05-05-2021

tbtbangla

WeDneSDay

DHAKA : May 5 , 2021; Baishakh 22, 1428 BS; Ramadan 22,1442 Hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.DA~2065, Vol.19; N o. 28 ; 12 Pages~Tk.8.00

InternatIonal

FDA expected to OK

Pfizer vaccine for teens

within week

>Page 7

SPortS

Mohammad Hafeez to

be offered new central

contract by PCB

>Page 9

art & culture

Apurba-Tisha

reunites again after

13 years

>Page 10

Sundarbans fire finally

under control; probe

body formed

BAGERHAT : The fire, which

had raged through Daser

Bharani under Sharankhola

Range of the Sundarbans East

Forest Division for nearly 24

hours since Monday morning,

was finally brought under control

on Wednesday, reports

UNB.

Divisional forest officer

(DFO) Mohammad Belayet

Hossain said, "The fire is now

under control ...firefighting

units have been working since

Tuesday morning to douse the

blaze. Anyway, the extent of

losses caused by the fire are

negligible."

Abdus Sattar, an officer at

Sharankhola Fire Service and

Civil Defence, said, "We've

started spraying water around

10:30 am and three units of

firefighters from Sharankhola,

Mongla and Bagerhat have

been working to fully douse

the flame."

The firefighters are taking

water from the Morabhola

River, two kilometers away

from the fire spot.

Meanwhile, the Forest

Department formed a threemember

probe body with

Mohammad Joynal, the chief

conservator of forest of the

Sharankhola Range, as its

head to probe the fire incident.

The fire broke out at Daser

Bharani of the Sundarbans

East Forest Division on

Monday morning.

Zohr

04:03 AM

11:59 PM

04:31 PM

06:32 PM

07:52 PM

5:22 6:29

RAMADAn

Ramadan Date Sehri Iftar

22 May 05 03:54 AM 06:33 PM

23 May 06 03:53 AM 06:33 PM

24 May 07 03:52 AM 06:34

Dhaka hopeful of getting vaccine

doses from China before Eid

DHAKA : Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul

Momen on Tuesday said the Chinese government

is working to start delivering

Covid-19 vaccine doses before Eid-ul-Fitr

although a 5-day May Day holiday is underway

in China, reports UNB.

Seeing it as a sign of "special friendship"

with Bangladesh, he said Chinese

Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming recently

informed them that vaccine doses will start

arriving here before Eid while Health

Minister Zahid Maleque shared a more specific

date-May 10.

"The Health Ministry will decide when

and how many doses of the vaccine will

arrive, and what will be the transportation

system. They know when we'll need it," Dr

Momen told UNB, adding that they just

have helped the Health Ministry establish

the network with both China and Russia as

alternative sources of vaccines.

The Foreign Minister said everything is

now closed in China due to the current holiday

- the five-day May Day holiday. The holiday

will end on May 5, he said.

"It takes some time as vaccines are produced

based on orders," Dr Momen said,

adding that discussions with Russia and the

United States are on to get vaccines.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday

reaffirmed that the government will procure

vaccines at any cost to protect people from

coronavirus. "We are bringing more vaccines,

no matter how much money is

required; we will bring more vaccines."

China was supposed to give 5 lakh doses

DHAKA : Railways Minister Md Nurul

Islam Sujan yesterday said train service will

begin through the Padma Multipurpose

Bridge from the opening day.

"The Padma Bridge will be inaugurated

next year and trains will run on the same

day from Mawa end to Bhanga in Faridpur,"

he said while inspecting railway connection

work with the Padma Bridge at Mawa end of

the project.

The minister said the Padma Bridge was

the dream of millions of people and the constriction

of this bridge is a great achievement

of the country. The railway section

from Dhaka to Jashore is 172 km.

"The Padma Bridge rail link project is

scheduled to complete in 2024, but the government

has taken initiative on a priority

basis to start train service from Mawa end to

of vaccine as a gift apart from supplying vaccines

through commercial purchase.

Bangladesh has received 7 million of

Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine

doses produced by Serum Institute of

India (SII) vaccines through its contract.

Bangladesh also received 3.3 million

doses of vaccine as a bilateral partnership

gift. This is the largest amount sent from

India to any country.

The US has decided to share its entire

stock of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19

vaccines with the world once it clears federal

safety reviews, the White House said, with

as many as 60 million doses expected to be

available for export in the coming months.

"We sought vaccines from the US as

they've a stock of 60 million doses. We

would definitely welcome it," Dr Momen

said.

He said they came to know, not in any letter

(formal channel) but publicly that the US

identified India and Brazil as priority countries

to supply vaccines.

Dr Momen said the United States assured

all concerned of making Covid-19 vaccines

available for other countries, including in

Bangladesh once they have surplus reaching

the level of mass vaccination in the US.

"I can assure you when we can reach the

level of the critical mass vaccination and

we've surplus, we'll absolutely make vaccines

available in whatever different ways,"

said John Kerry, the US Special Presidential

Envoy for Climate told reporters during his

recent visit to Bangladesh.

Train to run on Padma Bridge

from opening day: Sujan

Bhanga on the same day of inauguration in

the next year," Sujan added.

He mentioned that activities are going on

under the project's own management during

the corona and lockdown, adding, "The

overall progress of Mawa to Bhanga section

stood 66 percent till April while the overall

progress of the entire project is 41.59 percent."

After inspection at the Mawa end, the

minister went to Jajira end of Shariatpur

and saw the ongoing railway construction

work from there to Bhanga.

Project Director Golam Fakhruddin

Ahmed Chowdhury, Director General of

Bangladesh Railway Dhirendra Nath

Majumder, officials of the Bangladesh Army

working on construction supervision of the

project were present during the inspection.

Acute water crisis seen in different parts of the capital. Although WASA is claiming, there is no major water

crisis. In the picture locals are waiting in long lines for water.

Photo : Star Mail

Metrorail workers are installing electric cables to supply electricity to run Metrorail. The picture is taken

from Diabari area of Uttara on Tuesday.

Photo: PBA

Speedboat owner

among 4 booked over

accident in Padma

MADARIPUR : Four persons have

been booked in connection with the

speedboat accident in the Padma river

that claimed 26 lives in

Madaripur'sShibchar upazila on

Monday, police said Tuesday.

Miraz Hossain, officer-in-charge of

Shibchar Police Station, said an FIR

was filed against the four, including the

speedboat owner, on a complaint

lodged by the sub-inspector of River

Police, Lokman, on Monday night.

Apart from speedboat ownerChandu

Molla, its driver Shah Alam and two

others, including a man named Rezaul

Khan, have been booked.

Earlier, on Monday, at least 26 people

died when the Banglabazar-bound

speedboat from Shimulia ferry ghat

capsized in the river after a collision

with a sand-laden bulk carrier near

Kathalbari ferry ghat in Shibchar.

Twenty-six bodies were retrieved from

the river with the help of divers from local

Fire Service and Civil Defence, police and

Coast Guard members.

A six-member committee was

formed on Monday itself to investigate

the speedboat accident.

The local administration formed the

probe body after the accident,

Mohammad Raihan, Fire Service and

Civil Defence Headquarters Station

Officer (Media cell), told UNB on

Monday.

Govt gets no application

for Khaleda's treatment

abroad: Kamal

DHAKA : Home Minister

Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday

said no request has been made to the

government to take BNP chairperson

Begum Khaleda Zia abroad for her

medical treatment.

"We have not received any application

from Khaleda Zia's family to take

her abroad for treatment," he said while

talking to journalists after distributing

'Eid gifts' on behalf of Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina to unemployed people at

Nazneen School in the city's East

Rajabazar.

The minister said the government has

already extended Khaleda Zia's imprisonment

suspension for another six

months allowing her to receive treatment

staying home.

He said Bangabandhu's daughter

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has

given Eid gifts to thousands of people so

that they can enjoy Eid along with all.

"Our Prime Minister always thinks

about the common people as well as

Uncertainty looms over American

higher education aspirants

DHAKA : As coronavirus cases continue

to rise alarmingly from mid-March, the

government imposed an apparently

loose nationwide lockdown for one week

from April 5 as part of its move to contain

its spread. Later a stricter lockdown was

declared from April 14 to 21 and then

April 22 to 28, and as a result, thousands

of students who earned their admission

and scholarship at different universities

abroad, especially in the United States,

are counting days in anxiety.

From April 5, the US embassy in

Dhaka cancelled previously scheduled

visa interviews and also stopped providing

any new visa appointments for

the near future, saying this would be the

scenario until the lockdown and travel

restrictions get lifted - and many students

fear that they will lose funding

opportunities and will ultimately have

to cancel their admission to desired universities.

As the lockdown got extended due to

the ongoing massive spike in the daily

infection and mortality rate related to

COVID-19, and also considering the

devastating scenario in India, the

uncertainty rather increased among the

visa aspirant students.

unemployed and the poor. She has realized

that the poor and unemployed people

would also celebrate the Eid, so she

has given the Eid gifts to them," he

added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina launched the second phase of

cash support disbursement among

36.50 lakh families hit hard by the second

wave of the coronavirus pandemic

in the country.

Each beneficiary family received

Taka 2,500 as Eid gift from the Prime

Minister in this pandemic gripped

difficult time and a total amount of

Taka 912.50 crore has been allocated

for it.

President of Awami League Dhaka

North Sheikh Bazlur Rahman, General

Secretary SM Mannan Kochi,

Organising Secretary of Awami

Swechhasebok League and Ward

Councilor Faridur Rahman Khan Iran

were present during the gift distribution

ceremony.

One of the top countries in the world

for the quality education system, the

United States contains most of the prolific

and top-ranked universities which

offer full scholarships, fellowships and

fundings to the most meritorious students

around the world. So, the visa

aspirants have already proven themselves

as scholars with higher degrees

from top universities of the country and

aspiring advanced research-based

knowledge on the evolution of technology,

health sectors, economics and

other fields, only to face the same

extreme frustration and anxiety regarding

the visa dilemma - once again this

year, after suffering in 2020.

Statistics says that every year, more

than 3,000 students from Bangladesh

go to the United States of America

which is considered as the hotspot of

advanced education and cutting edge

research, to study in different universities

with honorary scholarships and fellowships.

They compete against the

graduates from the best and most

advanced universities around the world

and are playing a significant role in the

advancement of science, arts and engineering.


wEdnESday, May 5, 2021

2

Gopalganj Police Super distributed eid materials among the destitute people in Gopalganj.

Road accident

kills two workers

in Noakhali

NOAKHALI : Two workers

were killed as a pickup van

crashed into a rickshaw van

on Begumganj-Chowmuhani

road in the north side of

Eklashpur Bazar area under

Begumganj upazila of the

district last night.

The deceased were

identified as Abdullah Al

Mamun Akash, 17, son of

Abdul Khaleq, resident of

Katawalago village in

Eklashpur union in the

upazila and Nur Nabi, 16, son

of Abdur Rahim, resident of

the same area.

According to local sources,

the accident occurred in the

area when the four workers

were picking up sand in a

rickshaw van, at one stage, a

speedy pickup van lost

control over the steering from

the opposite direction and

crushed the rickshaw van,

leaving injured the duo

seriously.

Later, the injured were

taken to hospitals. One of the

injured died at Noakhali

Sadar Hospital. Another died

at the Dhaka Medical College

Hospital.

Officer-in-charge (OC) of

Begumganj Model Police

Station Muhammad

Kamruzzaman Sikder

confirmed the incident.

Couple killed in

Meherpur road

accident

Meherpur : A couple was

killed and six people were

injured in a road accident at

Khoksha village in Meherpur

sadar upazila on Tuesday.

The deceased were

identified as Farha Khatun,

60, and Abdus Sattar, 68, of

Komorpur village of

Mujibnagar upazila, reports

UNB.

Witnesses said accident

took place when a microbus

hit a tree after its driver lost

control over the steering.

Shantarul, son of the

deceased, said that his

mother Farha Khatun had

been suffering from cancer.

He and some of his relatives

were returning home in the

microbus from Rajshahi

where his mother was

undergoing treatment.

Locals rescued the injured

and took them to Meherpur

General Hospitalwhere

doctors pronounced Farha

Khatun dead.

Among the injured, Abdus

Sattar died on the way to

Rajshahi Medical College

Hospital. Meherpur Sadar

Police Station OC Shah Dara

said a case was filed.

Photo : Star Mail

StanChart executes its first

ESG-linked derivative

DHAKA : Standard Chartered announced on

Tuesday that it has priced its first commodity

hedge linked to Environmental, Social and

Governance (ESG) benchmarks with

Trafigura, a leading commodity trading client.

The transaction involves combining

conventional derivatives risk management

with sustainabilitylinked key performance

indicators (KPIs) that are linked to reducing

greenhouse gas emissions - from owned or

controlled sources - and to sustainable

sourcing in the base metals business, said a

press release here.

This transaction is structured to offer a

premium or discount to Trafigura on their

hedging rate based on fulfilling the pre-agreed

ESG KPIs, which are independently monitored

and reported on regular basis by a leading

third-party provider, ERM Certification and

Verification Services.

Chin Hwee Tan, CEO of Trafigura, Asia-

Pacific, said: "We are committed to embed

sustainability in our day-to-day operations in a

consistent and coherent way. A key pillar of

our responsible business practices involves

minimising adverse impacts on the natural

environment. This sustainability goals-linked

derivative transaction with Standard

Chartered is an important step forward on our

journey."

Sharad Desai, Global Head of Financial

Markets Sales at Standard Chartered, said:

"We are committed to getting capital to where

it is needed to help our clients achieve their

sustainability goals, and ESG-linked

derivatives are among a number of solutions

that we offer them. We're proud to structure

this first ESG-linked derivative transaction for

Trafigura to help them execute both on risk

management and sustainability targets."

51 more test positive for COVID-19

in Rangpur division

RANGPUR : Fifty-one more people were

diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19)

positive on Tuesday in Rangpur division where

the infection rate continues showing a rising

trend in recent weeks.

Health officials said the 51 new cases were

reported after diagnosing 369 samples of all

eight districts in the division at the two

COVID-19 laboratories yesterday at the daily

infection rate of 13.82 percent.

Among the 51 new patients diagnosed on

Tuesday, 22 were reported positive after

diagnosing 187 samples at the COVID-19

Laboratory at Rangpur Medical College

(RpMC) in Rangpur city.

"The 22 new patients include 11 from

Rangpur, five from Kurigram, four from

Gaibandha and one each from Nilphamari and

Dinajpur districts," Principal of RpMC

Professor Dr. AKM Nurunnobi Lyzu said.

Eid shopping gains momentum in chattogram.

On the other hand, 29 new patients were

reported after diagnosing 182 samples at the

COVID-19 Laboratory at M Abdur Rahim

Medical College (MARMC) in Dinajpur.

"The 29 new patients include 26 from

Dinajpur and three from Thakurgaon

districts," Principal of MARMC Professor Dr.

Syed Nazir Hossain told BSS at 6 pm.

Focal Person of COVID-19 and Assistant

Director (Health) for Rangpur division Dr. ZA

Siddiqui told BSS that the number of COVID-

19 patients reached 18,112 as 51 new positive

cases were reported on Tuesday from across

the division.

The district-wise break up of 18,112 patients

stands at 4,724 in Rangpur, 827 in

Panchagarh, 1,532 in Nilphamari, 1,046 in

Lalmonirhat, 1,160 in Kurigram, 1,647 in

Thakurgaon, 5,457 in Dinajpur and 1,719 in

Gaibandha of the division.

Photo : Star Mail

US stimulus helps Mexico's

remittances hit record high

MEXICO CITY : Money sent home by Mexicans living abroad

hit a record high in March, the central bank said Monday, as US

stimulus measures aided a recovery in Latin America's secondlargest

economy.

Remittances reached $4.15 billion, up 30 percent from

February, beating the previous monthly all-time high of $4.04

billion seen a year earlier, the Bank of Mexico said.

The transfers, mostly from the United States, have helped to

cushion the devastating blow to the Mexican economy from the

coronavirus pandemic. Experts say the increase in the

remittances is due to the economic recovery and fiscal stimulus

measures in the United States, a popular destination for

Mexican workers.

8 Asiatic lions in

Hyderabad tested

SARS-Cov2 positive

NEW DELHI : Eight Asiatic

lions at Nehru Zoological Park

(NZP) in the southern Indian

city of Hyderabad have been

tested positive for SARS-CoV2

virus although they were

"recovering well" after

treatment.

The lions were diagnosed

SARS-Cov2 positive following

analysis of samples on April 24

when they showed signs of

respiratory distress, sources

from the Indian Ministry of

Environment, Forest and

Climate Change said.

The analysis of the samples

revealed that the infection was

not caused by any variant of

concern. "All the eight lions

have responded well to the

treatment and recovering.

They are behaving normally

and eating well," the ministry

sources said.As part of the

precautionary measures, the

authority has closed the zoo for

all the staff and visitors to avoid

minimal external contact.

However, as part of the next

steps, new guidelines for Covid-19

precautions are being further

developed in consultation with

experts.

According to a statement

issued by the ministry later said

that there was no factual evidence

that animals can transmit the

disease to humans any further.

GD-779/21 (5x4)

GD-781/21 (7x4)

S(21)(125)

GD-780/21 (6x3)

†kL nvwmbvi g~jbxwZ

MÖvg kn‡ii DbœwZ


WeDneSDAY, MAY 5, 2021

3

Zambia keen to take support of

Bangladesh’s agricultural expertise

Bangladeshi peacekeepers are taking Covid-19 vaccine in central Africa.

DHAKA : Former British Prime

Minister Gordon Brown on Monday

urged the world's richest nations to

underwrite Covid-19 vaccination in

poorer countries,highlighting the need

to raise some $60 billion over the next

two years, reports UNB.

Speaking during the regular briefing

by the World Health Organization

(WHO), and ahead of next month's G7

summit, Brown, who is the UN's

Special Envoy for Global Education,

said inaction will only lead to greater

global division, UN News reports.

"By our failure to extend vaccination

more rapidly to every country, we are

choosing who lives and who dies," he

warned.

"And I say the world is already too

deeply divided between rich and poor

to allow a new unbridgeable divide to

become entrenched between the

world's vaccinated who live, and the

under-vaccinated who are at risk of

dying."

As Prime Minister, Brown hosted the

G20 summit in 2009, where the

world's major economies committed an

additional $1.1 trillion to address the

fallout from the global financial crisis,

He is now on a campaign to galvanise

support to demand that the G7 "deploy

its wealth to end the disease".

More Covid-19 cases were reported in

the past two weeks than in the first six

months of the pandemic, with India

and Brazil accounting for half, WHO

chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

told journalists.

"The G7 countries are the world's

Photo : ISPR

UN envoy Gordon Brown urges G7 to

fund global Covid vaccination push

BUILD explores producing

paper pulp from whole

jute plant

DHAKA : The demand for

pulp, the main raw material

for producing paper, has

been growing and green

jute-based pulp can meet the

increasing local and global

demand.

China and European

Union are closing their

paper mills because of

higher production costs and

environmental reasons and

Bangladesh can fill the void,

reports UNB.

However, the pulp is now

being imported and

produced locally from

recycled waste paper whose

quality is not satisfactory,

Business Initiative Leading

Development (BUILD) CEO

Ferdaus Ara Begum said

Monday.

Ferdaus Ara was

addressing the online

dialogue on "Paper Pulp

from Whole Jute Plant:

Potential and Way Forward"

organized by BUILD.

Mohammad Abul Kalam,

additional secretary of the

Ministry of Textiles and

Jute, said the economic

President to receive

2nd dose of Covid-19

vaccine Thursday

DHAKA : President Abdul

Hamid will receive his

second dose of Covid-19

vaccine on Thursday.

President's press

secretary Joynal Abedin

told UNB that the President

will take the second vaccine

shot at his official residence

Bangabhaban on May 6.

The President took his

first vaccine shot at his

official residence on March

10 along with his secretaries

and family members, he

said.

Secretaries concerned to

the President and his

personal physicians, among

others, will be present

during the vaccination.

viability of using the whole

jute plant needs to be

considered.

"Rigorous research will

have to be conducted. Also,

the practical scenario needs

to be considered. An

initiative can be taken to

initiate technical assistance

for public participation

(TAPP) and project on

whole jute plant-based

paper pulping," he added.

Dr Md Monjurul Alam,

former director-general of

Bangladesh Jute Research

Institute, said cottage

industries can be developed

locally to run paper pulp

manufacturing industries

that will use the whole jute

plant.

However, Dr Sarwar

Jahan, director (Pulp and

Paper) at Bangladesh

Council of Scientific and

Industrial Research, said: "It

is not feasible to run the

small-scale pulp industries

because whole jute plantbased

pulp will cost more

than $11,00 per tonne."

economic and political leaders. They're

also home to many of the world's

vaccine producers. We will only solve

the vaccine crisis with the leaders of

these countries," he said.

Tedros said that the landmark global

collaboration developing and

delivering Covid-19 vaccines to

countries worldwide, known as the

ACT Accelerator, remains $19 billion

underfunded. Up to $45 billion will be

needed next year to inoculate most

adults.

"We face a shared threat that we can

only overcome with shared solutions,"

he said. "Sharing financial resources,

sharing vaccine doses and production

capacity, and sharing technology,

know-how and waiving intellectual

property."

AL never fears any

conspiracy:

Bahauddin Nasim

DHAKA : Awami League joint General Secretary Krishibid

AFM Bahauddin Nasim yesterday said his party is ready to

prevent all conspiracies as its is never afraid of those.

"The Awami League led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

is ready to face any conspiracy …as the conspirators won't

succeed by hatching conspiracies," he said while distributing

Eid gifts among the poor at Krishibid Institute premises here.

Nasim said those who want to try suppress desires of 17

crore people would not succeed at all, adding that none

would be able to transform Bangladesh into Afghanistan,

Sudan or Yemen.

Bangladesh Krishak League, a front organization of the

ruling Awami League, organized the function.

"We will go ahead under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.

Bangladesh will be a developed and prosperous country in

the world," said the ruling party leader.

Calling upon all to stand besides the people, Nasim said,

"We must try to protect the people from the clutch of deadly

coronavirus infection under the leadership of Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina. We have to stand beside the people for facing

the second wave of coronavirus."

Awami League presidium member Abdur Rahman

inaugurated the Eid gift distribution as the chief guest.

Chaired by Bangladesh Krishak League President Samir

Chanda, the programme was also attended, among others, by

Awami League relief and social welfare secretary Sujit Roy

Nandi, office secretary Barrister Biplob Barua, Krishak

League vice president Hosne Ara MP and Shakawat Hossen

Sweet, joint secretary Biswanath Sarker Bitu and Advocate

Shamima Shahriar MP, organizing secretary Asaduzzaman

Biplob and Krishibid Dr Habibur Rahman Molla.

Bangladesh Krishak League general secretary Umme

Kulsum Smiriti moderated the function.

Khaleque distributes foodstuffs among

500 women labourers in Khulna

KHULNA : Khulna city

mayor Talukder Abdul

Khaleque here on Tuesday

distributed foodstuffs

among 500 distressed and

jobless women day

labourers as a gift from

Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina to assist them in

tackling the Covid-19

situation.The Mayor

distributed rice, pulse, oil,

potatoes, vegetable and

chicken meat among the

distressed women of ward

no-16 to ward no-31 in the

city on Shaheed Hadis Park

premises by strictly

following health safety

guidelines and rules , set by

the government, reports

BSS.

During the distribution

of relief materials Mayor

Khaleque said that the

government continued to

distribute food items to

reduce hardship of helpless

people amid Covid-19

pandemic.

He said the government

has begun to distribute

Taka 2,500 each among 38

lakh low income families

across the country.

"Everyone has to follow

proper government

hygiene rules to protect

themselves from the

coronavirus, he said,

adding that Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina is besides of

unemployed and helpless

people."

Terming country's

economy is strengthening

in the labourers hand, the

Mayor said government is

trying to combat

coronavirus side by side

running country's

economy.

With lawmaker of

Khulna-2 constituency

Sheikh Salah Uddin Jewel

virtually in the chair, the

function was addressed,

among others, by Khulna

deputy commissioner Md

Helal Hossain and City

unit Awami League general

secretary MDA Babul Rana

as special guests.

DHAKA : Zambia has expressed its

interest to take support of agricultural

expertise of Bangladesh alongside

boosting relationship with Bangladesh

and Bangladesh Army, reports UNB.

Zambian Acting Defence Minister

Wezi Lukhele has shown the interest

when Chief of Army Staff of

Bangladesh Army General Aziz

Ahmed, who is now visiting Zambia on

invitation of Zambian Army

Commander, paid an official call on

with him at Defence Ministry office

there on Monday.

During the meeting, the cooperation

and relationship between the two

countries were highlighted and

Zambian acting Defence Minister Wezi

Lukhele said that Zambia is interested

in building an improved relationship

with Bangladesh and Bangladesh

Army, says an Inter Service Public

Relation (ISPR) press release here on

Tuesday .

Wezi Lukhele also expressed the

interest of the Zambian government

for working closely with Bangladesh.

Later General Aziz met Commander

of Zambia Army Lieutenant General

William Maipambe Sikazwe at Army

Headquarters.

General Sikazwe expressed his

gratitude to General Aziz for accepting

his invitation and making a good bond

between the two Armies.

General Aziz also expressed his

interest to intensify training activities

with the Zambian Army and also to

conduct Subject Matter Expert

Exchange (SMEE) Programs especially

in the field of UN peacekeeping, antiterrorism

activities, disaster

management, etc.

General Aziz also brought forward

the matter of issuing on-arrival visa to

the military personnel of Bangladesh

Armed Forces, and General Sikazwe

assured that he will take efforts to get it

approved from the concerned ministry

at the earliest.

In the afternoon, General Aziz met

with acting Commander, Zambia Air

Force Major General Benedict T

Kalinda at the Air Force Headquarters.

Major General Kalinda expressed his

gratitude for the cooperation and

support provided by Bangladesh

Armed Forces.

He highlighted the prospects of

training of the officers and men of

Zambia Air Force in various training

institutions of Bangladesh.

General Aziz welcomed the officers

and men of Zambia Air Force to

undergo training in various training

institutions of Bangladesh Armed

Forces and expected that the

relationship between the two Armed

Forces will flourish further in the days

to come. General Aziz is scheduled to

meet with Commandant, Zambia

National Service on Tuesday.

He will also meet with other senior

leaderships of Zambia Armed Forces

and visit various training institutions of

Zambia Armed Forces, and is

scheduled to return to Bangladesh on 6

May .

Book is the best friend of people who are passing leisure time in room. A voluntary organization

reaching books to those people at Dhunat upazila of Bogura district.

Photo : Star Mail

Bangladeshi doctor made WHO

Representative to Maldives

DHAKA : In a rare move, a Bangladeshi

health professional has been appointed as

the representative of the World Health

Organization(WHO) to the Maldives,

reports UNB.

Dr. Nazneen Anwar, a public health

expert with more than 35 years of

professional experience in the field of

public health under her belt, was

nominated as the WHO Representative

to the Maldives on April 8, 2021.

She is the first Bangladeshi woman to

be awarded this post by the World Health

Organization, said a media release on

Tuesday. Dr. Nazneen Anwar presented

her letter of Credence to the Foreign

Minister of the Maldives Abdulla Shahid

on April 18.

Fire breaks out

at Narayanganj

hosiery factory

NARAYANGANJ : A

devastating fire broke out

at a hosiery factory of

Archana Market building

in Narayanganj's Nayamati

on Monday night, reports

UNB.

No casualties were

reported but fire has

caused extensive damage

to the hosiery factorywarehouse

and the

building.

Upon information, 10

units of Mandalpara,

Hajiganj Fire Service

reached the spot and

brought the fire under

control after 3 hours of

effort.

Fire started from the

third-floor hosiery factory

of the six-storey building.

An official of Mandalpara

Fire Service said the

buildings were congested

and there was no chance

for smoke to go away.

Apart from holding a Master's degree in

public health and a certificate in public

health research by the Harvard

University, Dr Nazneen Anwar has

garnered more than 35 years of

professional hands-on experience in

multiple fields, including mental health,

health policy, planning, and capacity

development, non-communicable

diseases, nutrition, vaccine-preventable

diseases, disability prevention, health

research, and development. She has

worked in different capacities for the

World Health Organization's (WHO)

regional office for South-East Asia, WHO

Country Office Bangladesh, and Ministry

of Health, Government of Bangladesh.

Credited with mapping out detailed

RAJSHAHI : Over 100

journalists hardest-hit by

the adverse impact of the

COVID-19 pandemic have

received financial support as

Prime Minister's gift in a

ceremony in Rajshahi to

cope with the pandemic

situation.

Each journalist was given

Taka 2,000 at the

conference hall of Deputy

Commissioner (DC)

yesterday.

Commissioner of Rajshahi

Division Dr Humayun Kabir

accompanied by DC Abdul

Jalil and Senior Vicepresident

of Rajshahi city

unit of Bangladesh Awami

League Shaheen Akter

Rainy distributed the bank

cheques among the

journalists.

In his remarks, Dr

Humayun Kabir said Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina is

media-friendly and she has

brought most of the

professional bodies

including journalists under

financial support as part of

her relentless efforts to deal

with the pandemic situation.

He also said development

programmes have started

becoming visible throughout

the country and urged the

journalists to highlight the

development successes of

the government through

their objective reporting.

Dr Kabir said this financial

assistance will contribute a

lot towards enhancing the

level of confidence of the

working journalists as the

Prime Minister by herself

plans for the development and

implementation of several innovative

approaches aimed at strengthening

mental health care systems, she has

pulled off different initiatives related to

mental health and substance use policy

with flying colors.

Born into an aristocratic Muslim family

in Chattogram, Nazneen Anwar's father,

late Mahbub Alam Anwar, was the

founding president of the Agrabad

Chamber (now FICCI, Foreign

Investment Chamber of Commerce and

Industries). Mother of two sons and one

daughter, Nazneen was a student of St.

Scholastica High School, Chittagong

College, while her alma mater was

Chittagong Medical College.

Over 100 journalists

receive PM's financial

help in Rajshahi

stands beside the journalists

with helping hand.

Proactive role of the

journalists is very important

for highlighting the

successes achieved by the

present government.

The present government

under the dynamic and

visionary leadership of

Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina has been attaining

successes in various

development indexes

despite the adverse impact

of the novel coronavirus

(COVID-19) pandemic.

So, the journalists have a

pivotal role to reach the

successes of the government

to the grassroots people to

boost their level of

confidence, Dr Kabir added.


WeDNeSDAy, MAy 5, 2021

4

Turkey's genocide denial fails, but don't expect change

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Use technology more

to combat corruption

The traditional view is that corruption breeds in the

minds of men and the same can be cured mainly by

cleansing minds. To this end, some suggest moral

education to prevent corruption while others recommend

exemplary punishment as a deterrent to corruption. And yet

others may contend that better remuneration and privileges

in the work places will undermine instincts for rent seeking

among corruption prone civil servants.

But these are really theoretical constructs only that have

been proved ineffective in the context of Bangladesh. For

instance, the civil service academy of Bangladesh trains all

entrants into the civil service with moral education.

But this hardly had a role in reducing their temptation to be

corrupt. The salaries and other monetary benefits, plus perks

of civil servants, have gone up substantially during the last

couple of decades.

Civil servants now get nearly 80 per cent of their last salary

drawn as monthly pension. Thus, a retiring Secretary can

expect to get no less than thirty thousand taka as monthly

pension these days and retirement time total benefits in the

neighbourhood of one crore Taka-something unthinkable in

the past. Under secretaries also can count on not much less

significant compensations

What this editorial intends to underline is other than

making preachy and pious moralistic suggestions, which

prove to be otherwise ineffectual, other real life solutions to

corruption and inefficiency need to be explored based mainly

on technologies.

Computer and other technologies are making government

administration more efficient in the developed countries. But

a developing country like Bangladesh can also start making

good use of the same to successfully combat corruption and

make governmental functions transparent.

There are many areas in Bangladesh where the use of the

computer can revolutionise the government administration.

For example, computerisation of the courts and land

administration can help to overcome the present very

ossified and corrupt systems of work at these two areas of the

administration .

Anyone who had ever steeped inside a court house

specially in a rural area in Bangladesh would remember how

outdated and archaic was the system of working there.

Record rooms of the court houses are dens of corruption.

Work is done manually and very tediously where getting the

copy of a record can take a very long time if the palms are not

properly greased.

Then again, the records can be manipulated through

bribing. Record keeping through the traditional document

writers take both time and leave open the scope for deliberate

manipulation.

All such ill practices can be effectively brought to a close

probably through comprehensive computerisation of the

court houses and their recording systems. If this is done, both

the speed of the functioning of the courts will increase and

record keeping can become fool proof.

It is not that computerisation of the courts is not there at all.

Some limited computerisation of courts is noted in Dhaka.

But in other regions of the country, there is noted inadequate

such computerisation of the courts. Only some years ago, the

DC office in Dhaka introduced the keeping of land records in

a computer based system. But the picture remains as

primitive as ever in many places way from Dhaka.

Presently, the police spend a great deal of their time in

writing diaries of cases and investigations by hand. The

system has hardly changed since the colonial era. Records of

criminals are similarly kept hardly befitting the need for

speed when the soaring number of crimes and the

voluminous investigation reports dictate much speedier

handling.

Only recently, computers have been introduced in some

police stations in Dhaka. But elsewhere in the country,

computers are conspicuously not to be seen in the police

stations particularly in the semi-urban and non urban areas.

In some police stations of the country, files of years ago

even turn unreadable from disuse and the careless or

unprotected filing system. Computers can come to the rescue

in such a situation. A single computer in a police station can

make redundant thousands of files accumulated over the

years and release space at the station and extra time for the

policemen for their field work as they would not have to do so

much tedious writing work.

Furthermore, computerisation can tremendously aid

detection of criminals as their pictures can be preserved in

computers and the same can be brought to the screen any

time through the click of a mouse. How computerisation can

speed up administration is evident from only the working of

the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). Even in

the eighties, the BRTA did its work manually. Mountains of

paper at each BRTA office was the unchanging scene.

This situation understandably bred delays and corruption

for such a thing as even the simple act of registration of a car

after its purchase. Things began to change from the early part

of the nineties when BRTA offices were fully computerised.

Now registration and other documents can be obtained

fast within one working day and also hassle free from a BRTA

office by those who are familiar with its current system of

working and who do not fall prey to touts at these offices.

Anyway one looks at it, computerisation marked an advance

for the better in BRTA offices.

The same kind of efficiency, speed of working,

transparency and reduction of corruption can be achieved by

introducing computers in all spheres of the government

administration. The customs department is considered as a

very corrupt one in Bangladesh. But use of the computer--

which has much reduced the need for human application-- is

reportedly already succeeding in bringing corruption down

in this key department.

With its greater computerisation, perhaps the corruption in

this department can be further reduced substantially.

Thus, real hope is showing up that greater application of

computers for governance can be a very potent factor in the

fight against corruption within the government as well as for

speeding up of the functioning of the government

departments in Bangladesh.

On April 24, the once-unthinkable

happened. Marking the 106th

anniversary of the Armenian

genocide, US President Joe Biden issued

a statement that explicitly used the word

"genocide" twice.

The statement marked a reversal of

decades-long US policy to avoid officially

recognizing the Armenian genocide in

order not to antagonize Turkey, long a

valuable Cold War and later Middle East

ally.

After years of declining relations,

however, Turkey's standing in the eyes of

US policymakers had fallen to the point

where alienating Ankara was no longer

seen as a non-starter. Biden thus decided

to keep his campaign promise and issue

the recognition, to the jubilation of half a

million Armenian-Americans.

Turkey's long campaign of genocide

denial, then, has failed - at least in its

primary foreign-policy goal, which was to

prevent US recognition. Despite this,

there are too many reasons, both

domestic and international, to think

Ankara will allow a softening of its stance

on the genocide (or the "events of 1915,"

as Turkey calls them) to occur any time

soon.

Still, one of the surprising

developments following the recognition

was the reaction, or rather lack thereof,

from the Turkish government itself. The

Turkish Foreign Ministry naturally

followed the declaration with a statement

denouncing Biden's recognition as an

effort to "rewrite history," and President

Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the

development a "wrong step" that he

urged Biden to reverse.

Other than this, there were few concrete

steps taken at all. The US ambassador to

Ankara was summoned for consultations,

but no other threats were issued, and

even the tone of the government's

statements was relatively measured.

Facing a protracted economic crisis

exacerbated by yet another devastating

Covid-19 swell, Turkish leaders took care

not to further upset markets by reacting

harshly to Biden's announcement.

Views on the genocide in Turkish

politics and society, meanwhile, are so

deeply rooted that taking any opposite

stance would incur a heavy political cost.

Reactions among Turkish politicians

demonstrated this aptly, highlighted by

statements such as that of the member of

parliament Umit Ozdag (from the

Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, a

coalition partner of Erdogan's AKP), who

took to Twitter to praise Enver and Talaat

Pasha - the architects of the genocide - in

a statement saying that "we would do it

again."

More broadly, all of Turkey's

parliamentary factions, with the notable

exception of the Kurdish-led HDP,

condemned the US recognition. Turkish

public opinion, shaped by decades of

denialist education, is also in line with

this: A 2015 poll found that only 9% of

Turks believed that the massacres of

Armenians during World War I

constituted genocide.

Neil HAUeR

Beyond Turkey's borders, the most

notable voice on the issue from any of

Ankara's regional partners takes an even

harder line than Turkey itself.

Azerbaijan, whose ties with Turkey

have risen to new heights over the past

year and culminated in Ankara's military

and diplomatic support during the 2020

Nagorno-Karabakh war with Armenia,

takes an anti-Armenian line as its

overriding policy outlook.

For Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev,

who was the first foreign leader to speak

with Erdogan after the US recognition,

Armenia is a country "not even worthy of

Still, one of the surprising developments following the recognition was the reaction,

or rather lack thereof, from the Turkish government itself. The Turkish

Foreign Ministry naturally followed the declaration with a statement denouncing

Biden's recognition as an effort to "rewrite history," and President Recep Tayyip

erdogan called the development a "wrong step" that he urged Biden to reverse.

being a servant." With Erdogan set to visit

Shusha (recaptured by Azerbaijan in

November, in the heart of Nagorno-

Karabakh) in the coming months, the

Turkish president will doubtlessly preside

over many more stridently anti-

Armenian speeches in the near future.

It's also not clear what Turkey would

have to gain even from Armenia itself that

would necessitate any such politically

costly concessions on the issue of the

genocide.

Over the past few months, it has been

widely reported that Turkey is preparing

to open its long-closed border with

Armenia, something stipulated in the

November 10 ceasefire agreement (the

"unblocking of regional trade and

HASSAN Al-MUSTAFA

economic links") that ended last year's

war and hinted at by Erdogan advisers

themselves.

Given the overwhelmingly negative

image of Turkey in Armenia, particularly

in the wake of its support for Azerbaijan

in the war, any restoration of links with

Ankara would be deeply unpopular for

the government of Prime Minister Nikol

Pashinyan in Yerevan. Nevertheless,

Turkey could merely decide to open the

border unilaterally - something that

seems increasingly plausible, given that

Russia (the arbiter of the November 10

ceasefire deal) would love to have a direct

rail link with Turkey via Azerbaijan and

Armenia. In that case, there would be

little the Armenian government could do

but acquiesce to the opening -

concessions on the genocide issue or not.

In the meantime, all of these matters

are likely to play second fiddle to

domestic considerations. As Turkey

historian Howard Eissenstat recently

pointed out, the Armenian genocide is

simply too close to the Turkish republic's

founding for Turks to grapple with

honestly without a "fundamental

rethinking" of the country's creation

narrative. But Turkey, too, will get over it.

The US is hardly the first country to

recognize the genocide, and many of

those that have - Russia and Germany

chief among them - constitute Turkey's

most important international partners.

Ankara's rhetoric might not change, but

life, as it always does, will go on.

Neil Hauer is a security analyst

based in Tbilisi, Georgia. His

work focuses on, among other

things, politics, minorities and

violence in the Caucasus

Vision 2030 creating an inclusive Saudi identity

During his interview with Saudi

journalist Abdullah Al-Mudaifer that

was broadcast last week, Crown

Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: "When

we commit ourselves to a certain school or

scholar, this means that we are deifying

human beings. God Almighty did not put a

barrier between Himself and people. He

revealed the Qur'an and the Prophet (peace be

upon him) implemented it and the space for

interpretation is open permanently." These

words define the crown prince's view toward

the concept of moderation and the religious

discourse he wants to establish - a discourse

based on "sectarian pluralism" and respect for

diverse Islamic communities.

In Saudi Arabia, there are four main Sunni

Muslim sects, namely the Hanbali, the

Hanafi, the Shafi'i and the Maliki, without

forgetting Sufi methods. There are also three

main Shiite Muslim sects: Jafari, Ismaili and

Zaidi. This sectarian pluralism results in a

wide range of doctrinal and dogmatic

jurisprudence, which the hard-liners are

seeking to abolish, while trying to impose a

single view of "pure Islam." The crown prince

rejects this, stressing: "There are no fixed

schools of thought and there is no infallible

person. We should engage in continuous

interpretation of Qur'anic texts and the same

goes for the Sunnah of the Prophet."

The crown prince understands that bigotry

is a major obstacle to society's progress, and

that Vision 2030 needs an enlightened, liberal

and social atmosphere, far from

radicalization. Therefore, in his interview, he

explicitly noted that "we cannot grow, we

cannot attract capital, we cannot have

tourism, we cannot progress with such

extremist thinking in Saudi Arabia." Instilling

moderation and sectarian pluralism is not a

IT was a crucial make-or-break vote

that P.V. Narasimha Rao faced when

Mamata Banerjee was ushered in in a

wheelchair and helped to her seat in the

packed and tense Lok Sabha. From the

press gallery above, one could see her

shaking with spasm under the woollen

blanket that wrapped her. The fever from

malaria ran high and she struggled to

control waves of rigour that usually come

with the affliction. Eventually, Rao won

the trust vote with the narrowest of

margins. She did her duty by the

Congress party and contributed in her

way to the early economic reforms, which

usually Rao and Manmohan Singh are

credited with.

Now, the tycoons her vote had helped

become rich with the inauguration of

India's top-down neoliberal policies were

switching sides. Their money power was

transferred to Prime Minister Narendra

Modi's party. All the loot one could

imagine was thrown into the humongous

effort to dislodge Mamata Banerjee. She

though was confidently plotting the fight

back for a third consecutive term as chief

minister of West Bengal. Her secular

temporary act, but a pillar of the Kingdom's

Vision 2030 and part of the enlightenment

process. This bold view has been positively

reflected in the followers of Saudi Arabia's

diverse Islamic sects; they are practicing their

rituals more freely, without fear of hard-line

clerics.

If we take the Saudi Shiites, for example,

they are witnessing one of their most brilliant

historic stages after the Kingdom strongly

prevented, by force of law, any acts of

incitement against them or vandalism of their

mosques or hussainiyas, which were the

targets of more than one terrorist attack by

Daesh.

Shiites in the Kingdom today present

themselves as "Saudis," not "Shiites," without

hiding their sectarian identity. That means the

national identity has become clearer and a

source of pride for them. They are working

hard to solve the problems that followed the

demonstrations in the Eastern Region,

specifically Qatif governorate, shortly after

2011 and the terrorist operations launched by

armed cells. These led to chaos and were

denounced by the majority of citizens,

religious scholars and intellectuals, out of

their belief in the importance of maintaining

security and that weapons should not be

outside the control of the state.

During his interview with The Atlantic's

Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg in April 2018,

the crown prince stressed that "the Shiites are

living normally in Saudi Arabia. We have no

problem with the Shiites and Shiism." His

interview received widespread attention at the

time, as he talked about Shiite citizens openly

and transparently, noting that "you will find a

Shiite in the Cabinet, you will find Shiites in

government, the most important university in

Saudi Arabia is headed by a Shiite. So we

believe that we are a mix of Muslim schools

and sects." This "sectarian diversity" that the

crown prince talked about is a key pillar of the

power of Saudi society that the hard-liners are

seeking to eradicate.

In March 2018, during a meeting with a

number of Egyptian media figures, the crown

Al-Nasr is a Saudi Shiite national from Saihat. He has served in many senior

positions, not because he is Shiite but because of his experience and competence.

The appointment of Al-Nasr was a clear political message: That

efficiency is the only and sole requirement, that the Saudi leadership does

not differentiate between citizens, and that all doctrines are respected.

prince was quoted by Al-Masry Al-Youm

newspaper as saying: "I have Shiite friends,

there are Shiites in leadership positions, and

the leaders of many of the Kingdom's giant

companies are Shiites."

NEOM is considered to be one of the

leading projects in Saudi Arabia and the

whole world. The CEO of the project is

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, who worked for many years

at the oil giant Aramco and was

commissioned by the late King Abdullah to

establish King Abdullah University of Science

and Technology, one of the most important

academic hubs in the Kingdom.

Mamata kindles India's hope

resolve and populist economic priorities

can be gleaned from her modest cottage

surrounded by lower-middle-class homes

and shanties in a nondescript Kolkata

district. The Trinamool Congress (TMC)

she set up was itself a critique of the

Congress, which had nurtured her as a

youth leader but was beginning to be

associated with wealth and pelf.

Trinamool means 'grassroots' in

Bangla, the name of her party suggesting

her plain thoughts about her parent

group, which she had left with a mission.

It was May 2, when the results came in,

the same day as Satyajit Ray's birth

centenary someone pointed out. Bengal

has been shaped by Ray, Nazrul Islam

and Tagore, by Vivekanand and Kali

JAWeD NAqvi

worship. For her to open her account in

West Bengal her worldview had to

challenge also the invincible communist

hegemony, much of it secured under Jyoti

Basu's watch. He had steered the state for

most of the three decades of Left Front

rule since 1977, a handy reward for

steadfastly fighting Indira Gandhi's

Marxist chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya reportedly went a step

further in his induced aloofness from a people who he had no use for.

He turned down a request from a fellow partisan in Delhi to help the

Progressive Writers Association host an Urdu conference in Kolkata.

"Do you want me to patronise another partition?" he had exploded.

emergency.

After Basu retired citing age, the party's

fortunes quickly melded with the

economic chaos reigning in India. The

party evicted small peasants from fields to

make space for industry, a lesson they

erroneously believed could be bodily

lifted from China. If Nandigram and

Singur were what the comrades saw as

aspects of "socialism with Bengali

Al-Nasr is a Saudi Shiite national from

Saihat. He has served in many senior

positions, not because he is Shiite but because

of his experience and competence. The

appointment of Al-Nasr was a clear political

message: That efficiency is the only and sole

requirement, that the Saudi leadership does

not differentiate between citizens, and that all

doctrines are respected.

Aramco, the Kingdom's main economic

company, is headed by Amin Nasser. He is a

Saudi national from Safwa, on the eastern

coast, where his relatives still live. Nasser has

a Shiite background and is from a city where

Sunnis and Shiites have coexisted for decades.

The crown prince wants to establish a

discourse based on sectarian pluralism and

respect for diverse Islamic communities.

The Public Investment Fund, whose

board is chaired by the crown prince, in

January appointed Fahad Al-Saif as head of

corporate finance. Al-Saif is a relative of Dr.

Tawfiq Al-Saif, a prominent Saudi thinker

who has published several books on

reforming religious discourse and

developing the concept of state and

freedoms. Furthermore, Saudi writer and

researcher Kamel Al-Khatti has been

appointed as a consultant at the

Department of Awqaf and Islamic

Inheritance at Qatif, with the mission of

developing the department's judicial system

and expanding its powers toward turning it

into a sophisticated body that serves citizens

with high efficiency.

Hassan Al-Mustafa is a Saudi writer and

researcher interested in Islamic movements,

the development of religious discourse and

the relationship between the Gulf

Cooperation Council states and Iran.

characteristics", the move boomeranged,

and Ms Banerjee pounced on the

opportunity. This mindless game of

revenge and short-sighted gambits has

harmed the left enormously.

During much of the post-Basu rule,

communist priorities in West Bengal had

dovetailed with the core quests of the

Vajpayee-Advani duo in Delhi. The

Marxist chief minister of West Bengal and

the BJP home minister of India found a

common cause, which were two causes, in

fact. They both desired to deal decisively

with the Maoist challenge, and both

harboured strong reservations about a

real or an imagined influx of people from

Bangladesh. This inevitably worked as a

wedge that eventually drove many

Muslims away from the party, while

alienating many who opposed harsh

solutions to tackle the Maoists.

Marxist chief minister Buddhadeb

Bhattacharya reportedly went a step

further in his induced aloofness from a

people who he had no use for.

The writer is Dawn's

correspondent in Delhi.


WEDnESDaY, maY 5, 2021

5

Finding the reasons for South Africa’s

rare desert disappearance

nIck DaLL

In May 2020, 10mm of rain

fell at Sendelingsdrif Rest

Camp in South Africa's most

north-westerly corner. After

enduring nine years of almost

zero rain, Pieter van Wyk, a

32-year-old self-taught

botanist who heads up the

Richtersveld national park's

nursery, was elated to see

several species flower for the

first time in almost a decade.

The rain, including 200mm

on the nearby mountains, was

a welcome respite for the

world heritage site's flora and

fauna.

His joy, however, was shortlived.

While the rain gave a

temporary lease of life to some

annuals and bulbs in the |Ai-

Pesticides harming vital soil

organisms

DamIan caRRIngTon

Pesticides are causing widespread

damage to the tiny creatures that keep

soils healthy and underpin all life on

land, according to the first

comprehensive review of the issue. The

researchers found the measured impacts

of farm chemicals on earthworms,

beetles, springtails and other organisms

were overwhelmingly negative. Other

scientists said the findings were

alarming, given the importance of these

"unsung heroes".

The analysis warned that soil

organisms are rarely considered when

assessing the environmental impact of

pesticides. The US, for example, only

tests chemicals on honey bees, which

may never come into contact with soil,

an approach described as "crazy".

A UN report published in December

found that the future looked "bleak" for

soils without urgent action to halt

degradation, given that it takes

thousands of years for new soils to form.

Soils are thought to contain nearly a

quarter of all the planet's biodiversity.

Nathan Donley, at the Center for

Biological Diversity in the US and an

author of the new review, said: "The level

of harm we're seeing is much greater

than I thought it would be. Soils are

incredibly important. But how pesticides

can harm soil invertebrates gets a lot less

coverage than pollinators, mammals

and birds - it's incredibly important that

changes."

"Beetles and springtails have

enormous impacts on the porosity of soil

and are really getting hammered, and

earthworms are definitely getting hit as

well," he said. "A lot of people don't know

that most bees nest in the soil, so that's a

|Ais/Richtersveld

transfrontier park, it did little

to alter the fact that scores of

species, especially large

succulent plants such as aloes,

are in peril. A study to be

published by Van Wyk and

others shows that 85% of the

population of the distinctive

Flowering succulents in namaqualand.

Pearson's aloe (Aloe

pearsonii) - endemic to the

Richtersveld - has been lost in

the past five years, having

been a stable presence for the

previous four decades.

Pearson's aloe is just one of

dozens of species Van Wyk

fears may disappear in his

lifetime. The plants face a

number of threats, but it is the

climate emergency and

poaching that are having the

biggest impact.

When all is well, the

Richtersveld's position in the

Northern Cape, at the

intersection of three biomes,

coupled with its geological

complexity - the park is home

to the oldest mountains in the

Photo: nick Helme

world - and the fact that it

straddles winter and summer

rainfall regions, makes it a

botanist's paradise. With

more than 3,000 plant

species, including 400

endemic to the region, it is

"easily the most biologically

diverse desert in the world",

Van Wyk says proudly.

Despite being 20 times

smaller and having much

major pathway of exposure for them."

Prof Dave Goulson, at the University of

Sussex, UK, and not part of the study

team, said: "The findings of harmful

effects on soil organisms from the large

majority of pesticides tested is alarming,

given the vital importance of these

'unsung heroes' in keeping the soil

healthy."

The analysis, published in the journal

Frontiers in Environmental Science,

systematically reviewed nearly 400

studies of the effects of pesticides on

non-target invertebrates that live at least

part of their lives in the soil. It covered

more than 275 species and 284

pesticides, but excluded any chemicals

currently banned in the US.

The studies provided more than 2,800

"tested parameters", where a specific

pesticide had been tested on a specific

organism for a particular feature, such as

mortality, abundance, behaviour,

reproduction, and biochemical and

morphological changes.

The scientists found 71% of the tested

parameters showed negative effects

from pesticide exposure, while 28%

showed no significant effects and 1%

showed positive effects. For example,

84% of the tested parameters in

earthworms were negatively affected by

the most-common classes of

insecticides. Some herbicides and

fungicides also harmed earthworms.

Donley said: "It's not just one or two

pesticides that are causing harm, the

results are really very consistent across

the whole class of chemical poisons." A

2012 review showed that pesticides can

also harm microbial life in soils.

Review studies may be affected by socalled

publication bias, if researchers

have tended to publish only those

lower rainfall, Richtersveld

has more plant species than

the country's famous Kruger

national park. It is, says Van

Wyk, "the most important

succulent laboratory in the

world".

But it is this variety of rare

succulents that draws the

poachers. Many Richtersveld

species are so specialised that

they grow only in one valley or

on one mountain slope. In

extreme cases an entire

species can be confined to an

area smaller than a football

pitch, so a poacher could

render a species extinct in a

morning. In Van Wyk's

estimation, plant poaching

might be more lucrative than

the country's rhino horn

industry.

Poachers target the typically

endangered species, which

fetch the highest prices on the

black market (wild "characterfilled"

plants fetch higher

prices than cultivated ones).

"Despite the sale of such

plants being strictly illegal,

they don't even try to hide

what they're selling on social

media," says Van Wyk.

Richtersveld dwarf

succulents are right at the top

of the poachers' list but

species across southern Africa

are targeted. Plants are sold in

Asia, Europe and North

America by crime syndicates

who subcontract the actual

poaching to desperate South

Africans.

experiments that show a striking result.

But Matt Shardlow, at the charity Buglife

in the UK, said: "The answer is clear here

- the distribution of outcomes in

published studies is massively weighted

on the negative side."

"The high level of negative effects on

reproduction across the board is one of

the most concerning results they

highlight," he said. "It also transpires

that fungicides are almost as bad as

insecticides for soil animals. This is not

surprising as earthworms, woodlice,

millipedes and springtails feed largely on

fungi on decaying vegetable matter."

"We all want fertile agricultural soils,

but this shows that the pesticides we are

applying are assaulting the fertility of the

animals that live in the soil," Shardlow

said. "If we want to protect healthy soils

we do need to take soil organisms into

consideration when deciding if a

pesticide is safe to use."

In the US, the only organism

pesticides are tested on are honey bees,

said Donley: "It's crazy to have a single

species that may never come into contact

with soil in its entire life as a proxy for

every terrestrial invertebrate out there.

You might as well use a fish." Pesticide

regulation is generally even less strict in

less developed nations, despite

agriculture making up a bigger part of

their economies.

Europe Union pesticide regulations do

include tests on one species of mite,

springtail and earthworm, and on

microbial activity. Further tests on a

woodlouse and symbiotic fungi are also

being considered. "That's good, but I'd

still like to see more," said Donley.

CropLife America, which represents

pesticide companies, did not respond to

a request for comment.

The tiny creatures are the 'unsung heroes' that keep soils healthy and underpin all life on land.

Photograph: Buiten-Beeld

Even short, temporary increases in airborne particles can damage brain health. Photo: Dominic Lipinski

Air pollution spikes may impair

thinking in elderly population

Ian SamPLE

Temporary rises in air pollution may

impair memory and thinking in older

men, according to research that

indicates even short-term spikes in

airborne particles can be harmful to

brain health. Scientists found that the

men's cognitive performance fell

following rises in air pollution during

the month before testing, even when

peak levels remained below safety

thresholds for toxic air set by the World

Health Organization and national

regulators.

The findings build on growing

evidence that exposure to fine

particulate matter in the air, largely

from road vehicles and industry, is

harmful not only to the heart and lungs,

but also to delicate neural tissues in the

brain.

Researchers in the US and China

compiled multiple cognitive test scores

from nearly 1,000 men living in the

Greater Boston area and checked them

against local levels of PM2.5s - airborne

particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres

Receding glaciers causing

rivers to suddenly disappear

JEnna kunzE

As glaciers around the world

recede rapidly owing to global

warming, some communities

are facing a new problem: the

sudden disappearance of

their rivers. River piracy, or

stream capture, is when water

from one river is diverted into

another because of erosion or,

in this case, glacier melt.

Scientists predict as we

move towards a world with

far fewer glaciers, land that

has been continuously

covered by ice for many

centuries will become icefree,

thus redirecting rivers in

high mountain areas. In most

instances, the redirection will

be inconsequential. But in

some areas with various user

groups that rely on the river's

flow, the changes might have

a more significant impact.

"Glaciers by and large

around the world are

retreating," said Dan Shugar,

a geoscientist at the

University of Calgary. "That

enhanced retreat that we're

seeing now, we know

unequivocally, that is due to

climate change."

Shugar was a lead scientist

who documented the first

known case of river piracy in

modern times in 2016 in

Canada's Yukon Territory.

Then, Canada's largest glacier

melted so quickly it diverted a

large river, and thus

significantly reduced the

water level of a lake it fed.

For hundreds of years, the

Slims River, or Ä'äy Chù,

carried meltwater

northwards from the vast

Kaskawulsh glacier into the

Kluane river then into the

Yukon River towards the

Bering Sea. But in spring

2016, a period of intense

melting of the glacier

permanently redirected the

meltwater of the Ä'äy Chù

towards a steeper gradient

east via the Kaskawulsh

River, into the Gulf of Alaska

across. The men involved in the study

were white and had an average age of

69.

Writing in Nature Aging, the

scientists describe how higher levels of

PM2.5s up to four weeks before testing

were linked to poorer cognitive

performance on tasks ranging from

word memory to number recall and

verbal fluency. The effect was clear

even when concentrations of PM2.5s

stayed below 10 micrograms per cubic

metre, the WHO guideline level which

is routinely breached in London and

many other cities.

Intriguingly, the study found

evidence that test scores were less

affected by short-term rises in air

pollution if the men were taking aspirin

or other non-steroidal antiinflammatory

drugs, known as

NSAIDs. "Our study indicates that

short-term air pollution exposure may

be related to short-term alterations in

cognitive function and that NSAIDs

may modify this relationship," the

authors write. According to one line of

thinking, such painkillers may help by

Rapid glacial retreat is also changing the course of rivers in Iceland and

beyond.

thousands of miles from its

original destination.

Now, scientists are turning

their attention further

downstream, to Alaska. A

rapidly retreating glacier

within Glacier Bay national

park and reserve in Alaska is

expected to change the course

of a mighty river it feeds, the

National Park Service

geologist Michael Loso

predicted in a paper

published last month, and

with it, demand adaptation

from theecosystems and

people who rely on the flow.

The Grand Plateau glacier

in southern Alaska is about

350 metres thick at its tongue,

and has long served as a

barrier for the Alsek River.

The waterway originates in

the St Elias mountain range

in Canada and flows south

into Alaska, entering the

Pacific Ocean in a channel

that flows through Dry Bay,

an area known for fishing and

rafting.

But over the next three

decades, Loso and colleagues

predict the Alsek will

abandon its current channel

at Dry Bay in favour of a

steeper outlet 17 miles

(28km) south-east, a pathway

freed by the Grand Plateau

glacier, which is thinning at a

rate of up to 10metres each

year.

Loso began studying the

area last year when he

realised the predicted new

outlet for the Alsek River lay

within national park

designated wilderness, a

more stringently regulated

area where many commercial

and some traditional

activities were prohibited.

"What we're talking about is

the river migrating out of the

preserve and into the park,"

he said. "If this was some

endangered species that

everyone was worried about,

you might go, 'Good, it's

migrating into a more

protected area. Good for it!'

But the river's not an

endangered species. It's a

resource that is doing just

fine. But it's going to leave all

those human users behind."

While scientists cannot

predict the impact of an

"imminent" river piracy

event, they can look to similar

situations to gauge the impact

on ecosystem and human

user groups. Carmen Wong,

an ecologist at Parks Canada,

said she witnessed a massive

landscape change in just over

a few days as a result of the

reducing inflammation that is triggered

by fine particles getting into the brain.

While the WHO says levels of PM2.5s

should not exceed an annual mean of

10 micrograms per cubic metre, the UK

has adopted a higher limit of 25

micrograms per cubic metre. The

government's air quality index regards

PM2.5 levels below 35 micrograms per

cubic metre as "low".

Last month, Philip Barlow, the inner

south London coroner who concluded

that air pollution was a cause of the

death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-

Debrah, said the UK must adopt lower

legally binding levels for particulate air

pollution.

The impact of toxic air on respiratory

and cardiovascular health is wellestablished

and evidence for damage to

the brain is mounting. Studies have

linked air pollution to reduced

intelligence and dementia. In February,

work led by Prof Jamie Pearce at

Edinburgh University found that

exposure to air pollution in childhood

was linked to poorer thinking skills in

later life.

Photo: Dan Shugar

2016 river piracy event. "It

caused one river to go dry and

another to pick up its water

and go to an entirely different

ocean," she said. The result

left Kluane Lake, the largest

body of water in the Yukon,

with water levels 1.7 metres

lower than normal.

"There are still a lot of

unknowns," Wong said,

including the impact on trout,

and spawning salmon that

swim up the corresponding

river to return to their native

spawning grounds. Kluane

First Nation, a traditionally

nomadic indigenous group

settled along Kluane Lake in

Burwash Landing, Canada -

40 miles from the Ä'äy Chù

river - is still dealing with the

consequences of the 2016

river piracy event.

Chief Bob Dickson said

about 100 residents living

along the lake heavily

supplement their diet with

traditional foods, such as

salmon and moose, sourced

from the lake and hunting

grounds accessed by crossing

the lake in a boat. But with

lake levels so low, the boat

landing towers like a diving

board above the water's

surface.


WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, 2021

6

Hasinuzzaman promoted as Additional

SP of Dhanmondi zone

As the patient's pressure increased, there is a crisis in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Barisal

Sher-e-Bangla Medical College (SBMC) Hospital.

Photo: Zihad Rana

KISHoREGANj CoRRESPoNDENT

Hasinuzzaman, who hails from

Kishoreganj upazila of Nilphamari

district, has been promoted from

Assistant Superintendent of Police

(SSP) to Additional Superintendent of

Police (AC) Dhanmondi zone AC of

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).

He was given the promotion in a

circular signed by Home Ministry

Deputy Secretary Dhananjay Kumar

Das. In the notification, 104 more

officers with the rank of Assistant

Superintendent of Police were

promoted as Additional

Superintendents of Police.

Hasinuzzaman, who has been

Additional SP of Dhanmondi

Zone of Dhanmondi zone

Hasinuzzaman

promoted as Additional

Superintendent of Police, is a skilled,

talented and smart officer of the 33rd

BCS police cadre.

The former student of BUET's Civil

Engineering Department successfully

served as AC (Administration) of

DMP's Ramna Division and AC

(Administration) at Bangladesh Police

Headquarters before joining as AC of

Dhanmondi zone.

Hasinuzzaman was on the merit list

in SSC from Bohumukhi Model High

School in Kishoreganj Upazila and HSC

in Syedpur Cantonment Public School

and College. His father, the late Samsul

Haque, was a renowned teacher at the

Bohumukhi Model High School.

ICU crisis as the patient's pressure

increases at SBMC

zIHAD RANA, BARISHAL CoRRESPoNDENT

As the patient's pressure increased,

there was a crisis in the Intensive

Care Unit (ICU) at Barisal Sher-e-

Bangla Medical College (SBMC)

Hospital.

However, the hospital authorities

have applied to the ministry for 40

new ICU beds to get rid of this.

Confirming the matter, Director of

SBMC Hospital HM Saiful Islam

said that there are 12 ICUs in the

corona ward of the hospital. of

these, 11 are running. The demand

for ICU has increased due to the

recent increase in the number of

corona patients in the hospital.

Authorities in Dhaka have been

asked to get 40 new ICUs to meet

the additional demand. Getting

extra ICU will cut the current

problem.

Meanwhile, hospital sources said

that the total number of beds in the

corona ward of Barisal Sher-e-

Bangla Medical College Hospital is

150. Some of these beds have central

oxygen system.

Meanwhile, according to the latest

information, there are a total of 125

patients in the corona and isolation

wards of the hospital.

ICU specialist doctors are not

likely to come from Dhaka. Asked

about providing services to ICU

patients, the officials said, "ICUs will

be run with the training of nurses."

other experienced doctors say

that if the doctor's job is done by a

nurse, there would be no need for a

doctor.

Essential food items including rice, pulses, flour, salt and oil have been distributed among about half a

hundred helpless families of Laxichhari Upazila under the initiative of Laxichhari Zone under Guimara

Region on Monday.

Photo: Didarul Alam

Ratan Kumar Debnath (FCMA), Managing Director, West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited

(Ozopadico), paid a courtesy call on Mayor of Khulna City Corporation, Alhaj Talukder Abdul Khaleq

recently. During the time, Ozopadiko Executive Director (Engineering) Md. Abu Hasan, Chief Engineer

Md. Mostafizur Rahman, General Manager Accounting / Finance A.N.M. Mostafizur Rahman, Manager

(Administration) Mohammad Nazmul Huda, Deputy Assistant Engineer Al Mamun Chowdhury were also

present at the occasion. Ratan Kumar Debnath (FCMA), the current managing director, took charge of

Ozopadiko last Sunday.

Photgo: Titash Chakraborthey

Alhaj Siddiqur Rahman working

tirelessly for the society

MD. AzAHAR ALI, BoGURA CoRRESPoNDENT

There are some people who are

inspired by the ideals of humanity and

constantly serve the poor and

marginalized people and become a rare

person who is realistic, far-sighted, and

educated. Alhaj Siddiqur Rahman is

such a person. He is also the President

of Akbaria Limited.

Akbaria Grand Hotel and Restaurant

is run by this organization. Floating

people of Bogura and surrounding

districts distribute free food among the

beggars, poor, uprooted and needy

people every night. In 2000, he set up

24 classrooms in every colony of

Bogura. He carried out a great work like

imparting literacy to the backward

people of the society until 2010.

The Khoshjan Ali Iqra Center was set

up in his own building through his

single efforts in 2011. The educational

institution has 55 branches in different

districts of the northern region. Quran

education, Bengali, English and moral

education are imparted in these

educational institutions. People of all

ages can take education in these

educational institutions. Without

expecting anything in return, he is

relentlessly working for the people of

the society and inspiring others to do

the same. He has estimated a certain

portion of the daily income of his

business organization to serve these

backward people of the society, to make

Alhaj Siddiqur Rahman

them self-reliant and to enlighten

them. Alhaj Siddiqur Rahman is doing

this great work in Goalgari area of

Bogra district. The 70 years old man

has spent most of his life with the

underprivileged people.

He kept the money from the first sale

of Akbaria Limited for the under

privileged people. Both children and

old people come to these educational

institutions to get education. They are

being enlightened through this

teaching. Workers can be educated and

read newspapers, learn about the

country and abroad. He has set an

unparalleled example by promoting the

illiterate employees of Akbaria Limited

through his single efforts. He has also

played a vital role in various mosques,

madrasahs, schools and colleges as well

as in the higher education of poor

meritorious students. Alhaj Siddiqur

Rahman said, "Serving the people is a

great job. This humanitarian work

should be done by every established

conscientious people of the society. He

is doing these great works without fees

or benefits. Besides, transport fees and

food are provided for the poor people.

Then one day it will be seen that they

will become self-reliant and thus they

will build their own destiny."

Arranging educational competitions

and giving them special prizes make

the students interested in education.He

informed although it costs a lot of

money every month, doing something

for the backward people of the society is

a great consolation and achievement.

He has also made his brothers that

interested in this great work so that

they can also work for the backward

people of the society. He provides all

kinds of facilities including paying rent

all classrooms, providing educational

materials, teachers' salary allowances

to build an enlightened society.

Although the activities of the institution

have been stopped during the corona

pandemic period, this great person who

is fond of education is inquiring the

teachers, officers and employees all the

time.

Tk 250-cr surface water conservation

project progressing in Rangpur

RANGPUR:

A

comprehensive Taka

250.56-crore project is

progressing fast to conserve

and ensure best uses of

surface water to expedite

overall socioeconomic

development in the greater

Rangpur region amid

changed climatic conditions,

reports BSS.

Barind Multipurpose

Development Authority

(BMDA) is implementing

the five-year term (2019-

2024) 'Expansion of

Irrigation in greater

Rangpur district through

best uses of surface water

and conservation of

rainwater project (EIRP)'.

Talking to BSS, Project

Director of the EIRP and

Superintending Engineer of

BMDA for Rangpur Circle

Engineer Habibur Rahman

Khan said thousands of

people would enjoy

multidimensional benefits

after implementing the

project.

The project is being

implemented in 35 upazilas

of Rangpur, Nilphamari,

Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and

Gaibandha districts in

greater Rangpur division to

promote agriculture making

best uses of surface water

alongside improving

environment, ecology and

biodiversity.

"Under the project, reexcavation

of canals, beels

and ponds, installation of

low lift pumps (LLPs), solar

power-run dug wells and

construction of foot over

bridges, cross dams and tree

plantation are being

implemented," Khan said.

Re-excavation of these

water bodies will increase

water holding capacity,

facilitate drainage and

waterlogged lands will

become suitable for

agriculture and stored water

can be used for irrigation,

poultry and fish farming and

household activities.

Uses of surface water will

reduce dependence on

groundwater following

implementation of the

project which will provide

irrigation to 30 hectares of

land and supplementary

irrigation to 100 hectares of

land by utilizing conserved

canal water in one kilometer

(km) of land.

"Stored water in reexcavated

water bodies will

substantially reload

groundwater tables," Khan

added.

The project has a target of

re-excavating 230-km of

canals, 11 beels and 118

ponds, installation of 30

solar power-run LLPs, 100

electricity-run LLPs, 50

solar power-run dug wells

and plantation of 2.30 lakh

saplings of wood, fruit and

medicinal plants.

"Implementation of the

project will ensure irrigation

to 10,250 hectares of land

using stored surface water

and free 350 hectares of land

from water-logging for

agricultural activities," he

said.

Besides, the project will

allow using renewable

energy in irrigating crop

lands, enhance cultivation of

less irrigation water

consuming crops using

water from dug wells and

help enhance forest

resources to improve the

environment.

"Construction of 130-km

buried pipelines for

irrigation from 130 LLPs will

help prevent wastage of

irrigation water, reduce

irrigation cost and increase

irrigation efficiency to make

agriculture more profitable

to farmers," Khan said.

During this FY, the project

has a target of re-excavating

20-km of canals, three beels

and 10 ponds and

installation of 10 solar

power-run LLPs, 10

electricity-run LLPs, 10 solar

power-run dug wells and

plantation of 31,000

saplings in the project area.

"We've already completed

85 percent of the fixed target

through re-excavating 18-

km of five major canals, a

major beel and 12 ponds and

planted 39,800 saplings in

four upazilas during this

fiscal year," he said.

Chairman of Berubari

union in Nageshwari upazila

of Kurigram Abdul Motaleb

said BMDA has already reexcavated

two-km of the

Boalerdara Canal and more

than 800 families are

reaping enormous benefits

from the canal water.

Iftar and Eid items have been distributed among the disabled, widows and

the destitute poor in Betagi recently.

Photo: Md Mohsin Khan


WeDNesDAY, MAY 5, 2021

7

ReC Academy of Aerospace and engineering sophmore Brian Acevedo, 16, receives a vaccination

from LPN Myra Glass of east Hartford at a mass vaccination site at Pratt & Whitney Runway in east

Hartford, Conn., Monday, April 26, 2021. Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) hosted a "student

skip day" to administer the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to students from east Hartford High

school and CReC schools at the mass vaccination site.

Photo : AP

FDA expected to OK Pfizer

vaccine for teens within week

WASHINGTON : The U.S. Food and

Drug Administration is expected to

authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

for youngsters ages 12 to 15 by next

week, according to a federal official

and a person familiar with the

process, setting up shots for many

before the beginning of the next

school year.

The announcement is set to come a

month after the company found that

its shot, which is already authorized

for those age 16 and older, also

provided protection for the younger

group, reports UNB.

The federal official, speaking on the

Marine inspector general

suspended

amid tank sinking probe

SAN DIEGO : The Marine

Corps inspector general, Major

General Robert Castellvi, has

been suspended amid the

ongoing probes into last

summer's fatal sinking of a

seafaring tank off the Southern

California coast, a newspaper

reported Monday.

Nine men died in the

accident involving an

amphibious assault vehicle

July 30 near San Clemente

Island.

Castellvi becomes the

highest-ranking officer to

face discipline in the

multiple investigations into

the disaster, the San Diego

Union-Tribune reported.

His suspension was

announced by the assistant

commandant of the Marine

Corps commander in a

hearing before the House

Armed

Services

Subcommittee on Readiness

on Monday, reports UNB.

Gen. David Berger, the

commandant of the Marine

Corps, ordered the

suspension last week

pending the outcome of the

probe, the newspaper said.

Castellvi was the

commanding general of the

Camp Pendleton-based 1st

Marine Division until

September. He was named

in a previous investigation as

someone who has some

responsibility in the

accident. However, the

Marines did not punish him.

The commanding officers

of the 15th Marine

Expeditionary Unit and

Battalion Landing Team

involved in the accident

were both relieved of

command and seven other

Marines faced other

administrative or

disciplinary actions, the

Marines said.

The Marine Corps has said

last year's accident was

caused by mechanical

failures,

shabby

maintenance, inadequate

training, and poor judgment

by commanders.

condition of anonymity to preview the

FDA's action, said the agency was

expected to expand its emergency use

authorization for Pfizer's two-dose

vaccine by early next week, and

perhaps even sooner. The person

familiar with the process, who spoke

on condition of anonymity to discuss

internal matters, confirmed the

timeline and added that it is expected

that the FDA will approve Pfizer's use

by even younger children sometime

this fall.

The FDA action will be followed by a

meeting of a federal vaccine advisory

committee to discuss whether to

recommend the shot for 12- to 15-

year-olds. Shots could begin after the

Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention adopts the committee's

recommendation. Those steps could

be completed in a matter of days.

The New York Times first reported

on the expected timing for the

authorization.

Pfizer in late March released

preliminary results from a vaccine

study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12

to 15, showing there were no cases of

COVID-19 among fully vaccinated

adolescents compared with 18 among

those given dummy shots.

China: US should push

North Korea

diplomacy, not pressure

UNITED NATIONS : China's U.N.

ambassador expressed hope Monday that

President Joe Biden's policy toward North

Korea will give more importance to

diplomacy and dialogue instead of

"extreme pressure" to try to stop

Pyongyang's nuclear program and

denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Zhang Jun said China also hopes the

review of U.S. policy will give equal

emphasis to both the nuclear issue and the

peace and security issue, reports UNB.

"Without tackling the security and the

peace issue properly, definitely we do not

have the right environment for our efforts

for the denuclearization," he said.

The White House said last Friday that

Biden plans to veer from the approaches of

his two most recent predecessors as he

tries to stop North Korea's nuclear

program, rejecting both Donald Trump's

deeply personal effort to win over leader

Kim Jong Un and Barack Obama's more

hands-off approach. Press secretary Jen

Psaki announced administration

officials had completed the review of

U.S. policy toward North Korea but did

not detail its findings.

The Biden administration appeared to

signal it is trying to set the stage for

incremental progress, in which

denuclearization steps by the North would

be met with corresponding actions,

including sanctions relief, from the United

States.

There was no mention of U.S. security

guarantees for North Korea or a formal end

to the Korean War, both of which had been

demanded by the North and considered by

the Trump team as part of a larger package.

China assumed the presidency of the

U.N. Security Council this month and

ambassador Zhang told a news conference

that Beijing will look "very carefully" at the

U.S. policy review in hopes it will give more

emphasis to dialogue.

China and Russia circulated a draft

resolution a year ago on lifting some

sanctions against North Korea, and Zhang

said it's still on the table. He stressed that

while China is implementing sanctions

against the North, it also believes the

Security Council should consider adjusting

and lifting sanctions "which are really

hindering the humanitarian access ... and

making people suffer."

China's U.N. ambassador expressed hope Monday that President Joe

Biden's policy toward North Korea will give more importance to diplomacy

and dialogue instead of "extreme pressure" to try to stop Pyongyang's

nuclear program and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Photo : AP

'Horrible' weeks ahead as India's

virus catastrophe worsens

NEW DELHI : COVID-19 infections

and deaths are mounting with

alarming speed in India with no end

in sight to the crisis and a top expert

warning that the coming weeks in

the country of nearly 1.4 billion

people will be "horrible."

India's official count of

coronavirus cases surpassed 20

million Tuesday, nearly doubling in

the past three months, while deaths

officially have passed 220,000.

Staggering as those numbers are,

the true figures are believed to be far

higher, the undercount an apparent

reflection of the troubles in the

health care system, reports UNB.

The country has witnessed scenes

of people dying outside

overwhelmed hospitals and funeral

pyres lighting up the night sky.

Infections have surged in India

since February in a disastrous

turn blamed on more contagious

variants of the virus as well as

government decisions to allow

massive crowds to gather for

Hindu religious festivals and

political rallies before state

elections.

India's top health official, Rajesh

Bhushan, refused to speculate last

month as to why authorities weren't

better prepared. But the cost is clear:

People are dying because of

shortages of bottled oxygen and

hospital beds or because they

couldn't get a COVID-19 test.

India's official average of newly

confirmed cases per day has soared

from over 65,000 on April 1 to about

370,000, and deaths per day have

officially gone from over 300 to

more than 3,000.

On Tuesday, the health ministry

reported 357,229 new cases in the

past 24 hours and 3,449 deaths from

COVID-19.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown

University's School of Public Health

in the U.S., said he is concerned that

Indian policymakers he has been in

contact with believe things will

improve in the next few days.

"I've been ... trying to say to them,

'If everything goes very well, things

will be horrible for the next several

weeks. And it may be much longer,'"

he said.

Jha said the focus needs to be on

"classic" public health measures:

targeted shutdowns, more testing,

universal mask-wearing and

avoiding large gatherings.

"That is what's going to break the

back of this surge," he said.

The death and infection figures are

considered unreliable because

testing is patchy and reporting

incomplete. For example,

government guidelines ask Indian

states to include suspected COVID-

19 cases when recording deaths

from the outbreak, but many do not

do so. The U.S., with one-fourth the

population of India, has recorded

more than 2 ½ times as many

deaths, at around 580,000.

Municipal records for this past

Sunday show 1,680 dead in the

Indian capital were treated

according to the procedures for

handing the bodies of those

infected with COVID-19. But in

the same 24-hour period, only

407 deaths were added to the

official toll from New Delhi.

COVID-19 infections and deaths are mounting with alarming speed in India with no end in sight

to the crisis and a top expert warning that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion

people will be "horrible."

Photo : AP

India's COVID-19 tally

crosses 20 million

NEW DELHI : India's

COVID-19 tally crossed the

20-million mark, reaching

20,282,833 on Tuesday, as

357,229 new cases were

registered during the past 24

hours, confirmed the federal

health ministry.

Another 3,449 deaths

were reported since Monday

morning, taking the death

toll to 222,408.

There are a total of

3,447,133 active cases in the

country, with an increase of

33,491 through Monday,

while 16,613,292 people

have recovered and been

discharged from hospitals so

far.

The COVID-19 figures

continue to peak in the

country, but the federal

government has ruled out

imposing a complete

lockdown. Some states have

imposed night curfews or

partial lockdowns, while the

capital New Delhi has been

put under a third successive

lockdown till May 10.

At least 12 killed in

floods in western

Afghanistan

HERAT, Afghanistan : At

least 12 people were killed as

heavy rains and flash floods

hit parts of Afghanistan's

western province of Herat,

the local government said on

Tuesday.

"Flash floods engulfed vast

areas in Adraskan district

and neighboring districts in

Herat province on Monday,"

it said in a statement.

Among the dead were one

woman and four children,

according to a local

government source.

The floods also destroyed

tens of residential houses

and orchards in the districts

and caused closure of several

district roads to traffic, the

statement said.

Bill and Melinda Gates

announce they are

ending marriage

SEATTLE : Bill and Melinda Gates

announced Monday that they are divorcing.

The Microsoft co-founder and his wife,

who launched the world's largest charitable

foundation, said they would continue to

work together at the Bill and Melinda Gates

Foundation.

In identical tweets, they said they had

decided to end their marriage of 27 years.

"We have raised three incredible children

and built a foundation that works all over

the world to enable all people to lead

healthy, productive lives," they said in a

statement. "We ask for space and privacy for

our family as we begin to navigate this new

life."

In her 2019 memoir, "The Moment of

Lift," Melinda Gates wrote about her

childhood, life and private struggles as the

wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom

with three kids. She won Gates' heart after

meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual

love of puzzles and beating him at a math

game.

The couple's sprawling Seattle-based

foundation is easily the most influential

private foundation in the world, with an

endowment worth nearly $50 billion. It has

focused on global health and development

and U.S. education issues since

incorporating in 2000.

The couple were married in 1994 in

Hawaii. They met after she began working at

Microsoft as a product manager in 1987.

Last year, Bill Gates, formerly the world's

richest person, said he was stepping down

from Microsoft's board to focus on

philanthropy.

Gates was Microsoft's CEO until 2000 and

since then has gradually scaled back his

involvement in the company he started with

Paul Allen in 1975. He transitioned out of a

day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and

served as chairman of the board until 2014.

The Latest: Sri Lanka

receives 1st batch of

Sputnik V shots

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA : Sri Lanka has

received its first batch of the Russia's Sputnik

V vaccine.

The 15,000 doses were flown in early

hours of Tuesday to the Indian ocean island

nation which is struggling to obtain COVID-

19 vaccines because of the delay in getting

them from the neighboring India.

Sri Lanka has ordered 13 million doses of

the Sputnik V vaccine from the Russia's

Gamaleya Institute.

State Minister of Pharmaceutical

Production, Supply and Regulation Channa

Jayasuma, and officials from the Russian

embassy were present at the country's main

airport to receive the vaccines.

Jayasumana said he was hopeful that Sri

Lanka would receive the total of 13 million

doses of the Sputnik V from Russia in the

future, reports UNB.

Sri Lanka is facing a shortage of 600,000

doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in

order to complete the 2nd round of the

vaccine program.

Under the first round, 925,242 persons

were vaccinated and at present, Sri Lankan

health ministry has about 350,000 doses

and as a result, there is a shortage of

600,000 doses as the island nation so far did

not get it's vaccines ordered from India.

The number of COVID patients is rapidly

rising across the country over the last week.

Sri Lanka's total number of positive cases

have reached 111,753 with 696 fatalities.


WEDnESDAY, MAY 5, 2021

8

Union Bank Limited has signed an agreement with the Prime Bank Investment Limited (PBIL) and

BRAC EPL Investments Limited to work as Joint Issue Managers to provide Issue Management services

for the forthcoming IPO of the company under Fixed Pricing Method. A.B.M. MokammelHoque

Chowdhury, Managing Director, Union Bank Limited, KhandokerRaihan Ali, FCA, COO, PBIL, Syed

Rashed Hussain, CEO, BRAC EPL Investments, other high officials of the respective organizations

were present in the signing ceremony.

Photo : Courtesy

Saudi Aramco Q1 profits

jump 30pc on oil market

recovery

RIYADH : Energy giant Saudi Aramco

on Tuesday posted a 30 percent jump in

first quarter profits, in a sign of recovery

from last year's oil market crash fuelled

by the coronavirus pandemic.

Aramco said its net profit rose to $21.7

billion in the first three months of the

year, compared to $16.7 billion in the

same quarter of 2020, owing to a

stronger oil market and higher refining

and chemicals margins.

The bumper results follow strong

profits posted last month by major oil

firms - including France's Total, Britain's

BP and Anglo-Dutch group Shell - as a

recovery in crude prices fuelled their

rebound from the pandemic.

"The momentum provided by the

global economic recovery has

strengthened energy markets," Aramco

chief executive Amin Nasser said in a

statement.

"Aramco's operational flexibility,

financial agility and the resilience of our

employees have contributed to a strong

first quarter performance."

The strong earnings provide relief to

Aramco, Saudi Arabia's cash cow, which

has revealed consecutive falls in profits

since it began disclosing earnings in

2019.

The company's low earnings piled

pressure on government finances as

Riyadh faces a ballooning budget deficit

and pursues multi-billion dollar projects

to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

Saudi Arabia is currently seeking to

monetise its energy assets, as it explores

new revenue streams to fund its

ambitious diversification drive.

DHAKA : Small and

medium enterprises (SMEs)

can apply for loans under

the government's incentive

package to offset the

coronavirus losses from

Sunday.

A virtual press briefing

revealed on Saturday that

enterprises can apply for

loans through Brac Bank,

Mutual Trust Bank, Premier

Bank, Basic Bank, and IDLC

Finance.

Later, they can gradually

apply for loans through the

remaining banks and

financial institutions that

have signed an agreement

with the SME Foundation.

Md Mafizur Rahman,

GENEVA : The Covid-19 pandemic

provided a boost for e-commerce last year,

but the digital windfall was not enjoyed

equally across the board, a UN study

found Monday.

"Although it will take some time to get

the full picture of the impact of Covid-19

on e-commerce… a number of

developments point to the strong rise in e-

commerce in 2020," said the report by the

UN Conference on Trade and

Development (UNCTAD). The study

crunched data from seven countries -

Australia, Britain, Canada, China,

Singapore, South Korea and the United

States - representing some two-thirds of

online trade.

Online sales rose 59 percent in Australia,

46.7 percent in Britain, 32.4 precent in the

United States and 14.6 percent in China.

SMEs can apply

for incentive loans

from Sunday

managing director of SME

Foundation, said that

despite the target of

distributing at least 25% of

the loans allocated for

women entrepreneurs

under the incentive package,

the foundation hopes that

they will be able to disburse

more than 50%.

He added that the goal of

the foundation is to ensure

that more women

entrepreneurs will get loans

at any cost.

Last month, Aramco said it had struck

a $12.4-billion deal to sell a minority

stake in a newly formed oil pipeline

business to a consortium led by USbased

EIG Global Energy Partners.

Long seen as the kingdom's "crown

jewel", Aramco and its assets were once

tightly government-controlled and

considered off-limits to outside

investment.

But with the rise of Crown Prince

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's

de facto ruler, who is accelerating efforts

to implement his "Vision 2030" reform

programme, the kingdom has shown

readiness to cede some control.

In late April, Prince Mohammed said

Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude

exporter, was in talks to sell one percent

of Aramco to an unnamed foreign

energy firm.

Aramco previously sold a sliver of its

shares on the Saudi bourse in December

2019, generating $29.4 billion in the

world's biggest initial public offering.

The energy giant could announce

another offering of shares to

international investors within the next

year or two, the prince said.

In a major new diversification push in

March, Saudi Arabia announced plans to

pump investments worth $3.2 trillion

into the national economy by 2030,

roping in the kingdom's biggest

companies including Aramco.

The fund comes from the

SME Foundation, he said

last week adding that they

will provide Tk100 crore in

the current fiscal year and

another Tk200 crore in the

next fiscal year 2021-22.

The SME Foundation, in

consultation with partner

banks and financial

institutions, will appoint

focal officers in one or more

branches that are

convenient

for

entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs will

contact the focal officer, who

will coordinate with the

SME Foundation, the bank's

head office and branches

and entrepreneurs.

Pandemic boosted e-commerce in 2020: UNCTAD

Turnover rose by 22.4 percent last year

to $2.5 trillion, having increased by some

15 percent in 2018-19, UNCTAD said.

By contrast, overall retail sales declined

by one percent.

"These statistics show the growing

importance of online activities," the

report's author, Torbjorn Fredriksson,

told AFP.

They also underscore the need for

countries, especially developing states, to

use such data as they rebuild from the

pandemic, said Shamika Sirimanne, head

of UNCTAD's technology and logistics

section, in a statement. A standout

performer was Jumia, Africa's online retail

giant, whose transactions jumped by more

than 50 percent in volume in the first six

months of 2020 compared with the first

half of 2019, Fredriksson said.

Golam Awloa is new

Managing Director &

CEO of NRBC Bank

Veteran banker Golam

Awlia, has been appointed as

the Managing Director &

CEO of NRB Commercial

(NRBC) Bank.

Awlia is an M.Com &

B.com in Finance from the

University of Dhaka. He

started his banking career in

1983 from United

Commercial Bank limited as

a probationary officer. He

has served as Head in

different Divisions of Head

Office and Head of Zones

and Branches with pride in

his colorful career of long 37

years. In 2018, he joined

Primier Bank Limited as

Additional Managing

Director. Prior to his joining

in Primier bank, He was

serving in UCBL as Deputy

Managing Director (DMD).

Awlia has multifarious

experience in the fields of

Credit, Retail, Card and

Channel Banking

operations.

He has attended number

of programs in home and

abroad as a resource person.

He has visited several

countries including Italy,

Singapore for participating

training and seminars on

banking and economy.

319thBoard Meeting

of ShahjalalIslami

Bank Ltd. held

The 319thmeeting of the Board of

Directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank

Limited (SJIBL) held recently at

Corporate Head Office of the Bank

by maintaining proper hygiene

and social distance.On the other

hand, a few number of Director of

the Bank participated in this

meeting through digital platform

(with a Video Conference).The

meeting was presided over by the

Chairman of the Board of

Directors Mr. Md. Sanaullah

Shahid. The Board approved a

number of investment proposal

and reviewed various issue related

to policy of the Bank, a press

release said.

Among others the Vice-

Chairmen of the Board Md. Harun

Miah & Md. Abdul Barek,

DirectorsDr. Anwer Hossain

Khan, Abdul Halim, Mohiuddin

Ahmed, Akkas Uddin Mollah,

Khandaker Sakib Ahmed,

Engineer Md. Towhidur Rahman,

A. K. Azad, Mohammed Younus,

Mohammed Golam Quddus,

Fakir Akhtaruzzaman, Md.

Moshiur Rahman Chamak,

JabunNahar & Fakir

Mashrikuzzaman,Independent

Directors Ekramul Haque, K. A.

M. Majedur Rahman and Nasir

Uddin Ahmed,the Managing

Director & CEO M. Shahidul

Islamandthe Company Secretary

of the Bank Md. Abul Basharwere

also present in the meeting.

Samsung unleashes incredible offers

on smartphones ahead of Eid

Samsung Bangladesh has come up with

exciting offers that include cashback,

promo discount, and lucrative gifts for

its wide range of smartphones ahead of

the biggest fest of the Muslims to make

this Eid more happening for the

smartphone enthusiasts.

The Eid offer will continue till May

31, 2021. Under this offer, the

customers can avail of different exciting

offers such as cashback of up to BDT

20,000, promo discount up to BDT

4,000, up to 15GB data bundle offer,

and attractive gifts (Buds+/Buds

Pro/Fit2) while purchasing Samsung

smartphones. Moreover, upon buying

selective handsets, customers will have

'TwinWin' opportunity where they can

get a chance to win another

smartphone. There are also EMI

facilities available for up to 18 months

Noodles distributes iftar

to orphanages

Noodles, country's popular

noodles brand, is distributing

iftarmeals

among

underprivileged children in

orphanages every day across

the country. The Noodles

brand will distribute iftar

more than 10 thousands

orphans of various

orphanages.

Riyad Hossain, Brand

Manager of Mr. Noodles,

said, "We are distributing

iftar across the country

including

Dhaka,

Narayanganj, Gazipur, Feni

and Chattogram. Therefore,

well-wishers of us are

requesting on facebook page

of Mr Noodles to provide iftar

of their area's orphanage. We

have collected their address

from our pages and trying to

arrange iftar as per

RAJSHAHI : Rajshahi City

Corporation (RCC) has

opened Smart Rajshahi and

mobile apps aimed at

providing its civic services

online for the welfare of the

citizens.

From now on, the city

dwellers can avail 24 civic

services after registering in

the website and apps.

City Mayor AHM

Khairuzzaman Liton formally

opened

the

https://smartrajshahi.gov.bd

website through a virtual

meeting yesterday afternoon

as the chief guest.

State Minister for

Information

and

Communication Technology

(ICT) Division Zunaid Ahmed

Palak joined the meeting as

special guest.

Speaking on the occasion,

Liton said the initiative for a

WASHINGTON : The US

economy is likely to see its

fastest growth in nearly four

decades this year, but the

short-term inflation spike

that will come with the

rebound is not a cause for

concern, a top Federal

Reserve official said

Monday, reports BSS.

The world's largest

economy still needs to see

several months of strong

employment growth to

achieve a full recovery, said

John Williams, president of

the Fed's influential New

York branch, stressing that

the central bank will be in no

hurry to alter its stimulative

policies.

US GDP will expand by

around seven percent this

year as it bounces back from

the Covid-19 pandemic,

Williams said, calling it

with 0% interest.

On this occasion, Md. Muyeedur

Rahman, Head of Mobile, Samsung

Bangladesh, said, "For Samsung, the

satisfaction and joy of the customers

comes first. Keeping that in mind, we

have brought different kinds of

attractive offers for our smartphone

users so that they can multiply the joy

of Eid. This is the time when people

crave for something new, especially a

new smartphone at an affordable price.

Our offers will definitely help

smartphone enthusiasts grab their

desired phone and get rewarded as well

ahead of Eid."

Customers buying Galaxy M01 Core

and Galaxy A51 will enjoy a promo

discount of BDT 1,000, whereas there

will be promo discounts of BDT 2,000

on Galaxy M21 (6/128GB), Galaxy A71

consumer's request."

He also added, "We have

started iftar program from the

first Ramadan and it will

continue till 25th Ramadan."

digital Bangladesh has totally

changed the scenario of

providing government

services to people.

With the help of 'Digital

Bangladesh' the government

has established 'Digital

Government System' through

which people nowadays are

getting almost all government

services sitting at their houses,

he added.

The city mayor said Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina has

introduced the digital

government system in

Bangladesh with the entire

new idea shunning all old

concepts, that colonial

mentality of hundreds of

years.

He also noted that the

Premier has taken the 'Digital

Bangladesh' vision for

ensuring the welfare of the

countrymen.

"welcome progress after the

toughest period for the

economy in living memory."

But "While I am optimistic

that the economy is now

headed in the right

direction, we still have a long

way to go to achieve a robust

and full economic recovery,"

Williams said in a speech to

the Women in Housing and

Finance annual conference.

He credited the Fed's

stimulative policies,

including interest rates near

zero, with having "positive

effects" on the economy,

enabling Americans to

purchase homes and bigticket

goods.

"In fact, with

accommodative financial

conditions, strong fiscal

support and widespread

vaccinations, I expect that

the rate of economic growth

Toshan Paul, Deputy

General

Manager

(Marketing) of Mr. Noodles,

said, "We are spending

money for iftar program every

The ICT affairs adviser of

the government Sajeeb Wazed

Joy envisaged the vision of

'Digital Bangladesh', but

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

herself and her government

have implemented it, he said.

In his remarks, Zunaid

Ahmed Palak said the

government's e-document

management has reduced

financial costs over time. At

the same time this e-

document management has

set an example of success in

the world.

He said the government has

provided 54 crore services

through its e-governance

service delivery centres setup

across the country during the

this year will be the fastest

that we've experienced since

the early 1980s," he said.

But as economic activity

and consumer demand

picks up after months of

shutdowns, rising energy

prices and the rebound from

the pandemic downturn are

pushing prices higher,

fueling concerns about an

inflationary spiral.

But Williams said, "it's

important not to overreact

to this volatility in prices

resulting from the unique

circumstances of the

pandemic."

He projected inflation will

fall back to the central bank's

two percent target in 2022

"once the price reversals and

short-run imbalances from

the economy reopening have

played out."

Fed Chair Jerome Powell

(8/128GB) and Galaxy M51 (8/128GB),

and BDT 4,000 on Galaxy M31 (both

6/64GB & 8/128GB variants).

Meanwhile, anyone purchasing Galaxy

Note20 Ultra 5G will enjoy a cashback

of 10K/15K.

Upon buying Galaxy M02 (2/32GB)

the buyer can win any one of the triple

offers (cashback of 600/1000 or Twin

Win), while for Galaxy M02 (3/32GB),

Galaxy M01s, and Galaxy M02s, there

is a cashback offer of BDT 500/1000 or

a chance to get 'Twin Win.'

Those who will buy Galaxy A32,

Galaxy A72, Galaxy Note10 lite, or

Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (cashback of

10K/20K) will enjoy different cashback

offers along with a chance to win

attractive gifts (Buds+/Buds Pro/Fit2)

and get another new smartphone (Twin

Win).

day by allocating a portion of

selling Mr. Noodles. We are

happy to stand beside the

helpless children of

orphanages."

Smart Rajshahi website, mobile

apps open in Rajshahi

last four years which has

ensured hassle free services at

the door steps of people as

well as save time and money.

Palak said Sheikh Russel

Digital Laboratory has been

set up in 8,000 educational

institutions across the country

and initiative has been taken

to establish it in 5,000 more

schools.

"We will set up digital

laboratories in all educational

institutions in Rajshahi," he

said.

Around 11.5 crore people

are using the internet in the

country at present as low cost

internet is being reached to

all, the State Minister added.

US to see growth boom, but Fed's

Williams says inflation not a worry

last week made the same

point as he tried again to

quell rising concern among

investors and some

economists, saying there is a

difference between "onetime

price increases" and a

persistent rise in inflation.

Speaking to reporters after

the speech, Williams said

market expectations also

point to a decline in

inflation.

In the near-term, "a

sizeable chunk" of the price

spikes are due to

comparison to the sharp

declines in the early months

of the pandemic shutdowns.

But those effects will go

away. "Some of it really … is

arithmetic," he said, but

stressed that the Fed will be

watching all the factors

driving prices.


Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz: Alcaraz will face his idol on the Magic Box center court on

Wednesday, his birthday.

Photo: AP

Rafael Nadal to face promising Spanish

teenager at Madrid Open

SPORTS DESK

It wasn't too long ago that Rafael Nadal

was handing Carlos Alcaraz a

PlayStation as the boy's prize at a local

tennis tournament in Spain, reports

UNB.

Now the Spanish great is about to

play against the promising youngster in

the second round of the Madrid Open.

The 17-year-old Alcaraz defeated

Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-0 on Monday

to set up the "dream" matchup against

the 20-time grand slam champion.

Alcaraz will face his idol on the Magic

Box center court on Wednesday, his

birthday.

"It will be a dream come through to

play against Rafa here," Alcaraz said.

"I've wanted to play against him since

I was a kid. There will be no better way

than while celebrating my 18th

birthday."

Alcaraz, who is competing in Madrid

on a wild card, turned pro in 2018 and

has been considered by many as

Spain's successor to 34-year-old Nadal.

They practiced together at the

Australian Open, where Alcaraz

reached the second round.

He won the under-12 title in Madrid

in 2015, and two years later reached the

final in the under-16 event. A few years

ago, Alcaraz and other kids received

PlayStations from Nadal after

competing in a tournament.

"I'll try to be as relaxed as possible,"

the 120th-ranked Alcaraz said. "I'll try

to play my game and to keep learning

and keep having fun."

In other early round matches, Daniel

Evans defeated Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (6)

6-7 (7) 6-2, and Danis Shapovalov got

past Dusan Lajovic 6-1 6-3.

Fabio Fognini, who was disqualified

from the Barcelona Open because of

foul language, defeated Spanish

qualifier Carlos Taberner 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-

3 to set up an all-Italian clash against

Matteo Berrettini in the second round.

John Isner defeated Miomir

Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (6), while fellow

American Reilly Opelka lost to

Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-4. Other US

players who won were Marcos Giron

and Tommy Paul.

In the women's draw, top-ranked

Ashleigh Barty defeated French Open

champion Iga Swiatek 7-5 6-4 in a

round-of-16 match, while Spaniard

Paula Badosa got past Anastasija

Sevastova 6-7 (0) 7-6 (3) 6-0.

Petra Kvitova defeated Veronika

Kudermetova 6-3 4-6 6-4, while

eighth-seeded Belinda Bencic

advanced after Ons Jabeur retired.

Mohammad Hafeez to be offered

new central contract by PCB

Mohammad Hafeez was dropped from the list of centrally contracted players last year in May

SPORTS DESK

Senior batsman Mohammad Hafeez

will be offered a new central contract in

a higher category after he refused to

accept a short-term contract some

months back from the Pakistan Cricket

Board, reports UNB.

The 40-year-old was dropped from

the list of centrally contracted players

last year in May along with Wahab

Riaz, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad

Amir but after he performed well the

PCB was forced to offer him a shortterm

contract earlier this year.

However, Hafeez didn't accept the

offer as he was not happy at being

offered a spot in category C.

According to a reliable PCB source,

Hafeez is the only senior player who

will be given the new central contract

from July 1 while chances of other

seniors like Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz

and Haris Sohail getting contracts is

very slim.

"The cricket committee of the PCB

will be meeting with the head coach,

coaches and captain of the national

team when it returns from Zimbabwe

after which the chief selector will sit

down with the management and PCB

CEO and finalize the list of players to be

given the new central contracts," the

source said.

The existing contracts end in June

and the source said that due to the

prevailing COVID-19 situation the

board is also considering giving players

some financial rewards in their

contracts for spending long periods in

the bio-secure bubbles at home and on

away tours.

"Hafeez is likely to be offered a new

contract in an enhanced category while

senior batsman and former captain,

Azhar Ali is likely to be demoted from

category A to B as he is now playing just

one format," he added.

The source said that the PCB was

considering giving some of the

consistent performers like Hasan Ali,

Faheem Ashraf new enhanced

contracts from July, while some players

like Usman Shinwari, Iftikhar Ahmed

etc may lose their contracts in the new

list.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad

Rizwan who has been Pakistan's

leading batsman in all formats in recent

times is likely to be retained in category

A. "Rizwan was initially named in

category B of the contracts last year but

earlier this year the board gave him a

promotion because of his form and he

will be retained in category A," he said.

In-form batsman Fawad Alam, who

Photo: Reuters

has scored three centuries since his

comeback to the Pakistan team last

year in July, was also not part of the

central contracts for 2020/21 but was

later included in category C at same

time when Rizwan was given the

promotion.

"Fawad will get a promotion to

category B in new contracts because of

his superb performances as will opener

Fakhar Zaman who is also presently in

category C."

In May last year, the PCB had

announced central contracts in three

categories for 18 players, while three

cricketers - Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and

Mohammad Hasnain - were named in

emerging players category.

The PCB pays players monthly

retainers ranging from 1.1 million to Rs

500,000 besides their match fees and

bonuses. Players who don't get central

contracts are paid match fees and

bonuses for their appearances but don't

get the monthly retainers.

The source said the PCB might also

consider enhancing match fees of those

players who are now only playing Test

matches like Azhar, Fawad, Shan

Masood, Mohammad Abbas etc. The

PCB last year had also announced a

comprehensive pay structure for

domestic players which is as below.

Ex-BCB

President

KZ Islam

no more

SPORTS DESK

Kamal Ziaul Islam,

Chairman, Nirman

International and a

former President of

Bangladesh Cricket

Board, breathed his

last in Dhaka on

Monday. He was 86

years old, reports

UNB.

Islam, popularly

known as KZ Islam, is

credited with inspiring

the age group cricket

structure in

Bangladesh through

the introduction of the

Nirman School

Cricket Tournament, a

popular school cricket

tournament in the

1980s and 1990s.

He was at the helm

of BCB (former BCCB)

from January 30, 1983

to February 18, 1987.

BCB expressed deep

bereavement at the

passing away of their

former President and

extended condolences

and sympathies to his

family.

"He was a pioneer

and Bangladesh

cricket will forever be

grateful to him for his

vision and belief. He

patronised and

encouraged age-group

cricket with the

Nirman School

tournament during a

period when the game

was far from being a

professional sport.

Because of resourceful

personalities like him,

so many budding

players could dream of

becoming cricketers

and cricket reached

every corner of the

country," BCB

President Nazmul

Hassan Papon was

quoted in a press

release.

BCB also decided to

fly its' flag half-mast

Tuesday as a mark of

respect to the Late KZ

Islam.

DPL to start

on May 31

SPORTS DESK

Cricket Committee of

Dhaka Metropolis on

Sunday announced that

they have decided to hold

the Bangabandhu Dhaka

Premier Division Cricket

League 2019-20 from May

31, reports UNB. The

2019-20 season's league

was postponed on March

19 last year after just one

completed round of

matches in compliance

with measures taken to

fight the Covid-19

outbreak in the country.

CCDM informed that

the competition will now

have a fresh start and will

be played in a T20 format

instead of the usual 50

overs.

"As decided earlier it will

be a T20 event.

Considering the busy

international schedule

and the upcoming ICC

T20 World Cup, we

believe that T20 is the

ideal format for the 2019-

20 league," CCDM

Chairman Kazi Inam

Ahmed was quoted in a

press release.

"The BCB President has

given a clear direction on

the importance of players'

safety during these times.

The Board has

successfully completed

two tournaments this

season and has hosted the

West Indies in

Bangladesh."We will draw

from these learnings and

make plans for the

Bangabandhu DPL

accordingly.

We know what this

league means to the

players and clubs and

appreciate their support

during the planning

stage," he added.

SPORTS DESK

Hertha Berlin began its 20-day quest to

secure Bundesliga survival after its

coronavirus outbreak by fighting at Mainz to

draw 1-1 on Monday, reports UNB.

It was the first of six games that Hertha

faces through May 22 to make up for the

postponement of three games while its

players and coaching staff spent two weeks

in self-isolation at home following COVID-19

infections at the club. The team gathered on

Friday to train together for the first time

since April 15.

"We were so exhausted from training. Our

fitness coach chased us through the home,"

Hertha midfielder Sami Khedira said of the

quarantine measures.

Lucas Tousart's first-half header earned

Hertha a point that cut the gap to Arminia

Bielefeld and safety to three points. Hertha

next faces Freiburg at home on Thursday

then hosts Bielefeld on Sunday.

WedNesdAY, MAY 5, 2021

9

Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin

returns from quarantine

to draw at Mainz 1-1

Tousart connected with Márton Dárdai's

free kick in the 36th. It was the French

player's first Bundesliga goal since his

transfer for a reported 25 million euros from

Lyon last summer.

Phillipp Mwene equalized with a brilliant

strike inside the top right corner four

minutes later.

Hertha coach Pál Dárdai reacted with

three changes at once with just under half an

hour to go. Hertha captain Dedryck Boyata

was among those who went in, the Belgium

defender returning from injury for his first

appearance since December.

"We're very satisfied," the Hertha coach

said. "We're here for the points. It was the

case all week.

I always said a point is important for us.

Three would have been nicer but we're very

happy to get a point."

Mainz moved six points above the

relegation zone after its eighth consecutive

game without defeat.

Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente celebrates scoring their first goal with

teammates.

Photo: AP

After 4 weeks & 29 matches, IPL

hit by Covid-19, 4 test positive

SPORTS DESK

After holding 29 matches across four weeks

in the middle of a Covid surge that has caused

havoc across the country, the IPL's biobubble

was breached with two Kolkata

Knight Riders (KKR) players and two nonplaying

members of the Chennai Super Kings

(CSK) contingent testing positive, UNB.

The development led to Monday night's

game between KKR and Royal Challengers

Bangalore in Ahmedabad being postponed

and a cloud of uncertainty over the ongoing

T20 league that ends on May 30.

With KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy

and medium pacer Sandeep Warrier testing

positive, cricketers from four other teams

that played against Kolkata side over the last

14 days have been asked to self-isolate by

their franchises.

CSK is based in Delhi and is scheduled to

play Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.

On Monday, an IPL media advisory

informed that Chakravarthy and Warrier

have tested positive "in the third round of

testing". It also confirmed the rescheduling of

the KKR versus RCB game.

The BCCI is keeping its options open,

including the postponement of the ongoing

IPL, although that would be an extreme

measure. "We are watching the situation

closely. I can't say at the moment if

postponement is an option. We are hoping

that the situation will get better. We will

decide as per the situation," a top BCCI

official told The Indian Express.

"We will have an internal meeting (of

office-bearers). We haven't yet decided if we

will call an IPL governing council meeting.

More double-headers are an option, but we

SPORTS DESK

Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman

may have to return home earlier than the

original schedule due to the new quarantine

rule imposed by the health ministry, a

Bangladesh Cricket Board official on

Monday, reports UNB.

"We have asked them (Shakib and

Mustafizur) to let us know what is their plan

for the next 15 days while we have also asked

the health ministry to know what kind of

quarantine protocol they need to follow

after arriving in Bangladesh," BCB Chief

Executive Officer Nizamuddin Chowdhury

told The Daily Sun.

"If the health ministry suggests that they

(cricketers coming from India) will have to

follow seven or 14 days quarantine in that

case they have to return earlier than the

previous schedule from IPL but we have to

will look into all the options and

possibilities," said the official.

The official, however, ruled out the

possibility of the rest of the tournament being

held in the United Arab Emirates, which was

the venue last year.

Only last week, BCCI's interim CEO

Hemang Amin had assured all the teams that

they were "totally safe" in the IPL bio-bubble.

According to a source, Chakravarthy left the

bio-bubble through the official channel to

have a scan on his shoulder, with permission

from the BCCI and his franchise.

"We will look into how players inside the

bubble contracted the virus. Varun

Chakravarthy might have got himself

exposed during the scan, but we don't want to

pinpoint without verifying the details. We

will take necessary steps to address the

situation," said the BCCI official.

Over the past 14 days, KKR has played

against Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals,

Punjab Kings and CSK. As per the IPL's

Covid-19 guidelines, "close contact" of an

affected person should "isolate for six days"

and return "3 negative tests on Day 1, 3 and

6". This puts a question mark over KKR's

matches, and will involve at least four other

franchises as well.

As for CSK, a BCCI official said the two

members of the contingent, both non-playing

staff who stayed in the bubble, will "undergo

another round of testing", while further tests

would be done on every individual, including

players. As part of Covid safety measures, the

IPL group league fixtures are being played in

phases this year.

Mumbai and Chennai hosted the first

phase followed by Ahmedabad and Delhi,

and then Kolkata and Bangalore.

Shakib, Mustafiz likely to

arrive early for SL series

know first what will be in place for them.

"We are bound by the Bangladesh

Government rules and will take decisions

according to the guideline provided by the

government," he added.

Shakib and Mustafizur, who are playing

for Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan

Royals respectively in the ongoing IPL, were

expected to return on May 19 and join the

team after completing three-day quarantine

for the three-match ODI series against Sri

Lanka, scheduled to start from May 23.

However, BCB will need special

permission from the Directorate General of

Health Services if the duo plan to return as

planned earlier as DGHS had issued a new

quarantine rule on May 1 which stated that

travellers coming from India and South

Africa will have to go through 14-day

quarantine before resuming work in the

country.


WeDNesDAY, MAY 5, 2021

10

Zahid, Mantasha's

'Bura Jamai 2'

TBT RepoRT

Zahid Hasan, the popular small

screen actor and 'Lux Superstar'

Mim Mantasha will be seen

acting in a seven-episode Eid

special drama titled 'Bura

Jamai-2'. The drama is the

sequel of 'Bura Jamai' which

was aired on Boishakhi

television during the last Eid-ul-

Fitr festival.

Based on the story of Tipu

Alam Milon, Jakir Hossain

Uzzal has written the script of

the drama. Rohan Ahmed Rubel

and Hanif Khan have jointly

directed it.

Besides Zahid Hasan and

Mim Mantasha, actors Arfan

Ahmed, Sazu Khadem,

Shamima Naznin, Manoshu

Prakriti, Shirin Alam and

others will play roles in the

serial.

The story of the serial revolves

around the newly-married

couple named Farhad and Diya.

The drama shows how their

married life is hampered by the

conspiracy of their relatives

against them and how they get

rid of it.

'Bura Jamai-2' will be aired on

Boishakhi TV on the occasion of

upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr (every day

from Eid day to seventh day of

Eid).

Apurba-Tisha reunites again

after 13 years

TBT RepoRT

Ziaul Faruq Apurba and Nusrat

Imroz Tisha are two very popular

stars on the small screen. At one

time they were also quite popular

as a couple. They have worked in

many dramas. However, the pair

have not been seen together

since 2008.

However, Apurba and Tisha

are breaking this long gap of 13

years. They are working in drama

again. With two dramas together,

they are bridging the gap.

One of the drama is called

'Rock Rabindra'. It is directed by

Mahidul Mahim. The shooting of

this drama will start on May 6.

The name of the other drama is

'Shay Bouer Kothay Cholay'. It is

being directed by Shihab

Shaheen. Its shooting will begin

from May 8. However, the name

of the drama may change.

Directors Shihab Shaheen and

Mohidul Mahim are both thrilled

to be working with the Apurba-

Tisha duo. Their expectation is

that this Eid drama will give

extraordinary joy to the viewers.

Although Apurba and Tisha

did not act in the dramas

together for a long time, they

took part in a game show called

'The Box' earlier this year.

Kendall pranks

with fake

engagement,

pregnant

news!

Mim in Eid drama

'Dushtu Mishti Prem'

TBT R epoRT

Actress Bidya Sinha Saha Mim

left small screen drama after

being busy with movies for

several years. Currently the this

heroine will be seen in the TV

drama again. It has been

confirmed by Kamruzzaman

Babu, the head of Nagarik TV.

He said, a special drama is

scheduled for Eid titled 'Dushtu

Mishti Prem' starring Mim

along with actor FS Nayeem

who will be paired opposite of

her. The drama is written and

directed by Tariq Muhammad

Khan in the story of Saleh

Ahmed.

Meanwhile, Mim has

expressed a little surprise

saying, 'I do not even remember

the play properly it was

probably 7/8 years ago that I

have worked in it but did not

know that it had not been

publicized for so long.' The

drama will be broadcast on the

sixth day of Eid at 9 pm.

Meanwhile, in addition to

Mim's 'Dushtu Mishti Prem',

Nagarik TV has organized

several star-studded dramas

this Eid. Among these, special

drama 'Bhai Ek Premik Mastan'

will be aired on Eid day. The

drama starring Apurba,

Mehzabin is composed and

directed by Sanjay Barua.

Tawsif, Safa Kabir starrer

drama 'Je Chilo Amar' will be

broadcast on the second day of

Eid, written and directed by

Sohail Arman.

On the third day of Eid Toya,

Shaon's 'Khunsuti Prem' will be

broadcast. Directed by Anis

Rahman and scripted by

Abdullah Al Muktadir. Tawsif,

Farin starrer 'Will You Marry

Me' will be broadcast on the

fourth day of Eid. On the fifth

day, a special drama titled 'Biye

Hobe Ki?' starring Irfan Sajjad,

Tanjin Tisha will be broadcast

and Tawsif and Sarika's 'Pain

Guest' will also be aired on the

seventh day of Eid.

The Kardashian-Jenner family stays

relevant because of everything that happens

in the private and personal lives. Of all the

siblings, the one who shies away from

sharing a lot of her personal life is Kendal

Jenner, and recently she shocked her family

with a couple of surprising news.

During a recent interaction with Kourtney

Kardashian for Poosh, the sister played a

game of Truth and Dare. While at it, Kendall

had to pull some pranks on her family that

left the sisters on the couch red with

laughter.

One of the first dares to come Kendall

Jenner's way was when she had to call

mom Kris Jenner and tell her that she

was pregnant. And being the only

Kardashian-Jenner sibling to have no

kids still, Kris appeared to fall for it and

even headed over to pour herself a glass

of champagne.

While Kendall Jenner wants to message

and convey the 'news,' Kourtney Kardashian

puts her foot down and says the dare

demands a call. The telephonic conversation

begins with Kendall and Kris Jenner starts

with the model saying, "Hi mom. So I have a

senario… I have not gotten my period in a

little while and i was supposed to get it like

last week."

Kendall Jenner continues, "So I kinda got

nervous and randomly took a test. And it

came back positive. So i took another one

and that also came back positive. And I'm

literally like about to cry" But Kris responds

positively to this news, saying, "That's so

weird you just told me this because I

dreamed about this last night."

Source: Hindustan Times

Nora appeared in Emraan's film

before 'Baahubali'

Nora Fatehi has made her special place amongst the Indian

audience. The beauty who was only known for her dance skills

surprised everyone by getting roles in biggies like 'Bharat', 'Batla

House' and 'Street Dancer 3D'. In today's piece, we'll be taking a look

at one interesting fact about Nora, about which only a few people

would be aware. Before becoming a sensation with Rocky

Handsome's "Rock Tha Party" and 'Satyameva Jayate', Nora had

earned decent fame for her performance in Baahubali: The

Beginning's Manohari song. Many would have thought that

'Baahubali' is Nora's first appearance. But that's not the case.

Before featuring in "Manohari", Nora Fatehi had appeared in

Emraan Hashmi starrer 'Mr. X.' She was seen in "Alif Se" song that

also featured Gurmeet Chaudhary alongside her. Unfortunately, the

song didn't fetch much attention as the entire film was a dud.

Before appearing in 'Mr. X', Nora Fatehi had been part of Jr.

NTR's 'Temper', 'Crazy Cukkad Family' and 'Roar: Tigers of the

Sundarbans' (debut). Meanwhile, recently Nora opened up on

growing up with hardships all around. While talking to UAE Top

Show, Nora said, "Although I go through a lot of shit myself, I don't

want that to define who I am, I don't want that branding. I want to

always try to uplift people because I didn't have a lot of people

uplifting me growing up. I don't want to be that person for them."

"I might not even know you, you could be someone sitting in a

faraway land from me, watching me, but if I am even 1% of the

source of positivity, I can uplift you for even five minutes, I want to

be that person. When I die, I want people to remember me like that,"

Nora added.

Source: Indian Express

H o R o s c o p e

ARIes

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

emotional intensity inside you today that's

squirming to find a way out, Aries. Sudden

outbursts are likely, so take care to hold

your temper in check. Surround yourself with good

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

clingy. Seek friends who are thoughtful listeners, not

permanent crutches. They may be feeling the same strong

tension and don't need an extra burden.

TAURUs

(April 21 - May 21) : Today may have

some crazy emotional ups and downs,

Taurus. There seems to be an intense

cloud seeping into every part of your day.

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

you. Bursts of positive energy will pop out of nowhere

to remind you of your more important purpose. Try

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

that you fail to spot opportunities that arise.

GeMINI

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

with many exciting surprises for you, Gemini.

Approach it with gratitude and you will be

amazed at the number of things that just

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

rewarded in unexpected ways. Old friends are likely to show

up. Open yourself up to conversations. Act spontaneously

and with a great deal of passion.

cANceR

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

trend operating in your life, Cancer. It's

asking you to break the rules and enter a

new realm - a new mindset or way of

living. Today that trend comes into focus, as emotional

outbursts call attention to the changes. Your heart may

want to go one way while your brain wants to go

another. Take deep breaths and infuse a wave of calm

into the situation before you proceed.

Leo

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

comforting cup of tea today, Leo. Take

a hot shower or a long bath. In short,

pamper yourself. You may be picking

up on the extra tension of the people around you.

Be conscious of this and make a mental note to

strip away the garbage that others dump on you.

You're a sensitive individual. Pat yourself on the

back and look out for sudden moves from others.

VIRGo

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

are a bit upset by some of your recent actions or

words, Virgo. The offhand remark you made a

couple weeks ago is catching up to you. What

you may consider friendly, lighthearted sparring may actual do

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

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

a skin as they seem to have.

LIBRA

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

day for you, Libra. You can accomplish

quite a bit. Your intuition is especially

acute and your sensitivity is strong.

Computers might irritate you today. It's possible to

get all worked up if your laptop crashes. Save your

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

Don't let it get the better of you.

scoRpIo

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

jittery, even without caffeine,

Scorpio. Sudden actions may cause

people to freak out, since people will

be on edge in general today anyway. Save the

surprises for another time. If you need to tell your

boss that you're going on vacation for a little

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

the astral energy. Relax to soothe your soul.

sAGITTARIUs

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

coming at you from all angles today,

Sagittarius. Sooner or later you will be

forced to take action. It may seem like

the walls of the room are slowly caving in. The

pressure is building and the air is getting stagnant.

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

of that pressure you feel.

cApRIcoRN

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

about an idea today, Capricorn, but

unfortunately no one else may be. You

spring up with enthusiasm only to

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

communicative and witty while the other is

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

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

ideas, and save their presentation for a later day.

AQUARIUs

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

be a continuation of yesterday, but

with perhaps a bit more intensity for

you, Aquarius. There's an added buzz

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

noise may not provide the best environment to

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

problem. Tune out the chatter and move on.

pIsces

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

days when you might feel like four people

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

people are tugging and you're getting

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

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

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

what the best situation for you would be.


wedneSday, May 5, 2021

11

Chinese Navy to

help Indonesia

salvage sunken

submarine

JAKARTA : Chinese navy

ships have arrived off Bali to

help haul up a submarine

that sank last month killing

53 crew, the Indonesian

Navy said Tuesday as it

geared up for a deep-sea salvage

operation.

The help arrived after

other foreign ships from

Australia, Singapore and

Malaysia left the archipelago,

having assisted

Indonesian authorities in

finding the stricken vessel.

The KRI Nanggala 402 -

one of five submarines in

Indonesia's fleet - disappeared

last month while it

was scheduled to take part in

live torpedo training exercises.

An underwater rescue

vehicle supplied by neighbouring

Singapore gave

visual confirmation that the

German-built sub was lying

on the sea floor more than

800 metres (2,600 feet)

deep, broken in three parts,

confirming there was no

hope of finding

survivors.Two Chinese salvage

ships were on standby

in waters off Bali, while a

third was expected to arrive

later Tuesday, the

Indonesian Navy said,

adding that Chinese Navy

officials in Bali were helping

to examine data collected on

the submarine.

All three salvage ships can

dive up to 4,500 metres

deep.

Indonesia's Navy said

Beijing's ambassador to the

country had offered the help

to Defence Minister

Prabowo Subianto.

"The offer was welcomed

by the Indonesian government,"

it said in a statement

Tuesday.

G7 pushes

solidarity to

tackle global

threats

LONDON : G7 foreign ministers

meet in London for

their first face-to-face talks

in more than two years on

Tuesday, with calls for

urgent joined-up action to

tackle the most pressing

global threats.

China, Myanmar, Libya,

Syria and Russia are all on

the formal agenda as the

ministers from the club of

wealthy democracies prepare

for a leaders' meeting in

Cornwall, southwest

England, next month.

They will also discuss violence

in Ethiopia, Iran and

North Korea, Somalia, the

Sahel and western Balkans,

as part of what London said

were "pressing geopolitical

issues that threaten to

undermine democracy, freedoms

and human rights".

Britain's Foreign Secretary

Dominic Raab met his US

counterpart Secretary of

State Antony Blinken on

Monday with both pushing a

firm line on the need for a

more unified approach.

"The UK's presidency of

the G7 is an opportunity to

bring together open, democratic

societies and demonstrate

unity at a time when it

is much needed to tackle

shared challenges and rising

threats," Raab said in a

statement.

Blinken hammered home

the need for a common

stance, as he reaffirmed US

commitment to the "international

rules-based order"

to tackle issues from climate

change to post-pandemic

recovery.

Ministers are meeting

under strict coronavirus

protocols, with strippedback

delegations and social

distancing, including facemasks

and perspex screens

between speakers.

Britain, which has seen

more than 127,500 deaths in

the outbreak, is gradually

easing virus restrictions as

vaccinations increase and

cases fall, even as other

countries such as India and

Brazil endure fresh spikes.

Voluntary organization Projjolito Gopalganj distributing ifter everyday among the workless people. Photo : Star Mail

India: 12 killed in post-poll

violence in Bengal

NEW DELHI : At least 12 people

have been allegedly killed in post-poll

violence in West Bengal, prompting

the Indian Home Ministry to seek a

report from the eastern state's

administration.

"In the past two days, a dozen people

have been killed in West Bengal.

Supporters of the state's ruling

Trinamool Congress as well as the

main opposition BJP are among the

dead," a police official told the local

media in capital Kolkata on Tuesday,

reports UNB.

Sources told UNB that the federal

government on Tuesday sought a

report from West Bengal's Chief

Secretary, the state's top bureaucrat.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress

supremo Mamata Banerjee has

appealed for calm.

"Bengal is a peace-loving place.

During the elections, there has been

some heat and dust and calm. The

BJP did a lot of torture. But I appeal

to all for calm. Don't indulge in violence.

If there is a dispute, inform the

police. The police must manage law

and order," she told her supporters.

BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh has

appreciated Mamata's appeal. "It's a

good thing Mamata has called for

peace. If things don't calm down,

then we will hold protests. Why this

violence by Trinamool even after a

victory?"

Mamata, affectionately called Didi,

is slated to take her oath as Bengal's

chief minister for the third time on

Wednesday.

Bucking anti-incumbency, Mamata

scripted history on Sunday by single

handedly pulling off an astounding

victory in the assembly election. She

not only staved off a massive challenge

from India's ruling BJP but

also decimated the Left Front.

Though her party swept back to

power with a resounding majority of

213 seats in the 292-member assembly,

the 66-year-old lost her own seat

in Nandigram to her former protegeturned-rival

Suvendu Adhikari by a

thin margin of around 2,000 votes.

Mamata, however, made it clear in

a press conference on Sunday itself

Mexico City metro overpass

collapses onto road; 20 dead

MEXICO CITY : An elevated section of the

Mexico City metro collapsed and sent a subway

car plunging toward a busy boulevard

late Monday, killing at least 20 people and

injuring about 70, city officials said.

A crane was working to hold up one subway

car left dangling on the collapsed section

so that emergency workers could enter to

check the car to see if anyone was still

trapped. Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said 49

of the injured were hospitalized, and that

seven were in serious condition and undergoing

surgery.

Sheinbaum said a motorist had been

pulled alive from a car that was trapped on

the roadway below. Dozens of rescuers continued

searching through wreckage from the

collapsed, preformed concrete structure,

reports UNB.

"There are unfortunately children among

the dead," Sheinbaum said, without specifying

how many. ,

The overpass was about 5 meters above the

road in the southside borough of Tlahuac,

but the train ran above a concrete median

strip, which apparently lessened the casualties

among motorists on the roadway below.

"A support beam gave way," Sheinbaum

said, adding that the beam collapsed just as

the train passed over it.

Rescue efforts were briefly interrupted at

midnight because the partially dangling train

was "very weak."

"We don't know if they are alive,"

Sheinbaum said of the people possibly

trapped inside the subway car.

Hundreds of police officers and firefighters

cordoned off the scene as desperate friends

and relatives of people believed to be on the

trains gathered outside the security perimeter.

Oscar Lopez, 26, was searching for his

friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant,

she was riding the subway home from

her work as a dentist when her phone

stopped answering around the time the accident

occurred.

"We lost contact with her, at 10:50 p.m.,

there was literally no more contact," Lopez

said. With little information and a still serious

coronavirus situation in Mexico City,

Lopez said "they are not telling us anything,

and people are just crowding together."

The collapse occurred on the newest of the

Mexico City subway's lines, Line 12, which

stretches far into the city's southside. Like

many of the city's dozen subway lines, it runs

underground through more central areas of

the city of 9 million, but then runs on elevated,

pre-formed concrete structures on the

city's outskirts.

Bill Nelson, head of NASA,

hails 'new day in space'

WASHINGTON : Former Florida senator

Bill Nelson was sworn in Monday as head of

NASA, hailing a "new day" for space exploration

as the United States seeks to return to

the Moon.

With his hand on a Bible, Nelson took the

oath of office from Vice President Kamala

Harris as he officially took up the role of

NASA administrator.

"It's a new day in space," he said, after

bringing a Moon rock to the event.

Nelson, 78, who traveled into space in

1986, takes over the agency with the United

States hoping to put astronauts back on the

Moon by 2024.

Humans last set foot on the Moon in 1972

during the Apollo program.

Under the Artemis program, NASA wants

to establish a sustainable presence, complete

with a lunar space station, to test new technologies

that would pave the way for a

crewed mission to Mars.

In 2019, then vice president Mike Pence

challenged NASA to land the first woman

and the next man on the Moon by 2024, and

President Joe Biden's government has

backed the same timetable.

Charlie Bolden, administrator under

Barack Obama, attended Monday's ceremony,

while former administrator Jim

Bridenstine, who served under Donald

Trump, joined by video call.

Nelson said their presence was "to show

the continuity and the bipartisanship, with

which you run the nation's space program,

particularly NASA."In 1986, Nelson, a sitting

lawmaker, was a crew member on the Space

Shuttle Columbia during a six-day mission in

space, and has since sat on many congressional

committees on space and science.

that she would challenge the result in

a court of law. "How come the

Election Commission reverse the

results in Nandigram after formally

announcing it? We will move court."

In Nandigram, the Election

Commission initially announced that

Mamata had won by 1,200 votes but

subsequently declared Adhikari as

the winner. The polling officer also

rejected a plea for a recount of votes.

The BJP though has made major

gains in Bengal, winning some 77

seats. In 2016, the party had just

three legislators in the state.

However, the Left Front has failed to

grab a single seat this time. The Left

Front ruled Bengal for 34 years-from

1977 to 2011.

West Bengal witnessed the most

high-profile contest in India's recently

held state elections. While Mamata

harped on being Bengal's daughter,

the BJP asked people to vote for

"change and socio-economic development"

after 50 years of

Communist and Trinamool Congress

rule.

Deaths at sea highlight

failings in Europe

migration policy

CAIRO : As the waves

pounded the gray rubber

boat carrying more than 100

Africans hoping to reach

Europe from Libya, those

aboard dialed the number

for migrants in distress

frantically. In the series of

calls to the Alarm Phone

hotline, passengers

explained that the dinghy

had run out of fuel while trying

to cross the

Mediterranean Sea and was

quickly filling up with water

and panic.

On the other end of the

line, activists tried to keep

the migrants calm as they

relayed the boat's GPS coordinates

repeatedly to

Italian, Maltese and Libyan

authorities and later to

Frontex, the European

Union's border and coast

guard agency, hoping

authorities would launch a

rescue operation as required

under international maritime

law, reports UNB.

An analysis of logs and

emails from Alarm Phone

and the NGO SOS

Mediterranee as well as

reports by the Libyan coast

guard show that the national

authorities contacted

responded slowly, insufficiently

or not at all to the

pleas for help. In all,

approximately 130 people

are believed to have died

between April 21 and April

22 as they waited in vain for

someone to save them,

roughly 45 kilometers (30

miles) from the Libyan

coast.

It was the deadliest wreck

so far this year in the

Mediterranean Sea, where

more than 20,000 migrants

or asylum seekers have perished

since 2014, and has

renewed accusations that

European countries are failing

to help migrant boats in

trouble.

Israel to send

medical equipment

to India

JERUSALEM : Israel will be

sending life-saving equipment

to India throughout

the week to assist it in the

fight against coronavirus, a

statement issued here said.

The medical equipment to

be sent to India include oxygen

generators and respirators.

The equipment will be

delivered through a series of

flights throughout the week

starting Tuesday, the press

release said. "India is one of

Israel's closest and most

important friends. We stand

with India, particularly during

these difficult times

India is experiencing, and

are sending life-saving

equipment to our Indian

brothers and sisters,"

Foreign Minister Gabi

Ashkenazi said in the statement.

"Israel and India share

strategic ties that span a

wide range of political, security,

and economic issues.

India is one of the most

important countries for

Israel broadly in the international

arena and particularly

in Asia-Pacific," the Foreign

Minister said, adding that

the emergency assistance is

an "expression of deep

friendship" between both

countries.

He thanked all those who

cooperated in arranging the

comprehensive package.

The economic division at

the Israeli Ministry of

Foreign Affairs is said to

have roped in key economic

bodies, including the Israel-

India Chamber of

Commerce, Israel-Asia

Chamber of Commerce,

Manufacturers' Association

of Israel, Federation of

Israeli Chambers of

Commerce and the Israel

Export Institute for the aid

package.

Separately, Amdocs has

announced to donate 150

oxygen generators, which

will be sent to India as part

of the Israeli aid package, the

press statement said.

GD-782/21 (4x3)

we`ÿ r/Rb-977(2)/4/5/2021

GD-778/21 (5x3)

Total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses

given in India crosses 15.89 crore

NEWDELHI : The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine

doses administered in the country has crossed 15.89

crore with 17,08,390 doses being given on May 3, the

Union health ministry said on Tuesday.

It said 4,06,339 beneficiaries of the age group 18-44 years

received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine across 12

states and union territories.

These are Chhattisgarh (1,025), Delhi (40,028), Gujarat

(1,08,191), Haryana (55,565), Jammu and Kashmir (5,587),

Karnataka (2,353), Maharashtra (73,714), Odisha (6,802),

Punjab (635), Rajasthan (76,151), Tamil Nadu (2,744) and

Uttar Pradesh (33,544). Cumulatively, 15,89,32,921 vaccine

doses have been administered through 23,35,822 sessions

so far, according to the provisional report till 7 am.

These include 94,48,289 healthcare workers (HCWs)

who have taken the first dose and 62,97,900 HCWs who

have taken the second dose 1,35,05,877 frontline workers

(FLWs) who have received the first dose and 72,66,380

FLWs who have taken the second dose.

GD-783/21 (3x2)


Wednesday, Dhaka, may 5, 2021, Baishakh 22, 1428 BS, Ramadan 22, 1442 hijri

Covid-19 claims

61 more lives in

Bangladesh

DHAKA : As Covid-19 infections and fatalities

keep soaring, Bangladesh logged 61

more deaths from the deadly virus in 24

hours until Tuesday morning.

Health authorities recorded 1,914 new

cases during the period, according to a

handout issued by the Directorate

General of Health Services (DGHS).

The latest figures pushed up the death

toll to 11,705 while the caseload to

7,65,596.

However, the infection rate fell to 8.71

percent from Monday's 8.95 percentwhile

the fatality rate rose to1.53 percent.

The pandemic keeps

sweepingBangladesh since the country

reported its first active virus cases on

March 8 last year. Later, on March 18,

the country reported its first death from

the virus.

Brahmanbaria mayhem

Ex- secy of Qawmi Chhatra

Oikya Parishad among

6 arrested

BRAHMANBARIA : Police on Monday

evening arrested Maulana Belal

Hossain, former secretary of

Brahmanbaria Qwami Chhatra Oikya

Parishad and teacher of Jamia Yunusia

Madrasha, in connection with the recent

violence in the district.

Five more Hefazat leaders and

activists have been arrested in the last

24 hours for their alleged involvement

in the violence.

During preliminary interrogation,

Maulana Belal Hossain reportedly confessed

that on March 26, 27 and 28 students

and teachers of various

madrashas , including Jamia Yunusiya

Madrasha, went on a rampage at the

behest of the central leaders of Hefazat.

So far, 414 people have been arrested

in 55 cases in connection with the violence,

according to a press release issued

by the district police.

Farmers in Faridpur

relying on Fatema's

dhan for good yield

FARIDPUR : Cultivation of the rice variety

'Fatema' has started in Alfadanga

upazila of Faridpur through a young

man named Riazul Islam.

While talking to the UNB correspondent,

he said that he hoped to achieve

bumper yield after cultivating this special

variety of paddy on 75 percent of his

land.

While visiting the site, it was observed

that the rice has already started to ripen.

Harvesting of paddy will also start soon.

Riazul said, "I first came to know

about this variety of rice from a Youtube

video. I have collected the seeds of

Fatema paddy from Labuyat's mother

after waiting for six months."

It is to be noted that 'Labuyat's mother',

the woman from whom Riazul collected

the seeds of this variety of paddy

is none other than Fatema herself.

Prime minister Sheikh hasina addressing the opening session of

the first meeting of the "One health Global leaders Group on

antimicrobial Resistance" on virtual platform. Photo : Star mail

AMR to be more devastating than

coronavirus if not addressed: PM

DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina today said, if not contained

properly, antimicrobial resistance

(AMR) will be more devastating than

the coronavirus pandemic as it can

endanger every living creature alongside

food security and progress towards the

SDGs attainment regardless geographical

location.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is the

defining public health crisis of our time

that has already taken more than three

million lives. However, the impending

pandemic, in the form of antimicrobial

resistance will cause even more harm to

the global health," she said.

She was addressing the opening session

of the first meeting of the "One

Health Global Leaders Group on

Antimicrobial Resistance" on virtual

platform.

In her pre-recorded speech broadcast

at the function, the Prime Minister

warned the global leaders that the antidrug

resistance will not only endanger

human, animal and plant health, but

also threaten food security and progress

towards the attainment of SDGs

(Sustainable Development Goals).

Sheikh Hasina continued that the

AMR can affect anyone, regardless of

geographical location and socio-economic

condition.

The premier called upon the international

community to ensure strict adherence

to Infection Prevention and

Control-IPC measures to contain AMR,

saying, "It is possible through implementation

of Global Action Plan-2015

and UN political declaration-2016 on

AMR."

As co-chair of the Global Leaders

Group on AMR, Sheikh Hasina reiterated

her commitment to work together

with the Prime Minister of Barbados

Mia Amor Mottley and other global

leaders to establish AMR as top priority

issue in political agenda to combat the

threat of AMR and create universal

health care.

The Prime Minister appreciated the

ongoing efforts of WHO (World Health

Organisation), FAO (Food and

Agriculture Organisation), and OIE

(The World Organisation for Animal

Health) to formulate global strategies

for tackling the upcoming challenges of

AMR through comprehensive and collaborative

approach with diverse stakeholders.

Against the backdrop of the impending

AMR pandemic, Sheikh Hasina has

placed seven suggestions before the

world for their execution to contain the

AMR effectively.

The Prime Minister, in her first proposal,

called for setting up of global,

regional, and national targets and inclusive

monitoring as well as reporting system

to achieve the goals of

Antimicrobial Resistance Containment-

ARC.

She also suggested developing guidelines

and policies at different tiers for

appropriate use of antimicrobials and

sharing of scientific knowledge and

technical assistance for ensuring effective

and inclusive AMR surveillance and

capacity building in her second and

third proposals.

The Prime Minister in her fourth proposal

stressed the need for ensuring

equitable access to affordable and effective

antibiotics and other medical facilities

through technology transfer and

sharing of ownership.

BNP demands Khaleda's better

Treatment outside of country

Shafiqul iSlam

BNP chairperson and former Prime

Minister Begum Khaleda Zia has been

admitted to Ever Care Hospital in the

capital for some tests due to corona. She

was transferred to CCU on Monday

(May 3) due to shortness of breath.

Meanwhile, the leaders and workers are

very worried about the physical illness of

the chairperson of the party. They are

holding prayers and milad mahfils and

donations for the recovery of their

leader. In such a situation, BNP has

informed Home Minister Asaduzzaman

Khan Kamal about Khaleda Zia's physical

illness. The party's secretary general

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called the

minister on Monday night and

informed him about Khaleda Zia's treatment

outside the country. But the home

minister replied that it was a matter for

the court.

According to a BNP source, Khaleda

Zia's family wants her to be treated outside

the country. The matter has been

reported to the higher levels of the government

on behalf of the family.

However, quoting the name, no BNP

central leader or any family member

wanted to say anything to the journalists

about the matter now.

It is learned that the BNP's senior

leaders also wants to take Khaleda Zia in

abroad for such better treatment. The

party's high command has already

made this demand to the government

more than one. Party leaders said this

information. Though Begum Khaleda

Zia has been under house arrest in

Gulshan's home since her conditional

release on March 25, 2020. The condition

of release given by the government

is- Khaleda Zia will get treatment at

home, she will not be able to go abroad.

On Tuesday BNP secretary general

Mirza Fakhrul said about Khaleda zia's

health condition that, we are all worried

about the illness of Khaleda Zia. We are

still worried about her physical condition.

She is still in CCU. Oxygen is being

given. However, her condition is stable

and doctors say she will recover quickly.

We ask Allah to bless her. The whole

nations are praying today that Khaleda

Zia, the only guardian of democracy, will

recover very quickly.

Khaleda Zia, who is undergoing treatment,

sat in the hospital's medical board

at noon to review her latest health condition.

Her medical team member Dr.

Zahid Hossain said Madam's (Khaleda

Zia) condition is Alhamdulillah. A 10-

member medical board was sat in a

meeting at noon with all the reports of

her examination. Then everything can

be informed.

The BNP chairperson had been undergoing

treatment under a private doctor

from her rented house Firoza in

Gulshan, since April 11 after corona virus

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

Blaming govt in

all issues becomes

BNP's intrinsic

habit: Quader

DHAKA : Awami League General

Secretary and Road Transport and

Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader

yesterday said blaming the government

in every issue has become an

intrinsic characteristic of BNP.

"BNP leaders see darkness in

moonlit night. Making comment on

democracy doesn't suit BNP. When

BNP was in power, they created a

stigmatized chapter of holding

February 15 voter-less polls," he told a

regular press conference at his official

residence here.

Mentioning that BNP is champion

in the record of making the election

system controversial, Quader said

more than one crore fake voters were

enrolled in voter's list during the BNP

tenure and the then Chief Election

Commissioner MA Aziz took preparation

to hold a farce election.

Because of that, the country went to

1/11 situation, he said, adding that the

people didn't forget the forgery in bypolls

to Magura and Dhaka-10.

The AL general secretary said the

voting had been ended within 10 am

during the BNP's term while at that

time, polls results of a center in

Chattogram were announced in

radio and television before the polls

counting.

Court orders release of

Ctg woman wrongly put

behind bars

CHATTOGRAM : A Chattogram court

on Tuesday ordered the release of

Hasina Begum put behind bars wrongly

one and a half years back.

Additional Metropolitan Session Court -

4 Judge Shariful Alam Bhuiyan passed

the orderthis noon, said bench assistant

of the court Omar Fuad.

Hasina Begum, 28, wife of Hamid

Hossain of Teknaf upazila in Cox's Bazar

district, has been serving the jail term

instead of real convict Hasina

Akther,42, 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

Session Court -4, Shariful Alam

Bhuiyan, following a police investigation.

Defence lawyer Golam Mawla Murad

told reporters on Tuesday that they are

yet to receive the full verdict of the court.

Earlier in the morning, the jail authorities

were asked to submit a report to the

court saying Hasina Begum and Hasina

Akther are two different persons, and

Hasina Begum is not an accused.

Advocate Murad said, "No case was filed

against Hasina Begum, now in jail. But

she has been languishing in jail for the

last one and a half years. Her only

offence is the similarity of her name to

that of the real accused. Their parents'

names are also different."

Hasina Begum 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 upazila.

According to the court, police recovered

2,000 Yaba pills from Moijjartek in

Karnaphuli on February 24, 2017. A

case was then 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.

A Bangladesh startup that aims

at saving the world!

DHAKA : The year was 2018, when

Mahbub Sumon decided to do his bit for

the environment. Along with his three

friends, this young climate activist from

Bangladesh founded Shalbrikhkho, an

NGO that aims at helping people reuse,

reduce and recycle daily-use products.

Two of Mahbub's projects-BONKAGOJ

and plastic from potatoes (POLKA) -- have

already caught the attention of thousands

across social media platforms. Mahbub

opened up about his work in an interview

with UNB.

Q. What motivated you to work on

renewable energy and eco-friendly alternatives?

While doing some basic research on

the alternative power sector and renewable

energy prospects, I figured out climate

change as the biggest crisis for the

human race.

For environmental sustainability, I

soon started working on a couple of

ideas like natural agriculture for cities

and alternative sources of energy. Soon I

focussed on developing eco-friendly

alternatives to various plastic products.

I experimented with permaculture

using BONKAGOJ and succeeded. The

principle was-since paper is made from

trees, we can use that paper to grow a

tree again. I also developed POLKA

(plastics from potatoes) as an alternative

to polyethene.

I am also experimenting with different

innovative projects in the renewable

energy sector and alternative eco-friendly

lifestyle changes.

Q. What is BONKAGOJ?

It's a handmade paper that can be

used like any other ordinary paper. But

after its use, if anyone puts the paper in

a soggy pot, a flower garden will sprout

from it within weeks.

Worldwide billions of trees are

chopped down every year, many for producing

paper. Single-use paper and

paper products pollute cities. So, I

harped on the idea of turning waste

papers into a flower garden to save the

environment.

BONKAGOJ, a biodegradable product,

is made from recycled paper and

embedded with different plant seeds.

Q. When did you first think of introducing

such a recycled paper?

In fact, we first toyed with the idea of

recycling used papers and making the

same eco-friendly in the beginning of

2018. Finally we could launch the product

in December 2019.

The idea is not new. This biodegradable

eco-paper has been in use in the US since

1941. In 2016, leading Japanese daily 'The

Mainichi Shimbunsha', was the first to

introduce a 'green newspaper', a 100%

sustainable newspaper made from recycled

and vegetable paper.

The production procedure is not space

science. Discarded paper is collected,

then shredded, soaked and eventually

turned into pulp before being placed in

dice. Seeds of different vegetables and

flowers are used in the production of the

eco-friendly paper.

We are producing BONKAGOJ in different

sizes-from A4 to business and invitation

cards. While it is thicker and expensive

than any normal paper, we have

recently started making a thinner version

of this paper for writing purposes.

This special paper must be used within

a year, otherwise the embedded seeds

may not germinate.

Though we are currently producing

1,200-1,500 pieces of BONKAGOJ every

month, we plan to ramp up production in

the days to come. We can bring down its

selling price once we start large-scale production

of the same. Currently, the

demand for the product is low.

What is POLKA?

POLKA is an alternative to polythene

shopping bags. It's basically a bioplastic

product made from potatoes.

The idea of making POLKA came to my

mind first when I visited Munshiganj and

found several potato cold storages incurring

losses for years. With the help of my

German friend, Jan Schmidt, I made the

first bag using potato starch.

After many trials and errors, I succeeded

in making the biodegradable and

eco-friendly product, which is an alternative

to toxic polythene.

Bangladesh was one of the first countries

in the world to ban thinner plastic

bags in 2002, in an effort to reduce the

uses of plastic. But the ban has had little

success.

According to the Department of

Environment (DoE), Bangladesh generates

around 3,000 tonnes of plastic

waste every day. The excessive use of

polythene bags leads to numerous problems

especially in the city area, not to

mention the environmental woes.

it looks like a dustbin. in fact, it is a canal. Rajakhali canal is one of the two main tributaries of

the Karnafuli river in Chattogram. Chattogram city drains through this canal. many parts of the

canal have shrunk.

Photo : Star mail

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