DhaKa : May 4 , 2021; Baishakh 21, 1428 BS; Ramadan 21,1442 hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.Da~2065, Vol.19; N o. 27 ; 12 Pages~Tk.8.00


US denies Iran claims

of prisoner deal; UK

plays it down

>Page 7


Sri Lanka beat

Bangladesh by

209-run in 2nd Test

>Page 9

art & culture

Si Tutul to donated

his body after


>Page 5



records 65 deaths,

1,739 new cases

DHAKA : Bangladesh reported

65 more coronavirus-related

deaths in 24 hours until

Monday morning, raising the

death toll to 11,644 as the

country's grim battle with

virus continues, reports UNB.

The health authorities recorded

1,739 new infections after

examining 13,431 samples,

according to data available

atcorona.gov.bd. A handout

from the Directorate General of

Health Services (DGHS) put the

number of tests at 19,431 including

antigen tests.

Bangladesh has so far tested

55,18,410 samples, according

to the health directorate.

There has been a steady

decline in the number of tests

since April 28 when 28,206

samples were tested. With a

fall in tests, the number of new

cases too went down gradually

from April 26 (3,306) to May 2

(1,359) before a slightly

upward curve.

Monday's daily infection

rate slipped to 8.95 percent

from Sunday's 9.6 percent but

the mortality rate remained

static at 1.52 percent.

Bangladesh has recorded

less than 70 virus related

deaths since Friday. The

body count soared to over

100 during April 16-19 and

on April 25 but since then the

daily fatalities have been

falling gradually.


04:03 AM

11:59 PM

04:31 PM

06:32 PM

07:52 PM

5:22 6:29

Govt extends lockdown

until May 16

Shafiqul iSlam

The ongoing lockdown has been extended to

May 16 to prevent the spread of the epidemic

corona virus infection. Cabinet Secretary

Khandaker Anwarul Islam informed this

after a cabinet meeting at the Secretariat on

Monday (May 3rd). Earlier, these issues

were discussed at a cabinet meeting chaired

by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The ban

was extended from April 5 to May 5 in several


The cabinet secretary said inter-district

public transport will run from May 6.

However, the buses of long-route will not

run. Launches and trains will also be closed.

In other words, the bus in Dhaka is in Dhaka

and the bus in Gazipur is in Gazipur. The

transport of one district can't go to another

district. Half of the seats in public transport

should be left vacant.

The cabinet secretary said launches and

trains would remain closed, adding that the

decision would remain in effect till May 16.

From Monday, the police and local administration

will conduct operations in the market.

If anybody don't wear a mask, if they

don't follow the hygiene rules, the market

will be closed.

raShid ahmad, munShiganj CorreSpondenT

A fatal accident took place on Monday that

claimed the lives of 28 passengers of a

speedboat. Another five passengers were

injured in the incident.

According to traffic inspector of

Banglabazar Ferry Ghat in Shibchar, said a

speedboat with 30 passengers was heading

towards Banglabazar Ferry Ghat from

Shimulia in Munshiganj. The speedboat

collided with a sand-loaded bulkhead near

the old Kanthalbari Ghat at Banglabazar

Ferry Ghat. The speedboat capsized in the

collision. So far, 28 bodies and five survivors

have been rescued. Rescue work is


This begs the question how a speedboat

having a capacity of can carry 30-35 people

onboard. Public transport has been suspended

in the government-announced

'lockdown' to curb the pandemic as well as

He said garment workers could not be

given more than three days off this Eid. The

owners of public transports have promised

us that there will be no violation of hygiene

rules in public transport. If the hygiene rules

will be violated the transports will be

stopped. That instruction is also given. We

will see.

Stating that Eid-ul-Fitr may be on May 14

(Friday), the cabinet secretary said the government

has decided that nothing can be

stopped. Eid holidays fall on Friday and

Saturday in two of the three days. The industry

will not be able to close at this time. Asked

if there was any decision on the closure of

government offices, Khandaker Anwarul

Islam said, those will remain as they are


The countrywide ongoing ban was

extended from 5 to 11 April and then for two

days to prevent the second wave of coronavirus,

it was not very effective. As a result, a

one-week strict ban started from April 14.

This was extended to 28 April. However, the

government relaxed the restrictions on a

number of issues, including the opening of

shopping malls. The last notification was

issued on April 28, extending the restriction

period to May 5.

Speedboat collides

with bulk-head vessel

killed 28 onboard

launches and speedboats on the waterway.

However, some unscrupulous speedboat

drivers have been crossing the border illegally.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner

Rahima Khatun has formed a six-member

inquiry committee headed by

Azaharul Islam, deputy director of the

Madaripur Local Government

Department, to probe into the Shibchar

incident. Besides, financial assistance of

Tk 20,000 was announced to the families

of each of the victims. The investigation

committee has been asked to submit

an investigation report within the next

three working days.

Shimulia and Kathalbari-Banglabazar

route is one of the busiest inland water

transport routes in the country. The

water vehicles that cruise along this

route are ferry, launch, speedboat, barge,

cargo ship etc.

a fire broke out at the residential adjacent area of Sundarban yesterday.

No chance of oxygen crisis

unless any dramatic change:


DHAKA : As Bangladesh grapples with

the second wave of coronavirus infections

with hospitals overstretched, one major

concern that has arisen is the availability

of medical grade oxygen for critical Covid-

19 patients, reports UNB.

Amid the growing worries over a steady

supply of the lifesaving element, Health

Minister Zahid Maleque has assured the

people of the country that there will not

be any shortage of oxygen unless the situation

worsens dramatically.

His clarification came at a time when

India, struggling with an acute oxygen crisis,

stopped its export to Bangladesh.

"We don't import oxygen from India all

year long. We needed to import oxygen

from India during a huge upsurge in

Covid cases. But if the situation remains

stable, there'll be no shortage of oxygen in

the country," he told UNB.

Maleque said Bangladesh is not that

much dependent on liquid oxygen. "In

fact, we rely more on gas oxygen. So, even

if we face a shortage of liquid oxygen, it

won't be a big deal," he added.

Medical grade oxygen is needed for

treating critical Covid-19 patients who

develop hypoxaemia - the shortage of

oxygen in the blood - which is one of the

main causes of death.

The minister said the demand for medical-grade

oxygen is currently around

100-150 tonnes.

photo : TbT

Fire breaks out at


TiTaSh ChakraborThey, khulna


Another fire broke out in an area adjacent

to the locality of the Sundarbans.

The forest department and fire service

have started work to control the fire.

Fire lines have been cut in an area of

one and a half kilometers in the forest to

prevent the fire from spreading.

It was initially reported that the fire

broke out in the Sundarbans East

Forest Division area under

Sharankhola upazila of Bagerhat

around 11am on Monday. However, the

forest department has not yet said anything

about the cause of the fire.

Deputy Assistant Director of Fire

Service and Civil Defense Bagerhat station

Golam Sarwar said that they were

informed about the situation at 11:00

am in the morning. They sent a unit of

firefighters to control the fire.

Mohammad Belayet Hossain,

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the

Sundarbans East Forest Department,

told that forest workers saw smoke

from the fire about 11 km inside the

Daser Varani Forest Camp in the

Sharankhola Range of the forest

around 11 am. The forest department

and fire service along with local people

have started demarcating he fire line to

control the fire from noon.

Mohammad Belayet Hossain said

that there was no vegetation in the forest

area except the shrubs. Thus, it

would be will be brought under control.

Earlier, on February 8, a fire in the

Dhansagar station area of the Chandpai

Range of the Sundarbans East Forest

Division burnt down about a significant

portion of forest.

Investigation going on

to be confirmed about

Indian variant


Ramadan Date Sehri Iftar

21 May 04 03:55 AM 06:32 PM

22 May 05 03:54 AM 06:33 PM

23 May 06 03:53 AM 06:33 PM

photo shows dead bodies are being handed over by police to the attending relatives.

photo : TbT

aShraful iSlam aShraf

The government will be confirmed within

a few days whether the highly contagious

Indian variant of coronavirus has

already reached Bangladesh as an investigation

is going on in this regard, said

Director General of Health

Services(DGHS) on Monday.

Speaking at a virtual press briefing,

DGHS spokesperson Dr Nazmul

Islam, said, "We may be able to say it

in a few days whether the Indian

strain of Covid-19 has come to

Bangladesh or not."

He said the samples of those who tested

positive for coronavirus after entering

Bangladesh from India are being collected.

"These samples are being sent for

genome sequencing...we'll share it with

you immediately after receiving the


Replying to a question, Nazmul said

whether those who have taken the first

doses of the Oxford vaccine can take the

second doses of any other company's

vaccine, he said they did not yet get any

specific advice from the World Health

Organization and vaccine companies to

this end.

He said they will wait for 12 weeks to

have the Oxford Vaccine and they hope

they will get it by this time.

"There's some sort of politics and

diplomacy around the world over vaccines.

Even then, it should be the ultimate

victory of humanity. As we've

seen Bangladesh finally came out victorious

always. That's why we want to

be confident that we'll get the Oxford

vaccine and will complete the second

dose with the same," The DGHS

spokesman said.

He said the stock of the vaccine collected

by the government from India

is about to run out.

Nazmul said 58,19,709 people

received the first doses of the vaccine

while 29,36,241 the second doses as of

May 2. "We don't have many vaccine

doses in our hands now."

He said they hoped that they would

get vaccine doses from China by this


The DGHS spokesman said efforts are

on to collect the vaccines from different

sources, including China and Russia, as

early as possible.

Stating that mask is the biggest preventive

gear against Coronavirus in

absence of a vaccine, Nazmul urged all

to wear masks whenever they come out

of their homes and maintain health safety

rules to remain safe from the virus.

tuesday, May 4, 2021


20,000 distressed people to get

humanitarian aid in Rajshahi

RAJSHAHI : Around 20,000 poor, helpless,

distressed and other less-incoming and

rootless people will get humanitarian aid to

mark the forthcoming Eid-ul-Fitr in Rajshahi

city, reports BSS.

Each of them will be given a food package

containing eight kilograms of rice, one

kilogram of aromatic rice, two kilograms of

pulse, one liter of edible oil, one kilogram of

sugar and one packet of vermicelli.

With the direction of Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina, the underprivileged people will be

given the food support on behalf of Shaheed

Kamaruzzaman and Jahanara Zaman


Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton,

who is the elder son of Shaheed AHM

Kamaruzzaman and Jahanara Zaman,

revealed this while inaugurating the food

support distribution at PTI playground in the

city today.

On the occasion, 1,200 people received the

foodstuffs through maintaining social

distancing and other health rules to limit the

Covid-19 spread.

Speaking on the occasion, Mayor Liton said

they are extending food assistance and cash

support to the jobless and other hard-hit

people since the pandemic began


He urged all other development and

volunteer organizations to stand beside the

jobless people to reduce their financial

hardships being caused by the pandemic.

NEW DELHI : India recorded 368,147

new coronavirus cases on Monday and

3,417 deaths as a catastrophic surge

sweeps through the country, reports


The latest numbers came after

leaders of 13 opposition parties urged

the government to launch a free

vaccination drive and ensure

uninterrupted flow of oxygen to all

hospitals. Several hospital authorities

over the weekend sought court

intervention over oxygen supplies in

New Delhi, where a lockdown has been

extended by a week in an attempt to

contain the wave of infections.

"Water has gone above the head.

Enough is enough," said the New Delhi

High Court, adding it would start

punishing government officials if

supplies of oxygen allocated to

hospitals are not delivered.

On Monday, 24 COVID-19 patients

died at a government-run hospital in

Impact of devastating Indian virus

surge spreads to politics

the southern state of Karnataka amid

reports of an oxygen shortage. It was

unclear how many died due to a lack of

oxygen, but the chief minister ordered

a probe into the incident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's

government has been severely

criticized over its handling of the surge,

which has pushed India's already

fragile and underfunded health system

to the brink. Massive election rallies

organized by his Bharatiya Janata

Party and other parties as well as a

giant Hindu festival on the banks of the

Ganges may have exacerbated the

spread, experts said, adding that new

variants could also be increasing cases.

Modi's party on Sunday suffered a

resounding election defeat in a key

state, West Bengal, failing to dislodge

its firebrand chief minister, Mamata

Banerjee. It retained power in

northeastern Assam state but lost in

two southern states.

While the four states were already

stiff election challenges for Modi's party

apart from the pandemic, analysts said

the results weaken Modi's position as

surging infections cripple the already

fragile health system.

Meanwhile, the world's biggest

cricket tournament, the Indian

Premier League, said Monday's match

between the Royal Challengers

Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders

would be rescheduled after two players

tested positive for the coronavirus. The

two players have self-isolated and

medical personnel were tracing their


Despite rising cases, the league has

held matches every evening behind

closed doors since it kicked off in April.

India has confirmed 19.9 million

COVID-19 cases since the start of the

pandemic, behind only the U.S., which

has counted more than 32.4 million.

More than 218,000 people in India

have died, according to the health

ministry. Both figures are thought to be

vast undercounts.

Dbœq‡bi MYZš¿

†kL nvwmbvi g~jgš¿



Develop all ‘Digital Bangladesh’ programmes

in Bangla: Information secy

DHAKA : Information and

Broadcasting Secretary Khaja Miah

yesterday underscored the need for

developing all programmes and

systems related to 'Digital Bangladesh'

in Bangla in order to provide digital

services to the general people in a

simpler way.

"When we visited different countries

like China, Japan and Saudi Arabia we

observed that they deliver their all

services in their own languages. So, I

think all programmes regarding

'Digital Bangladesh' should be made in

Bangla so that the general people can

get the services easily," he said.

The information secretary made the

remarks while addressing the

inaugural session of a virtual workshop

titled "Role of Local Journalists in

Implementing Digital Bangladesh" as

the chief guest.

National news agency Bangladesh

Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) and aspire to

innovate (a2i) of the Cabinet Division

and the ICT Division with the support

from the UNDP, jointly organized the

daylong workshop, the fourth and the

last of its kind for local journalists of

BSS in two divisions.

BSS Managing Director and Chief

Editor Abul Kalam Azad chaired the

opening session of the workshop, while

a2i Joint Project Director Salina Pervez

addressed it as the key speaker.

Conducted by BSS Managing Editor

Anisur Rahman, BSS City Editor and

Member of the Board of Directors

Madhusudan Mondal delivered the

welcome address in the opening


Lauding Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina's pragmatic measures for

transforming the country into "Digital

Bangladesh", Khaja Miah recalled that

when the present government took the

initiative of materializing the vision

"Digital Bangladesh", many people and

opposition parties joked with it.

"But their mockery has been

defeated by the premier's strong

measures and her ICT Adviser and able

son Sajeeb Wazed Joy's indomitable

willingness", he said.

Terming the achievement of

materializing the vision 'Digital

Bangladesh' as one of the greatest

successes of the present government,

the information secretary said they

have launched a digital platform titled

'My Government' involving five

ministries, including Information and

Broadcasting Ministry.

"The platform, at the initial stage,

would work as an 'epoch-making

initiative' in delivering digital services

to the people," he said.

Khaja Miah simultaneously put

emphasis on uploading all facilities of

'Digital Bangladesh' in a leaflet form on

website and creating an integrated ID

with all necessary documents for every

service receiver so that they can get all

services using the single ID number.

The information secretary urged the

a2i officials to take initiatives in this

regard. He also called upon the

journalists to project merits and the

ways of getting the digital services.

BSS Managing Director Abul Kalam

Azad, in his address, said the national

news agency BSS had launched its

Bangla services during the Awami

League government in 1999 aiming at

availing the services for the general

people of the country.

"All reports, filed by our reporters,

are published in both Bangla and

English languages after translations,"

he informed.

The review meeting of Annual Development Programme of Shipping ministry was held at the meeting

room of the ministry yesterday.

Photo : Courtesy

Chattogram woman in lock-up

for 18 months for no crime!

CHATTOGRAM : How many people are

there in Bangladesh with the same name?

Maybe uncountable! But Hasina Begum is

now in deep trouble for not having a unique

name, reports UNB.

Hasina Begum has been languishing in

the prison here for the last one and a half

years just because her first name is similar

to an accused.

Hasina Begum, wife of Hamid Hossain of

Teknaf upazila in Cox's Bazar district, has

been serving the jail term instead of the real

convict in a narcotic case as law enforcers

arrested her wrongly for the similarity of

her name to the convict's.

The incident came in the limelight on

Sunday as defence lawyer Golam Mawla

Murad drew the attention of the Judge of

Chattogram Additional Metropolitan and

Session Court -4, Shariful Alam Bhuiya,

following a police investigation.

However, the court asked the jail

authorities to submit a report by May 4

about the similarity and dissimilarity in the

names of the convict and the innocent

woman. Advocate Murad said, "No case

was filed against Hasina Begum, now in

jail. But for the last one and a half years she

has been languishing in jail. Her only

offence is the similarity of her name to that

of the real accused. Their parents' names

are also different."

Murad also filed a petition seeking the

immediate release of innocent Hasina

Begum and the court took cognisance of the

plea and asked the jail super to submit a

report in this regard by May 4.

Hasina Begum, now in the lock-up, is the

wife of Hamid Hossain of Teknaf upazila in

Cox's Bazar district while the real convict,

Hasina Akther, is the wife of Hamid

Hossain of Ismail Hazi Bari of the same


According to the court, police recovered

2,000 Yaba pills from Moijjartek in

Karnaphuli on February 24, 2017. A case

was filed in this connection.

Later, police arrested Hasina Akhter on

February 25, 2017 in this connection. On

November 27, Hasina Akhter secured bail

from the court and went into hiding.

On July 1, 2019, Judge of Chattogram

Metropolitan Court-5 Jannatul Ferdous

sentenced six years' jail to Hasina Akhter

and fined Tk 5,000.

On December 26, 2019, police wrongly

arrested Hasina Begum from

Chowdhurypara Hossain Boro Bari in

Teknaf in the case and she has been in jail

since then.

Mohammad Khorshed Alam, inspector

(operation) of Teknaf Model Police Station,

said they primarily suspected that Hasina,

now in jail, is not the real convict but could

not investigate properly as the victim's

husband is on the run.

The Department of EEE and EEE club of Green University of Bangladesh have successfully

organized this year's biggest online quiz competition 'Battle of Brains -The Series Edition' during

1-2 May, 2021.

Photo : Courtesy

GUB organized mega quiz

competition ‘Battle of Brains’

The Department of EEE and

EEE club of Green University

of Bangladesh have

successfully organized this

year's biggest online quiz

competition 'Battle of Brains

-The Series Edition' during 1-

2 May, 2021, a press release


Prof. Satya Prasad

Majumder, Vice-Chancellor

of BUET was the Chief Guest

of this contest. Vice-

Chancellor of GUB, Prof. Dr.

Golam Samdani Fakir; Pro

Vice-chancellor of GUB, Prof.

Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque;

Distinguished Professor of

DHAKA : The Peoples Vaccine Alliance

(PVA) in Asia has called Japan, Singapore

and South Korea to take action on the

voices of citizens across Asia and the

global South by supporting the

'temporary TRIPS Waiver' proposal at

the recent WTO's general council

meeting and ensuring big pharmaceutical

companies and rich country governments

to voluntarily join WHO led COVID-19

Technology Access Pool.

The appeal letter to Asian Government

has been signed by 100 organizations

including Actionaid, APCASO, Asia Dalit

Rights Forum, Asia Pacific Alliance for

Sexual and Reproductive Health and

Rights, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt

and Development (APMDD, Oxfam

international, South Asia Alliance for

Poverty Eradication, Fight inequality

Alliance India and 50prominent CSOs

individuals, said a press release.

Compared to the terrifying speed at

which the virus is spreading and

mutating, as most recently being seen in

India, scaling up global COVID-19

vaccination access and inoculation have

been painfully slow.

AKM Mustaque Ali, CC member of

SAAPE, announced this in a statement.

Most of the world's population,

EEE dept, Prof Dr Kamrul

Ahsan; Treasurer Prof Dr

Fayzur Rahman and

Chairperson of EEE

department, Dr ASM

Shihavuddin were present as

honourable guests in the

prize giving ceremony of the


The University edition of

this event took place on May

1, 2021 where 1600+

students from different

public and private

universities participated in

the competition. Abdullah Al

Rafi Mahmud from BRAC

University became the

champion of the University


The College and

Polytechnic edition took

place on May 2, 2021. This

time, 900+ students from

various renowned Colleges

and 350+ participants from

different Polytechnic

institutions participated in

this contest. Towsif Ur Rahim

from Chittagong College won

the championship of the

college edition and Sharmin

Akter from Chandpur

polytechnic Institute won the

championship of the

polytechnic edition.

especially in middle- and lower-income

countries, lack access to the vaccine. At

the speed with which it is proceeding, it

will take decades to vaccinate all who

need it.

The COVID-19 vaccines are owned by

big pharmaceutical corporations who are

refusing to share the science and

technology that could speed up mass

production and distribution for the entire


"No single corporation will ever be able

to produce enough vaccine doses quickly

for everyone who needs it. If history has

taught us anything, it is that

pharmaceutical corporations create and

protect monopolies in order to maximise

profits instead of improving public

health. We have seen this in the past with

vital medicines for illnesses like HIV or

cancer that have been priced far too high,

out of reach for most people", said Karyn

Kaplan of Asia Catalyst.

A temporary waiver of World Trade

Organization (WTO) intellectual property

rules during the COVID-19 pandemic,

proposed by South Africa and India and

supported by more than 100 WTO

member states and numerous health

experts worldwide, is a vital, necessary

and urgent step to bring an end to this

Govts urged to ensure

free, independent,

diverse media

DHAKA : UN Secretary-

General Antonio Guterres

hasurged all governments to

do everything in their power

to support a free, independent

and diverse media, reports


"Free and independent

journalism is our greatest ally

in combatting misinformation

and disinformation," he said

in a message marking

theWorld Press Freedom

Daythat falls on May 3.

Guterres said the United

Nations Plan of Action on the

Safety of Journalists aims to

create a safe environment for

media workers across the

globe - because information is

a public good.

PVA for peoples’ vaccine instead of profit vaccine


WTO TRIPS waiver must be combined

with ensuring vaccine know-how and

technology is shared openly. This can be

achieved through the World Health

Organization COVID-19 Technology

Access Pool. These actions would expand

global manufacturing capacity,

unhindered by industry monopolies that

are driving the dire supply shortages

blocking vaccine access.

"When the pharmacy of the world is

gasping for breath, keeping monopoly

over vaccine science for purpose of profit

is immoral, collective failure and selfdefeating",

said Mustafa Talpur,

campaign and advocacy manager of

Oxfam international in Asia.

All these roadblocks to control COVID-

19 spread are surmountable. The Asia

region has a world-class generic

pharmaceutical industry with a little

more shared technology and know-how,

Asia-based companies can quickly

support new manufacturing capacity in

other countries, thereby reducing the

negative impact of COVID and improving

response capacity for future pandemics.

Countries in Asia, including China, India,

Thailand, and others have demonstrated

capacity to produce vaccines.

Current tobacco tax structure

is extremely complex : Speakers

'The current tobacco tax structure is

extremely complex which is a major

obstacle for discouraging tobacco

usage. And so, this tax structure needs

to be simplified. This will be effective in

reducing tobacco usage if the tobacco

tax is increased in a proper manner,'

said the speakers at a virtual exchange

meeting with the members of the

Executive Committee of the Economic

Reports' Forum (ERF) organized by

Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) on 03

May. The speakers said, 'Bangladesh is

one of the most tobacco consuming

countries in the world. In this country

the price of cigarettes is very low, bidi is

cheaper. According to the Bangladesh

Bureau of Statistics, the per capita

national income (nominal) has

increased by 25.4 percent in 2017-18 as

compared to 2015-16. However, the

price of most cigarettes has remained

almost unchanged or has increased

slightly. As a result, cigarettes are

becoming more readily available. That

is why, it is important to increase the

price of cigarettes in a proper way, that

is, through a specific tax increase.

Iqbal Masud, Director, Health and

Wash Sector, Dhaka Ahsania Mission

delivered his welcome speech in the

meeting. Dr. Syed Mahfuzul Haque,

National Professional Officer (NCD),

World Health Organization (WHO),

Abdus Salam Mia, Grants Manager,

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Bangladesh, Md. Mostafizur Rahman,

Lead Policy Advisor, Campaign for

Tobacco Free Kids Bangladesh,

Sharmeen Rinvy, President of

Economic Reports Forum (ERF) and

SM Rashedul Islam, General Secretary

of ERF were present as speakers in the

meeting titled 'Way Forward to

Tobacco free Bangladesh by 2040:

Tobacco Tax'. Md. Shariful Islam,

Project Coordinator, Tobacco Control

Project, Dhaka Ahsania Mission,

presented the keynote paper at the

seminar moderated by Rezaur

Rahman Rizvi, Media Manager,

Tobacco Control Project, Dhaka

Ahsania Mission.

In the keynote paper, the proposal

for cigarettes in the financial year

2021-2022 was to introduce a specific

excise (supplementary) duty based on

the price level of all cigarette brands

with uniform coverage (supplementary

duty 65% of final retail price).

Determining the retail price of

cigarettes at TK 50 per 10 sticks and

imposing a specific supplementary

duty of TK 32.50 at the low tier. At the

middle tier, the retail price of every 10

sticks of cigarettes is to be fixed at TK

70 and a specific supplementary duty

of TK 45.50 is to be imposed. At the

higher level, the retail price of 10 sticks

of cigarettes is to be fixed at TK 110 and

a fixed supplementary duty of Tk 71.50

and at the premium tier, the retail price

of 10 sticks of cigarettes at Tk 140 and

a supplementary duty of Tk 91 is to be

fixed. In the medium term (2021-22 to

2025-26), the price and tax gap

between cigarette brands will be

reduced from 4 to 2.

Iqbal Masud said tobacco is linked to

six of the eight leading causes of

preventable death worldwide. In

Bangladesh, more than 1 lakh 61

thousand people die every year from

diseases caused by tobacco usage. But

we are not as much concerned about it

as we should be.

The meeting made some

recommendations on tobacco control.

These are: To reduce the easy

availability of tobacco products,

specific supplementary tariffs must be

increased regularly in line with

inflation and income growth. To

simplify the taxation process, the

existing divisions/variety/tiers

between tobacco products need to be

removed. All smokeless tobacco

products should be brought under the

tax net. To formulate and implement a

simple and effective tobacco tax policy

(for a period of 5 years) which will

contribute to the reduction of tobacco

usage and increase in revenue and the

re-imposition of 25 per cent export

duty on tobacco products.

Dhaka Ahsania Mission organized a virtual exchange meeting with the members of the Executive

Committee of the Economic Reports' Forum (ERF) on Monday.

Photo : Courtesy

TuEsdAy, mAy 4, 2021


Support for new malaria vaccine may be lacking in rich world

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

0ur closest neighbor

deserves all the help it can get

India on Monday reported more than

300,000 new coronavirus cases for a 12th

straight day to take its overall caseload to just

shy of 20 million, as scientists predicted a peak in

infections in the coming days.With 368,147 new

cases over the past 24 hours, India's total

infections stand at 19.93 million, while total

fatalities rose by 3,417 to 218,959, according to

health ministry data.Medical experts say real

numbers across the country of 1.35 billion may be

five to 10 times higher than the official tally.

But the health ministry offered a glimmer of

hope, reporting that positive cases relative to the

number of tests conducted fell on Monday for the

first time since at least April 15.

India's coronavirus cases may peak between

May 3-5, according to a mathematical model

from a team of scientists advising the

government, a few days earlier than a previous

estimate as the virus has spread faster than


Hospitals have filled to capacity, medical

oxygen supplies have run short and morgues and

crematoriums have been swamped as the

country deals with the surge in cases.

At least 11 states and union territories have

imposed some form of restrictions to try and

stem infections, but Prime Minister Narendra

Modi's government is reluctant to impose a

national lockdown, concerned about the

economic impact.

"In my opinion, only a national stay at home

order and declaring medical emergency will help

to address the current healthcare needs,"

Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist with the

University of Michigan said on Twitter.

"The # of active cases is accumulating, not just

the daily new cases. Even the reported numbers

state there are around 3.5M active cases."


The spike in infections is India's biggest crisis

since Modi took office in 2014. Modi has been

criticised for not taking steps earlier to curb the

spread and for letting millions of largely

unmasked people attend religious festivals and

crowded political rallies in five states during

March and April.

A forum of scientific advisers set up by the

government warned Indian officials in early

March of a new and more contagious variant of

the coronavirus taking hold in the country, five

scientists who are part of the forum told Reuters.

Despite the warning, four of the scientists said

the federal government did not seek to impose

major restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.

It remains to be seen how his handling of the

crisis might affect Modi or his party politically.

The next general election is due in 2024. Modi's

party was defeated in India's West Bengal state in

results declared on Sunday, although it won in

the neighbouring state of Assam.

Leaders of 13 opposition parties on Sunday

signed a letter urging Modi to immediately

launch free national vaccination and to prioritise

oxygen supply to hospitals and health centres.

Several states have postponed widening a

vaccination drive for adults that was to start on

Saturday due to a lack of vaccines. The national

health ministry says states have 10 million

vaccines stockpiled and 2 million more coming in

the next three days.Despite being the world's

biggest producer of vaccines, India does not have

enough for itself - undermining a plan to ramp up

and widen inoculation from Saturday. Only

about 9% of its 1.4 billion people have had a dose.

India has struggled to increase capacity beyond

80 million doses a month due to lack of raw

materials and a fire at the Serum Institute, which

makes the AstraZeneca vaccine.

International aid has been pouring into India.

Britain will send another 1,000 ventilators to

India, the government said on Sunday. Prime

ministers Boris Johnson and Modi are scheduled

to talk on Tuesday.The Indian COVID-19 variant

has now reached at least 17 countries including

Britain, Switzerland and Iran, leading several

governments to close their borders to people

travelling from India.

Lost in the deluge of news

about Covid-19 vaccines have

been the momentous strides

made recently in fighting other

major health challenges. Among

these is malaria.

In April, it was announced that a

vaccine developed at the University

of Oxford's Jenner Institute had

achieved 77% efficacy in trials.

While we may still be several years

from an effective guard against a

disease that afflicts more than 200

million people each year, there is a

sense that we're significantly closer

to that goal than ever before.

Yet the vaccine's very potential to

eradicate malaria could, perversely,

undercut the support necessary to

achieve reality. Malaria is an

example of where the needs of the

Global South, or developing world,

clash against the interests of the

Global North, or developed world.

First, a caveat. It must be noted

that the vaccine trial in Burkina

Faso was small, involving 450

children over one year in an area

where malaria is not present yeararound.

Longer-term monitoring,

and larger trials, are the next stage

in confirming these early results.

But the findings thus far offer a

tantalizing glimpse of real


Malaria is a parasite transmitted

by the anopheles mosquito feeding

on human blood, which can lead to

fevers, severe anemia and severe

damage to organs. With some types

of malaria, the disease attacks brain

function. Around 95% of cases and

deaths are in Africa. Children under

age five account for around twothirds

of the 400,000 yearly deaths

around the world.

However, malaria historically is

not a disease confined to the Global

South. The disease's very name -

Italian, literally "bad air" -

highlights the extent of its historical

presence in Europe. It was endemic

in the UK and the Netherlands into

the 20th century, and Italy was not

declared malaria-free until 1970.

The first efforts to eradicate

malaria began in the 1950s under

the World Health Organization's

Global Malaria Eradication

Program (one that - shamefully -

decided to leave sub-Saharan Africa

out of the "global" campaign),

making use of the anti-malarial

drug chloroquine and spraying

large areas with the insecticide


Attention on malaria revived in

the late 1990s with the creation of

the Roll Back Malaria campaign,

and the focus on the disease as one

of the "big three" global health

challenges in the UN's Millennium

Development Goals (MDGs), and as

the main focus of organizations like

the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,

Tuberculosis and Malaria and the

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Through the distribution of

insecticide-treated bed-nets, the

development of new drugs to treat

malaria and renewed efforts to

control mosquito populations,

malaria deaths have halved over the

past two decades. And the new

Oxford vaccine offers the possibility

of cutting deaths significantly,

perhaps to the low tens of

thousands, within a few years of a

successful vaccine being rolled out.

But caution is still required. First,

what is clear from the history of

malaria control, and the global

response to health challenges over

the past half-century, is that

successful health programs require

sustained and focused attention

and support.


Progress against malaria made in

places like Sri Lanka and elsewhere

by the 1970s was subsequently

undone as global funding for

control efforts fell. And as strange

as it may seem, success sometimes

can pave the way to failure.

The renewed focus two decades

ago on malaria, alongside the

human immunodeficiency virus

(HIV) and tuberculosis, in the

MDGs and in international

organizations were not just a

reflection of the terrible toll these

diseases have taken in the Global

South, and especially Africa, but a

recognition that they posed threats

to the health security of the Global

North, too.

Scientists in Oxford and

elsewhere have worked for years on

finding a malaria vaccine. But the

vaccine's emergence, and the

support for such research from

public funds, tells us something

important about global health:

Rapid advances in medicine are

often linked to the perception of a

health issue as presenting a healthsecurity

challenge to the Global


Growing fears that the climate

emergency will create conditions in

which endemic malaria could reemerge

or spread to new locations

in the Global North have

underscored some of the focus on

malaria as a global health priority -

just as the declaration of the 2013-

16 Ebola epidemic as a global health

emergency was prompted in part by

the recognition that the capitals of

Europe and North America were at

KAmBAiz RAfi

risk, thanks to the proximity

created by air travel.

Meanwhile, the so-called

"neglected tropical diseases," a

collection of 17 diseases that

primarily affect the bottom billion

of the world's population, with

limited threat to residents or even

tourists of the Global North, remain

poorly funded in comparison with

the numbers affected.

If a successful vaccine could limit

infections and deaths, and reduce

the perceived threat to the health

security of the Global North,

malaria could very easily find itself

relegated to the lower ranks of

health priorities, and we might

subsequently find it harder to

mobilize the funding required to

achieve eradication. Would the UK

have reduced its funding for the

polio-eradication campaign by 95%

if that disease continued to pose a

serious risk to Britain?

Second, we have been here before

with the promises of a new silver

bullet. Hopeful candidates for a

successful vaccine have emerged

over the past couple of decades,

only to fail the critical test of

exposure to large-scale testing.

Still, this new vaccine looks to

have more promise than earlier

iterations. But even if it works, it

will primarily be a tool for

controlling, not eliminating,

malaria. The news is, then, to be

welcomed, but cautiously. A

dramatic cut in deaths would be

very welcome, and might create the

potential for a successful

eradication campaign.

But even if it does show 77%

effectiveness in real-life contexts,

eradication is likely to be measured

still in decades rather than years -

and that's if financial altruism to

support the vaccine can be

maintained in the Global North.

Michael Jennings is reader in

international development at SOAS

University of London

US must not neglect responsibility to Afghans post-pullout

Absent a drastic change in the

battlefield or an unlikely

contingency, the 20-year US-led

campaign in Afghanistan has been

declared over. The remaining 2,500 US

troops will be pulled out by September

11, 2021, President Joe Biden has

declared. NATO countries with forces in

the country are following suit.

Some media commentators have long

anticipated this moment. Barring illconsidered

schadenfreude or devilmay-care

chutzpah, two broad strands

can be discerned. According to one, the

US presence in Afghanistan amounted

to an unnecessary human and financial

cost that could no longer be justified.

According to the other, the post-2001

"war on terror" represented another

military campaign by the US war

machine that was condemnable from

the start and is better to end now.

The first of these narratives is

primarily conscious of the war's burden

on the US military and the economy,

while the second objects to it as

militarist adventurism. Closer

examination, however, exposes the

largely self-interested nature of both


It is fair to say that regardless of

which perspective one follows, the

effects of Biden's decision on millions of

Afghan civilians who aren't party to the

ongoing war will be a rising threat of

violence and widespread hunger, and

they must now also contemplate the

daunting prospects of reduced

international support.

The nearly 10,000-strong US-led

NATO contingent was already

disengaged from active battle according

to the terms of a US-Taliban accord

reached last year in Doha, Qatar.

Pulling them out can only mean a

deeper disengagement that might pave

the way for humanitarian support.

The narrative on the "war on terror"

must take adequate account of the

larger war the US has been fighting in

Afghanistan since the early 1980s,

originally as the leader of the Western

camp against the Soviet Union's

expansionism. The multi-pronged

effort to give the Soviets their own

"Vietnam" began even before the Soviet

invasion of Afghanistan in December


Then-US president Jimmy Carter's

national security adviser, Zbigniew

Brzezinski, masterminded a strategy to

drag the Soviets into Afghanistan,

persuading the Carter administration to

lend support to the Afghan Islamist

groups who were fighting against the

Growing fears that the climate emergency will create conditions in which

endemic malaria could re-emerge or spread to new locations in the Global

North have underscored some of the focus on malaria as a global health priority

- just as the declaration of the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic as a global health

emergency was prompted in part by the recognition that the capitals of Europe

and North America were at risk, thanks to the proximity created by air travel.

pro-Soviet Afghan government and

were hosted by the Pakistani military

dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.

Later, when the Soviet Army did

invade Afghanistan, partly to fend off

the threats by jihadist groups in the

Muslim-majority Central Asian

republics, but also to save the Soviets'

client regime in Afghanistan, the

military quagmire US strategists had in

mind put millions of Afghans and their

country's fledgling infrastructure in the

crossfire, resulting in massive casualties

and reducing much of the country to

uninhabitable rubble.

In a larger sense, this campaign was

consequential in building a front line in

Afghanistan that effectively halted

Soviet-style communism's global

expansion and contributed to its

ultimate collapse. To this end, weapons

and funding to Pakistan-based jihadist

groups poured in, particularly to those

who proved most effective in killing

Afghan and Soviet soldiers, meaning

those more fervently fundamentalist.

Responsibility for handling the effort

on the ground was given to the

Pakistani military, notably its notorious

intelligence arm, Inter-Service

Intelligence (ISI). In this heated frenzy,

little regard was given to Afghanistan's

chances of returning to some form of

viability if the Soviets withdrew and cut

their financial support to the Kabul


This disregard was witnessed when

the eventual withdrawal of the Soviet

army in early 1989 took place, an event

followed by absence of any concerted

effort by the US and its allies to ensure

Afghanistan's return to a somewhat

viable state.

The ensuing tragedy due to a power

vacuum in Kabul and infighting among

the jihadist groups was left to sort itself

out now that the anti-Soviet ideological

battle was over. But this was soon

forgotten; when US president George H

W Bush was briefed regarding the

events in Kabul at a high point of

hostilities in the early 1990s, he was

surprised the Afghan war was still


When asked about the consequences

of the US support to jihadist groups in

Afghanistan, Brzezinski is said to have

replied later on with pathological

apathy: "What was more important to

the history of the world? The Taliban or

the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some

stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of

Central Europe and the end of the Cold


Back then Joe Biden was a member of

the US Senate, and the main flank of the

Democratic Party together with the

more hawkish Republican Party

supported the anti-Soviet intervention

policy in Afghanistan.

Barring occasional closed-door

admissions by senior US politicians, the

"long war" in Afghanistan in popular

imagination in the US does not extend

beyond October 2001, when George W

Bush launched the war against the

As was later revealed, there was little consensus on the objectives of the

war in Afghanistan in the White House and the Pentagon. This reluctance

to forge coherent policy was given fuel by the media commentaries

that poured pessimism or critiqued the military campaign as a colonial

conquest disguised as a humanitarian mission.But the actual history of

prewar Afghanistan should negate such parsimonious pigeonholing.

Taliban regime and al-Qaeda, not least

among the media commentators now

appraising Biden's historic declaration

of the war's end.

Influential voices have, instead,

quickly set to work to depict

Afghanistan as a country always at war,

a narrative instrumentalized to make

the country seem intractable and better

left on its own, an eternally hostile and

ragged terrain where love for ancient

habits is unchangeable, seems to have a

firm grip.

This potent image has been battling

for legitimacy among the plurality of

voices on post-2001 US engagement in

Afghanistan. Even to some among those

who launched the Afghan campaign,

the country represented a never-ending

war and an ungovernable collective of

tribes, justifying the adoption of a "light

footprint" strategy that allowed also for

shifting attention soon afterward to the

"heavy footprint" battlefield in Iraq.

As was later revealed, there was little

consensus on the objectives of the war

in Afghanistan in the White House and

the Pentagon. This reluctance to forge

coherent policy was given fuel by the

media commentaries that poured

pessimism or critiqued the military

campaign as a colonial conquest

disguised as a humanitarian mission.

But the actual history of prewar

Afghanistan should negate such

parsimonious pigeonholing.

Another image of the country shows a

country in the throes of gradual

progress and liberalizing change, at

least in big cities like Kabul, before the

period of war, defying the

predominantly conservative image one

might have of the country today. A longforgotten

idyllic peace in the country at

times beckoned bohemian hippies in

search of tucked-away corners in the

Hindu Kush.

Even now, some progress in

Afghanistan is undeniable as a result of

unprecedented international support,

seen in many forms.

Hundreds of TV channels and

newspapers, public and private

universities, thousands of schools

covering distant districts where

children strive to become literate (baasawaad,

a revered status in Afghan

culture), and a vibrant civil society

might unsettle assumptions that they

are a people irredeemably caught in the


The country does suffer from social

conservatism in many ways. But this

comes in as many shades as there are

cities, ethnicities, regions and sects in

the country. Only a small minority

might agree with the fundamentalist

politics espoused by the Taliban.

Welcoming Biden's withdrawal as

either the end of an effort to bring

democracy to an incorrigibly backward

country or as a deserved humbling of

the United States' imperialist conceit

ignores the perspective that takes

ordinary Afghans as a focal point, when

they might be in need of continued

international humanitarian support

after nearly five decades of living with

chaos and at a time when hope for

peace and stability under the country's

fledgling democracy might not be

entirely lost. America's post-2001 "war

on terror" is only a recent chapter in a

much longer war, the effects of which

Afghans have borne, and has been

carried out to fulfill a responsibility the

US turned away from in the early 1990s.

Biden's withdrawal decision should be

assessed at least partially based on

whether the US and its allies now will

meet this responsibility - however long

it might take.

Kambaiz Rafi is a PhD candidate in political

economy at University College London.

tueSDAY, mAY 4, 2021


Biden’s push against US

aid abortion ban

liz FoRD

Joe Biden is being urged to

clarify a longstanding US law

restricting overseas aid that

has been misinterpreted by

successive administrations

as an outright ban on

funding abortion for any

reason. As the US president

marked his first 100 days in

office on Friday, more than

140 human rights and global

health organisations,

including Human Rights



International US and the

Global Justice Center, signed

a letter asking him to

confirm that US aid can be

used for abortion care in

cases of rape, incest and

Glacial lakes threaten millions

with flooding

neelimA vAllAnGi

An increasing number of people are

being threatened by flooding caused

by glacial lakes bursting, scientists

have warned. As the planet warms

and glaciers recede, meltwater

accumulates and forms lakes, often as

a result of ice or moraine acting as a

dam. Since 1990, the volume, area

and number of these glacial lakes has

increased by 50% globally. When

these lakes become too full there is a

risk that they may breach or overflow,

releasing huge volumes of water and

causing catastrophic flooding.

Some lakes are more dangerous

than others, and more likely to result

in what are known as glacial lake

outburst floods (GLOFs). Stephan

Harrison, a professor of climate and

environmental change at Exeter

University, said: "The ones we're

concerned about are the very steep

mountain valleys in the Andes and in

the Himalayas, where you have

glaciers retreating up into their steep

valleys with lots of opportunity for

bits of mountainside to fall off into


The correlation between rising

temperatures and glacial lake

outburst floods is complicated. While

glacial lake formation and growth can

be attributed to anthropogenic

climate change, the triggers that can

cause disastrous flooding are often

down to non-climatic factors such as

moraine dam geometry, earthquakes,

ice or rock avalanches into the lake or

extreme rainfall.

Adam Emmer, a geographer at the

A glacial lake in the Himalayas.

when the woman's life is in


The letter calls on the

president to back a bill,

introduced in Congress last

year, to permanently repeal

the 1973 Helms amendment,

which has been wrongly

interpreted as a ban on US

money being used for

abortion in any


The letter says: "As

written, the law restricts the

use of US foreign assistance

for 'abortion as a method of

family planning'. This does

not include cases of rape,

incest, or life-endangerment;

however, lack of clarity

around the law has

prevented the use of funds in

these cases, even in

humanitarian emergency


The group want clear

guidance issued on Helms

and another misinterpreted

law, the Leahy amendment.

more than 140 rights groups call for repeal of 1973 Helms amendment.

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

"The US is the largest funder

of global health, including

family planning, and is the

only donor nation to single

out abortion in this way," the

letter says. "Many US

abortion restrictions,

including the Helms

amendment, have

consistently been in place for



University of Graz in Austria, said:

"You need two conditions to generate

a disaster - high magnitude GLOF,

and exposed population as well as

assets in its path. Population

expansion along the potential GLOF

paths and lack of building

development regulations may be even

more important driver of GLOF risk,

especially in developing countries."

One of the parameters that makes a

glacial lake potentially dangerous is

the size of downstream population

that could be exposed to flooding, and

that number can range from few

hundreds to hundreds of thousands,

as in the case of Huaraz city located

downstream of Lake Palcacocha in

Peru. However, the many factors at

play in an outburst flood make it

impossible to estimate how many

people might be at risk globally.

A 2016 study found there have been

at least 1,348 recorded glacial lake

outburst floods so far worldwide, of

which 24% had some societal impact.

More than 12,000 deaths have been

attributed to such floods. Central Asia

was the most affected region, followed

by South America, then the European

Alps, Iceland, Scandinavia, northwest

America and Greenland. The

authors identify South America and

central Asia as the regions most likely

to experience large numbers of

deaths, extreme damage to

infrastructure, flooding of farmlands

and the destruction of homes and


Of the world's tropical glaciers, 70%

are situated in Peruvian Andes, and

generations' worth of harm -

and they will continue to do

so if action is not taken. This

is a matter of utmost urgency

as bodily autonomy and

reproductive freedom are

increasingly under siege."

During his first 10 days in

office, Biden rescinded the

Mexico City Policy - known

as the "global gag rule" -

which stopped overseas

groups that received US aid

using money from other

sources to fund abortion

services. Kamala Harris, the

US vice-president, co-signed

a bill to repeal the policy

permanently - currently, it

can be reintroduced or

rescinded by each president.

Akila Radhakrishnan,

president of the Global

Justice Center, said the belief

that the Helms amendment

banned abortion under all

circumstances had become


Bethany Van Kampen, an

adviser at the signatory

reproductive health charity

Ipas, said the law "has to be

fully repealed" but that in the

meantime: "Why would we

not mitigate the harm of

Helms? That would save

lives immediately."

The Guttmacher Institute,

a pro-choice research

organisation, has estimated

that repealing the Helms

amendment could result in

19m fewer unsafe abortions

and 17,000 maternal deaths

a year.

they are melting rapidly, which has

led to several glacial disasters over

recent decades. The worst so far was

the 1941 glacial lake outburst flood

from Lake Palcacocha, which claimed

at least 1,800 lives.

ubsequently, Peru started working

on lake monitoring and

implementation of hazard mitigation

measures such as draining lakes,

strengthening unstable moraine

dams with concrete structures and

artificial spillways, and installing early

warning systems as early as the 1950s.

"Peruvian Cordillera Blanca [part of

the Andes mountain range] is, in fact,

the world's pioneer region of GLOF

mitigation works," said Emmer.

Despite this, "the biggest challenge is

yet to come - communicating the risk

and risk reduction measures to local

communities and making them trust

and accept it", he added.

Nepal, which is also highly

vulnerable to glacial floods, started

taking interest in GLOFs after two

serious floods in the 1980s. In 1999,

Nepal drained a rapidly expanding

lake called Tsho Rolpa near Mount

Everest to lower the lake levels, a first

in the region.

"GLOF has been recognised as a big

challenge for Nepal. In the past, there

also have been efforts made to reduce

the risk from individual lakes and two

lakes have already been intervened in

[around] the Everest region," said

Arun Shrestha, a climate change

specialist at the International Centre

for Integrated Mountain


Photo: Goncalo Diniz

Women and children wait to be seen at a health centre in Sana'a, Yemen.

DeveloPment DeSk

The British government is slashing its

funding to the UN population fund

(UNFPA) in a move described as

"devastating" for women and girls. The

agency confirmed on Wednesday that

the UK, its largest donor, is cutting

funding for contraceptives and

reproductive health supplies by 85%

this year - from £154m to £23m - and

cutting core funding from £20m to


UNFPA said the £130m that has been

withheld would have helped prevent a

quarter of a million child and maternal

deaths, 14.6 million unintended

pregnancies and 4.3 million unsafe


It is a huge blow to UNFPA, which

works in 150 countries. Britain is the

first donor government to back away

from its existing commitments. When

the US government stopped funding

the agency under Donald Trump,

commitments already made were


The Foreign, Commonwealth and

Children rescued trying to

cross Mediterranean

HAnnAH SummeRS

Fears are rising over the

numbers of lone children

risking their lives to reach

Europe after 114 were pulled

from the Mediterranean Sea

in one day this week. The

unaccompanied minors were

among 125 children rescued

off the Libyan coast on

Tuesday by the authorities,

aid agencies said.

"The number is incredibly

alarming - it is the most that

have been picked up in a

single day this year and

certainly one of the highest

we have ever recorded," said

Juliette Touma, Unicef's

regional chief of


"We are especially

concerned that in the coming

months as temperatures rise

and the weather improves we

will see increasing numbers of



unaccompanied minors

trying to reach the safety of

Europe for a better life."

At least 350 people,

including children, drowned

or have been reported

missing in the central

Mediterranean since the start

of the year. The majority of

youngsters picked up in the

latest rescue are likely to be

sent to overcrowded

detention centres in Libya,

leaving them stuck in a cycle

of abuse, humanitarian

agencies have warned.

An estimated 1,100 children

remain in centres lacking

clean water, basic hygiene

and education, and where

violence and exploitation is

rife. "Children should not be

arrested and detained as

migrants," said Touma. "We

have been following for many

years the situation and have

interviewed children who

have told us about the

appalling conditions.

"We are calling for the

Libyan authorities to release

Development Office (FCDO) currently

supports between 60 and 70% of

UNFPA's supplies budget. Last year, it

pledged £425m until 2025, the largest

financial partnership in the agency's


"UNFPA recognises the challenging

situation facing many donor

governments, yet deeply regrets the

decision of our longstanding partner

and advocate to step away from its

commitments at a time when

inequalities are deepening and

international solidarity is needed more

than ever," said its executive director

Natalia Kanem. "The truth is that when

funding stops, women and girls suffer,

especially the poor.

"These cuts will be devastating for

women and girls and their families

across the world." Gift Malunga,

UNFPA's Zambia representative, said

she was shocked by the news. "It's

really troubling," she said. "We're really

concerned that the most vulnerable

women and girls will suffer most.

"We're still trying to assess the impact

… but what is certain is it will have a

Child refugees and migrants picked up off the coast of libya.

all detained children under

their custody." Libya hosts

51,828 migrant children and

an estimated 14,572 refugee

children, according to Unicef.

Despite the dangers, and the

coronavirus pandemic, there

has been no decrease in the

numbers seeking to reach


Those working on rescue

missions in the central

Mediterranean describe the

stretch of water off Libya as

being at times like an open

morgue. Last week, 130

migrants drowned after their

flimsy dinghy capsized in a

storm, with waves in the area

off Tripoli reaching heights of

six metres.

The volunteer-run

Mediterranean hotline Alarm

Phone said it had repeatedly

relayed the GPS position of

the boat in distress to the

European and Libyan

authorities on 21 April but no

action was taken. The next

day dozens of bodies could be

seen in the sea.

The SOS Méditerranée's

ship, Ocean Viking - one of

the few remaining NGO boats

operating in the area - was

searching for survivors and

witnessed the aftermath.

Search and rescue

coordinator Luisa Albera

said: "We are heartbroken.

We think of the lives that have

been lost and of the families

who might never have

certainty as to what happened

to their loved ones.''

Behind the numbers are

people with stories of loss,

fear, desperation and hope for

a better life. Five days after

the tragedy the Ocean Viking

rescued 236 survivors



unaccompanied children

from Guinea who said they

had paid smugglers 2,500

Libyan dinars (£400) each to

make the perilous crossing.

For one, it was the third

time he had tried to reach

Europe after twice being

intercepted by the Libyan

coastguard. Ibrahim, 15, said

he had always dreamed of a

good life in Europe. "In

Guinea, my family doesn't

have any means. I was born

into poverty, I don't want to

die in poverty.

"I decided to travel to

Europe when I was a small

child. Of course I knew going

to Libya was dangerous but I

Photo: Yahya Arhab

UK funding cut may jeopardize

UN family planning

negative effect on the quality of life for

women and girls." UNFPA supplies

70% of contraceptives in Zambia,

where almost a third of girls will

become pregnant before they reach 18.

The cuts will also have a knock-on

effect on the work of NGOs provided

with contraceptives by the agency,

including the International Planned

Parenthood Federation and MSI

Reproductive Choices. In 2020, MSI

received about $8.5m (£6m) of

supplies from UNFPA.

The cuts are part of Britain's plans to

reduce the overseas aid budget from

0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income.

An FCDO spokesperson said: "The

seismic impact of the pandemic on the

UK economy has forced us to take

tough but necessary decisions,

including temporarily reducing the

overall amount we spend on aid.

"We will still spend more than £10bn

this year to fight poverty, tackle climate

change and improve global health. "We

are working with suppliers and

partners on what this means for

individual programmes."

Photo: Rex

didn't have a choice. I sold my

motorbike and hit the road."

The group said during their

time in Libya they worked in

construction for a pittance,

were beaten and insulted.

Risking their lives was

worth the sacrifice, they said,

if it meant the chance of a

better life. They had tried to

abandon their latest attempt

after seeing the poor

condition of the boat, but the

smugglers forced them to


They are fortunate it was

the NGO rescue boat and not

the Libyan authorities that

pulled them to safety. But

their futures remain

uncertain as they wait to find

out where they will

disembark. Unicef has urged

governments in the region to

find safer routes to sea

crossings and implement

child-sensitive arrival


The agency said: "We call

on authorities in Europe and

the central Mediterranean to

support and receive migrants

and refugees coming to their

shores and to strengthen

search and rescue


TuESDAY, MAY 4, 2021


Police have arrested four accused in connection with the attempted to murder of Noor Islam

Rubel, leader of the Jashore Chhatra Dal.

Photo : Shahid Joy

High yield, fair price of summer vegetables

make Narsingdi farmers happy

NARSINGDI : Narsingdi

farmers are happy getting

excellent production with

lucrative price of summer

vegetables in the local

markets during this


For the last couple of

weeks, farmers have been

much busy in harvesting

and transporting the

vegetables amid suitable

climate conditions.

Some varieties of

summer vegetables have

already appeared in local

markets with excellent

prices making farmers

happy in the region as they

become financially solvent

by selling their products.

In the current season, a

total of 68,200 hectares of

land have been brought

under the summer

vegetables cultivation in

six upazilas of the district,

said officials and experts of

the Department of

Agriculture Extension

(DAE), Narsingdi.

A number of poor

farmers in different

upazilas of the district

have also self-reliant

through vegetables

farming during the last

couple of years and

expressed their

satisfaction over excellent

output of summer

vegetables and fair prices.

Various kinds of

summer vegetables like

lady's finger, kakral, koida,

cucumber, patal, borboti,

pumkin, brinjal, dondul,

karala, basil, datashack,

arum, etc grow abundantly

in Shibpur, Belabo,

Raipura and Sadar

upazilas of the district.

Narsingdi district, a

vegetable surplus area,

usually supplies 30 to 40

percent of its total

production to the capital

and other districts of the

country after meeting the

local demand.


idol recovered

in Jamalpur

JAMALPUR : Members of

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)

in a drive arrested a man and

recovered a touchstone idol

from his possession in

Sarishabari upazila of the

district on Sunday evening.

The arrested was Md

Shamim Sheikh, 40, son of

Md Golam Mostafa of Hem

Nagar village under Gopalpur

upazila of Tangail district.

According to Jamalpur

RAB-14 sources, acting on a

tip-off, a team of the elite force

arrested Shamim Sheikh

while conducting a raid in

Gopalganj Bazar area under

Pingna union of Sarishabari

upazila and recovered the

touchstone idol from his


Litchi starts appearing in

Rajshahi markets

RAJSHAHI : With 11 more days left to

appear the Bangla month of Jyestha,

commonly known as "Modhumash",

the juicy fruit litchi has started

appearing in the local markets

including Rajshahi city and its adjacent

areas in limited scale amid the Covid-19


But due to its less quantity, the

present price is beyond the purchasing

capacity of the commoners.

The summer season will bring many

other juicy fruits like mango and

jackfruit naturally in the region by mid

of this month and next June

abundantly that will infuse dynamism

into the local economy like the previous


Seasonal traders set up makeshift

shops at different points in the city

especially Shaheb Bazar, Bindurmore,

Laxmipur Bazar, Sheroil Bus Terminal,

Railway Station and Court Bazaar with

the eye catching fruit.

In the advent of the season, every 100

litchi fruits are being sold at Taka 400

to 450 based on quality and size.

Sellers said the price is high as the

supply is scanty but it will be reduced to

some extent when the supply will be

enhanced within the next couple of


Trader Monir Hossain in Shaheb

Bazar area said many farmers are

harvesting immature litchi with the

hope of getting more money.

Dr Alim Uddin, principal scientific

officer of Fruit Research Station, told

BSS that only the local varieties of litchi

have started appearing in the markets

at present. But, the Bombay variety is

expected to come to the markets within

next week abundantly.

He said many people are getting

benefits by growing litchi as China-3

(hybrid), Bombay and Madrazi are the

most popular varieties in the region.

Litchi is grown well in Rajshahi and

Dinajpur districts but 'litchi of

Ishwardi' is very delicious and famous

across the country, Dr Alim added.

In addition to commercial farming,

high yielding China-3, Bombay and

Madrazi variety litchis are also being

cultivated on homestead lands.

He said commercial farming of some

of the fruits especially mango and litchi

are gradually increasing in the region.

Dr Alim, however, mentioned that

satisfactory flowering was not seen in

many of the trees in the region

including Ishwardi, which is famous for

litchi production, during the current

season that will create a negative

impact on total production.

Abdur Razzaque of Kapasia village

said all of his 30 litchi trees on one

bigha of land bloomed in scanty this

year and there were a low number of

'guti' (young litchi) on the branches.

Sharing his personal experience, he

said a five-year-old tree can produce

around 100 to 150 kilograms of litchi

which are equivalent to 2,000 to 6,000

pieces of fruits in number. Most of the

families at Bargachhi, Bagsara,

Charghat and Bagha have become

economically solvent by cultivating the

fruit. Deputy Director of the

Department of Agriculture Extension

(DAE) Abdul Awal said many people

became self-reliant by cultivating litchi

in recent years.

He said there are hundreds of litchi

orchards on more than 1,000 hectares

of land which produces huge yields.

This production meets the local

demand as well as being consigned to

other parts of the country every year,

Abdul Awal added.

Deputy Divisional Engineer of Water Development Board Santosh Karmaker inaugurated the Geo-bag

dumping work at Ghandakhali of Madhukhali upazila yesterday.

Photo : Shajahan Helal

On Monday, police arrested two persons in connection with attack on Jaldhaka upazila chairman.

Photo : Hafizur Rahman

700 people get humanitarian aid

in Sherpur

SHERPUR : A total of 700

unemployed, poor and distressed

people were given humanitarian

assistance from the Prime Minister's

Relief and Welfare Fund to mitigate

their sufferings in the wake of the

coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in

Sadar upazila of the district yesterday.

Jatiya Sangsad whip Md. Atiur

Rahman Atik distributed the

government assistance among them at

a function held at the District Shaheed

Muktijoddha Smriti Stadium ground in

Sadar upazila of the district this noon as

the chief guest with deputy

commissioner (DC) Anar Koli Mahbub

in the chair.

Superintendent of police Hasan

Nahid Chowdhury, additional deputy

commissioner (General) Waliul Hasan,

additional deputy commissioner

(Revenue) Muktadirul Islam, deputy

director of local government ATM Ziaul

Islam, Sadar upazila council chairman

Md. Rafiqul Islam and local dignitaries

were present on the occasion.

Whip Md. Atiur Rahman Atik 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.

Under the programme, each of the

700 unemployed, poor and distressed

people was given rice, pulses, oil,

potato, onion and salt including masks

Cheat held in


RANGPUR : Members of

Rapid Action Battalion

(RAB) arrested an active

member of an organised

gang of cheats from Master

Para area under Sadar

upazila of Nilphamari

district on Sunday


"An operational team of

the Nilphamari Crime

Prevention Specialised

Company of RAB-13

arrested the man from the

spot," said a press release

issued today by ASP and

Assistant Director (Media)

of RAB-13 Muhammad Al-

Amin Sarker.

The arrested is Md

Rafikul Islam, 50, of the


During primary

interrogation, the arrested

admitted that he in

connivance with his other

cohorts had been

cheating common people

through delivering fake

appointment letters for

giving jobs in Bangladesh

Army by realizing money

from them for a long time.

28,253 heal from Covid-19

as 250 recover afresh

in Rajshahi


recoveries of 250 more

coronavirus infected people

on Sunday, the total

number of cured patients

from the lethal virus

reached 28,253 in the

division, said an official


A total of 3,618 infected

patients are now

undergoing treatment at

designated hospitals here, it


Dr Habibul Ahsan

Talukder, divisional

director of Health, said the

death toll from the virus

rose to 483, including 294

in Bogura and 69 in

Rajshahi while one more

fatality reported afresh


Besides, all the positive

cases for Covid-19 have, so

far, been brought under

necessary treatment while

7,827 were kept in isolation

units of different hospitals



supervision. Of them, 6,606

have already been released.

Meanwhile, with the

detection of 89 new positive

cases, the daily infection

rate shows escalation

compared to the previous

day's figure of 68, raising

the total number of infected

patients to 31,958, Dr

Habibul said.

Of the new positive cases,

the highest 26 were

detected in Pabna, followed

by 20 in Bogura, 17 in

Rajshahi city, 15 in

Naogaon, eight in Sirajganj,

two in Natore and one in

Joypurhat districts.

With the newly detected

cases, the district-wise

break-up of the Covid-19

patients now stands at

7,849 in Rajshahi including

6,271 in its city, 963 in

Chapainawabganj, 2,020 in

Naogaon, 1,537 in Natore,

1,586 in Joypurhat, 11,887

in Bogura, 3,414 in Sirajganj

and 2,702 in Pabna.

On the other hand, 152

more people have been sent

to home and institutional

quarantine afresh while 202

others were released from

quarantine during the last

24 hours till 8 am today in

the division.

A total of 70,751 people

have, so far, been kept

under quarantine since

March 10 last year to

prevent community

transmission of the

coronavirus (COVID-19).

Of them, 68,795 have, by

now, been released as they

were given clearance

certificates after completing

their respective 14-day

quarantine period.

RAJSHAHI : Some 27 hand-to-mouth

people were given van carts aimed at

making them income generating to

mitigate their present economic

hardship being caused by the Covid-19


Ladies Organisation for Social

Welfare (LOFS) distributed the carts

under the project of income

generation for extreme poor people

with financial support of Bangladesh

NGO Foundation to mark the birth

centenary of Father of the Nation

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur


Ayen Uddin, MP, addressed the

distribution ceremony as the chief

27 labourers

get van cart

in Rajshahi

guest held at Paba Upazila Parishad

Complex premises yesterday.

Upazila Chairman Yeasin Ali, Vicechairmen

Wazed Ali and Arzia Begum,

Upazila Nirbahi Officer Shimul Akter

and Harian Union Parishad Chairman

Mofidul Islam also spoke with LOFS

Executive Director Shahnaz Parveen

in the chair.

Lawmaker Ayen Uddin urged the

recipients to improve their living and

livelihood condition through the best

uses of the carts.

He also said many other

development and volunteer

organisations and rich-class people

should come forward and work

together to help the less-income

people to overcome the pandemic


Ayen Uddin mentioned that the

present government under the

dynamic and visionary leadership of

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has

been working relentlessly to mitigate

the present crisis situation through

adopting diversified programmes.

Paddy collection campaign was inaugurated at Sreebordi of Sherpur yesterday.

Photo : Ramesh Sarker

TueSDAY, MAY 4, 2021


Apple's app store goes on trial

in threat to 'walled garden'

This undated file family photo shows British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Photo : AP

US denies Iran claims of prisoner

deal; UK plays it down

WASHINGTON : The United States

and Iran are in active talks over the

release of prisoners, a person familiar

with the discussions said Sunday as

Washington denied a report by Iranian

state-run television that deals had been

struck, reports UNB.

Prisoner swaps between the U.S. and

Iran are not uncommon and both

countries in recent years have routinely

sought the release of detainees. But any

movement between the two countries

is particularly sensitive as the Biden

administration looks to restart nuclear

talks. A 2015 atomic accord between

the nations included prisoner


The issue burst into public view with

a report in Iran of a deal for the Islamic

Republic to release U.S. and British

prisoners in exchange for Tehran

receiving billions of dollars. U.S.

officials immediately denied the report,

though a person with knowledge of the

discussions who was not authorized to

discuss them publicly said talks are

active, with messages passed between


It wasn't immediately clear if the

report represented a move by the hardliners

running the Iranian broadcaster

to disrupt negotiations with the West

amid talks in Vienna on Tehran's

tattered nuclear deal.

Even after an initial American denial,

an anchorwoman on Iranian state TV

still repeated the announcement.

"Some sources say four Iranian

prisoners are to be released and $7

billion are to be received by Iran in

exchange for releasing four American

spies," the anchorwoman said. She

described the claimed deal as coming

due to congressional pressure on

President Joe Biden and "his urgent

need to show progress made in the Iran


But Iran's ambassador to the United

Nations, Majid Takht-e Ravanchi, later

denied the report of the prisoner swap,

saying that it's "not confirmed,"

according to the Telegram channel of

state-run IRNA news agency.

"Iran has always emphasized the

comprehensive exchange of prisoners

between the two countries," he said,

without elaborating.

State TV did not identify the Iranians

that Tehran sought to be freed.

State Department spokesman Ned

Price immediately denied the Iranian

state TV report.

"Reports that a prisoner swap deal

has been reached are not true," Price

said. "As we have said, we always raise

the cases of Americans detained or

missing in Iran. We will not stop until

we are able to reunite them with their


Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain told

CBS' "Face the Nation" that

"unfortunately, that report is untrue.

There is no agreement to release these

four Americans."

"We're working very hard to get them

released," Klain said. "We raise this

with Iran and our interlocutors all the

time, but so far there's no agreement."

Tehran holds four known Americans

now in prison: Baquer and Siamak

Namazi, environmentalist Morad

Tahbaz and Iranian-American

businessman Emad Shargi. Iran long

has been accused of holding those with

Western ties prisoners to be later used

as bargaining chips in negotiations.

Despite the American denials, there

have been signs that a deal on prisoners

may be in the works based on Iranian

officials' remarks in recent weeks.

Indian leader's party takes electoral

hit amid virus surge

NEW DELHI : India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi

suffered a resounding defeat in a key state election on

Sunday, indicating his Hindu nationalist party's political

strength may be slipping as the country struggles to contain

an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases, reports UNB.

Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was unable to

dislodge West Bengal state's firebrand chief minister,

Mamata Banerjee, after a hard-fought campaign.

On Sunday night, Modi took to Twitter to congratulate rival

Banerjee's win. "The Centre will continue to extend all

possible support to the West Bengal Government to fulfill

people's aspirations and also to overcome the COVID-19

pandemic," he wrote.

His party also failed to win in two southern states, Tamil

Nadu and Kerala. But the BJP secured a second term in the

northeastern state of Assam and an alliance with regional

parties led it to victory in the union territory of Puducherry.

Even before the current virus surge, Modi's party faced

stiff challenges in these local legislative elections.

Following the disappointing results, Modi stands

weakened but faces no threats to staying on as prime

minister until his term ends in 2024.

"The BJP started running out of steam as the pandemic

spread," political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay said.

"The verdict in West Bengal state will definitely weaken

Modi's position," he added, but cautioned that the results

needed to be studied further to determine how much they

were a referendum on the BJP's handling of COVID-19.

In West Bengal, Banerjee's All India Trinamool Congress

picked up 213 seats out of 292, while the BJP secured 77,

according to the Election Commission of India. Two went to

other parties.

Supporters of the All India Trinamool Congress party -

many without masks and ignoring social distancing

guidelines - held victory celebrations and set off firecrackers

in West Bengal after initial results were released.

Health experts say the massive electoral rallies and

marches held as voters cast their ballots in March and April

are partly to blame for the subsequent spike in COVID-19

infections. Public anger for allowing the elections to go

forward despite the risk has been directed at both Modi's

government and the Election Commission.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi suffered a resounding defeat in a key state election on

Sunday, indicating his Hindu nationalist party's political strength may be slipping as the country

struggles to contain an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases.

Photo : AP


Apple faces one of its most serious

legal threats in recent years: A trial

that threatens to upend its iron

control over its app store, which

brings in billions of dollars each year

while feeding more than 1.6 billion

iPhones, iPads, and other devices.

The federal court case is being brought

by Epic Games, maker of the popular

video game Fortnite. Epic wants to

topple the so-called "walled garden" of

the app store, which Apple started

building 13 years ago as part of a

strategy masterminded by co-founder

Steve Jobs, reports UNB.

Epic charges that Apple has

transformed a once-tiny digital

storefront into an illegal monopoly

that squeezes mobile apps for a

significant slice of their earnings.

Apple takes a commission of 15% to

30% on purchases made within apps,

including everything from digital

items in games to subscriptions. Apple

denies Epic's claims.

Apple's highly successful formula has

helped turn the iPhone maker into

one of the world's most profitable

companies, one with a market value

that now tops $2.2 trillion.

Privately held Epic is puny by

comparison, with an estimated

market value of $30 billion. Its

aspirations to get bigger hinge in part

on its plan to offer an alternative app

store on the iPhone. The North

Carolina company also wants to break

free of Apple's commissions. Epic says

it forked over hundreds of millions of

dollars to Apple before it expelled

Fortnite from its app store last August,

after Epic added a payment system

that bypassed Apple.

Epic then sued Apple, prompting a

courtroom drama that could shed new

light on Apple's management of its

app store. Both Apple CEO Tim Cook

and Epic CEO Tim Sweeney will

testify in a Oakland, California federal

courtroom that will be set up to allow

for social distancing and will require

masks at all times.

Neither side wanted a jury trial,

leaving the decision to U.S. District

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who

already seems to know her ruling will

probably be appealed, given the stakes

in the case.

Much of the evidence will revolve

around arcane but crucial arguments

about market definitions.

Epic contends the iPhone has become

so ingrained in society that the device

and its ecosystem have turned into a

monopoly Apple can exploit to

unfairly enrich itself and thwart


Apple claims it faces significant

competition from various alternatives

to video games on iPhones. For

instance, it points out that about 2

billion other smartphones don't run

iPhone software or work with its app

store - primarily those relying on

Google's Android system. Epic has

filed a separate case against Google,

accusing it of illegally gouging apps

through its own app store for Android


Apple will also depict Epic as a

desperate company hungry for

sources of revenue beyond the aging

Fortnite. It claims Epic merely wants

to freeload off an iPhone ecosystem in

which Apple has invested more than

$100 billion over the past 15 years.

Estimates of Apple's app store

revenue range from $15 billion to $18

billion annually. Apple disputes those

estimates, although it hasn't publicly

disclosed its own figures. Instead, it

has emphasized that it doesn't collect

a cent from 85% of the apps in its

store. The commissions it pockets,

Apple says, are a reasonable way for

the company to recoup its investment

while financing an app review process

it calls essential to preserving the

security of apps and their users. About

40% of the roughly 100,000 apps

submitted for review each week are

rejected for some sort of problem,

according to Kyle Andeer, Apple's

chief compliance officer.

Epic will try to prove that Apple uses

the security issue to disguise its true

motivation - maintaining a monopoly

that wrings more profits from app

makers who can't afford not to be

available on the iPhone.

But the smaller company may face an

uphill battle. Last fall, the judge

expressed some skepticism in court

before denying Epic's request to

reinstate Fortnite on Apple's app store

pending the outcome of the trial. At

that time, Gonzalez Rogers asserted

that Epic's claims were "at the frontier

edges of antitrust law."

The trial is expected to last most of

May, with a decision to come in the

ensuing weeks.

On Monday, Apple faces one of its most serious legal threats in recent years: A trial that threatens to

upend its iron control over its app store, which brings in billions of dollars each year while feeding

more than 1.6 billion iPhones, iPads, and other devices.

Photo : AP

Russia lags behind others in

its COVID-19 vaccination drive

MOSCOW : While at the Park House

shopping mall in northern Moscow,

Vladimir Makarov saw it was offering the

coronavirus vaccine to customers, so he

asked how long it would take.

"It turned out it's simple here - 10

minutes," he said of his experience last


But Makarov, like many Muscovites, still

decided to put off getting the Sputnik V shot.

Russia boasted last year of being first in the

world to authorize a coronavirus vaccine, but

it now finds itself lagging in getting its

population immunized. That has cast doubt

on whether authorities will reach their

ambitious goal of vaccinating more than 30

million of country's 146 million people by

mid-June and nearly 69 million by August.

The vaccine reluctance comes as shots are

readily available in the capital to anyone 18

or older at more than 200 state and private

clinics, shopping malls, food courts,

hospitals - even a theater.

As of mid-April, over 1 million of Moscow's

12.7 million residents, or about 8%, have

received at least one shot, even though the

campaign began in December.

That percentage is similar for Russia as a

whole. Through April 27, only 12.1 million

people have gotten at least one shot and only

7.7 million, or 5%, have been fully

vaccinated. That puts Russia far behind the

U.S., where 43% have gotten at least one

shot, and the European Union with nearly


Data analyst Alexander Dragan, who

tracks vaccinations across Russia, said last

week the country was giving shots to

200,000-205,000 people a day. In order to

hit the mid-June target, it needs to be nearly

double that.

"We need to start vaccinating 370,000

people a day, like, beginning tomorrow,"

Dragan told The Associated Press.

To boost demand, Moscow officials began

offering coupons worth 1,000 rubles ($13) to

those over 60 who get vaccinated - not a

small sum for those receiving monthly

pensions of about 20,000 rubles ($260).

Still, it hasn't generated much enthusiasm.

Some elderly Muscovites told AP it was

difficult to register online for the coupons or

find grocery stores that accepted them.

Other regions also are offering incentives.

Authorities in Chukotka, across the Bering

Strait from Alaska, promised seniors 2,000

rubles for getting vaccinated, while the

neighboring Magadan region offered 1,000

rubles. A theater in St. Petersburg offered

discounted tickets for those presenting a

vaccination certificate.

Russia's lagging vaccination rates hinge on

several factors, including supply. Russian

drug makers have been slow to ramp up

mass production, and there were shortages

in March in many regions.

So far, only 28 million two-dose sets of all

three vaccines available in Russia have been

produced, with Sputnik V accounting for

most of them, and only 17.4 million have

been released into circulation after

undergoing quality control.

Waiting lists for the shot remain long in

places. In the Sverdlovsk region, the fifth

most-populous in Russia, 178,000 people

were on a wait list by mid-April, regional

Deputy Health Minister Yekaterina Yutyaeva

told AP.

On April 28, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry

Peskov said there are enough vaccines

available in Russia, adding that demand was

the defining factor in the country's

vaccination rate.

Another factor in Russians' reluctance over

Sputnik V was the fact that it was rolled out

even as large-scale testing to ensure its safety

and efficacy was still ongoing. But a study

published in February in the British medical

journal The Lancet said the vaccine appeared

safe and highly effective against COVID-19,

according to a trial involving about 20,000

people in Russia.

3 killed, 27

hospitalized after

boat capsizes off

San Diego

SAN DIEGO : Three people

were killed and more than

two dozen others were

hospitalized Sunday after a

boat capsized and broke

apart in rough water just off

the San Diego coast during a

suspected human smuggling

operation, authorities said,

reports UNB. Lifeguards,

the U.S. Coast Guard and

other agencies responded

around 10 a.m. following

reports of an overturned

vessel in the waves near the

rugged peninsula of Point

Loma, according to the San

Diego Fire-Rescue


The original call was for a

handful of people overboard

but as rescuers arrived in

boats and jet skis they

quickly realized "it was going

to be a bigger situation with

more people," said San

Diego Lifeguard Services Lt.

Rick Romero.

"There are people in the

water, drowning, getting

sucked out the rip current

there," he said.

Seven people were pulled

from the waves, including

three who drowned, said

Romero. One person was

rescued from a cliff and 22

others managed to make it

to shore on their own, he


"Once we arrived on scene,

the boat had basically been

broken apart," Romero said.

"Conditions were pretty

rough: 5 to 6 feet of surf,

windy, cold."

TuESDAY, MAY 4, 2021


A discussion meeting with the Divisional Heads of the Head Office has been held at the board room

of Mercantile Bank Limited maintaining health protocols yesterday (02 May, 2021, Sunday).

Morshed Alam, MP who has been re-elected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors chaired the

meeting. Bank's chairman urged the executives and officers to continue all kinds of banking services

with more effort and excellence facing Covid 19 Pandemic cautiously. He specially emphasized on

enriching the quality and purview of MBL credit card and mobile financial services 'Mycash' with

wide range of publicity as online purchasing reshaped by the corona pandemic reality. Bank's chairman

instructed the Divisional Heads to reduce the number of 'Loss Branches' and emphasize on

recovery of NPL to achieve expected annual profit target. He also advised the HoDs to develop customer

relations by improving all kinds of banking services. Md. Quamrul Islam Chowdhury,

Managing Director & CEO of the bank along with the senior management and HoDs congratulated

the chairman for being re-elected. Bank's CEO addressed in his speech that all executives and officers

should be united to uphold Mercantile Bank as the top ranking bank with the leadership of the

most efficient and experienced chairman.

Photo : Courtesy

Tk 2k off on pre-book of Walton’s

new mid range phone

Bangladeshi handset maker

Walton has announced the

launching of its new

smartphone 'Primo N5' in

the tech market. The mid

range device comes with

attractive features like large

display, powerful battery,

RAM-ROM and triple back

camera. Customers are

given BDT 2,000 discount

on pre-book of the phone, a

press release said.

Asifur Rahman Khan,

head of sales at Walton

Cellular Phones, said the

regular price of the phone is

BDT 12,499. However, it

would cost BDT 10,499 only

for pre-bookers who can

place the order from

Walton's online shop E-



Walton plaza or any Walton

Mobile brand and retail

outlet across the country.

Walton Cellular Phone

Marketing In-charge

Habibur Rahman Tuhin

said that the attractively

designed phone is coming

with four gorgeous colors,

namely scarlet red, black

pearl, space blue and teal

green. The smartphone

sports a 6.82-inch 20.9 ratio

V-Drop display with 1600 by

720 pixels HD Plus screen

resolution. The capacitive

touch screen smartphone

with IPS Incell technology

also has dust and scratch

resistant 2.5D curved glass.

As a result, customers will

have a unique experience

using different applications

and watching videos,

playing games, reading

books or browsing the


The phone runs on

Android 11 operating system

which will ensure higher

speed and performance. It

uses a 2.0 GHz 12nm Helio

G25 SoC octa-core processor

with 4 GB RAM and Power

VR GE8320 graphics. The

internal memory of the

phone is 64 GB that can be

expandable up to 256 GB via

micro SD card.

The device comes with

f/2.0 aperture AI triple

camera with PDAF

technology and LED flash.

Its 13-megapixel main

camera with Sony sensor

and 5P lens will ensure

sharp and colorful photos.

The smartphone has

another 5MP wide angle

camera and 2MP depth

sensing senor. The device

sports another f/2.2

aperture 13MP selfie camera

with PDAF technology and

5P lens. It has many

interesting features

including AI scene

recognition, normal mode,

beauty, face cute, Bokeh,

PRO mode (exposure, white

balance, ISO), GIF,

panorama, filter mode, slow

motion, time lapse,

watermark etc.

The phone has a

5500mAh lithium polymer

battery for long time power

backup. Connectivity

options include Wi-Fi,

bluetooth version 5.0, LAN

hotspot, OTA and OTG.

Sensors include proximity,

light, accelerometer (3D),

fingerprint scanner, GPS, A-

GPS navigation etc.

Other features include face

unlock, dual 4G SIM slot

with VoLTE support,

separate slot for memory

card, FM radio with

recording facility, Full HD

video recording and

playback, motion gesture,

smart wake up and screen

recorder etc.

Customers will get 30 days

instant replacement facility

along with one-year service

warranty for the 'Made in

Bangladesh' smartphone.

Walton AC registers 450pc sales

growth in Jan-April'21

The Bangladeshi electronics

giant Walton has registered a

sharp growth of 450 percent

in the sales of its wide ranges

of air conditioner (AC) in the

January to April period of this

year compared to the

corresponding period of the

previous year's sales, says a

press relese.

Walton AC's Chief

Executive Officer Md. Tanvir

Rahman said, "Considering

the coronavirus pandemic

situation, this year Walton

introduced some new models

of inverter technology's ACs

with dual defender, ionizer,

UV (Ultra Violet) care features

to keep room free from any

germs of virus or bacteria. In

addition, the country's most

power saving supersaver

model as well as voice

command featured AC were

also released to the domestic

market. These new model of

Walton ACs received huge

responses from the

customers. Besides, they have

been giving sure cash back up

to 200 percent, free home

delivery and installation

facilities to the buyers of AC

purchases. As a result, this

year the sales of Walton AC

were swelled up sharply.

During the January to April

period of this year, the sales of

Walton AC were increased by

450 per cent over the same

period last year's sales."

Mentionable, Walton AC

has been conducting 'Digital

Campaign Season 10' across

the country. To encourage the

customers' spontaneous

participation in this

campaign, the local brand

announced some special

customers' benefits like 200

percent cash back, free home

delivery and AC installation

facility. Apart from these

benefits, customers are also

enjoying up to 40 percent

discounts on the purchase of

some models of Walton AC,

EMI facility up to 1 year with

zero-interest as well as easy

installment facility up to 36


During the nationwide

ongoing lockdown, Walton

ACs are being delivered to the

customer's home by the

skilled officers maintaining

proper health safety rules as

soon as the customers call

from home. By selecting the

desired Walton AC from the

waltonbd.com webpage, the

buyers can buy the Walton AC

through making phone call to

the distributor directly

through the option of 'Buy

Now from distributor.'

Besides, customers can make

online order for his/her

desired Walton AC through

the 'Buy Now from eplaza'


Walton AC's Chief

Operating Officer Engineer

Sandwip Biswas said, this

year Walton released

European designed new

models of 1 ton, 1.5 ton and 2

ton spit type AC with the latest

features in the domestic

market. Among the new

models of AC, inverter

technology's Inverna AC is the

most energy efficient AC in

the local market. One ton

Inverna AC in eco-mode

consumes electricity worth of

only Tk 2.8 per hour that was

certified by Bangladesh

University of Engineering and

Technology (BUET).

MetLife Foundation donates 2 Crore Taka

to help Bangladesh fight coronavirus

With the aim of providing

healthcare and financial

support to financially

vulnerable people impacted by

COVID-19 in Bangladesh,

MetLife Foundation is

donating 2 Crore Taka to

SAJIDA Foundation, a nonprofit

organization which has

been operating since 1993 with

a vision to ensure health,

happiness and dignity for the

people of the country.

This is a new donation from

MetLife Foundation in

response to the urgent COVID-

19 situation in the country.

ZTE implements Super DSS

for 5G transition

ZTE introduces dynamic

spectrum sharing (DSS)

solution for transition of fifth

generation network without

any disruption in existing

second, third and fourth

generation services, a press

release said.



telecommunication company

implemented the service titled

'ZTE's SuperDSS,' in South

Africa which is first of its kind

in the region, said a news

release of ZTE Bangladesh.

Leveraging tri-signal radio

access technology, the

SuperDSS field trial was

implemented on 2.1 gigahertz

spectrum within 15-

megahertz bandwidth,

compared with the current

static spectrum allocation

solution of third and fourth

generation's network.

According to the trial

results, the SuperDSS solution

allowed the fast introduction

of 5G on the 2.1 ghz spectrum,

and simultaneously increased

the 4G single user average

throughput by 39.85 percent,

without negatively affecting

the existing 3G and 4G major

Samsung Bangladesh is

extending the warranty of

those products expiring

during the period of

lockdown, which started

from April 5, 2021. The

warranty on all Samsung

products will be extended

for additional 14 days,

starting from the date the

lockdown ends.

The government enforced

a lockdown to decrease the

surge of new COVID-19

infections and deaths

nationwide. Due to the

movement restrictions

during the lockdown

customers are unable to

avail warranty services.

Thus, to ease the customers'

problems and create more

convenience in people's

lifestyles, the company has

again extended its warranty

With this funding, SAJIDA

Foundation, through its

Keraniganj Hospital, will be

able to increase the capacity to

provide free of charge COVID-

19 medical treatment,

including ICU support to a

large number of financially

vulnerable and low-income

patients. SAJIDA Foundation's

Keraniganj Hospital contains

100 general beds and has

dedicated 6 ICUs and 22 semicritical

beds for COVID-19


The high treatment cost of

COVID-19 makes it very

KPIs and user experiences.

For a long time, ZTE has

been dedicated to

investigating the feasibility of

spectrum sharing solutions at

various stages of network

period. The countdown for

the 14 days warranty

extension will start on the

date the lockdown ends.

difficult for the low-income

families to manage the medical

expenses. The funding will

enable SAJIDA Foundation to

also provide wellbeing support

to recovered patients and

continue providing the free of

charge medical treatment for a

longer period.

A portion of the fund will also

be utilized to provide financial

support to a number of

vulnerable families whose sole

earning members have passed

away due to COVID-19.

"We are very proud of the

efforts of MetLife Foundation

development. ZTE's

SuperDSS is a designoriented

5G evolution

networking solution.

It helps operators build a

lean multi-mode and multiservice

network that supports

5G safeguarding existing


The DSS among 3G to 5G

On this occasion,

Hwansung Woo, Managing

Director, Samsung

Bangladesh, said, "The

in mitigating the impacts of the

ongoing COVID-19 situation in

Bangladesh," said Ala Ahmad,

MetLife Bangladesh General

Manager."We stand with our

fellow citizens at this time of

need and will do our very best

to give necessary assistance to

the health and wellbeing needs

of the people affected by this


In addition to MetLife

Foundation's donation,

MetLife employees globally will

be able to donate to relief efforts

and have their contributions

matched by the Foundation.

network helps maximize

spectrum utilization in the

network evolution process,

with more bandwidth being

allocated for LTE and NR as

UMTS bandwidth changes on

demand apart from traditional

voice service.

Samsung brings an extension of warranty on all

products to heighten customer's convenience

RAJSHAHI : After meeting up the local

demands, Rajshahi and

Chapainawabganj districts, nationwide

famous for mango production, have set

the target to export 300 tonnes of mango

to different European and Middle East

countries during the forthcoming

harvesting season.

To achieve the target, mangoes are

being fruit bagged after the best use of

modern technologies in the two districts

at present. Apart from this, the best

quality mangoes are being produced for

export to foreign countries, reports BSS.

Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman

Liton revealed this while inaugurating

the fruit bagging programme for

producing safe and pest-free mango in a

five-bigha mango-orchard.

President of Rajshahi Agro Food

Producer Society Anwarul Haque and

Vice-president Dr Abdul Khaleque were

present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Mayor Liton

said mangoes produced in Rajshahi are

being exported to various European and

many other countries every year, which

is good news for Rajshahi people.

All stakeholders including farmers

must have to produce good quality

mangoes maintaining its highest value, if

they want to continue export of mangoes

to Europe's chain shops.

"We are trying to establish agro-based

industries here strengthening the

economic condition through expanding

trade and business," he added.

In his remarks, Anwarul Haque said

mango farming in the fruit-bagging

method has gradually been rising here

for the last couple of years. If the mango

is cultivated through this method there is

country along with the

residents is battling with the

surge of COVID-19 cases.

The second wave of

coronavirus is causing havoc

nationwide. People are

already worried about

numerous things in their

lives, and we didn't want the

warranty expiration to add

up to the pile of problems.

Thus, to ease their problems

slightly and create more

convenience in their lives,

we are pleased to extend the

products' warranty for 14

days. We hope our

customers will benefit from

the initiative and advise

wholeheartedly to everyone

to stay home and stay safe."

Last year, Samsung had

extended its warranty period

on all products during the

General Holiday.

Rajshahi growers likely to export

300 tonnes mango

no need of use of pesticide to prevent

fruit-fly. As a result, mango remained in

poison-free condition.

He said many farmers and value chain

actors got the necessary training on best

agricultural practices and with that, they

started exploring the high-value export


Haque added that the highest quantity

of mango had been exported in 2016.

Mango export is almost double

profitable than that of selling in local

markets. But additional cost and care is

needed for preparing the exportable

mango as it requires use of modern


Demands are high for mangoes

produced through fruit bagging due to

their purity from adulterants as it is a

modern and environment-friendly


TueSDAY, MAY 4, 2021


Teammates applaud as Sri Lanka's Praveen Jayawickrama, left, celebrates

after taking five wickets during the third day of the second cricket

Test match against Bangladesh in Pallekele, Sri Lanka on May 01,

2021. Photo : Outlook

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh

by 209-run in 2nd Test

DHAKA : Bangladesh

conceded the two-match

series by 1-0 after a

humiliating 209-run defeat

at the hands of Sri Lanka in

the second and final Test at

Pallekele International

Cricket Stadium in Kandy on


The first Test at the same

stadium ended in a draw, the

only consolation for the

Tigers, who now lost 92

matches out of 123 they

played since their elevation

to the elite level of cricket in

2000. Of the 92 defeats, 43

came by innings and they

won just 14 matches, while

the rest of the 17 matches

were drawn.

Bangladesh in fact could

have lost this match by

innings margin had Sri

Lanka enforced follow-on

after taking a 243 runs in the

first innings.

The visitors in fact was

bowled out for 227 runs in

their second innings, tasting

a big defeat in a pitch where

though there was

considerable amount of turn

and bounce, this was by no

means a rage turner. But

their mindless batting dug

their own graveyards.

Sri Lanka left arm-spinner

Praveen Jayawickrama was

the wrecker-in-chief,

claiming 11 wickets on

debut. His bowling figure

was the best by a debutant

Sri Lankan bowler and he

became only 16 bowlers to

take more than 10 wickets

on debut.

Following his 6-92 in the

first innings, Jayawickrama

ended with 5-86 in the

second innings as

Bangladesh was wrapped up

for 227 after over an hour,

resuming the fifth day on


Liton Das and Mehidy

Hasan Miraz were in the

crease with Bangladesh

needing 260 runs still for an

improbable victory as they

were chasing 437-run target.

The highest successful chase

in Test cricket history is 418,

achieved by West Indies

against Australia.

Jayawickrama broke

through immediately,

claiming the wickets of

Liton after he added just 3

to his overnight 14.

Jayawickrama completed

his 10-for by getting the

better of Miraz, who dared

to play a lap-sweep. He

made 39 off 86, hitting four


Off-spinner Ramesh

Mendis, who played a

perfect foil to Jayawickrama

had figures of 4-103 while

the rest of the wicket went to

Dhananjaya de Silva who

dismissed Taijul Islam for 2.

Riding on century form

opener Lahiru Thirimanne

(140) and skipper Dimuth

Karunaratne (118), Sri

Lanka declared their first

innings on 493-7.

Bangladesh then was

bundled out for 251, as

Jayawickrama dismantled

them with 6-92, the best

figure by a Lankan bowler in

an innings on debut. The

visitors were still short of 43

runs to avoid the follow-on

but Sri Lanka chose to bat


This time again

Karunaratne led the way

with 66 runs as the hosts

declared the second innings

on 194-9, setting an

imposing 437-run target for

Bangladesh to win the game.

Bangladesh however came

up with dismal batting show

with most of the batsmen

playing dubious shot after

getting set to sink the team.

The Tigers will reach

Bangladesh tomorrow


Cristiano Ronaldo.

Photo : Internet

Ronaldo brace rescues dethroned

Juve against Udinese

MILAN : Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice

late to rescue a 2-1 win for Juventus at

Udinese on Sunday hours after the Turin

giants lost their Serie A crown to Inter


Inter broke Juve's nine-year streak of

domestic dominance by clinching their 19th

'Scudetto' after nearest rivals Atalanta drew

1-1 at Sassuolo to leave the 'Nerazzurri' 13

points clear with four games remaining,

reports BSS.

Antonio Conte's side had needed just one

point to take the title regardless of how

Atalanta fared after their 2-0 win at Crotone

on Saturday, and have denied Juve a 10th

consecutive league triumph.

Juve's win moves them up to third as they

target a Champions League spot, but are

equal on 69 points with second-placed

Atalanta and AC Milan in fourth.

Napoli are two points behind in fifth after

a 1-1 draw against Cagliari while Lazio are

still in the running, five points off a top-four

finish with a game in hand after an exciting

4-3 win over Genoa.

"The nine years are over, we will no longer

have the Scudetto attached to the shirt, but

we will start again with the same desire as

before," said Juve coach Andrea Pirlo.

"We earned this win with effort and pride,

and it's a very important one given the other

results this afternoon.

"We lost points against teams that we

should have beaten, sometimes naively, we

let Inter escape and now we are focused on

reaching the Champions League."

Juventus had trailed for most of the

game in Udine after Nahuel Molina put

Udinese ahead in the 10th minute, blasting

in off a quickly taken Rodrigo De Paul freekick

while Juventus players were still


GD-777/21 (10 x 5)

TUesDAY, MAY 4, 2021


SI Tutul to donated

his body after death


A B M Shahidul Islam, known as

S.I. Tutul, is a Bangladeshi

singer and musician who is the

lead singer and lead guitarist of

the Dhrubotara Band.

This musician is associated

with humanitarian work as well

as music. Now, the singer has

donated his body after death.

SI Tutul donated a

posthumous body to America.

"I want to dedicate my life to

human welfare. After my

death, burial will be done with

an unnecessary part of the

body so that can be a memoir

to my family and children," he


"I donated my body," he

added. "If I die in America, they

will take away all the necessary

parts of my body, starting from

my eyes. And if I die in

Bangladesh, I am looking for

ways to do the same."

Tutul said there are so many

things in people's desire, they

even get that. "I felt the taste of

death. May the sins of my past

life be forgiven. I urge to

Almighty Allah and people to

forgive me," he added.

Actor Alamgir tests Covid-19

positive again


Alamgir, the National Award

winning actor has tested positive

for Covid-19 or Coronavirus again.

Currently, he is taking

treatment in a Dhaka hospital. His

physical condition has improved

but he is tested positive again,

Zayed Khan, general secretary of

Bangladesh Film Artists

Association confirmed on

Saturday (May 1).

Zayed Khan said, "We are being

informed regularly. He is okay

now but his second test report

came positive. That's why he will

have to stay hospital for few more

days." Earlier, on April 20,

legendary singer Runa Laila, also

the wife of Alamgir said that the

actor was tested positive for


Bon on 4 April, 1950, Alamgir

has been one of the most

acclaimed film actors of

Bangladesh. He won Bangladesh

National Film Award for Best

Actor and Best Supporting Actor

for a record nine times.



Eid drama


Randhir Kapoor

out of ICU, doing

much better

Veteran actor Randhir Kapoor,

who is undergoing treatment for

COVID-19 at a hospital here, on

Sunday said he has been moved

out of the Intensive Care Unit


The 74-year-old actor was

admitted at the Kokilaben

Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

after he tested positive for the

novel coronavirus earlier this


"I am doing much better. I was

there in the ICU for a day and

then they moved me out because

I didn't have any breathlessness

or needed oxygen. I had a high

temperature. I am better now,"

Randhir Kapoor told PTI.

The actor informed he will be

discharged soon.

"I am anxious to get out. My

children told me to get into the

hospital (given the COVID-19

scenario)," he added.

Randhir Kapoor, who is the

eldest son of actor-filmmaker

Raj Kapoor, lost his younger

brothers Rishi Kapoor (67) and

Rajiv Kapoor (58), within a span

of one year.

After working as a child in the

1950s films Shree 420 and Do

Ustad, Randhir Kapoor acted as

a leading hero in his own

directorial debut film Kal Aaj

Aur Kal in 1971.

He also featured in films like

Jeet, Jawani Diwani, Lafange,

Raampur Ka Lakshman, Haath

Ki Safai, among others.

He later directed two more

films - Dharam Karam, featuring

father Raj Kapoor, Rekha, Dara

Singh and 1991 blockbuster

romantic drama "Henna",

starring Rishi Kapoor.

Besides backing Henna,

Randhir Kapoor has also

produced films like Prem Granth

and Aa Ab Laut Chalen, which

also happens to be the last movie

under the family banner of R K


His recent big screen

performances include Housefull,

Housefull 2, and Super Nani.

Randhir Kapoor married actor

Babita but they are now

separated. The couple has two

daughters - Karisma Kapoor and

Kareena Kapoor Khan.

Source: Indian Express


Mizanur Rahman Aryan is a popular

television director and scriptwriter. He

has directed more than 70 Dramas,

telefilms and serial since 2012. Aryan is

very selective in the way of making drama

and telefilm. His first hit drama 'Boro

Chele' which was released in 2017, has

crossed 29 million views on YouTube and

it is most viewed Bangladeshi telefilm in


Recently, the talented director has made

an Eid special drama titled 'Takey

Bhalobasha Bole'. The shooting of the

drama took place at different locations in

the capital before the start of ongoing


Written by Zobayed Ahsan, the

audience-admired actors Afran Nisho and

Tanjin Tisha will be seen acting in the

single-episode play. About the drama,

Aryan said, "The drama has a unique

storyline. The story is about an interesting

journey for two people. It's not just a

romantic story. It shows friendship is big

than love. The audience can feel that while

watching." "Afran Nisho and Tanjin Tisha

are two popular artistes in this time. They

have tried their level best to portray their

characters according to the script. The

drama 'Take Bhalobasha Bole' is an Eid

gift to the audience. I hope the viewers will

enjoy it," Aryan added.

'Take Bhalobasha Bole' will be released

on CMV's YouTube channel on the

occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival.

Earlier, Nisho and Tisha have paired up

in Mizanur Rahman Aryan-directed plays

'Dekha Hobe Ki?', and 'Shesh Ki

Hoyechilo Shotti'.

Without Remorse review: Michael B

Jordan can't save flimsy franchise-starter

A lot of people watched Sicario, but no one was more impressed by

the film than director Stefano Sollima, who has since dedicated his

career to mimicking it. Not only did Sollima direct the actual sequel -

Sicario: Day of the Soldado - but he also brought the same, spare style

to his terrific crime series ZeroZeroZero, and now, to Amazon's

Without Remorse.

But what worked marvellously in the past has proven to be the

absolute worst approach this time around. Sollima's minimalist style

simply doesn't translate to Tom Clancy's maximalist world - the

Ryanverse. He has dealt with themes of institutional corruption

before, but he puts that on the back burner in Without Remorse, a

film that is stitched together by a series of action set pieces with the

barest hints of a plot.

As an action director, his bare-bones style leaves a lot to be desired.

In many ways, Sollima represents the utopian ideal of what many,

including myself, often desire of mainstream Hollywood -

filmmaking that refuses to conform to familiar old tricks. But there's

a reason why Nicolas Winding Refn never actually directed a James

Bond film, despite having come very close at one point - as tantalising

as the prospect might sound, finding a common ground between his

arthouse sensibilities and Bond's bombast would have been be too

wide a chasm to cross.

The closest analogy I can think of also involves Refn, and his 2011

cult classic Drive. Marketed as an action-heist film in the vein of the

Fast & Furious franchise, the film earned a 'C-' CinemaScore from

audiences, despite glowing critical reviews. An angry woman actually

filed a lawsuit against the distributor for the 'misleading' trailer that

they cut.

Source: Hindustan Times

H o R o s c o p e


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

emotional intensity inside you today that's

squirming to find a way out, Aries. Sudden

outbursts are likely, so take care to hold

your temper in check. Surround yourself with good

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

clingy. Seek friends who are thoughtful listeners, not

permanent crutches. They may be feeling the same strong

tension and don't need an extra burden.


(April 21 - May 21) : Today may have

some crazy emotional ups and downs,

Taurus. There seems to be an intense

cloud seeping into every part of your day.

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

you. Bursts of positive energy will pop out of nowhere

to remind you of your more important purpose. Try

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

that you fail to spot opportunities that arise.


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

with many exciting surprises for you, Gemini.

Approach it with gratitude and you will be

amazed at the number of things that just

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

rewarded in unexpected ways. Old friends are likely to show

up. Open yourself up to conversations. Act spontaneously

and with a great deal of passion.


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

trend operating in your life, Cancer. It's

asking you to break the rules and enter a

new realm - a new mindset or way of

living. Today that trend comes into focus, as emotional

outbursts call attention to the changes. Your heart may

want to go one way while your brain wants to go

another. Take deep breaths and infuse a wave of calm

into the situation before you proceed.


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

comforting cup of tea today, Leo. Take

a hot shower or a long bath. In short,

pamper yourself. You may be picking

up on the extra tension of the people around you.

Be conscious of this and make a mental note to

strip away the garbage that others dump on you.

You're a sensitive individual. Pat yourself on the

back and look out for sudden moves from others.


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

are a bit upset by some of your recent actions or

words, Virgo. The offhand remark you made a

couple weeks ago is catching up to you. What

you may consider friendly, lighthearted sparring may actual do

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

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

a skin as they seem to have.


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

day for you, Libra. You can accomplish

quite a bit. Your intuition is especially

acute and your sensitivity is strong.

Computers might irritate you today. It's possible to

get all worked up if your laptop crashes. Save your

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

Don't let it get the better of you.


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

jittery, even without caffeine,

Scorpio. Sudden actions may cause

people to freak out, since people will

be on edge in general today anyway. Save the

surprises for another time. If you need to tell your

boss that you're going on vacation for a little

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

the astral energy. Relax to soothe your soul.


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

coming at you from all angles today,

Sagittarius. Sooner or later you will be

forced to take action. It may seem like

the walls of the room are slowly caving in. The

pressure is building and the air is getting stagnant.

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

of that pressure you feel.


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

about an idea today, Capricorn, but

unfortunately no one else may be. You

spring up with enthusiasm only to

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

communicative and witty while the other is

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

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

ideas, and save their presentation for a later day.


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

be a continuation of yesterday, but

with perhaps a bit more intensity for

you, Aquarius. There's an added buzz

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

noise may not provide the best environment to

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

problem. Tune out the chatter and move on.


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

days when you might feel like four people

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

people are tugging and you're getting

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

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

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

what the best situation for you would be.

Democrats seek narrow path

to rein in cost of medicines

WASHINGTON : President Joe Biden's call for

authorizing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription

drug prices has energized Democrats

on a politically popular idea they've been pushing

for nearly 20 years only to encounter frustration,

reports UNB.

But they still lack a clear path to enact legislation.

That's because a small number of

Democrats remain uneasy over government

price curbs on pharmaceutical companies.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will need

every Democratic vote in a narrowly divided

Congress. Otherwise Democrats may have to

settle for a compromise that stops short of their

goal. Or they could take the issue into the 2022

midterm elections.

"There is a path," said Rep. Peter Welch, D-

Vt., one of Pelosi's lieutenants. "But there's also

a challenge, and the challenge is we've got razorthin


"This is not a done deal," continued Welch.

"We've got a president and a speaker, but 'pharma'

is very powerful." Pharma is a nickname for

the industry and for its main lobbying group,

the Pharmaceutical Research and

Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA. The

industry thwarted President Donald Trump's

multi-pronged efforts to constrain its pricing

power. Even though Trump came into office

accusing drugmakers of "getting away with

murder" and vowing he'd put a stop to it, the

companies emerged from his term with just a

few nicks and cuts.

The industry lobbying group PhRMA is considered

one of the most skilled operators in

Washington. Its mission: to preserve a clause in

the 2003 law that created Medicare's pharmacy

benefit barring the government from interfering

in price negotiations among drugmakers

and insurers. That was enacted before $1,000

pills became old hat. PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl

served notice after Biden's speech to Congress

last week that the industry stands ready to

defend its prerogative. "Giving the government

the power to arbitrarily determine the price of

medicines is not the right approach," he said in

a statement arguing that it would stifle innovation.

Such measured language belies the

group's clout. It's usually among the top five

spenders on Washington lobbying and networks

with allied groups in the states.

US general: Afghan

forces could face 'bad

possible outcomes'


government forces face an

uncertain future and, in a

worst-case scenario, some

"bad possible outcomes"

against Taliban insurgents

as the withdrawal of

American and coalition

troops accelerates in the

coming weeks, the top U.S.

military officer said Sunday.

Gen. Mark Milley

described the Afghan military

and police as "reasonably

well equipped, reasonably

well trained, reasonably

well led." He cited

Afghan troops' years of

experience against a

resilient insurgency, but he

declined to say they are fully

ready to stand up to the

Taliban without direct international

backing during a

potential Taliban offensive.

24 die in southern India hospital

due to oxygen shortage

NEW DELHI : The oxygen crisis seems to be spiralling out of

control in India. After 62 Covid patients died at three Delhi

hospitals in the past 10 days due to oxygen shortage, 24 more

people lost their lives at a government medical facility in the

southern state of Karnataka in the small hours of Monday

after it allegedly ran out of the life-saving gas.

The deaths occurred at the general hospital in Karnataka's

Chamarajanagar district, some 180km from state capital

Bengaluru. Officials said that several Covid patients on life

support were among the deceased, reports UNB

tuesday, May 4, 2021



GD-775/21 (4x4)

GD-772/21 (8x4)

Iqvmv-R:Z: 179/2021

GD-776/21 (5x4)

Dbœq‡bi MYZš¿

†kL nvwmbvi g~jgš¿

GD-771/21 (5x4)

Tuesday, Dhaka, may 4, 2021, Baishakh 21, 1428 BS, Ramadan 21, 1442 hijri

Govt to implement Tk 3,076.22cr project

to enhance rural electrification network

Dhaka North City mayor atiqul islam has donated two ambulances and a hearse to the

DNCC dedicated Covid-19 hospital in mohakhali.

Photo : Star mail

Students' anti-Modi protest

Eminent citizens

demand unconditional

release of protesters

DHAKA : Parents, rights activists,

teachers and eminent citizens, under

the banner of "Udbigno Obhibhabok O

Nagorik" (Concerned Guardians and

Citizens) Monday demanded the immediate

and unconditional release ofanti-

Modi protesters and student leaders

across the country.

Around 50 parents and family members

of arrested protesters staged a sit-in

protestat the Central Shaheed Minar

premises from 11am to 1pm on Monday.

Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder and

trustee Zafrullah Chowdhury, Nagorik

Oikya convenor Mahmudur Rahman

Manna, Ganosamhati Andolan chief

coordinator Zonayed Saki, Dhaka

University law department Professor Dr

Asif Nazrul, former DUCSU VP Nurul

Haque Nur, and photographer Shahidul

Alam also joined the protest.

Nur, who demanded immediate

release of student leaders, said:

"Government arrested our leaders

unjustly to intimidate us. Students, civil

society, left-leaning organisations, and

intellectuals - everyone protested Modi's

visit peacefully but police attacked and

arrested many of us."

"If you uphold Bangabandhu's ideology,

you will free students' leaders immediately.

We are ready to sacrifice our

lives to meet our demand," he added.

Manna said,"Unnerved by the student

leaders, the government arrested them.

But why were they not granted bail? We

demand the immediate unconditional

release of all anti-Modi protesters."

Zafrullah Chowdhury also demanded

the immediate release of student leaders

and urged the government to stop

harassing and threatening political

activists and student leaders.

100pc ADP projects

of shipping ministry

to be implemented:


DHAKA : Projects under annual development

programme (ADP) in Shipping

Ministry till April last in 2020-2021 fiscal

have made good progress and 100

percent works will be implemented by

June next.

This was stated at a review meeting on

ADP of the Shipping Ministry at the

ministry's conference room yesterday,

said a press release.

Chaired by State Minister for

Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury,

Shipping Secretary Mohammad

Mesbah Uddin Chowdhury attended it

physically and chiefs of organizations

under the ministry and other officials

concerned joined it virtually.

The meeting was informed that project

directors have been given necessary

directives to implement 100 percent

works by June and if required virtual

meetings will be arranged to ensure

faster progress of the projects.

The Shipping Ministry is implementing

54 projects in the current fiscal while

the number of revised ADP projects is

44 and 10 others are being implemented

with own funds.

Cabinet nods draft

law for private medical,

dental colleges

DHAKA : The cabinet yesterday cleared

the draft of Private Medical College and

Dental College Act, 2021, aimed at

bringing more discipline in this sector.

The approval came from the weekly

cabinet meeting held with Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

The premier virtually joined the meeting

held at the Bangladesh Secretariat

from her official residence Ganabhaban.

While briefing reporters after the

meeting, Cabinet Secretary Khandker

Anwarul Islam said a medical or dental

college should have at least 50 students

while its teacher-student ratio will be

1:10 as per the proposed law.

According to the proposed law, a medical

college needs to have at least two

acres of land in any metropolitan area

while the land requirement for the dental

college is one acres, he said.

Islam continued the land requirement

is four acres for medical college outside

the metropolitan areas whereas for the

dental college it will be two acres.

He added any medical college will

have to deposit Taka 3 crore in any commercial

bank as the preserved fund

while the amount will be Taka 2 crore

for any dental college.

For academic purpose, medical college

will need to have one lakh square

feet of space and another one lakh

square feet of space for hospital purpose

as per the proposed law.

Besides, the space would be 50,000

square feet each for dental college and

hospital, said the cabinet secretary,

adding authorities concerned will

inspect the college and hospital time to

time. He also said the medical and dental

college have to be affiliated under any

public university while the academic

fees for medical and dental college

would be determined by the government.

The private medical college or dental

college authority will have to dispose the

medical waste through proper scientific


Regarding the violation of the law, the

maximum punishment would be maximum

two years of imprisonment or

Taka 10 lakh fine or both.

Seventy private medical colleges and

26 private dental colleges in the country

are now run under the Private Medical

College Establishment and Operation

Guidelines 2011 and Private Dental

College Establishment and Operation

Guidelines 2009.

The cabinet also gave final nod to the

draft of Territorial Waters and Maritime

Zones (Amendment) Act, 2021 to make

it more time befitting and appropriate to

cope with the new era.

The cabinet secretary said the old law

which was enacted in 1974 has to be

amended as new context and matters

are emerging. He mentioned that there

are 22 new definitions included in the

proposed amended law. He said that the

new law included definitions of area,

high sea area, blue economy, maritime

cooperation, research and sea pollution.

The cabinet in principle approved the

Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral

Resources Act, 2021 for scrapping two

ordinances in this regard that were

promulgated in the military regimes in

1976 and 1986. There will be a corporation

which authorizes Taka 5000 crore

as capital while the paid up capital will

be Taka 200 crore, he said, adding as

per the proposed law it can also form a


3 Hefazat leaders placed

on remand afresh over

March 26 violence

DHAKA : A Dhaka court yesterday

placed three former leaders of Hefazate-Islam,

Azizul Haque Islamabadi, Jalal

Uddin, and Zubayer Ahmed on remand

on different terms in three cases lodged

over the mayhem in the capital on May,

2013, and massive violence on March,


Among the trio, organizing secretary

of Hefajat, Azizul Haque Islamabadi

was placed on seven-day remand in two

cases, assistant secretary general

Mawlana Jalal Uddin on three-day

remand in a case and Hefajat's Dhaka

city unit's vice president of the dissolved

committee Mawlana Zubayer Ahmed

was placed on six-day remand in two


Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate

Masudur Rahman granted them to different

terms remand when the trio have

been produced before the court and

investigating officer prayed remand

petition in a case lodged with Paltan

Police Station over Hefajat's mayhem in

Baitul Mukarram area in March, 2021.

The court placed Azizul Haque

Islamabadi on four-day remand in

another case filed over the same incident

with Paltan Police Station.

Meanwhile, the court remanded

Mawlana Zubayer Ahmed for three

days in a case lodged with Motijheel

Police Station over Hefajat-e-Islam's

massive anarchy in the capital on May,


Police arrested Islamabadi on April 11,

while Zubayer and Jalal Uddin were

arrested on April 16 and 17 respectively.

Earlier the detainees were also placed

on remand on different terms in separate


DHAKA : The government has undertaken

a big move to enhance the capacity

and also ensure modernization of distribution

network of Bangladesh Rural

Electrification Board (BREB), which is

expected to benefit and ensure uninterrupted

power supply to some 34.30 lakh

consumers in Khulna Division.

The BREB under the Power Division

will implement the project with an estimated

cost of Taka 3,076.22 crore by

June 2025.

Of the total project cost, Taka 567.26

crore will come from the government of

Bangladesh portion, Taka 808.88 crore

will come from the respective organization's

own fund while the rest of Taka

1,700.07 crore as project assistance

from the Asian Development Bank


The project titled "Modernization of

power distribution system and capacity

enhancement of BREB (Khulna

Division)" is likely to be placed before

the meeting of the Executive Committee

of the National Economic Council

(ECNEC) on Tuesday, said a Planning

Commission official.

ECNEC Chairperson and Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina will preside

over the meeting virtually from her

official Ganabhaban residence while

ministers, state ministers, secretaries

and planning commission members

will join the meeting from the NEC

conference room in the city's Sher-e-

ICRC extends support for

dignified management of

dead during COVID-19

DHAKA : The International Committee

of the Red Cross (ICRC) has extended its

distribution of body bags and Personal

Protective Equipment (PPEs) to include

many different first responder agencies

across Bangladesh so that they can readily

respond to the current COVID-19 situation

and any emergency that may

occur in the future, reports UNB.

Proper and dignified management of

the dead is key to dealing with emergencies

and crises, ICRC said on Monday

adding that it is key for organisations

and authorities to be prepared for emergency

situations before they arise.

Not only does it preserve the dignity of

the deceased and eases the pain of the

family, it also helps to ensure that people

do not go missing due to system errors,

it said. Hence, ICRC said, the objective

of such a distribution is to support

Bangladesh in this time of need to help

ensure the safe and dignified management

of the dead and the safety of those

tasked with the job of treating them.

The ICRC has planned to donate

around 5,000 body bags and close to

160,000 items of PPE in a series of distributions

across Bangladesh.

The first round of donations, over

2,600 body bags and 60,000 PPEs, is

being undertaken this week, with materials

being handed over to 16 organisations

and agencies, including the

Bangladesh Fire Service.

Bangla Nagar area. The official said

the main objectives of the project are

enhancing the network capacity of

BREB and its upgradation, meeting

the growing demand of power, ensuring

an uninterrupted, reliable, cost

efficient power distribution system

and thus reducing the system loss in

power distribution.

The project area covers nine Palli

Bidyut Samities of BREB -Bagerhat,

Jashore-1, Jashore-2, Jhenaidah,

Khulna, Kushtia, Magura, Meherpur,

and Satkhira.

The project will also help improve

household incomes by reducing expenses

on kerosene for cooking as well as

lighting and provide opportunities for

energy-based economic activities.

Talking to BSS, a Planning

Commission member preferring

anonymity said that the demand of

power is increasing all over the country

including in Khulna Division, so there is

a need for enhancing the capacity of distribution


"Under the circumstances, the project

has been framed and it will cover almost

the entire Khulna Division," the official

said adding that standard power distribution

network would be developed

under the project.

The main project operations include

construction of 51 numbers of 33/11 KV

new power substations, erection of 33kv

new/1161km underground lines, 11 KV

new/10,685km underground lines,

installation of 1,300 insulated conductors,

conversion of 3,300 km lines from

LT to HT, conversion of 2,874 km HT 1

phase to 3 phase and land purchase of

2040 decimals.

Meanwhile, the ECNEC meeting to be

held today, is also likely to consider a

good number of projects that include

Establishment of telecommunication

network for Economic Zones, 1st phase,

with Taka 95.12 crore; Construction of

Panguchi Bridge over River Panguchi on


Shoronkhola-Bogi road with Taka

912.33 crore; Construction of Sheikh

Russell mini stadiums at Upazila Level,

2nd phase, with Taka 1,649.32 crore;

Construction of multi-storey building of

the Department of Public Libraries with

Taka 524.25 crore; Establishment of

Super Specialised Hospital under

BSMMU, 1st revised; Road development,

construction of bridges and culverts

from Karigarpara to Bilaichori

under Rangamati district with Taka

338.54 crore; Development of important

rural infrastructures of Cumilla,

Brahmanbaria and Chandpur districts

with Taka 2,500 crore; Flood control,

drainage and irrigation project at Patia

upazila in Chattogram district with Taka

1,158.36 crore and Rehabilitation and

expansion of command areas of Teesta

Irrigation project with Taka 1,452.33


Khaleda Zia in CCU due

to breath shortage

Shafiqul iSlam

BNP chairperson and former Prime

Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, who is

undergoing treatment at Dhaka's

Evercare Hospital, has been transferred

to coronary care unit (CCU) due to

shortness of breath, said her medical

team member Dr. Zahid Hossain. He

said Khaleda Zia was taken to the CCU

of Evercare Hospital around 4pm on

Monday. Madam (Khaleda Zia) was

feeling some shortness of breath on

Monday morning. Later in the afternoon

the doctors transferred her to the

CCU. Her physical condition is stable at

the moment.

Khaleda Zia is undergoing treatment

at Evercare Hospital under the supervision

of cardiologist Shahabuddin

Talukder. A 10-member medical board

was formed for her treatment on April

26, the day after she was admitted to the

hospital in Bashundhara.

Meanwhile on Monday evening Zahid

Hossain, a member of Khaleda Zia's

medical team, said to reporters that any

person can have breath shortage at any

time. Khaleda Zia is undergoing some

physical examinations. Doctors from

home and abroad are keeping her condition.

Her treatment is going on properly

and she is breathing normally.

There is nothing more to say at this

moment. BNP joint secretary general

and president of Dhaka South City BNP

Habib Un Nabi Khan Sohel, chairperson's

press wing member Sayrul Kabir

Khan and Shamsuddin Didar were

present in briefing.

The BNP chairperson had been

undergoing treatment under a private

doctor from her rented house Firoza in

Gulshan, since April 11 after coronavirus

infected. When she was tested again

after 14 days, her corona virus report

came back 'positive' on April 24. She was

taken to Evercare Hospital on the night

of April 27 for some medical tests. After

a CT scan of the chest and a few tests,

she was admitted to the hospital that


76 years old former Prime Minister

Khaleda Zia had to go to jail three years

ago after being convicted in two corruption

cases. After the onset of the epidemic

in the country, the government granted

her temporary release on March 25

last year with the condition of "humanitarian

consideration". Her release

tenure was later extended twice.

Khaleda Zia has been staying at her

Gulshan home since then. It goes without

saying that outsiders have no contact

with her.

in the intense heat of summer, the soil cracks. The picture was taken from uttara Diabari area of the

capital on monday.

Photo: PBa

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

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

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines