share of

the cases reported is that initially

health workers were vaccinated on a

priority basis, most of whom were

women. However, as a caution, many

European countries restricted the use

of the AstraZeneca vaccine to older

people. Also, the UK's Joint Committee

on Vaccination and Immunisation

(JCVI) has advised to try alternative

options for people under 30.

The Writer is Professor of Pharmacy,

Jahangirnagar University

'Getting tough on China' more rhetoric than reality

There is not a day that goes by

without the West, India and

Japan vowing to be "tough" on

China. The "tough" measures include:

US President Joe Biden and Japanese

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issuing

a joint communiqué in April

reaffirming their "ironclad" alliance;

European allies the UK, France and

Germany sending warships to Asia; and

India warming up to forming an "Asian

NATO" with "like-minded"

democracies.

The latest is the US and its allies

pressuring the World Trade

Organization (WTO) to toughen rules

governing state subsidies to businesses.

The proposal is clearly aimed at China

with the hope that it would force the

country to abandon its successful

"socialist market economy" platform of

state-owned enterprises driving

economic growth and technological

innovation.

However, being "tough" on China is

easier said than done, more rhetoric

than real. The director general of the

WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has

warned that the US-led proposal could

disrupt the global economic and trade

systems, exacerbating the economic

woes caused by Covid-19.

Furthermore, some countries in the

European Union, including France and

Germany - while they did send

warships in support of the US-inspired

"Indo-Pacific" strategy - might not

want to be "tough" on China because

that would hurt their national interests.

China is Germany's major destination

of exports, for instance.

Japanese, US and EU business

enterprises are clearly not on the same

page as their governments on being

"tough" on China. If anything, they

want more engagement with China,

perhaps because of the country's huge,

lucrative market. Indeed, Japan and

the US would be worse off economically

if not for the Chinese market.

In any event, China appears prepared

to counter US, EU, Indian and

Japanese military adventurism. The

country recently commissioned a new

nuclear submarine, helicopter carrier

and large destroyer, each carrying

many missiles capable of hitting US

bases in the Asia-Pacific region.

In any event, China appears prepared to counter US, EU, Indian

and Japanese military adventurism. The country recently commissioned

a new nuclear submarine, helicopter carrier and

large destroyer, each carrying many missiles capable of hitting

US bases in the Asia-Pacific region. And to show that it is not

afraid of Western adventurism, China has been enhancing its

military exercises in terms of frequency, size and intensity.

And to show that it is not afraid of

Western adventurism, China has been

enhancing its military exercises in

terms of frequency, size and intensity.

On the economic front, China is

embarking on a full post-pandemic

recovery. Having controlled the

pandemic, China has instituted the

"dual circulation" strategy of making

domestic consumption as the economic

driver to be supported by further

integrating into the world economy.

For example, the country reached a

trade agreement, the Regional

Comprehensive Economic Partnership,

with 14 other Asia-Pacific nations and

the Comprehensive Investment

Agreement (CAI) with the EU,

regardless of US protests, last year.

Additionally, China is expanding

investment and trade under the Belt

and Road Initiative (BRI) and reaching

out to non-Western nations for further

economic cooperation in trade and

investment.

All things considered, China's

economic outlook should be relatively

rosy compared with the West, Japan

and India. Still struggling to control the

pandemic's spread, these countries will

unlikely to meet their growth targets.

India, for example, is facing a

pandemic crisis with hundreds of

thousands of new infections every day.

To stifle the pandemic's spread, India

has had implement stringent lockdown

measures, thus facing insurmountable

difficulties in realizing its projected

growth rate 12% in 2o21.

Japan is in no better shape, expecting

a fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic

to threaten its plans to hold the

Olympic Games, postponed from last

year. And even if the Olympics do take

place, the expected economic "shot in

the arm" has evaporated because the

sports events will have no foreign

spectators.

The US and European economies are

only marginally better off, keeping

above water largely because of huge

stimulus packages, governments

borrowing huge sums of money to

sustain consumer spending or bailing

out businesses. Subsidization is only a

short-term Band-Aid solution, after all.

Without a long-term economic

recovery plan, lack of investment funds

and rising national debts, the West's

post-pandemic recovery would be at

risk. The chairman of the US Federal

Reserve, the country's central bank,

Jerome Powell, in fact admitted that

recovery is "still far off."

No wonder the world, apart from

some Western, Japanese and Indian

politicians, see China as the only

With regard to Chinese "aggression" in the Asia-Pacific, the

West and Japan have cherry-picked information to fit the narrative.

The People's Republic of China did not invent its territorial

claims, they were inherited from the previous Nationalist

government. The claims were supported by the US under the

1946 Cairo Declaration framework, demanding that Japan

return all territories it annexed from their historical owners.

economic game in town. China's V-

shaped recovery coupled with its longterm

pragmatic recovery policies might

just be the answer to the world's

prayers.

Increasing domestic consumption,

building more infrastructures and

raising funding for research and

development could be a boom for the

world economy because they would

bring huge trade and investment

opportunities.

While accusing China of "genocide"

and "forced labor" in Xinjiang, the

West and Japan should check their own

sorry history, killing or enslaving

countless millions of the native

populations n the lands they colonized

or stolen. In this sense, accusing China

of committing evil deeds, the West and

Japan take hypocrisy to a new level.

A case in point is US President Joe

Biden accusing Turkey of committing

genocide against Armenians in the

early 1900s. But he did not utter a

single word about the killing of millions

of native Americans from the 17th to

19th centuries.

Nor did Biden mention a word about

the slave trade, kidnapping and

sending millions of Africans to America

to work on cotton fields and

plantations. China at least provided

vocational training and paid Uighurs to

work in the cotton fields and related

industries.

With regard to Chinese "aggression"

in the Asia-Pacific, the West and Japan

have cherry-picked information to fit

the narrative. The People's Republic of

China did not invent its territorial

claims, they were inherited from the

previous Nationalist government. The

claims were supported by the US under

the 1946 Cairo Declaration framework,

demanding that Japan return all

territories it annexed from their

historical owners.

Furthermore, China was exempted

from the United Nations Convention

on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),

implicitly recognizing the country's

territorial claims within the "nine dash

line."

Taking the debate to its logical

conclusion, getting "tough" on China,

without being willing to sacrifice large

numbers of human lives and destroy

the economy, is more rhetoric than

substance.

Furthermore, God only knows these

"like-minded democracies" have more

domestic issues - controlling the

pandemic, reviving economic growth,

etc - than they can handle. It's time for

the governments of the West, Japan

and India to look after the interests of

their people instead of getting "tough"

on China, a perceived enemy that they

may not be able to defeat.

Ken Moak taught economic

theory, public policy and

globalization at university level

for 33 years. He co-authored a

book titled China's Economic Rise

and Its Global Impact in 2015. His

second book, Developed Nations

and the Economic Impact of

Globalization, was published by

Palgrave McMillan Springer.


FRIdAy, APRIL 30, 2021

5

ezzATULLAH MeHRdAd

In the fall of 2001, the U.S. influenced

the paths of two strongmen in the north

of Afghanistan. CIA operatives and U.S.

Special Forces landed in the country's

north to help General Abdul Rashid

Dostum fight a Taliban commander

near Mazar-i-Sharif, Mullah

Mohammad Fazl. He eventually

surrendered to Dostum and in return,

Dostum handed Fazl over to the U.S.

forces.

The U.S. interrogated Fazl and sent

him on to the U.S. military's detention

center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He

spent nine years in the notorious prison.

In 2014, Fazl and four other Taliban

members were released in exchange for

U.S. solider Bowe Bergdable, who had

been captured by the Taliban. Fazl

moved to Doha, Qatar.

Dostum's path was different. After

2001, Dostum enjoyed political luxury

and represented the interests of

Afghanistan's Uzbek ethnic community

in the U.S.-backed government in

Kabul. Between 2014 and 2020,

Dostum was first vice president of

Afghanistan, and despite repeated

controversies during that period he

remained a powerful figure. In 2020,

Dostum was officially awarded the rank

of marshal, only the third man in the

country's history to receive its top

military rank.

Nearly 20 years on from the U.S.

invasion, fate of the two men is being

reshaped, again - this time by the U.S.

withdrawal. In March of this year,

Dostum and Fazl crossed paths in

Moscow at a peace conference. Dostum

wanted to greet Fazl, who is now a

member of the Taliban's negotiation

team. Dostum reportedly put his hand

on Fazl's shoulder. Fazl abruptly pushed

back, calling Dostum a "traitor" and

"killer."

The U.S. is now set to withdrawal

unconditionally from Afghanistan by

September 11, 2021. By then,

Washington, in essence, hopes to make

peace between these two men who

cannot even greet each other. In reality

the challenge is much larger, as the U.S.

aims to leave with some kind of peace

settled between the Afghan government

and the Taliban. The ongoing peace

effort, long stalled and sluggish, aims to

RICk JOe

As the People's Liberation Army Navy

(PLAN)'s first ever carrierborne fighter,

the J-15 Fei Sha (Flying Shark) has been

the focus of substantial English language

and foreign media coverage since its

maiden flight in August 2009. On

cursory review of various Chinese fighter

types, perhaps only the J-20 and FC-31

stealth fighters have received more

Peace in Afghanistan undermined

Afghan security police stand guard at a checkpoint in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

solve decades-long crises and suture

wounds that run deep in Afghan society.

Just a few months remain; Washington

is leaving, regardless.

In its last-ditch push for peace, the

U.S. proposed a U.N.-led peace

conference in Istanbul, Turkey to

include the Taliban in a political

settlement. The Istanbul conference, in

some ways, mirrors the conference held

in Bonn, Germany in 2001, which

reached a political settlement to rule

post-Taliban Afghanistan. The Taliban

was not included in the Bonn

conference, having been defeated and

ousted from power, but negotiations ran

instead between other powerful figures,

warlords, and politicians on how to

share power.

The focus on power-sharing, then and

now, assumes that peace between a few

This piece will review some of the most

common claims surrounding the J-15,

specifically the payload and take-off

weight of the aircraft, as well as consider

the accident rate in context of the

aircraft's operational status and design.

I'll also judge the comparative capability

of the aircraft in relation to its PLA and

worldwide peers, and review aircraft

variants and future prospects of the type

in context of PLAN carrier development.

men at the top is a shortcut to peace for

the country and the people below. That

assumption has proven to be fatal for

common Afghans. The war never really

ceased.

"For 20 years, the international

community built a government for

Afghanistan and fought for its survival,"

said Ali Amiri, a lecturer at Ibn Sina

(Avicenna) University, a private

university in Kabul. "Now they make

peace for Afghanistan." With U.S.

troops on the ground in Afghanistan

and a vacuum of power created by the

fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the

U.S. gathered Afghan powerbrokers to

arrange a political settlement. A handful

of men debated and agreed on how to

govern an Afghanistan still reeling from

the rule of the Taliban.

Donald Rumsfeld, who was U.S.

The strength of China's J-15

carrierborne fighter

referenced articles about the J-15, which

has somehow found substantial

circulation over the years. In 2013, a

Taiwan-based news outlet called Want

China Times (now defunct, though an

archive of the original article remains

available) claimed the Chinese military

watching portal Sina Military Network

criticized the J-15 as a "flopping fish," for

a variety of confusing reasons.

First, the J-15 was critiqued for being

unable to takeoff with a payload

of 12 tons, but such a payload

capacity was never associated

with the aircraft, which has the

same 6.5 ton payload as the Su-

33. It was also argued that its

inability to carry 12 tons meant

the J-15 couldn't be armed with

the PL-12 beyond visual range

missile (BVRAAM) - despite the

PL-12 weighing 200 kilograms,

about one-60th of the supposed

requisite 12 ton capacity. The

article also claimed that a J-15

fully loaded with internal fuel

could only carry a two-ton

payload, limiting the aircraft to

two YJ-83K anti-ship missiles

and two PL-8 short range

missiles (SRAAMs). In actuality,

two tons is sufficient to carry

two YJ-83K family missiles, two

PL-8 SRAAMs, and also at least

J-15 fighter jets fly in formation during a parade. Photo: Mark Schiefelbein two additional PL-12 missiles

with pylons all inclusive. Finally,

foreign interest (and prompted a greater

As mentioned, the J-15 takes off from the article asserted the J-15 would

word count) than the J-15.

carriers using a ski jump assisted somehow be limited to only "120

Some of the reporting on the J-15

STOBAR mechanism rather than kilometers of attack range" - a curious

could be described as controversial, or

catapult assistance (CATOBAR). The claim, given that its combat radius with

somewhat misinformed. However, this

Chinese navy's current in-service full internal fuel would enable a reach of

is not unreasonable, given the history

carriers, CV-16 Liaoning (previously the over 1,200 kilometers, and the range of

and technical characteristics of the

Varyag) and CV-17 Shandong, both field an air launched YJ-83K alone would

aircraft, as well as the J-15's somewhat

ski jumps and the PLAN will not have a reach approximately 200 kilometers to

unique role in the context of overall CATOBAR carrier in service until 003 is begin with.

PLAN carrier development efforts as the projected to enter service around 2025 For some peculiar reason, the article

Chinese navy's first carrierborne fighter or afterwards. The procurement of the from Want China Times has been

in general.

ex-Varyag from Ukraine to be China's replicated in multiple other outlets over

As an aircraft derived from a first carrier, combined with the the years, including as recently as 2020.

Ukrainian T-10K prototype, which projected development time to achieve a The quotations cited by various articles

formed the basis of the Soviet Su-33, the mature catapult system (whether steam all find their roots in the "Sina Military

J-15 inherits the same airframe and or electromagnetic, EM), effectively Network" source, with some outlets

aerodynamic configuration as the Su-33, placed the PLAN on a path to adopt describing it as "Beijing based" or "state

though the original T-10K prototype was STOBAR aircraft carriers from the media," without any reflection as to the

so fatigued that many key subsystems outset if it sought a carrier in the 2010s. status of Sina, nor any assessment of the

required development from scratch. The One of the most common critiques of veracity (or indeed the basic arithmetic)

J-15 in its current production form launching tactical fighter aircraft from of the claims.

retains the same ski jump assisted short STOBAR are the limitations that a ski As a learning opportunity, for

take off (STOBAR) mechanism to enable jump places on an aircraft's takeoff individuals unfamiliar with PLA

carrier launch. The current variant of the

J-15 has seen a relatively small

production by Chinese standards, with

only 24 airframes produced between

weight and payload. CATOBAR, by

contrast, enables an aircraft to launch at

maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) and

full payload. This oft-cited comparison is

watching (or indeed, navigating the vast

ocean of Chinese language internet

portals in general): Sina, and the

affiliated Sina Military Network, is a

2014 and 2018. Production of the same not inaccurate, but is somewhat non-state media network whose

baseline variant restarted in late 2019,

with a minimum of 10 further airframes

confirmed at this point in time.

simplified, as will be described below.

However, first it is necessary to

address one of the most commonly

functions includes aggregation of blog

posts from any number of usersubmitted

content.

defense secretary between 2001 and

2006, told U.S. envoy for Afghanistan

Zalmay Khalilzad: "You have to take

your hand off the bicycle seat!"

Khalilzad wrote in his memoir, "The

Envoy." Rumsfeld implied that the U.S.

had to let Afghans either fail or succeed.

For 20 years, the U.S. kept troops in

Afghanistan, trying to guard the political

settlement brokered in 2001;

Washington kept its hand on the

proverbial bicycle seat.

In the initial years, common Afghans

and powerbrokers alike welcomed the

Bonn settlement. Then the top-down

political arrangement began to crack:

Powerbrokers played politics around

the settlement, common Afghans grew

distant from it, and the Taliban waged a

widespread battle against the U.S.-

backed government in Kabul. The

MARIyAM SULeMAn

Photo: Rahmat Gul

Pakistani Foreign Minister

Shah Mahmood Qureshi is

on a three-day visit to Iran's

capital. In a meeting with

Iranian President Hassan

Rouhani, both stressed the

need for stability and peace

in the region. Border security

for the last few years has

been a priority for both

countries.

One crude method to

improve security and

promote legal trade,

mutually employed by both

countries, is a 959-kilometer

barrier between Pakistan and

Iran, planned to be complete

by December this year.

But cross-border families

are angry. With crossings

restricted, thousands of

pickup trucks, often called

zambad by the locals, lined

up at the border between

Pakistan and Iran, have been

held hostage for the last one

month in uncomfortable

heat and hunger.

Above these zambads are

barrels full of fuel - the

symbol of the notorious yet

very common illegal Iranian

fuel trade. Sale of Iranian oil

is tightly restricted due to

U.S. sanctions; once

smuggled into Pakistan,

however, the options for

selling it are much broader.

The barren and

underdeveloped nature of

the region - despite the

attention Pakistani

Balochistan has been

receiving since the inception

of the China-Pakistan

Economic Corridor - and the

few options for employment

on both sides of the border

make it difficult not to break

the law. But the reasons

behind the illegal fuel trade

are multilayered.

For decades on and off,

Iranian fuel smuggling has

been a norm in the region,

but the most recent oil boom

came after the U.S. sanctions

against Iran in 2013. Amid

the sanctions, Iran overcame

some of its economic

difficulties through the cash

flows generated by the illegal

trade across Pakistan's

Balochistan border. Many

experts even say that the

smuggling of the fuel, mostly

diesel, is actually very

profitable for Iran's

economy. Thus even with

security forces tightly

monitoring the border, the

Iranian government did not

political settlement remained, largely, a

system of power-sharing between a few

men at the top, failing to serve Afghan

society more broadly.

"We lost the gamble of the first Bonn

Conference that took 20 years, spent

billions of dollars and claimed lives of

hundred thousands and crushed beliefs

and values," said Sayed Massoud, a

professor at Kabul University. "Now we

go back and those who had made the

first Bonn Conference plus the Taliban

to shape our destiny. They pay no price

for their mistakes, and no one [makes]

them accountable."

The Biden administration dreams of

ending the Afghan war through a

second, updated, version of the Bonn

Conference. The initiative, with powersharing

a key goal, replaces the slowmotion

ongoing peace negotiations

between the Afghan government and

the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. It took those

talks more than four months to draft an

acceptable set of procedures for further

peace negotiations between the two

sides. Each single step toward peace was

carefully negotiated and was accepted

by both sides.

While the peace negotiations were

making their slow progress, the Biden

administration grew impatient and

proposed a possible shortcut: a peace

conference in Istanbul. Weeks have

passed, but the peace conference has yet

to take shape. Originally reported to be

scheduled for April 16, the Taliban

initially dithered on whether it would

attend. Then, the Biden administration

announced U.S. troops would remain in

Afghanistan beyond the May 1 deadline

set out in the February 2020 U.S.-

Taliban deal, but would leave the

country by September of this year. The

Taliban then said that the group would

not participate in any conference as long

as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan,

delaying any hoped-for Istanbul

conference indefinitely.

"The peace process is not being

shaped by political maturity and

internal forces' responsibility," said

Amiri, the lecturer. "It is rather being

impose a complete

crackdown on the illegal fuel

smuggling trade.

On the other side of the

border, although the

Pakistani government has

long been critical of the

illegal trade, which is causing

it economic losses at home,

the security forces patrolling

the border heavily benefit

from the bribes they

customarily receive from the

smugglers. Therefore

traders, zambad drivers, and

others involved in the

smuggling do not typically

fear the dangerous terrain

and the uncertainty of the

work they do.

However, in the last

decade, due to increased

restiveness and security

concerns on both sides of the

border, both countries

agreed upon fencing the

border line. Pakistan's

concerns increased after its

inking its deal with China on

the China-Pakistan

Economic Corridor (CPEC),

which begins with Gwadar

Port in the restive province.

The economic losses caused

by oil smuggling also

contributed to the decision of

fencing the border.

In January this year,

Pakistan's Prime Minister

Imran Khan chaired a highlevel

meeting to develop a

consensus at all levels to take

strict measures against illegal

trade. It was established that

the smuggled fuel was

causing a loss of at least 100

to 150 billion rupees ($650

million to $980 million) to

the economy each year. With

a crackdown on smuggled

Iranian fuel, as suggested by

the Pakistani Senate, the

economy can potentially

generate a fair amount of

revenue that can then be

allocated for the

development of the border

region.

But government

development projects are not

a major concern for the

residents of the region

anymore after their

experience with CPEC, which

has left the residents of

Balochistan behind despite

many promises. The anger

over the crackdown at the

border gave way to an online

campaign,

shaped by international relations and

circumstances. The role of internal

forces in the peace process is extremely

weak."

In previous years, Afghan efforts for

peace have been a failure. President

Hamid Karzai reached out to the

Taliban in 2010. Mullah Ghani Baradar,

deputy leader of the Taliban, showed a

willingness for talks with the Afghan

government. But then Baradar was

arrested by the Pakistani intelligence

agency. Teams from the Kabul

government and the Taliban met in

Peshawar, Pakistan for peace talks in

2015. But then it was revealed that

Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban,

had died back in 2013.

Peace efforts since largely remain

U.S.-driven. The ongoing peace process

was triggered by the Trump

administration in July 2018 when U.S.

diplomats were ordered to begin direct

talks with the Taliban. The lengthy talks

resulted in a deal between the United

States and the Taliban in February

2020, with a U.S. withdrawal tied to the

opening of intra-Afghan talks.

Amiri, the lecturer, said that neither

the Afghan government nor the Taliban

had an acceptable, workable, peace

plan. The government's offer was

holding an election to transfer power to

a government shared with the Taliban,

after a political settlement. The Taliban

rejected that plan. Amiri said that the

Taliban itself had no peace plan of its

own to counter with, but remained a

bullying military force.

As the clash over peace rages on, so

does the war: ongoing violence is one of

the hurdles to a power-sharing

agreement. The Bonn Conference in

2001 was a short-lived success largely in

absence of an active war zone:

Afghanistan was held and defended by

the U.S., the Taliban had been

diminished and its leaders fled, and no

strong military forces threatened the

emergent status quo.

But in 2021, Afghanistan is an active

war zone, with the Taliban resurgent,

other militant groups active, and a

yawning vacuum of power due to the

draw down of U.S. troops that promises

to grow wider with their full withdrawal

later this year. The Taliban sees an

opportunity to once again take over

Afghanistan by force.

What’s going on at the

Iran-Pakistan border?

Trucks stranded at the Iran-Pakistan border due

to the closure. Photo: Sana Ullah BALOCH

#JusticeForBorderVictims,

after the reported deaths of

four zambad drivers who

have been stuck at the border

for weeks.

"It is not the first time that

the entire border is closed,

but it has never been for

thing long," Shams ul Haq

Kalmati, the president of

Gwadar Chamber of

Commerce and Industry told

The Diplomat. The border

has been shut down for at

least a month. "And it is not

only the border line of

Gwadar district, but across

Balochistan. There is no

alternate to the economic

benefits of the fuel trade for

thousands of families from

both sides of the border. Not

even the joint border

markets that government is

planning to establish can fill

the gap."

The joint border markets

are a mutual plan by the

Iranian and Pakistani

governments to encourage

bilateral cooperation and

legal cross-border trade.

Pakistan's foreign minister is

in Iran partly to advance the

same cause. A Memorandum

of Understanding (MoU) to

open a new border crossing

and establish six joint border

markets across the border

was signed by Qureshi and

his Iranian counterpart,

Javad Zarif. The first three

markets are planned to be

opened at the border points

of Kuhak-Chadgi, Rimdan-

Gabd in Gwadar district, and

Pishin-Mand in Kech district.

An unofficial analysis by

local leaders in Gwadar

found that all Balochistan

heavily relies on the illegal

fuel trade with Iran.

Thousands will be left jobless

if the crackdown continues.

The analysis mentions that at

least 9,074 registered fishing

boats, 54 fish factories, 125

local trucks and loaders, 25

buses that travel to Karachi

and Quetta, and even a

number of vehicles used in

Gwadar Port use the same

fuel. And these unofficial

statistics only cover one

district of Balochistan.


FrIDAY, APrIl 30, 2021

6

pM's humanitarian aid distributed

among 200 families in Mirzaganj

uttaM Golder, MirzaGanJ CorreSpondent

humanitarian aid of prime Minister

rice, pulses, potatoes, peaches, oil, salt)

were distributed among two hundred

families affected by the outbreak of

Coronavirus in Mirzaganj.

the upazila administration

distributed the humanitarian aid at the

upazila parishad auditorium on

thursday. upazila parishad Chairman

Khan abu Bakkar Siddiqui,was present

as the chief guest at the time. among

others, upazila nirbahi officer Mst

tania Ferdous, upazila assistant

Commissioner (land) rahahan

uzzaman, upazila awami league

president Gazi athar uddin ahmed,

General Secretary, Jasim uddin Jewel,

upazila agriculture officer

agriculturist. arafat hossain and

upazila Secondary education officer

Kazi Md Saifuddin Walid and others

were also present at the occasion.

Gazipur Deputy Commissioner SM Tariqul Islam distributed relief assistance to 600 public

transport workers in Gazipur on Thursday.

Photo: Shamsul Haque

Gazipur dC provides relief materials

among 600 public transport workers

ShaMSul haque, Gazipur CorreSpondent

Gazipur district administration has

provided relief assistance to 600 public

transport workers who became jobless

due to the lockdown announced by the

government to prevent the spread of

the coronavirus epidemic. Gazipur

deputy Commissioner SM tariqul

islam distributed the relief on

thursday morning.

the relief items were distributed

among 600 public transport workers

at the Government rani Bilasmoni

high School ground in Gazipur

metropolis with its own funds. relief

items include 10 kg of rice, 5 kg of

potatoes, 2 kg of pulses, 2 liters of oil, 2

kg of salt.

during thet time, Gazipur additional

deputy Commissioner (General)

Mamun Sardar, tongi revenue Circle

assistant Commissioner (land) Sabbir

ahmed, Gazipur Sadar assistant

Commissioner (land) tania tabassum

and deputy Commissioner's office

executive Magistrate Wasiuzzaman

Chowdhury were also present at the

occasion.

dC SM tariqul islam said the

district administration has listed the

helpless people with the help of all the

professionals who are unemployed

and suffering due to the lockdown

announced by the government to

prevent corona infection. everyone

will receive relief according to the list.

Humanitarian aid of Prime Minister were distributed among two hundred families affected by the

outbreak of Coronavirus in Mirzaganj on Thursday.

Photo: Uttam Golder

S Mizanul iSlaM, Banaripara CorreSpondent

a mobile court has fined six fruit traders

in the port and uttarpar Bazar of the

municipal town for selling watermelons

by weight in Banaripara. upazila

assistant Commissioner (land) and

executive Magistrate nishat Sharmin

fined the fruit trader tk 4,500 at the

6 traders fined for

selling watermelon by

weight in Banaripara

Mobile Court on tuesday afternoon.

in this regard, Banaripara upazila

assistant Commissioner (land) and

executive Magistrate nishat Sharmin

said that 6 traders have been fined in the

mobile court for selling watermelon

pieces at kg price and not having price

list. in this regard, locals have demanded

to run a mobile court not only in the

municipal city but also in the remote hatbazaar

of Banaripara..

Golden Club of Sreemangal distributed food items among the poor helpless families in the upazila

on Thursday.

Photo: Syed Sayed Ahmed

Syed Sayed ahMed, SreeManGal CorreSpondent

the traditional Golden Club of

Sreemangal distributed food items to the

poor helpless families who are affected by

coronavirus pandemic and due to the

holy month of ramadan. Sreemangal

upazila nirbahi officer nazrul islam as

the chief guest = distributed the food

items at the Sreemangal press Club

auditorium on thursday afternoon.

during the time, upazila awami

union facility regains trust of

expecting mothers in rajshahi

raJShahi: Maria union health and

Family Welfare Centre (uh&FWC)

under Bagmara upazila in the district

has become the home of trust and

confidence to the rural pregnant

women, particularly the poor and

marginalized ones, reports BSS.

public in general including the

pregnant women of the surrounding

areas are availing various healthcare

services including institutional

delivery, antenatal care, postnatal care,

family planning, child care and general

health since revival of the center.

With this breakthrough the rate of

maternal and neonatal mortality and

morbidity has started reducing in the

area besides achieving the number 3 of

the sustainable development goals.

Maria union parisahd (up)

Chairman aslam ali told BSS that the

labor room of the centre has been

enriched with essential equipment

including labor table, oxygen cylinder

and refrigerator for the sake of boosting

institutional delivery in the rural area.

Since its revival in october 2019 after

a long gap of suspension, the centre has

arranged normal deliveries of 18

pregnant mothers successfully with

close supervision of Family Welfare

Golden Club

distributes food

items in Sreemangal

league vice-president zillul anam

Chemon, organizing secretary Belayet

hossain, municipal awami league

organizing secretary tahirul islam Milon,

Sreemangal press Club vice-president

Visitor (FWV) hafeza Khatun till

March last.

"We have referral services for the

mothers suffering from various

pregnancy-related complexities like

vaginal bleeding, eclampsia, severe

headaches and fever and delayed

labor," said Khatun.

up Chairman aslam ali said the

centre has been revived with initiative

of the public health improvement

initiatives rajshahi (phiir) project for

welfare of local pregnant mothers,

particularly the poor and ultra-poor of

the community.

he said the FWV was given

appointment as contributory staff with

financial support of the project.

daSCoh Foundation has been

implementing the phiir project in five

upazila health complexes, 42 uhFWCs

and 110 Community Clinics under

Bagmara, Charghat and tanore

upazilas in rajshahi and porsha and

Sapahar upazilas in naogaon districts

for the last couple of years.

the project is intended to improve

the health status of the targeted

population with special focus on

maternal, neonatal and child health at

primary health care level.

Md Kawsar iqbal, Golden Club Convener

enam hossain ahmed Chowdhury,

Member Secretary altaf hossain

Morshed, Member abu Jafar Md. Suja

uddin hamim, Khair Khan and Golam

hossain Mamun were also present at the

occasion.

rice, pulses, sugar, edible oil and other

items were distributed to more than one

and a half hundred families in a packet

and tk 1,000 in cash among 30 shop

employees.

"i was blessed with my second baby

through normal delivery at Maria

uh&FWC on February 5 last," said

Beauty Begum, 25, wife of raju ahmed

of nimpara village, adding they are very

much happy with their newborn.

Shilpi Begum, 30, who gave birth to

her third baby through normal delivery

at the centre on January 28 last, said

the centre has become boon for the

local mothers. "We had no ability to go

to the upazila or district level hospital

for delivery due to financial constraint,"

she added.

"We have recorded 3,324 deliveries

including 3,308 normal ones

comprising 2,703 in upazila health

complexes and 605 in uh&FWC

during the period of october 2019 to

March 2021," said phiir project

Manager tozammel haque.

on behalf of the project, essential

equipment like refrigerators, delivery

beds, maternal care checkup beds,

oxygen cylinders, weight scales, waste

bins and curtains are being provided

for labor rooms of the uh&FWCs and

union Sub Centers (uSCs) to make

those fit for providing various

reproductive healthcare services

including normal delivery.

A mobile court has fined six fruit traders in the port and Uttarpar Bazar of the municipal town for

selling watermelons by weight in Banaripara recently.

Photo: S Mizanul Islam

onion harvest ending predicting

bumper production in rangpur

ranGpur: onion harvest is nearing

completion with excellent yield rate

predicting a bumper production of the

spicy crop making farmers happy in

rangpur agriculture region this season,

reports BSS.

additional director of the

department of agricultural extension

(dae) at its regional office agriculturist

Khandker abdul Wahed said farmers

are reaping better profits from selling

their newly harvested onions in all five

districts of the region.

Market sources said farmers are

selling their newly harvested local

variety onion at rates between taka

1,300 and taka 1,400 per mound

(every 40 kgs) to local middlemen and

wholesalers.

however, retailers are selling the

spicy commodity at taka 1,600 per

mound or at taka 40 per kg on an

average in local markets.

the dae had fixed a production

target of 95,207 tonnes of onion from

9,750 hectares of land for the region at

the average yield rate of 9.36 tonnes per

hectare this season.

"however, farmers have finally

cultivated onion on 9,392 hectares of

land, less by only 358 hectares against

the fixed farming target, for the region,"

he said.

during the last season, farmers

brought 8,235 hectares of land under

onion cultivation and produced 89,970

tonnes of the spicy crop at an average

yield rate of 10.92 tonnes per hectare of

land.

In Narail, a campaign is underway to collect boro paddy directly from farmers in government warehouses.

In continuation to this the Upazila Food Controller's Office launched a massive campaign in

Narail town on Thursday. Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Salma Selim, Sadar Upazila Agriculture

Officer Md. Zahidul Islam Biswas and Sadar Upazila Food Controller Sheikh Monirul Hasan led the

campaign.

Photo: Humaun Kabir


frIDAY, APrIl 30, 2021

7

Myanmar government forces launched airstrikes against ethnic minority guerrillas in two areas of

the country on Wednesday, local reports said.

Photo : Internet

Myanmar airstrikes target ethnic

forces on 2 fronts

BANGKOK : Myanmar government

forces launched airstrikes against

ethnic minority guerrillas in two areas

of the country on Wednesday, local

reports said.

Fighting has been raging daily in

northern Myanmar in territory

controlled by the Kachin Independence

Organization, representing the Kachin

minority, and in the east by the Karen

National Union, representing the

Karen, reports UNB.

Both groups have struck alliances

with the popular movement opposing

the military junta that seized power in

the country in February after ousting

the elected government of Aung San

Suu Kyi.

Generally non-violent marches

against military rule continue in many

cities and towns, despite the security

forces' use of lethal force to stop them.

The Kachin and the Karen have been

struggling for decades for greater

autonomy from the central government

and have their own well-armed and

trained military units, whose help the

protest movement has been seeking to

counter the government's armed

might. Col. Naw Bu, a Kachin

spokesman, said fighting against the

junta's forces intensified Wednesday,

reported 74 Media, an online news

service in Kachin state.

It quoted him as saying that since

Tuesday, the government has used

heavy artillery and fighter jets to attack

a Kachin position at the foot of Alaw

Bum mountain. The position had been

a government outpost but was seized

by the Kachin on March 25.

Naw Bu said heavy fighting has been

continuing in the area for five days,

causing most civilians to flee.

According to the U.N. Office for the

Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,

clashes between the two sides have

escalated since mid-March, with

almost 50 armed confrontations. It said

both sides have used mortar shelling.

Details of the fighting in both the

Kachin and Karen areas were not

possible to independently verify.

In eastern Myanmar, government

Astronaut Michael Collins, Apollo

11 pilot, dead of cancer

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who

orbited the moon alone while Neil

Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their

historic first steps on the lunar surface, died

Wednesday. He was 90, reports UNB.

Collins died of cancer, his family said in a

statement: "Mike always faced the

challenges of life with grace and humility,

and faced this, his final challenge, in the

same way."

Collins was part of the three-man Apollo 11

crew that in 1969 effectively ended the space

race between the United States and Russia

and fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's

challenge to reach the moon by the end of the

1960s.

Though he traveled some 238,000 miles to

the moon and came within 69 miles, Collins

never set foot on the lunar surface like his

crewmates Aldrin and Armstrong, who died

in 2012. None of the men flew in space after

the Apollo 11 mission.

"It's human nature to stretch, to go, to see,

to understand," Collins said on the 10th

anniversary of the moon landing in 1979.

"Exploration is not a choice really - it's an

imperative, and it's simply a matter of timing

as to when the option is exercised."

"Whether his work was behind the scenes

or on full view, his legacy will always be as

one of the leaders who took America's first

steps into the cosmos," acting NASA

administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a

statement Wednesday.

Collins spent the eight-day mission

piloting the command module. While

Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the

moon's surface in the lunar lander, Eagle,

Collins remained alone in the command

module, Columbia.

"I guess you're about the only person

around that doesn't have TV coverage of the

scene," Mission Control radioed Collins after

the landing. "That's all right. I don't mind a

bit," he responded.

Collins was alone for nearly 28 hours

before Armstrong and Aldrin finished their

tasks on the moon's surface and lifted off in

the lunar lander. Collins was responsible for

re-docking the two spacecraft before the men

could begin heading back to Earth. Had

something gone wrong and Aldrin and

Armstrong been stuck on the moon's surface

- a real fear - Collins would have returned to

Earth alone.

Though he was frequently asked if he

regretted not landing on the moon, that was

never an option for Collins, at least not on

Apollo 11. Collins' specialty was as a

command module pilot, a job he compared

to being the base-camp operator on a

mountain climbing expedition. As a result, it

meant he wasn't considered to take part in

the July 20, 1969, landing.

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who orbited the moon alone while

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic first steps on the

lunar surface, died Wednesday. He was 90.

Photo : AP

aircraft continued to carry out

airstrikes in Karen state on Wednesday,

according to aid groups active in the

area, a day after Karen guerrillas

overran an army base on the banks of

the Salween river dividing Myanmar

and Thailand.

Both the Karen Peace Support

Network and the Free Burma Rangers

confirmed a total of six air attacks

involving jets and helicopters. They

said there were no known casualties

but the Peace Support Network said

about 300 villagers fled across the

border.

There also were air attacks on

Tuesday just hours after the Karen

seized the riverside base.

The latest wave of airstrikes

increased fears that more villagers will

abandon their homes in vulnerable

areas, with many likely to try to cross

into Thailand.

Fighting between the Karen and the

Myanmar military has been intense

since February.

Myanmar jets have bombed and

Harris, Pelosi make

history seated behind

Biden at speech

WASHINGTON : Vice

President Kamala Harris and

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

made history Wednesday as

the first women - one of them

Black and Indian American -

to share the stage in Congress

during a presidential address,

reports UNB.

President Joe Biden noted

the historic development at

the very opening of his

address. After taking the

podium, Biden greeted the

two women standing behind

him with a "Madam Speaker"

and "Madam Vice President."

He then declared, "No

president has ever said those

words - and it's about time."

Biden delivered his first

prime-time speech to a joint

session of Congress on

Wednesday night flanked by

Pelosi and Harris, two

California Democrats.

The two began the night

with another historic

moment: An elbow-bump

hello, a pandemic spin on the

traditional handshake. Pelosi

and Harris stood side by side

behind the dais in the House

chamber, chatting with each

other and occasionally waving

to lawmakers as the group

waited for Biden to arrive.

"It's pretty exciting. And it's

wonderful to make history.

It's about time," Pelosi said

hours before the speech

during an interview on

MSNBC.

Pelosi already knows what it

feels like to sit on the rostrum

in the House chamber and

introduce a president for their

speeches. She has sat there for

several addresses by

Presidents George W. Bush,

Barack Obama and Donald

Trump.

Women's advocates said

seeing Harris and Pelosi

seated together behind Biden

will be a "beautiful moment."

But they noted that electing a

woman to sit in the Oval

Office remains to be achieved,

along with the addition of an

equal rights amendment to

the Constitution.

India grieves 200,000

dead with many more

probably uncounted

Three days after his

coronavirus symptoms

appeared, Rajendra Karan

struggled to breathe. Instead

of waiting for an ambulance,

his son drove him to a

government hospital in

Lucknow, the capital of

India's largest state, reports

UNB.

But the hospital wouldn't let

him in without a registration

slip from the district's chief

medical officer. By the time

the son got it, his father had

died in the car, just outside the

hospital doors.

"My father would have been

alive today if the hospital had

just admitted him instead of

waiting for a piece of paper,"

Rohitas Karan said.

Stories of deaths tangled in

bureaucracy and breakdowns

have become dismally

common in India, where

deaths on Wednesday

officially surged past

200,000. But the true death

toll is believed to be far higher.

In India, mortality data was

poor even before the

pandemic, with most people

dying at home and their

deaths often going

unregistered. The practice is

particularly prevalent in rural

areas, where the virus is now

spreading fast.

This is partly why this

nation of nearly 1.4 billion has

recorded fewer deaths than

Brazil and Mexico, which have

smaller populations and fewer

confirmed COVID-19 cases.

India cases set new global record;

millions vote in 1 state

NEW DELHI : India set another global

record in new virus cases Thursday, as

millions of people in one state cast votes

despite rising infections and the country

geared up to open its vaccination rollout to all

adults amid snags, reports UNB.

With 379,257 new infections, India now

has reported more than 18.3 million cases,

second only to the United States. The Health

Ministry also reported 3,645 deaths in the

last 24 hours, bringing the total to 204,832.

Experts believe both figures are an

undercount, but it's unclear by how much.

India has set a daily global record for seven

of the past eight days, with a seven-day

moving average of nearly 350,000 infections.

Daily deaths have nearly tripled in the past

three weeks, reflecting the intensity of the

latest surge. And the country's already

teetering health system is under immense

strain, prompting multiple allies to send help.

A country of nearly 1.4 billion people, India

had thought the worst was over when cases

ebbed in September. But mass public

gatherings such as political rallies and

religious events that were allowed to

continue, and relaxed attitudes on the risks

fed by leaders touting victory over the virus

led to what now has become a major

humanitarian crisis, health experts say. New

variants of the coronavirus have also partly

led the surge.

Amid the crisis, voting for the eighth and

final phase of the West Bengal state elections

began Thursday, even as the devastating

surge of infections continues to barrel across

the country with a ferocious speed, filling

crematoriums and graveyards.

More than 8 million people are eligible to

vote in at least 11,860 polling stations across

the state. Election Commission has said

social distancing measures would be in place.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his

Bharatiya Janata Party have faced criticism

over the last few weeks for holding huge

election rallies in the state, which health

experts suggest might have driven the surge

there too. Other political parties also

participated in rallies. The state recorded

more than 17,000 cases in the last 24 hours -

its highest spike since the pandemic began.

Starting Wednesday, all Indians 18 and

older were allowed to register on a

government app for vaccinations, but social

media were flooded with complaints the app

had crashed due to high use, and once it was

working again, no appointments were

available.

The vaccinations are supposed to start

Saturday, but India, one of the world's

biggest producers of vaccines, does not yet

have enough doses for everyone. Even the

ongoing effort to inoculate people above 45 is

stuttering.

One state, Maharashtra, has already said it

won't be able to start on Saturday.

Since January, nearly 10% of Indians have

received one jab, but only around 1.5% have

received both required doses.

On Thursday, India's Foreign Secretary

Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters that

the country is facing an "unprecedented"

second surge with over 3 million active cases

that have pushed the health system close to

collapse, causing the acute shortages of

oxygen and other hospital supplies. Help is

coming from overseas. "There's been an

outpouring of, lets say, assistance from

various countries," Shringla said, adding that

over 40 nations have committed to send

assistance.

India set another global record in new virus cases Thursday, as millions of people in one state

cast votes despite rising infections and the country geared up to open its vaccination rollout to

all adults amid snags.

Photo : AP

Biden's declaration: America’s

democracy ‘is rising anew’

WASHINGTON : President Joe Biden

declared Wednesday night that "America

is rising anew" as he called for an

expansion of federal programs to drive

the economy past the pandemic and

broadly extend the social safety net on a

scale not seen in decades, reports UNB.

In his first address to Congress, he

pointed optimistically to the nation's

emergence from the coronavirus

scourge as a moment for America to

prove that its democracy can still work

and maintain primacy in the world.

Speaking in highly personal terms

while demanding massive structural

changes, the president marked his first

100 days in office by proposing a $1.8

trillion investment in children, families

and education to help rebuild an

economy devastated by the virus and

compete with rising global competitors.

His speech represented both an

audacious vision and a considerable

gamble. He is governing with the most

slender of majorities in Congress, and

even some in his own party have

blanched at the price tag of his

proposals. At the same time, the speech

highlighted Biden's fundamental belief

in the power of government as a force

for good, even at a time when it is so

often the object of scorn.

"I can report to the nation: America is

on the move again," he said. "Turning

peril into possibility. Crisis into

opportunity. Setback into strength."

While the ceremonial setting of the

Capitol was the same as usual, the visual

images were unlike any previous

presidential address. Members of

Congress wore masks and were seated

apart because of pandemic restrictions.

Outside the grounds were still

surrounded by fencing after

insurrectionists in January protesting

Biden's election stormed to the doors of

the House chamber where he gave his

address.

The nationally televised ritual raised

the stakes for his ability to sell his plans

to voters of both parties, even if

Republican lawmakers prove resistant.

The president is following the speech by

hitting the road to push his plans,

beginning in Georgia on Thursday and

then on to Pennsylvania and Virginia in

the days ahead. "America is ready for

takeoff. We are working again.

Dreaming again. Discovering again.

Leading the world again. We have

shown each other and the world: There

is no quit in America," Biden said.

This year's scene at the front of the

House chamber also had a historic look:

For the first time, a female vice

president, Kamala Harris, was seated

behind the chief executive. And she was

next to another woman, House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi. The first ovation came as

Biden greeted "Madam Vice President."

He added, "No president has ever said

those words from this podium, and it's

about time."

The chamber was so sparsely

populated that individual claps could be

heard echoing off the walls. Yet Biden

said, "I have never been more confident

or more optimistic about America. We

have stared into an abyss of insurrection

and autocracy - of pandemic and pain -

and 'We the People' did not flinch." At

times, the president plainly made his

case for democracy itself.

Biden demanded that the government

take care of its own as a powerful symbol

to the world of an America willing to

forcefully follow its ideals and people. He

confronted an issue rarely faced by an

American president, namely that in order

to compete with autocracies like China,

the nation needs "to prove that democracy

still works" after his predecessor's

baseless claims of election fraud and the

ensuing attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"Can our democracy overcome the

lies, anger, hate and fears that have

pulled us apart?" he asked. "America's

adversaries - the autocrats of the world -

are betting it can't. They believe we are

too full of anger and division and rage.

They look at the images of the mob that

assaulted this Capitol as proof that the

sun is setting on American democracy.

They are wrong. And we have to prove

them wrong."

Biden repeatedly hammered home

that his plans would put Americans back

to work, restoring the millions of jobs

lost to the virus. He laid out an extensive

proposal for universal preschool, two

years of free community college, $225

billion for child care and monthly

payments of at least $250 to parents.

His ideas target frailties that were

uncovered by the pandemic, and he

argues that economic growth will best

come from taxing the rich to help the

middle class and the poor.

Biden's speech also provided an

update on combating the COVID-19

crisis he was elected to tame,

showcasing hundreds of millions of

vaccinations and relief checks delivered

to help offset the devastation wrought

by a virus that has killed more than

573,000 people in the United States. He

also championed his $2.3 trillion

infrastructure plan, a staggering figure

to be financed by higher taxes on

corporations.


FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2021

8

US corporations, wealthy must

‘pay their fair share’: Biden

WASHINGTON : US President Joe Biden on

Wednesday called for higher taxes on wealthy

Americans and corporations as he sought

ways to pay for his spending proposals aimed

at improving infrastructure and the

workforce, reports UNB

"How do we pay for my jobs and family

plan? I made it clear we can do it without

increasing the deficit," Biden told a joint

session of Congress. "I will not impose any tax

increase on people making less than

$400,000. But it's time for corporate

America and the wealthiest one percent of

Americans to begin to pay their fair share."

Biden has made two proposals to revamp

the US economy after the Covid-19 pandemic

caused a severe downturn in 2020, the latest

of which was the $1.8 trillion American

Families Plan unveiled earlier in the day that

would pour money into early education,

childcare and colleges and universities.

WASHINGTON : Washington is looking

closely at the trade agreement signed with

China by the Trump administration to ensure

Beijing is living up to the terms, the top US

trade negotiator said on Wednesday.

"With respect to the purchase

commitments that the Chinese made in the

US-China trade agreement, we are in the

process of examining their performance and

are scrutinizing all of the aspects of what they

have done," US Trade Representative

Katherine Tai said.

She received numerous questions on

relations with China as she testified before a

Senate subcommittee, and said President Joe

Biden's administration is studying all its

"options" for enforcing the trade pact.

The two countries signed a so-called "phase

1" agreement in January 2020, in which

Beijing pledged to increase its purchases of

American products and services by at least

$200 billion over 2020 and 2021. Tai said

examining China's performance against the

The president has also proposed a more

than $2 trillion infrastructure plan that would

pay for renovating roads and bridges while

also funding green technology, expanding

broadband internet access and fixing

household water supplies.

But unlike the $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue

measure he signed last month, Biden is under

pressure to find ways to pay for his latest

proposals, and in a speech where he called for

higher taxes on the rich, the president aimed

his rhetoric at the middle class.

"I know some of you at home are wondering

whether these jobs are for you. So many of the

folks I grew up with feel left behind, forgotten

in an economy that's rapidly changing," Biden

said.

"My fellow Americans, trickle-down

economics has never worked. It's time to grow

the economy from the bottom up and middleout."

US ‘scrutinizing’ trade deal with China: Official

promises made "will be a priority for us."

According to economist Chad Bown of the

Peterson Institute for International

Economics, China was nearly 40 percent

short of the target amounts through the first

quarter of the year.

"We are very focused on this agreement …

testing its utility, and maximizing our use of

the tools that are included in this agreement,"

Tai told the Senators.

However, Tai said the meeting with her

Chinese counterpart, which the deal calls for

every six months, has "not yet been

scheduled."

The deal aimed to end a damaging two-year

trade war launched by former president

Donald Trump.

However, Washington has maintained

tariffs of 25 percent on a range of Chinese

goods and industrial components worth $250

billion annually, and China has maintained

duties on some imports from the United

States.

Morshed Alam,

M.P. re-elected

Chairman of

Mercantile Bank

Limited

Eminent businessman and

Industrialist Morshed

Alam M.P. has been reelected

as Chairman of

Mercantile Bank Limited

in the 385th Board meeting

of the Bank held yesterday.

He is the Sponsor Director

of the Bank. Morshed Alam

is the Founder Chairman of

'Bengal Group of

Industries'. He has been

elected member of

parliament from Noakhali-

2 (Senbag-Sonaimuri) for

10th & 11th national

parliament election. He is

also chairman of Private

Satellite channel RTV.

Besides these He is

involved in Financial

Services, export oriented

textile & Apparel industry,

real estate & construction

materials, hotel & resorts

and many other business &

industries in the country.

32nd meeting Shariah Supervisory committee of Union Bank Ltd was held at its head office,

Gulshan, Dhaka on Wednesday. President of the Committee Prof Mujahidul Islam

Choudhury presided over the meeting where other members of the committee were also

present at that time.

Photo : Courtesy

NRBC board recommends 12.50pc

cash dividend for shareholders

The Board of Directors of

NRB Commercial (NRBC)

Bank Limited has

recommended 12.50%

dividend with 7.50 % cash

dividend and 5% stock

dividend for the

shareholders for the year

2020 subject to approval of

the 8th Annual General

Meeting of the Bank.

Investors who have become

the shareholder through

secondary market this year

will also receive this

dividend, though this is the

dividend of last year. The

decision was taken in the

119th board meeting of the

board of directors which

has taken place virtually on

Thursday with its

Chairman S.M. Parvez

Tamal in the chair.

Mohammed Adnan Imam,

Rafikul Islam Mia Arzoo,

A.M Saidur Rahman, Abu

Bakr Chowdhury, Loquit

Ullah, Mohammed Nazim

and AKM Mostafizur

Rahman, Directors of bank,

Air Chief Marshal Abu

Esrar (Retd), Dr. Khan

Mohammed Abdul

Mannan and Raad Mozib

Lalon, Phd, Independent

directors, Md. Mukhter

Hossain, Managing

Director & CEO and Md.

Mozammel Hossain,

Company Secretary of the

bank attended the meeting,

says press release.

The Board also decided to

hold 8th Annual General

Meeting of the Bank on 26

June 2021, Saturday. The

Record date for entitlement

of dividend has been fixed

on 31 May 2021, Monday.

The meeting adopted

annual audited financial

statements for the ended on

31 December 2020.

It should be mentioned

that before the enlistment

in share market the paid up

capital of the bank was 582

crore Taka which increased

to 702 crore 52 lakh taka

after the IPO enlistment.

Both sponsors and general

share holders will receive

the declared dividend .

The Board of Directors of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited has recommended 10% cash dividend for

the shareholders for the year 2020 subject to approval of the 38th Annual General Meeting of the

Bank. The decision was taken in a virtual meeting of the board of directors on Tuesday with its

Chairman Professor Md. Nazmul Hassan, Ph.D in the chair. Yousif Abdullah Al-Rajhi and Md.

Shahabuddin, Vice Chairmen, Dr. Areef Suleman, representative of Islamic Development Bank,

other Directors, Mohammed Monirul Moula, Managing Director & CEO and J.Q.M. Habibullah, FCS,

Deputy Managing Director & Company Secretary of the bank attended the meeting. The Board also

decided to hold 38th Annual General Meeting of the Bank on 27 June 2021, Sunday. The Record date

for entitlement of dividend has been fixed on 20 May 2021, Thursday. The meeting also adopted

unaudited financial statements for the first quarter ended on 31 March 2021. Photo : Courtesy

Tecno Spark 7 Pro launched

in Bangladesh

Premium smartphone brand

TECNO has announced a new

smartphone under their

Spark Series in Bangladesh. It

is the most powerful phone in

the Spark series from the

brand. Some of its major

highlights include a big

display with support for a high

refresh rate, a processor that

is optimized for gaming, and a

big battery, a press release

said.

The TECNO Spark 7 Pro has

aHD+ 6.6-inch Dot-in

Display. The device offers a

refresh rate of 90Hz for

smooth experience, and it

runs on HiOS 7.5 based

Android 11. Spark 7 Pro comes

with triple rear cameras

consisting of a 48MP main

sensor paired with a depth

sensor and AI lens. It has an

8-megapixel selfie camera in

the front.

TECNO Spark 7 Pro is

powered by a MediaTek Helio

G80 gaming processor. The

smartphone is backed by a

5,000mAh battery which

supports 10W fast charging.

The back panel of the phone

also features a fingerprint

scanner.

The smartphone will be

available in the Bangladesh

market from 2nd May 2021 in

retail stores and at a special

offer price in Daraz flash sale

from 29th to 30th April.The

TECNO Spark 7 Pro will be

available in Magnet Black,

Alps Blue, and Spruce green

colors. The device is priced at

Tk13,490 for the 4GB/64GB

storage version and Tk14,990

The 22nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Bank Asia Ltd was held virtually through digital platform due

to COVID-19 pandemic. A. Rouf Chowdhury, Chairman of the Bank, presided over the meeting today, 29

April, 2021. The AGM began at 11:00 am where all the participants including the bank's shareholders and

Board of Directors joined with their unique credentials. The bank had communicated every detail of the

virtual AGM with its shareholders earlier. Bank has declared 10% cash dividend for the year 2020 at the

AGM. Vice Chairmen Mohd Safwan Choudhury, Chairman of the Board Executive Committee Rumee A

Hossain, Chairman of the Board Audit Committee Dilwar H Choudhury, Chairman of the Board Risk

Management Committee M. A. Baqui Khalily, Directors Enam Chowdhury, Romana Rouf Chowdhury,

Ashraful Haq Chowdhury, Maj. Gen. (retd.) Mohammad Matiur Rahman, Md. Abul Quasem, Tania Nusrat

Zaman, President & Managing Director Md. Arfan Ali, Company Secretary S. M. Anisuzzman, other senior

officials and a large number of shareholders joined the AGM. Shareholders expressed their satisfaction

to the overall performance of the Bank and approved the accounts for the year 2020. Photo : AP

Samsung profit jumps by nearly

half on strong smartphone sales

SEOUL : South Korean tech giant

Samsung Electronics posted a 46.3

percent rise in first-quarter net profits on

Thursday, largely driven by robust sales

of its smartphones and home appliances

due to continued stay-at-home demand.

The firm is the flagship subsidiary of

the giant Samsung group, by far the

largest of the family-controlled empires

known as chaebols that dominate

business in South Korea, the world's

12th-largest economy.

The conglomerate is crucial to the

South's economic health - its overall

turnover is equivalent to a fifth of the

national gross domestic product.

Samsung Electronics said net profits

rose 46.3 percent in January to March

from a year earlier to 7.1 trillion won

($6.4 billion). "Solid sales of

smartphones and consumer electronics

outweighed lower earnings from

semiconductors and displays," the firm

said in an earnings report.

The figures came a day after Samsung's

controlling Lee family announced plans

to pay more than $10 billion in

inheritance taxes following the death last

year of chairman Lee Kun-hee - one of the

world's biggest-ever such settlements -

and donate a vast trove of art including

works by Picasso and Monet.

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc

with the world economy, with lockdowns

and travel bans imposed around the

globe for many months.

But the pandemic - which has killed

more than two million people worldwide

- has also seen many tech companies

boom, including Samsung.

Coronavirus-driven working from

home has been boosting demand for

devices powered by Samsung's chips, as

well as home appliances such as TV and

washing machines.


FrIDAY, APrIL 30, 2021

9

English cricket to join football

in social media boycott

PSG's Marquinhos, center, scores his sides first goal during the Champions League semifinal

first leg match between Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City at the Parc des Princes stadium,

in Paris, France , Wednesday.

Photo: AP

SPORTS DESK

English cricket will join football's social

media blackout this weekend in

response to continued online racist

abuse of professional players in the

country, the England and Wales

Cricket Board (ECB) said on

Wednesday, reports UNB.

The ECB with all 18 first-class county

teams, the eight women's regional

teams and the Professional Cricketers'

Association (PCA) will join the football

community in switching off their social

media accounts from 3 p.m. local time

(1400 GMT) on Friday to 11.59 p.m. on

Monday May 3.

"As a sport, we are united in our

commitment to fight racism and we

will not tolerate the kind of

discriminatory abuse that has become

so prevalent on social media

platforms," ECB chief executive officer

Tom Harrison said in a statement.

"Social media can play a very positive

role in sport, widening its audience and

connecting fans with their heroes in a

way that was never possible before.

"However, players and supporters

alike must be able to use these

platforms safe in the knowledge they do

not risk the prospect of facing appalling

abuse."

Cricketers have not been immune to

online abuse, with England fast bowler

Jofra Archer revealing last year that he

received racist messages on social

media after breaching bio-bubble

protocols during the test series against

West Indies.

Earlier this month, England seam

bowler Stuart Broad said the national

team players were willing to take a

stand against online abuse.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)

has also backed the campaign, which

aims to encourage social media

companies to do more to eradicate

online hate."British and international

tennis players frequently suffer abuse

online, simply for losing a match or

even a point. This abuse is often

especially targeted at female players,"

the LTA said in a statement.

Manchester City rally to win 2-1 at

PSG in first leg of CL semifinal

SPORTS DESK

Paris Saint-Germain lost its

composure and the match as

Manchester City rallied to win 2-1 away

from home in the first leg of their

Champions League semifinal on

Wednesday, reports UNB.

PSG led 1-0 through captain

Marquinhos' early header from a

corner, but City skipper Kevin De

Bruyne equalized in the 64th minute

when goalkeeper Keylor Navas

misread his dipping cross and it

bounced inside his post.

Riyad Mahrez's free kick - through a

wall that jumped early and left an

inviting gap for the Algeria winger - put

the visitors ahead in the 71st.

"We deserved the lead, but in the

second half they were better than us.

Physically they were a little bit more

aggressive, it was difficult for us to

recover the ball," PSG coach Mauricio

Pochettino said. "We're very

disappointed with the two goals. It's

difficult to accept that this happened in

the semifinal, it's really painful."

After City's quick 1-2 punch, PSG's

composure soon crumbled, as has

often been the case in recent seasons

when under pressure. Pochettino's side

finished the game with 10 players as

midfielder Idrissa Gueye was shown a

red card in the 77th minute for a

dangerous tackle on midfielder Ilkay

Gundogan.

City could have taken a bigger lead

Novak Djokovic:

Defending

champion to miss

Madrid Open

SPORTS DESK

World number one

Novak Djokovic will

not defend his Madrid

Open title after pulling

out of next month's

event, reports UNB.

The Serb, 33, said he

was sorry he would not

be able to travel to

Madrid for the

Masters 1000 event

which starts on

Sunday, four weeks

before the French

Open

"It's been two years

already, quite a long

time," he added.

"Hope to see you all

next year."

Last year's Madrid

event was cancelled

because of the

coronavirus

pandemic.

Djokovic was

stunned last weekend

by Russian world

number 28 Aslan

Karatsev in the semifinals

of the Serbia

Open and earlier this

month lost to Britain's

Dan Evans in Monte

Carlo.The Serb won

his 18th Grand Slam

title in February with

victory at the

Australian Open.

He is expected to

play in Rome and

Belgrade next month

as part of his

preparations for the

French Open, which

starts on 30 May.

into the return leg next Tuesday, but

winger Phil Foden shot straight at

Navas after a brilliant jinking run

through PSG's flagging defense.

"In football you need to believe,"

Pochettino said. "Of course we are

under a little bit of pressure, but in

football you need to try."

City coach Pep Guardiola wants his

players to stay relaxed for the return

leg, rather than thinking about

reaching the final for the first time in

the club's history.

Chelsea drew 1-1 at Real Madrid in

the other semifinal on Tuesday.

City made a bright start, stretching

PSG with its quick passing and

imposing itself in midfield with some

hefty challenges.

But PSG had the first sights on goal

and, after Neymar went close,

Marquinhos timed his run well to meet

Angel Di Maria's corner near the front

post and head in the 15th-minute

opener.

It was another important goal from

the Brazilian, after netting a last-gasp

equalizer in the quarterfinals and then

scoring in the semis last season.

Di Maria was causing problems for

City's defense with his runs from the

right flank, while both Neymar and

Marco Verratti were opening City up

with their passing.

With City now playing on the break,

Foden wasted a good chance near the

break when he shot straight at Navas

from just inside the penalty area, after

being set up by Bernardo Silva's pass

from the right."In the first half we were

too rushed," De Bruyne said. "That's

not the way we're set up as a team."

PSG threatened early in the second

half, when Di Maria's superb pass over

the midfield put Kylian Mbappe into

space down the right. He twisted inside

and out, putting two City defenders on

the floor, but his fizzing cross was too

strong and eluded his teammates.

De Bruyne set up City's late winner in

the League Cup final last Sunday and

again took time to exert his influence

after a brief spell out injured.

The Belgium star went close with a

shot on the turn that went just over on

the hour mark. Four minutes later, he

was mobbed by his relieved teammates

when his cross was intended for a

teammate's head but stunned Navas as

it bounced past him.

"It is so hard for the keeper because

he always expects someone to touch it,"

De Bruyne said.

Then he gave the free kick to Mahrez,

who grew up in Sarcelles but is another

on a long list of talented local players

overlooked by PSG over the years.

"He asked me if he could take it and I

said 'If you believe in yourself take it,'"

De Bruyne said. "I have full confidence

in all my team."

He spotted a gap as PSG's wall

jumped too early, and inched City

closer to its first Champions League

final.Both sides took a knee against

racism just before the game.

Refreshed Osaka hoping

to conquer clay-court

problems in Madrid

SPORTS DESK

Naomi Osaka has said she needed a break

from tennis ahead of the start of the Madrid

Open this week, when the world number two

will be hoping to kickstart her career on clay,

reports BSS.

Osaka has never won a WTA tournament

on the red dirt while at the French Open,

which starts next month, she is yet to make it

past the third round.

The Japanese four-time Grand Slam

champion will be the number two seed in

Madrid, where she plays having taken

almost a month off following her quarterfinal

exit in Miami.

Her defeat by Maria Sakkari broke a 23-

match winning streak and came after Osaka

won the Australian Open in February to back

up her triumph at the US Open last year.

"After Miami I took a bit of a break

because I felt like I needed to slow my

mind down a little bit," said Osaka in a

press conference on Wednesday.

"I felt like I needed it because after

Australia I had like one day of rest then I

immediately started working. It wasn't

tennis, but other stuff. For me, I just felt like

the hard-court swing, the Australian hardcourt

swing, plus Miami, was kind of

compressed for me.

"I didn't really have time to see my family

because I haven't seen them since Christmas

before I went down to Florida. I just wanted

to spend time with them and chill out a little

bit."

Despite her success on hard courts, Osaka

is yet to find her best either on grass or clay,

and she will be hoping to gain confidence

and rhythm in Madrid, starting with her first

round match against compatriot Misaki Doi.

Simona Halep, Venus Williams and

Victoria Azarenka are all in Osaka's half of

the draw."It's exciting to go into the claycourt

swing because I haven't won a

tournament on clay yet," Osaka said.

The Japanese four-time Grand Slam champion will be the number two

seed in Madrid, after having taken almost a month off following her quarter-final

exit in Miami.

Photo: AP

Ben Stokes in action with Jos Buttler during England's ODI against India.

Photo: AP

Police protect empty stadium

as IPL arrives in India's

virus-hit capital

SPORTS DESK

Chennai Super Kings beat bottom side

Sunrisers Hyderabad to go top of the

IPL on Wednesday as the big-money

tournament staged its first game in

India's coronavirus stricken capital,

reports BSS.

Scores of police guarded the

barricaded gates around the Feroz

Shah Kotla ground in Dehli during the

match which Chennai won by seven

wickets in 18.3 overs.

Normally the stadium would be

packed with 40,000 people for major

cricket games.

But with Delhi accounting for more

than a tenth of the 3,200 coronavirus

deaths recorded across India each day,

the city has been put under a night

curfew and tough, daytime

restrictions.

Only a handful of people were on the

darkened streets around the stadium,

kept empty as all IPL games have been

this year.

Fans could only watch on television

as Chennai raced past Sunrisers' 171

for four, with Ruturaj Gaikwad hitting

75 off 44 balls and his fellow opener

SPORTS DESK

National swimmer Junaina Ahmed will

represent Bangladesh in the upcoming

Tokyo Olympics after Bangladesh

Swimming Federation approves her

participation in the meet, reports UNB.

Bangladesh Olympic Association recently

sent a list of three swimmers to BSF-

Junaina, Ariful Islam and Jewel Ahmed-to

finalize two names for the Olympics after the

swimmers received a green signal from

International Olympic Committee for wild

card entry. "Our lone female swimmer of the

list Junaina was shortlisted due to her

performance in the 18th FINA World

Championship held in South Korea in 2019

and we finalised her on basis of her age and

performances in different national and

international events," BSF General

Faf du Plessis 56 off 38.

As the crisis grows, TV coverage is

now regularly interrupted with

appeals by commentators and pundits

such as former Australian bowler Brett

Lee and England spinner Graeme

Swann for viewers to stay home and

wear masks.

Lee has donated more than $50,000

to a fund to buy oxygen supplies for

Indian hospitals. "It saddens me

deeply to see people suffering due to

the ongoing pandemic," he said.

The IPL players are being moved

around Indian cities in full PPE hazard

suits with face masks. They are now

tested every two days and cannot even

order food from outside their biobubble

hotels.

The Board of Control for Cricket in

India has assured the players that they

are "totally safe" but three Australians

have left the IPL and many of the

foreigners who remain say they are

nervous.

"We are constantly talking about this

situation that's unfolding outside of

our bubble," said England and Kolkata

Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan

this week. "It's not nice to be honest,

Swimmer Junaina

to take part in

Olympics

Secretary M B Saif told The Daily Sun on

Wednesday.

The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to be

held from July 23 to August 8.

Earlier archer Ruman Shana earned a

direct qualification entry for Bangladesh for

the meet.

Saif said they will now decide whether

Ariful or Jewel fill the other shoe for them in

the meet with Ariful's chances are very high.

"Among other two, Ariful will get the

priority due to his events. We will participate

in 50m freestyle in the Olympics. Junaina

and Ariful both compete here while Jewel

competes in 50m backstroke. He never

competes in 50m freestyle. Also, Ariful has

been awarded a three-year scholarship in

France under the Olympic solidarity

program. We also have to consider this," he

added.

watching from afar, certainly

considering how lucky we are to be in

a bubble and not be affected by it very

much."

The IPL bubbles will remain tightly

sealed around the players for the rest

of the tournament which ends on May

30.

Inside the empty stadium,

Australia's David Warner went past

10,000 Twenty20 runs with his 57 for

the Sunrisers.

Manish Pandey hit 61 and Kane

Williamson and Kedhar Jadhav added

33 in the final 12 balls to boost the

Hyderabad total.

Chennai were always ahead of the

target however. Du Plessis' quickfire

innings made him the IPL's leading

scorer this year with 260 runs from six

matches.

Chennai lead the eight-team table

with five wins from six games and a

better net run-rate than Virat Kolhi's

Royal Challengers Bangalore in

second.

The same empty stadium will host

reigning champions the Mumbai

Indians against Rajasthan Royals on

Thursday for Delhi's second game.

McKee sets

new world

5km record

SPORTS DESK

A 12-year-old Belfast girl

says she just tries to "run as

fast as I can" after producing

a 5km road race time of 16

minutes and 40 seconds - a

world record for her age,

reports UNB.

Emer McKee set the

remarkable time while

running in an event at Down

Royal Racecourse over the

weekend.

The running prodigy is a

member of the Willowfield

Club in East Belfast.

"Normally I'm just

running as fast as I can and

just waiting for it to be over,"

she told BBC Radio Ulster.

"I started doing Parkruns

and I then joined the

running club when I was

nine and everybody there

was really nice and

supportive and friendly.


FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2021

10

Nadia in Eid special drama

'Hilla Biye'

TBT REPORT

Popular small screen actress

Nadia Ahmed and actor Rashed

Shemanto coming with their

upcoming Eid special drama

titled 'Hilla Biye' which they have

just completed.

The drama has been directed

by Sardar Rokon, scripted by

Subata Rahik Jarifa. Tipu Alam

Milon has written the story of the

drama.

The story of the drama revolves

around Yakub, who divorced his

wife Tania, few days later Yakub

realised that he did a great

mistake. He wants to get back his

wife but villagers make barriers

for Yakub.

The head of the village decides

if Yakub wants to get back his

wife, Tania must do a 'Hilla Biye'.

Yakub's employee Sumon agrees

to marry Tania. But the condition

is that he will give divorce to

Tania immediately after the

marriage. But after the marriage,

Sumon has changed his mind

and decides not to give divorce

Tania. Thus, the drama

continues…

In the drama, Rashed, Nadia

and Waliul Haq Rumi will be

seen as Sumon, Nadia and Yakub

respectively. The drama 'Hilla

Biye' will be aired on Boishakhi

TV on Eid day.

TBT REPORT

"Mayar Jonjal" (Debris of Desire) Aupee

Karim's acclaimed film has been recently

nominated as one of the top ten Indian

feature films of 2020.

Directed by Indranil Roychowdhury, the

story revolves around a petty criminal, who

falls in love with a prostitute and wants to

run away with her savings. Things change

when he meets a laid-off factory worker who

is desperate to stop his wife from working as

a housemaid. Josim Ahmed produced the

film and Bangladeshi actor Sohel Mondol,

best known for his performance in

"Taqdeer" starred in it alongside Aupee

Karim. "Mayar Jonjal" marks Aupee's

comeback in a lead role for the big screen

after a 15-year hiatus.

She made her acting debut in cinema with

Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's Bachelor, for

which she won the Bangladesh National

Film Award for Best Actress in 2004.

FIPRESCI-India (the India Chapter of the

International Film Critics' Organization

'Fédération Internationale de la Presse

Cinématographique') nominated the

following 10 Indian Feature Films as the

TOP-10 of 2020 for the FIPRESCI-India

Grand-Prix (list in alphabetical order):

"Mayar Jonjal"

nominated as one

of top 10 Indian

films of 2020

1. 1956 Central Travancore, Malayalam,

94M, Dir. Don Palathara.

2. A'hr, Malayalam English Hindi, 104M,

Dir. Sanal Kumar Sasidharan.

3. Ashes on a Road Trip, Marathi, 109M,

Dir. Mangesh Joshi.

4. Bridge, Assamese, 88M, Dir. Kripal Kalita.

5. Kosa, Hindi, 85M, Dir. Mohit

Priyadarshi.

6. Laila Aur Satt Geet, Gojri-Hindi, 98M,

Dir. Pushpendra Singh.

7. Mayar Jonjal, Bangla, 104M, Dir.

Indranil Roychowdhury.

8. Nasir, Tamil, 78M. Dir. Arun Karthick.

9. Pinki Elli?, Kannada, 107M, Dir. Prithvi

Konanur.

10. Sthalpuran, Marathi, 86M, Dir. Akshay

Indikar

Guy Ritchie,

Jason Statham

reunite for

action thriller

'Wrath of Man'

All it took was a two-minute

phone call to pitch the idea for

his new film "Wrath of Man"

and British director Guy

Ritchie was back working with

action star Jason Statham after

some 15 years.

The dark thriller sees

Statham play "H", a

mysterious loner who takes up

a job at a security firm whose

armoured

vehicles

transporting valuables have

recently been the target of

deadly armed robberies.

With the attacks continuing,

it soon transpires "H" is not

after a steady paycheck but

rather a skilled marksman

seeking revenge for a personal

tragedy.

Statham was working as a

model when Ritchie first cast

him in his 1998 movie "Lock,

Stock and Two Smoking

Barrels", helping him launch

his film career. The two went

on to collaborate on the 2000

movie "Snatch" and reunited

again in 2005 for their last

joint project "Revolver".

Fast forward 16 years, and

very little has changed between

the two friends, Statham said.

"The only difference is we're

a little older and a little

chubbier ... He called me up

about this idea that he had. It

was a very short pitch and I

liked the premise. And I was

quick to say 'yes'," Statham

told Reuters.

"I thought this would be the

perfect story for Jason and I to

be reunited on. It's not funny,

this film. It's serious and the

theme is serious and it's very

violent, very aggressive. But I

thought it'd be the perfect role

for Jason to occupy," Ritchie

added.

For the movie, based on the

2004 French thriller "Le

Convoyeur", Ritchie enlisted

an ensemble cast including

Josh Hartnett, Scott Eastwood,

Andy Garcia, Eddie Marsan

and Holt McCallany. He also

hired US rapper Post Malone

for a surprise cameo.

Hartnett, a former

Hollywood heartthrob who

appeared in early 2000s hits

"Pearl Harbor", "Black Hawk

Down" and "Lucky Number

Slevin", said he had quietly

been keeping busy with other

projects in recent years.

"I've always been sort of

making really interesting

films. It's just suddenly

Hollywood is taking notice

again and I'm getting offers

for bigger films," he said. "It

goes in waves. Hollywood's a

weird place and I love it and

hate it."

"Wrath of Man" opens in US

cinemas on May 7.

Source: Reuters

Shoshee in drama serial

'Kamalapurer Bizli'

TBT REPORT

Sharmin Zoha Shoshee, a popular model and actress of the country.

This actress came into limelight after her fabulous performance in

the film 'Hazar Bochhor Dhorey' directed by Kohinur Akhter

Suchonda in 2005. Basically acting in role of Tuni in this film,

Shoshee won the hearts of many film-lovers. Since then, she has

acted in many popular dramas and serials as well as some movies.

Recently, the actress has completed shooting of many dramas.

Among the dramas, the serial 'Kamalapurer Bizli' is prominent.

Before the start of ongoing lockdown, Shoshee has completed 13-

episode serial at different locations in Narayanganj. Shoshee is

playing title role in the drama.

Written by Barjahan Hossain and directed by Tushar Kahn, the

serial will be aired on a private TV channel soon.

About the serial, Shoshe said, "The story of the serial is very nice.

The audience will see me as leader of a group of thieves who steal in

Kamalapur and adjacent area in the capital. I've tried my level best

to portray myself according to the characters. I hope the audience

will enjoy the serial."

Priyanka Chopra sets up fundraiser, urges

all to donate towards Covid-19 relief

Priyanka Chopra urged everyone

towards Covid-19 relief in India, as

it battles a deadly second wave of

the pandemic. She talked about

the grim situation in the country,

as hospitals are unable to

accommodate patients. There is

also a critical shortage of oxygen

supplies and life-saving

medicines.

In a video posted on Instagram,

Priyanka said, "Why do we need

to care? Why is it so urgent right

now? I am sitting in London and

hearing from my friends and

family in India about how

hospitals are at capacity, there are

no rooms in ICUs, ambulances

are too busy, oxygen supply is less,

crematoriums having mass

cremations because the volume of

death is so much. India is my

home and India is bleeding."

"We, as a global community,

need to care. And I'll tell you why

we need to care - because unless

everyone is safe, no one is safe. So,

please use your resources and

focus your energy on helping stop

this pandemic. Please donate. I

understand a lot of people must be

angry and thinking about, 'Why

are we in this place in the first

place? Why is this happening?'

We will address that but after we

stop the urgency. Please donate

and please use your resources as

much as you can. India needs

you," she added.

Source: Hindustan Times

H O R O s c O P E

ARIEs

(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.

TAURUs

(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.

GEMINI

(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.

cANcER

(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.

LEO

(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.

VIRGO

(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.

LIBRA

(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.

scORPIO

(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.

sAGITTARIUs

(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.

cAPRIcORN

(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.

AQUARIUs

(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.

PIscEs

(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.


friday, april 30, 2021

11

Japan to honour

2 Bangladesh

nationals

DHAKA : Matiur Rahman,

first President of Japan-

Bangladesh Chamber of

Commerce and Industry

(JBCCI), will receive "the

Order of the Rising Sun,

Gold Rays with Rosette.',

reports UNB.

He is also Chairman and

Managing Director of Uttara

Group of Companies and

President of Bangladesh

Motorcycle Assemblers and

Manufacturers Association.

The conferral is in recognition

of his great contribution

to promoting economic

interaction and mutual

understanding between

Japan and Bangladesh, said

the Japanese Embassy in

Dhaka.

Mohd Abu Sayed, former

Country Manager of the

Commonwealth War Graves

Commission in Bangladesh

will receive "the Order of the

Rising Sun, Gold and Silver

Rays."

The conferral is in appreciation

of his great contribution

to taking care of

Japanese graves in

Bangladesh.

Bangladesh, Ireland initiate first-ever UN

resolution on 'Global Drowning Prevention'

DHAKA : The United Nations General

Assembly has adopted unanimously a

historic resolution on drowning prevention

globally, reports UNB.

The Permanent Representative of

Bangladesh to the UN, Ambassador

Rabab Fatima on Wednesday introduced

the first ever one-off UNGA resolution on

"Global Drowning Prevention" which

acknowledges the 'silent epidemic' for the

first time in UN's 75-year history.

Co-led by Ireland, the resolution was

co-sponsored by a total 81 Member

States.

The resolution recognizes that drowning

affects every nation of the world and

provides a framework for action for an

effective response to the unacceptably

high number of drowning deaths.

The resolution further identifies that

drowning is a preventable cause of mortality

that disproportionately affects children

and adolescents within and among

nations.

A new UN Day for drowning prevention,

25 July, was also proclaimed to promote

awareness and encourage national

action, as well as share best practices and

key solutions to drowning. Bangladesh

Permanent Mission to the UN in New

York has been working since 2018 to

ensure that this global and preventable

epidemic secures much-deserved political

space internationally.

In introducing the resolution at the plenary

of the General Assembly,

Bangladesh Permanent Representative

3 Bangladeshi women

make it to list of top

100 Asian scientists

DHAKA : Three Bangladeshi scientists, all

of them women, have made it to the list of

"best and brightest" 100 Asian scientists for

their contribution to research.

International Centre for Diarrhoeal

Disease Research Bangladesh's Dr

Firdausi Qadri, Model Livestock

Advancement Foundation's Dr Salma

Sultana, and Bangladesh University of

Engineering and Technology's Professor

Saima Subrina have been included in the

sixth edition of the list published by

Singapore-based magazine Asian Scientist,

reports UNB.

Scientists from China, India, Malaysia,

Singapore, Japan, South Korea, the

Philippines, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka,

Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have

also secured a place on the prestigious list.

to the UN Ambassador Rabab Fatima

stated that "The Government of

Bangladesh recognizes the urgency to

have a resolution to generate greater

political commitment to prevention of

drowning and is honoured to lead this

effort at the UN".

Ambassador Fatima stressed, "We

have reduced child mortality rates globally,

however, if we cannot bring death

from drowning to 'zero', our success in

primary healthcare, and therefore,

achievement of SDG 3 will remain unaccomplished".

In view of the fact that 90

percent of drowning deaths occur in lowand

middle-income countries, with Asia

carrying the highest burden, Bangladesh

Ambassador observed, "Drowning is not

just an injury, it is an inequity".

Since drowning incidents affect mostly

poor families, drowning prevention

could also contribute to achieving several

other SDGs, including SDG 1 on elimination

of poverty, Ambassador Fatima

remarked. Referring to number of deaths

from drowning, which is around 18000

every year in Bangladesh, Ambassador

Fatima mentioned that the Government

of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working

to ensure that no more precious lives

are lost to water.

GD-757/21 (4x3)

GD-752/21 (4x3)

GD-756/21 (5x3)

GD-758/21 (8x3)

GD-755/21 (6x3)


friday, Dhaka, april 30, 2021, Baishakh 17, 1428 BS, ramadan 17, 1442 hijri

CPD for priority to health, social

safety nets in next budget

the photo shows lahiru thirimanne executing a watchful cut against Bangladesh during 2nd test in pallekele

on thursday. photo: ap

Bangladesh offers

emergency medical

supplies to India

DHAKA : Amid the rapidly deteriorating

Corona situation in India, the

government of Bangladesh has

offered to dispatch medicines and

medical equipment on an emergency

basis as the pandemic overwhelmed

India's health system,

reports UNB.

The emergency supplies include

approximately 10,000 vials of

injectable anti-viral, oral anti-viral,

30,000 PPE kits, and several thousand

zinc, calcium, vitamin C and

other necessary tablets, said the

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)

on Thursday.

The government of Bangladesh

expressed deep sorrow and condolences

at the loss of lives in India due

to the spread of the coronavirus.

Bangladesh said it stands in solidarity

with close neighbour India at

this critical moment and is ready to

provide and mobilise support in

every possible way to save lives.

The thoughts and prayers of the

people of Bangladesh are with the

people of India for alleviating their

sufferings, MoFA said.

Bangladesh is ready to provide further

support to India if needed, it

said.

Karunaratne, Thirimanne

centuries deflate Bangladesh

on opening day

SportS DeSk

Centuries from Dimuth Karunaratne

and Lahiru Thirimanne gave Sri Lanka

full control of the first day of the second

Test in Pallekele, as the home side ended

at 291 for 1 at stumps. The pitch offered

next to nothing to the Bangladesh

bowlers, but the visitors were also guilty

of sitting on defensive lengths and

spread-out fields from quite early on,

reports AP.

Earlier, at the second interval of the

day, Karunaratne who scored his career

best 244 in only innings of first Test, was

batting on 106 off 175, hitting 13 boundaries

with Lahiru Thirimanne on 80.

Thirimanne who closed in on his third

century hit eight fours in his knock, playing

174 balls.

The duo though made a cautious start,

scoring just 66 runs at lunch, came out

from the shell as the time progressed. In

form Karunaratne indeed led the charge

as he came hard on Bangladeshi bowlers

after being reprieved on 28 as he edged

a Taskin Ahmed delivery to first slip

where Nazmul Hossain Shanto put

down the chance.

He then grew with confidence and

6 lakh poor families to

receive Govt.'s aid

Shafiqul iSlam

The low-income households of the

country are living in misery due to

imposed lockdown amid the pandemic.

In this situation, the government

has taken initiative to provide

support in the form of financial

benefits. As part of that initiative

in the first phase, 6 lac poor

families will be given TK 2,515 as

cash assistance. The recipients are

those are mainly affected by the

second wave of the ongoing Corona

epidemic. The money will be distributed

on May 2 as a special gift

from Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina through mobile services

like bKash, Nagad, and Rocket. A

dependable source of the finance

ministry and the NBR informed

these. It is learned that the poor

families can meet their basic needs

like food or medicine at least before

Eid-ul-Fitr, which is why the cash

assistance is being provided in the

first phase.

In the first wave of Covid-19, on

May 14, 2020, the Prime Minister

provided cash assistance of TK

2,500 to 5 million poor families

and backward communities across

the country. Earlier on April 18,

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

announced cash assistance to

about 3.5 million low-income families

engaged in various occupations

and 3.6 million families,

including about one lac farmers

affected by the recent natural

calamities, in the ongoing corona

virus situation.

Prime Minister's Press Secretary

Ihsanul Karim told the media that

out of 30,94,249 hectares of crop

land in 36 districts of the country,

10,301 hectares of crop land was

completely damaged and 59,326

hectares of crop land was partially

damaged due to strong winds, hailstorms

and cyclones on April 4.

This information has been taken

from the Department of

Agricultural Extension. One lakh

farmers have been affected directly.

The Ministry of Agriculture recommends

giving financial assistance

of TK 5,000 to these unemployed

and affected farmers. In this

context, the Prime Minister has

decided to bring the farmers under

cash assistance.

According to sources, out of the

cash assistance fund, about TK 880

crore will be given to 3.5 million

poor people including day laborers,

house workers and automobile

workers. To save one lac farmers

from economic hardship, the government

will spend a total of Tk 50

crore in one-time cash of Tk 5,000

for them. Before Eid-ul-Fitr, the

government may provide cash

assistance of TK 5,000 to one lac

farmers affected by storms and

hurricanes.

brought up his fifty off 111 balls, flicking

a delivery of Abu Jayed Rahi in midwicket

for three runs.

Bangladesh pacers including Shoriful

Islam, who made his debut in the Test,

replacing Ebadot Hossain for only

change in the team, though bowled well

in the morning session, they lost the

momentum in the second session.

And Karunaratne was the man, who

indeed, made the bowlers disarray.

Thirimanne then completed his 11th

half-century off 102 balls, driving

Mehidy Hasan Miraz at cover for two

runs. But he played a second fiddle to his

captain.

Karunaratne however plundered runs

at will at the other end. His next fifty

came up off just 54 deliveries as he

clipped Taijul Islam's flighted delivery to

square leg for doubles and completed

the 12th century off 165 deliveries.

In the process he also completed 5000

Test runs, when he was on 71. However

he is now the highest century-maker

amongst the Sri Lanka active Test batsmen

with Angelo Mathews and Dinesh

Chandimal behind him with 11 centuries.

CJ forms four HC

virtual benches

DHAKA : Chief Justice Syed Mahmud

Hossain yesterday formed four High

Court benches for virtual hearing and disposing

of urgent cases in the ongoing

restrictions imposed in the wake of massive

spike of Covid-19 .

The chief justice issued a directive in this

regard and it was uploaded on the website

of the apex court.

The directive said the benches would

conduct the trial from Thursday till further

order, through virtual attendance under

'Usage of Information and

Communication Technology in Court

Ordinance, 2020' and in line with the apex

court's practice direction.

The four benches are- the High Court

division bench of Justice Mamnoon

Rahman and Justice Khandaker

Diliruzzaman, division bench of Justice M

Enayetur Rahim and Justice Sardar Md

Rashed Jahangir, division bench of

Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain and

Justice Khizir Hayat, and division bench

of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Razik-

Al-Jalil.

2 die as oil tanker catches

fire at Chattogram port

CHATTOGRAM : At least two persons

were charred to death and more than

three others sustained burn injuries in a

fire that broke out at an oil tanker on the

Karnafuli river at Chattogram port on

Thursday, officials said.

The deceased have been identified as

the oil tanker's crew members-Nizam

Uddin, 40 and Ruhul Amin, 45. The three

injured crew members-Abu Sufian,

Sahabuddin and Monir-have been admitted

to Chittagong Medical College and

Hospital.

Cyclone Mary Ann

Recounting

tales of horror,

30 years on

CHATTOGRAM : On April 29,

1991,Cyclone Mary Ann struck southeastern

Bangladesh. Winds from the

superstorm reached around 220 kmph.

The tidal waves rose as high as a palm

tree. All making it one of the deadliest

tropical superstorms to hit the region

since record-keeping began.

The cyclone flattened villages after villages

along the country's southeastern

coast after making landfall in

Chattogram district. An estimated 1.38

lakh people died while millions were

rendered homeless in a span of just 12

hours. Three decades on, memories of

the cyclone still remain fresh in the

minds of those who witnessed how it

devastated the entire region and put a

question mark on its geography by

washing away several onshore and offshore

islands. Large parts of

Maheshkhali, Kutubdia, Chakaria, Cox's

Bazar Sadar, Ukhia and Teknaf were

swept away by the cyclonic storm.

"It was a horrific day. Bodies were

lying all over.The smell of death hovered

in the air. The 1991 cyclone was indeed a

devastating one in the history of our

country," recounts Lion Md Giasuddin,

member secretary of the Sitakunda

Citizen Rights Conservation Council.

In fact, the cyclone wreaked havoc in

13 coastal areas, including Sandwip,

Sitakunda, Anwara and Banshkhali

upazilas.Most of the deaths were reported

from Sandwip, Moheshkhali in Cox's

Bazar, Hatiya, Anwara, Banshkhali,

Sitakunda, Chakaria and Pekua upazilas

of the district.Over 3.000 people lost

their lives in Sitakunda alone.

DHAKA : The Centre for Policy

Dialogue (CPD) yesterday made a set of

recommendations for the national

budget of next fiscal year (FY22, including

strengthening the COVID-19 management

to reduce the health risk amid

the ongoing pandemic and strengthening

the social safety net programmes.

The civil society think tank also

demanded for fulfilling the requirements

of the small entrepreneurs and

extending support to the real farmers.

The CPD made the recommendations

at a virtual budget discussion for

the next fiscal year (FY22).

Moderated by CPD executive director

Dr Fahmida Khatun, its senior research

fellow Dr Towfiqul Islam Khan presented

the recommendations in the

event. CPD distinguished fellow Dr

Mustafizur Rahman and research

director Dr Khondaker Golam

Moazzem also spoke on the occasion.

In his presentation, Towfiqul said

that the health risk and the risk of food

security of the marginal people have

increased in the wake of the 2nd wave

of the pandemic.

Under the circumstances, he suggested

for making necessary budgetary

allocations and framing revenue strategies

giving highest priority to four sectors.

These four sectors are COVID-19

health services, ensuring food security

for overall marginal community including

for those who became poor afresh,

extending support to the real farmers to

boost production alongside fulfilling

demands of the small entrepreneurs

and raising allocations in large projects

which are involved in generating

employments.

He said priority should be specified in

the next budget considering the

COVID-19 scenario after coming out of

the traditional trend of formulating

budget. In line with this, the allocations

should have to be made while the tax

structure should also have to be framed

in such way.

"The health sector should have to be

considered as the highest priority sector.

For this, there is a need to ensure

COVID-19 management, especially to

simplify availability of vaccines, ensuring

sufficient supply of oxygen and

installing ICU beds," he said.

Towfiqul also suggested for ensuring

efficient use of COVID-19 management

funds as well as exempting duty on

import of pandemic related medicines

and other medical equipments.

Underscoring the need for bringing

more people as much as possible under

the vaccination programme, he recommended

for exploring multiple sources

of attaining the vaccines to meet the

growing need.

Terming the cash support initiative of

the government for the rural people as

a 'good initiative', the CPD said there is

a need to further expand its coverage

and thus implement it with utmost efficiency

since the number of fresh poor

has increased.

About the revenue collection strategy

for the next fiscal year (FY22), the CPD

senior research fellow said that the revenue

collection status in the first half

(July-December) of the current fiscal

year was good as it posted a growth of

8.6 percent.

Towfiqul proposed for making again

the highest tax rate at individual level

at 30 percent from the existing 27 percent

adding that many countries of the

world are realizing more taxes from

the wealthy section of people during

this pandemic situation. "We also

need to adopt such policies, otherwise

we won't be able to face the impacts of

COVID-19."

Small businesses pin

hopes on budget to

stay afloat

DHAKA : Hit hard again, this time by

the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic,

Bangladesh'ssmall and medium

enterprises (SMEs) are nowpinning

hopes on the upcoming budgetto

stayafloat.Not to mention that the survival

of these firms is important as they

are one of the major employers in the

country's economy, reports UNB.

Ranging fromshort-termliquidity and

tax cuts to simple compliance for availing

loans and extension of debt repayment

periods by at least two years,these

enterprises seek an array of relief from

the government to tide over the economic

crisis. These leeways to SMEs,

entrepreneurssay, will not only help the

sector survive but also ensure preservation

of jobs.

Kazi Sazedur Rahman, the president

of Paper Cup Manufacturers'

Association of Bangladesh (PCMAB),

told UNB that though a slew of stimulus

packages was announced by the government

last year, over 80 percent of the

small entrepreneurs in Bangladesh

failed to reap the benefits of the same

due to corruption in the system.

"Though Bangladesh Bank said thatover72

percent of the stimulus packages

worthTk20,000 crore were disbursed

as loans until March31, the reality

is different. Some95 percent of the

disbursed loans were availed by corporate

houses through sister concerns

floated overnight," said Sazedur, also the

MD of KPC Industry.

According to him, the SME sector has

again been hit hard by the second wave

of Covid. "The government has so far

been very supportive of the sector, but

the problem lies at the loan distribution

level. Many SMEs are already out of the

banking system. If more help is not

extended to the sector in the coming fiscal,

then many more SMEs will disappear."

The small entrepreneurs also seek a

substantial cut in the value added tax on

various items in the upcoming budgetfrom

the existing 15 percent to 5 percent.

"Lower taxation will, in turn, benefit the

economy as many SMEs don't acquire

trade licences to avoid paying 15% VAT.

So, a cut in VAT will benefit both the

government as well as the SMEs,"

Sazedur said. "Moreover, the central

bank should immediately impose a

moratorium on old loan repayments as

it has already extended the deadline till

June 30 for banks to disburse stimulus

funds among businesses in the cottage,

micro, small and medium enterprise

(CMSME) sector. Otherwise, many

defaulting entrepreneurs won't get the

benefit."

Sazedur also recommended an immediate

reduction in import duty on raw

materials of paper cups,from the existing

61 percent to 10 percent. "In many

countries, the import duty on environmental

items is zero,but we have to pay

61 percent levy on such raw materials in

Bangladesh," he said.

a tiger Chattogram Zoo is soaking his body in the water to get relief from scorching heat. photo : Star mail

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