DhAkA: September 18, 2021; Ashwin 3, 1428 BS; Safar 10,1443 hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.DA~2065, Vol.19; N o. 143; 8 Pages~Tk.8.00


Rising numbers of

migrants risk lives

crossing Darien Gap

>Page 3

Science & tecH

Apple’s iPhone 13 to

hit shelves later this


>Page 5

art & culture

Omar Sani, Moushumi

resumes shooting for

‘Sonar Char’

>Page 06

PM greets Modi

on his birthday

DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

has greeted her Indian counterpart

Narendra Modi on his birthday, reports


Bangladesh High Commission officials

in New Delhi handed over a flower

bouquet on behalf of the prime minister

on Friday, said the mission.

Modi, serving his second consecutive

term as the premier of India, turned 71

on Friday.

He received birthday wishes from

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind,

politicians, BJP leaders and other dignitaries.

Restoration of democracy:

US, Australia call for

inclusive dialogue in


DHAKA : The US and Australia have

called for a swift return to democracy,

inclusive dialogue between all parties,

and immediate, unimpeded humanitarian

access in Myanmar.

"The secretaries and ministers remain

gravely concerned about the situation in

Myanmar," said a joint statement

released by the governments of the US

and Australia on the occasion of the 31st

Australia-United States Ministerial

Consultations (AUSMIN) 2021.

They urged a cessation of violence and

the release of political prisoners and

those arbitrarily detained, including

Australian Professor Sean Turnell and

US journalist Danny Fenster.

Both sides expressed support for the

mandate of the special envoy of the

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

(ASEAN) chair on Myanmar and

encouraged ASEAN to hold Myanmar

accountable to the five-point consensus.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

hosted Australian Minister for Foreign

Affairs and Minister for Women Marise

Payne and Minister for Defence Peter

Dutton in Washington DC for the 31st

AUSMIN 2021.

The US and Australia will continue to

advance peace, security, and prosperity to

ensure an open, inclusive, and resilient

Indo-Pacific region, reads the joint statement.

"Our allies and partners are our

greatest strategic asset and central to

achieving our collective goals in the

region." They will pursue closer cooperation

in priority areas, including regional

security, infrastructure, economic growth,

technology, democratic resilience, human

rights, climate challenge, and pandemic


The secretaries and ministers reaffirmed

their commitment to working through the

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) to

support Indo-Pacific partners to respond

to the defining challenges of today's world.

Quad is already making a difference on

Covid-19 vaccine production and delivery

through the Quad Vaccine Partnership,

and deepening cooperation on other core

regional challenges, including climate

change, critical and emerging technology,

maritime security, infrastructure, cyber,

and countering disinformation.


04:30 AM

12:06 PM

04:20 PM

06:07 PM

07:30 PM

5:44 6:03

Over 139mn people hit by

climate crisis

COVID-19, IFRC analysis reveals

DHAKA : Climate-related disasters have

affected the lives of at least 139.2 million

people and killed more than 17,242 since

the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,

says a new global analysis.

The analysis is published by the

International Federation of Red Cross

and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and

the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate

Centre, on the compound impacts of

extreme-weather events and COVID-19.

A further estimated 658.1 million vulnerable

people have been exposed to

extreme temperatures.

Through new data and specific case

studies, the report shows how people

across the world are facing multiple

crises and coping with overlapping vulnerabilities.

The paper also highlights the need of

addressing both crises simultaneously as

the COVID-19 pandemic has affected

livelihoods across the world and has

made communities more vulnerable to

climate risks. Red Cross and Red

Crescent Societies around the globe are

not only responding to those overlapping

crises but also helping communities

to prepare and anticipate climate risks.

In Bangladesh for instance, the Red

Crescent Society has used IFRC's designated

funds for anticipatory action to

disseminate flood related Early Warning

Messages through loudspeakers in vulnerable

areas so people can take the necessary

measures or evacuate if necessary.

The IFRC President, Francesco Rocca,

who presented the new report at a press

conference in New York said the world is

facing an unprecedented humanitarian

crisis where the climate change and

COVID-19 are pushing communities to

their limits.

In the lead up to COP26, we urge

world leaders to take immediate action

not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,

but also to address the existent

and imminent humanitarian impacts of

climate change". The report comes a

year after an initial analysis of the overlapping

risks of extreme-weather events

that have occurred during the COVID-19

crisis. The pandemic continues to wreak

havoc, with direct health impacts for millions

of people around the world, but

also a massive indirect impact, in part

due to the response measures implemented

to contain the pandemic.

Food insecurity caused by weather

extremes has been aggravated by


Health systems are pushed to their

limits and the most vulnerable have

been the most exposed to overlapping


No evidence of existence of Zia's

body in Chandrima: Dr Hasan

DHAKA : Information and

Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan

Mahmud yesterday said there is no evidence

of existence of Zia's body in capital's

Chandrima Udyan.

"Three bodies were recovered from a

grave in Rangunia . . . But none of

which included Ziaur Rahman's body,"

the minister, also ruling Awami League

joint-general secretary, told this while

exchanging views with journalists at

his official residence here this afternoon.

Replying to a query of newsmen

about the prime minister's

remarks in the Jatiya Sangsad

(Parliament), Dr Hasan said, "I am a

man of Rangunia, where the BNP

claims that Zia was first buried. The

then Rangunia upazila chairman

Zahir Saheb is still alive and he said

three bodies were recovered from

there, but there was no body of Zia."

"Besides, Ershad Saheb and Mir

Shawkat, who was very close to Ziaur

Rahman, both said they had not seen

Zia's body there," he mentioned.

About PM's remarks on this issue,

Hasan Mahmud said the premier rightly

pointed out that none saw Ziaur

Rahman's body there.

Asked about the removal of the grave

from Chandrima Udyan, the information

minister said, "Demanding for a

grave without any body is like cheating

with the people as well as it is an act

against the rules and regulations of

Islam. People raised questions whether

there is any reason to keep the grave

without the body."

Referring to the recent remark of

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul

Islam Alamgir that AL is torturing BNP

for staying in power permanently,

Hasan said, "Awami League believes in

the power of the people . . . It will run

the country as long as the people want."

Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni addressing a seminar arranged by AL Education and Human Resource Affairs

Sub-Committee marking Education Day at AL's Bangabandhu Avenue central office.

Photo : TBT

Evaly CEO, chairman

placed on 3-day


DHAKA : A Dhaka court placed Evaly

CEO Mohammad Rassel and his wife

Shamima Nasrin, the chairman of the

troubled company, on a three-day

remand on Friday, a day after the couple

was arrested on charges of embezzlement

and fraudulence, reports UNB.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Md

Atiqul Islam passed the order after

rejecting their bail plea on Friday noon.

The couple was arrested by Rab on

Thursday from their flat in


They were produced before court at

noon. Aminul Islam, Inspector

(Investigation) of Gulshan Police

Station, said police sought 10-day

remand for Rassel and Shamima for

quizzing them over the allegation that

they misappropriated several hundred

crores of taka taken in advance from the

e-commerce company's customers and

deceiving them by not delivering the


During interrogation after arrest

Rassel informed that Evaly has liabilities

of more than TK 1,000 crore, Khandaker

Al Moin, Rab's Legal and Media wing

director revealed during a press briefing

at the elite force's headquarters on

Friday. The Evaly couple was held after

an aggrieved customer Arif Baker lodged

a case with Gulshan police station accusing

Rassel, Shamina and few other company

executives of embezzlement and

fraudulence. Sub-inspector Ahidul

Islam, the investigation officer of the

case, said the case was registered over

the allegation of embezzlement of

money and fraudulence.

A Dhaka court placed Evaly CEO Mohammad Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin, the chairman of the

troubled company, on a three-day remand on Friday, a day after the couple was arrested on charges of

embezzlement and fraudulence.

Photo : TBT

Quader calls for establishing

student politics as model of values


Quader calls for establishing student politics

as model of values Awami League

General Secretary and Road Transport

and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on

Friday said student politics should be

established as model of values and knowledge

as politics would be knowledgebased

in the coming days.

He was addressing a seminar arranged

by AL Education and Human Resource

Affairs Sub-Committee titled "Education:

Realistic Strategy for Achieving Targets of

2041" marking Education Day at AL's

Bangabandhu Avenue central office joining

it virtually.

Quader said: "We need students, not

examinees. Education is needed for life,

not for living. Teachers, guardians, policymakers

and students should realize the

reality at first".

He said student leaders now don't

arrange any seminar on education or

problems of education or their campuses;

even student organizations don't organize

any seminar on significance of Education

Day now.

If the current trend continues, the glory

of student organizations will be lost, he

said.The minister underscored the need

for taking up new strategies to enhance the

standard of education on the basis of proper

research. He said the quality of teachers

should be enhanced through imparting

proper training to them side by side with

enhancing the standard of education.

Merits should be evaluated in providing

post to anybody in any student organizations,

he said.

He stressed on bringing back the students

who have been dropped out from

schools due to coronavirus pandemic.

Quader said Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina doesn't think about the upcoming

election, rather she thinks of the next generation.

As she is more concerned about

the next generation, she is a statesman, he

said. The minister said universities would

resume its academic activities physically at

the last week of this month. He said illegal

occupants residing at residential halls or

dormitories of universities should be


The AL general secretary said the youth

should be built as worthy citizens for prosperous

future of the country to build

Bangabandhu's Sonar Bangla and Sheikh

Hasina's prosperous and self-reliant

Bangladesh and Sajeeb Wazed Joy's

Digital Bangladesh.

AL Joint General Secretary and

Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni,

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Digital University Vice-Chancellor Dr

Munaz Ahmed Noor, Dhaka University

Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr ASM Maksud

Kamal spoke on the occasion with AL's

Education and Human Resource Affairs

Sub- Committee Chairman Prof Dr Abdul

Khaleque in the chair. Former secretary

Md Nazrul Islam Khan presented the

keynote paper in the seminar moderated

by sub-committee's member secretary

Shamsun Nahar Chapa.

Passenger Terminal Building (I)

inaugurated at ICP Petrapole

DHAKA : A new passenger terminal building

(I) was inaugurated at Integrated

Check Post Petrapole - on India's side of

the Benapole border -on Friday in a major

boost to modernization of border infrastructure

and to further strengthen

Bangladesh-India connectivity, reports


ICP Petrapole, the largest land port in

South Asia, is the most important port for

passengers' movement between the two

countries. It is also the ninth largest international

immigration port of India, handling

about 23 lakh passengers annually.

Built by the Land Ports Authority of

India (LPAI), the new PTB (I) is spread

across an area of 1,305 Sqm and is

designed to handle around 550 passengers

at any point of time.

The new PTB (I) will facilitate smooth

and comfortable movement of passengers

and is equipped with facilities such as

Immigration, Customs and Security under

one roof. The Terminal Building is also

equipped with 32 immigration counters, 4

customs counters, 8 security counters and

has adequate office spaces for allied stakeholders.

Nityanand Rai, Minister of State for

Home Affairs and Nisith Pramanik,

Minister of State for Home Affairs joined

from the Indian side while Khalid

Mahmud Chowdhury, Minister of State

for Shipping, joined from Bangladesh side

at the function. Vikram Doraiswami, High

Commissioner of India to Bangladesh,

Aditya Mishra, Chairman, LPAI, and Md.

Alamgir, Additional Secretary and

Chairman, Bangladesh Land Port

Authority were also present on the occasion.

As Bangladesh and India celebrate

fifty momentous years of diplomatic partnership,

all the guests at the inaugural ceremony

reaffirmed the importance of

strengthening the bilateral relationship

and putting in place requisite modern

infrastructure facilitating greater peopleto-people




AL's secretariat

meeting today

DHAKA : A meeting of

Awami League Secretariat

will be held at the party's

Bangabandhu Avenue central

office today.

AL General Secretary and

Road Transport and Bridges

Minister Obaidul Quader will

chair the meeting to be held at


All concerned have been

requested to join the meeting

in due time maintaining

health guidelines.

Chattogram: 2

fatally knocked

down by van


persons-a rickshaw puller

and a pedestrian-were fatally

knocked down by a speeding

van in Chattogram'sPahartali

area on Thursday night,

police said on Friday, reports


One of the deceased has

been identified as Anwar

Hossain. However, the

identity of the pedestrian is

yet to be established.

The accident occurred

around 9.30pm on the busy

Sagorika Road.

A sub-inspector at Pahartali

police station said the

speeding van first hit the

rickshaw puller and then the

pedestrian at a high speed.

"Both the victims died on the


The bodies were sent to

Chattogram Medical College

Hospital, he said.

Though the van was seized

after the accident, it's driver

and his assistant managed to

escape, the officer said.

"Efforts are on to nab them."

Auto -rickshaw

driver killed in

Lakshmipur, 1


LAKSHMIPUR : An autorickshaw

driver was hacked to

death over a dispute at

Mohammadpur village in

sadar upazila on Thursday

night, reports UNB.

The deceased was identified

as Md Dulal, 50.

According to locals, Dulal's

son Murad recorded a video

of two people -Nazim and Asif

-in his mobile phone while

they were stealing betel nuts

from an orchard Thursday


The two thieves hired their

friend Mehedi Hasan to

threaten Murad of killing if he

shows the footage to the

orchard owner.

Dulal and Mehedi's father

locked into an altercation

over the matter. At one stage,

Mehedi suddenly attacked

Dulal with a knife, leaving

him injured. Locals rushed

severely injured Dulal to

Lakshmipur Sadar Hospital

where doctors announced

him dead. On Friday

morning, police arrested

Mehedi, said Officer-in-

Charge of Chandraganj police

station AKA Fazlur Haque.

A seminar of the Awami League's sub-committee on education and human resources was held at

Awami League Central Office at Bangabandhu Avenue on Friday. Members of the sub-committee

including Jobaer Alam, Acting Editor of 'The Bangladesh Today' and Chairman of the Department

of Oceanography, University of Dhaka were present at that time.

Photo : TBT

Strong, modern UK-Bangladesh

financial partnership can be

mutually beneficial: Rushanara

DHAKA : A strong and modern UK-Bangladesh

financial sector partnership has potential for

mutual benefits, the UK Prime Minister's Trade

Envoy for Bangladesh Rushanara Ali MP said

recently, reports UNB.

"The basic ingredients already exist:

Bangladeshi banks are present in the UK, and

British financial services companies like HSBC

and Standard Chartered Bank, operate in

Bangladesh. Others, including insurance

companies, are exploring the market," she added.

Rushanara also applauded the economic goals

Bangladesh has set to reach an upper-middleincome

status by 2031 andhigh-income status by


The British High Commission in Bangladesh

recently organised a webinar titled "Bangladesh

Capital Markets: A New Frontier."

Planning Minister MA Mannan attended the

event as chief guest. He was joined by Rushanara


British High Commissioner to Bangladesh

Robert Chatterton Dickson delivered the

welcome remarks. Deputy British High

Commissioner Javed Patel and Development

DirectorJudith Herbertson moderated different


The webinar explored the functioning of

Bangladesh's capital markets and looked at how

Mothers' role stressed for

building peaceful society

Stressing on importance of empowering

mothers, speakers at a programme said their

empowerment can help build a peaceful

society where all the people can live in a

harmonious atmosphere.

Mothers have great influence over their

children. So if they are equipped with

necessary supports they can properly guide

their children towards proper path, they


They remarked while addressing a

certificate giving ceremony titled 'Parenting

for Peace' at Uddipon Conference Centre at

Adabor in the capital on Friday

Community Participation and

Development (CPD) in cooperation with

Manusher Jonno Foundation arranged the

event as part of MotherSchools project.

Under the project, a total of 125 mothers

received the certificates after completing four

months of training aimed at raising

awareness on building safe society for

everyone.Dr. Edit Schlaffer, Executive

Bangladesh Coast Guard Station Teknaf and Station Hatia conducted separate

raids and recovered 28,000 pieces of yaba in Teknaf and arrested a

robber in Hatia along with a single-barreled gun, fresh ammunition and


Photo : Courtesy

capital market reform and financial sector

modernisation in partnership with the UK can

support increased private sector investment and

help Bangladesh achieve sustained economic

growth as it enters its next 50 years.

Also, the event highlighted the need for

broadening and deepening Bangladeshi capital

markets and the opportunities for investors and

issuers that reforms could bring.

Participants shared insights on the role of

regulators, the important role pension funds and

institutional investors could play, the private

equity and start-up ecosystem, and the current

state of themergers and acquisitions (M and A)

market. The discussion demonstrated how well

the Bangladesh economy is performing relative

to its neighbours and how best it can build on

that success and improve its attractiveness to

investors. HSBC Bangladesh CEO Md

Mahbubur Rahman said: "Despite challenges,

Bangladesh's economy has proved to be resilient

with consistently high growth in the last decade

and growth volatility below the regional average.

With constraints to investment by the public and

private sectors like power and infrastructure

gradually being addressed, Bangladesh has

momentum in its favour as the country graduates

from a least developed country to a developing

one in 2026."

Director of Women without Borders, an

Austria-based organization, gave her welcome

address at the event held virtually.

In her address, Shaheen Anam, Executive

Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, said

MotherSchools played an important role for

halting degradation of social values and

preventing the rise of extremism and terrorism.

Aroma Dutta, MP, who attended as the chief

guest, appreciated the programme, terming

that the inclusion of mothers in such a training

programme as a new dimension regarding

maintaining social harmony.

Sultana Kamal, an advisor of former

caretaker government, said there is no scope to

underestimate mothers' role in preventing

extremism and violence. Taking that matter

into consideration, such project would play a

pioneering role, she added. In her deliberation,

Moslema Bari, Executive Director of CPD, said

many mothers have become aware after

utilizing the knowledge received from


Police: 10 female

Jamaat leaders

held in Satkhira

SATKHIRA : Police have

arrested 10 female leaders

and activists of Jamaat-e-

Islami Bangladesh on Friday

in Satkhira, reports UNB.

They were arrested from

the house of Abdul Jalil in

Bashtala upazila in Satkhira

during a secret meeting.

The arrestees are Majeda

Khatun (45), Firoza Begum

(55), Morzina Khatun (50),

Farida Khatun (45), Rizia

Khatun (35), Rafiza Khatun

(45), Beauty Khatun (45) of

Alipur village of Sadar

upazila. Khadija Parveen

(40), China Parveen (35) of

Sultanpur and Anwara

Begum (58) of Bagerhat


Satkhira Sadar Police

officer-in-charge Mohammad

Delwar Hussain said that a

raid was carried out on Friday

morning over a tip-off.

During the raid 33 jihadi

books were also recovered.

GD-1351/21 (15x4)

2 killed in Bogura

road crash

BOGURA : Two people were

killed and four others got

injured as a bus collided with

a battery-run autorickshaw at

the Jhopgari area on the

Dhaka-Rangpur highway as it

crosses Bogura early Friday,

reports UNB.

The deceased were

identified as Anowara

Begum, 45, and Hamidun

Begum, 55, both from

Namabala village of

Shakharia union under

Bogura Sadar upazila.

Locals said the accident

occurred when an

autorickshaw collided headon

with a Rangpur-bound bus

on the Dhaka-Rangpur

highway at the Jhopgari area

at around 8am.

Later, Locals rescued the

two victims and sent them to

Bogura Shaheed Ziaur

Rahman Medical College

Hospital where the doctor

pronounced them dead, said


The injured are under

treatment at the TMSS

Medical College and Hospital.

However, the driver along

with the bus fled the scene

immediately after the


Md Selim Reza, officer-incharge

of the Sadar Police

Station, said they handed

over the deceased's bodies to

their families.

Fire breaks out

in Sunamganj

SUNAMGANJ : A fire broke

out at Notunpara Jamia

Islamia Rafiqia Madrasa

Market in Sunamganj's

Bisshomvorpur upazila

Friday morning, reports

UNB. The fire started at

around 11am and gutted three

shops. However, no casualties

were reported.

It was 5 a.m. and in dozens of small tents around 500 migrants began showing signs of life, rising,

packing their bags and preparing to cross the Darien Gap, the thick jungle teeming with snakes, bandits

and treacherous rivers that separates Colombia from Panama.

Photo : AP

Rising numbers of migrants risk

lives crossing Darien Gap

ACANDI, Colombia : It was 5 a.m. and

in dozens of small tents around 500

migrants began showing signs of life,

rising, packing their bags and

preparing to cross the Darien Gap, the

thick jungle teeming with snakes,

bandits and treacherous rivers that

separates Colombia from Panama.

Over a fire, Emile and Claude cooked

some yucca and pasta to take on the sixday

journey, along with 20 liters of

drinking water for which they paid the

steep price of $20. The men declined to

provide their last names because they

had entered Colombia illegally and

feared being fined.

Emile, 29, said he had left his home

country of Haiti 13 years ago to work in

the Dominican Republic. Then he lived

in Chile for four years, and two months

ago he decided to leave for the United


The pair picked up their belongings

and started walking away from the

grasslands that surround the

Colombian town of Acandi toward the

Fighting fire with fire

to protect ancient

sequoia trees


flames advancing toward the

signature grove of ancient

massive trees in Sequoia

National Park, firefighters

on Thursday fought fire with

fire. Using firing operations

to burn out flammable

vegetation and other matter

before the wildfire arrives in

the Giant Forest is one of

several ways firefighters can

use their nemesis as a tool to

stop, slow or redirect fires.

The tactic comes with

considerable risks if

conditions change. But it is

routinely used to protect

communities, homes or

valuable resources now

under threat from fires,

including the grove of about

2,000 massive sequoias,

including the General

Sherman Tree, the world's

largest by volume. Here's

how it works.

rainforest. Residents of Acandi served

as guides, charging the migrants $50

each to show them the way toward


As borders open around the world

after months of pandemic-related

lockdowns some illegal migration

routes are also seeing an uptick in

crossings. Muddy paths across the

Darien jungle have long been used by

smugglers to take migrants from South

America to Central America as they

make their way to the U.S.

Panamanian immigration officials

say the number of people crossing the

Darien Gap has reached record levels,

with 70,000 migrants making the

dangerous trek so far this year and

registering at shelters in Panama.

Most of those currently crossing the

Darien are Haitians who were living in

Brazil and Chile and were left with little

work due to the pandemic. Visa

requirements make it almost

impossible for low-income migrants

from Haiti to take flights to Panama,

Mexico or the United States. So many

make the dangerous trek across the

jungle in the hopes of starting a new life

in the U.S.

"The jungle is very tough, we just

walk without a precise idea of where

we're headed," said Davidson Lafleur, a

24-year-old Haitian.

Lafleur had lived in Chile for three

years, and was traveling to the U.S. with

his wife and their 11-month old


"I paid someone $120 to carry my

bags to the (Panama) border," he said.

In August, Colombia and Panama

agreed to limit the number of migrants

crossing the Darien each day in a bid to

ease pressure on shelters on the

Panamanian side of the jungle.

But this created bottlenecks and

confusion on the Colombian side.

Every day hundreds of migrants arrive

in the town of Necocli on Colombia's

Caribbean coast, where they need to

catch a boat that will take them across

the Gulf of Uraba.

Black Iowa police chief faces

backlash after bringing change

LOWA : The first Black police chief in

Waterloo, Iowa, is facing intense opposition

from some current and former officers as he

works with city leaders to reform the

department, including the removal of its

longtime insignia that resembles a Ku Klux

Klan dragon, reports UNB.

Joel Fitzgerald says his 16-month tenure in

Waterloo, a city of 67,000 with a history of

racial divisions, is a "case study" for what

Black police chiefs face as they seek to build

community trust and hold officers to higher

standards. In an interview with The

Associated Press, he said the attacks were

driven by misinformation and racism toward

him and his boss, the city's first Black mayor.

"I don't think there's been any police chief

in America in a small- or medium-sized

department that have endured this for the

reasons I have endured it and I think the

reasons have to do with race," said

Fitzgerald, who previously served as the chief

of larger departments in Fort Worth, Texas

and Allentown, Pennsylvania. "This is my

fourth job being the first Black police chief.

I've dealt with pushback in other places but

never so overt. Never so nonfactual."

Jacinta Gau, a University of Central

Florida professor and expert on race and

policing, said new, reform-minded chiefs

always face backlash, and that is intensified

when they are Black leaders of historically

white forces.

"The power dynamic in America has

always been that Black people are

subordinate to white people. When Black

people acquire leadership positions, that

power dynamic is flipped on its head and

white people who were comfortable with the

status quo are now feeling very threatened,"

she said. The backlash against Fitzgerald has

intensified since last fall when the City

Council began pushing to remove the

department's emblem - a green-eyed, redbodied,

winged creature known as a griffin

that had adorned patches on officers'

uniforms since the 1960s. After a messy

process, the council voted 5-2 last week to

order the department to remove the symbol

from its uniforms by the end of September.

With flames advancing toward the signature grove of ancient massive trees in Sequoia National

Park, firefighters on Thursday fought fire with fire.

Photo : AP

Kim's launches

show push to

boost nuke arsenal


North Korea's recent swordrattling

after months of

relative quiet makes clear

that leader Kim Jong Un is

working on expanding his

weapons arsenal.

Nuclear-capable missiles

hidden in trains that can be

launched anywhere along a

railway. A new cruise missile

resembling the U.S.

Tomahawk that can be

potentially topped with

atomic warheads. The

apparent resumption of

making fuel for potential

nuclear bombs.

Likely they are an attempt

to wrest concessions from

Washington if, and when,

long-stalled diplomatic talks

on Kim's nuclear program

resume. Part of the message

is aimed domestically,

however, to reinforce

internal unity as North

Koreans cope with deeper

hardship in a never-healthy

economy that's been

battered by the coronavirus

pandemic. Here, then, is a

look at Kim's recent

weapons tests, the first of

their kind in six months, and

what they may mean for

efforts to confront the

North's nuclear ambitions.

Global realization of

right to development

far below expectation:

Chinese envoy

GENEVA : The right to

development is a universal

and inalienable human right,

however, at present, the

global realization of the right

to development is far below

expectation, a senior Chinese

diplomat said on Thursday,

reports UNB.

Delivering a joint statement

on behalf of over 50 countries

at the 48th Session of the

Human Rights Council

Thursday, Chen Xu, China's

Permanent Representative to

the UN Office at Geneva, also

called upon the UN human

rights bodies to prioritize the

right to development and

mainstream it in the UN


The COVID-19 pandemic

has severely impacted the

economic and social

development and people's

livelihood of all countries,

developing countries in

particular, exacerbated

inequality and brought new

challenges to the realization of

the right to development, he


"In the face of these

challenges, we should pursue

people-centered development

and meet people's aspiration

for a better life," he stressed.

He continued that countries

should give priority to

development, step up efforts

on poverty eradication and

inequality elimination and

guarantee people's livelihood

so as to ensure that

development gains are

enjoyed on a larger scale and

in a more equitable way by all

members of the society.

Mexican soldiers,

police kill 9 in

shootout near

US border


soldiers and police killed 9

suspected gunmen in

shootouts near the U.S.

border Thursday.

The government of the

northern border state of

Coahuila said state police

officers came under fire

while patrolling a dirt road

southwest of the border city

of Nuevo Laredo.

The state said that soldiers

were called in for

reinforcement and that they

pursued and killed the

attackers following a


Of the two vehicles found

at the scene, one was a truck

fitted with homemade steelplate

armor. Such trucks,

known as "monsters," are

often used by drug gangs in

the region.

The state government said

10 weapons were found at

the scene, including a .50-

caliber sniper rifle.

SATurDAy, SePTember 18, 2021


Australian PM rejects Chinese

criticism of nuclear sub deal

CANBERRA : Prime Minister Scott

Morrison on Friday rejected Chinese

criticism of Australia's new nuclear

submarine alliance with the United States

and said he doesn't mind that President Joe

Biden might have forgotten his name,

reports UNB.

China reacted angrily when Biden,

Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris

Johnson used a virtual news conference this

week to announce a trilateral defense

alliance that will provide Australia with a

fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered


Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

spokesperson Zhao Lijian said it was "highly

irresponsible" for the U.S. and Britain to

export the nuclear technology.

Morrison said Australia wanted to boost

peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

"Everything we've done with the United

States is consistent with the partnerships

and relationships and alliances we've already

had with the United States," Morrison told

Radio 3AW.

News of the alliance received a positive

response in Singapore. The island-state's

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told

Morrison in a phone call he hoped the

Police investigate deaths of 3

young children in New Zealand

WELLINGTON : Three young children who

had just moved to New Zealand from South

Africa have died in what police said Friday

they're investigating as homicide.

Police said they were not looking for any

possible suspects beyond those involved in

the incident late Thursday at a home in the

South Island town of Timaru. They said

emergency services had found a woman at

the address who had been hospitalized in

stable condition.

Police said the children were 3-year-old

twins and a 7-year-old who were all siblings.

All those involved had recently moved from

South Africa to New Zealand, police said,

and had moved out of a mandatory

coronavirus quarantine facility within the

past week. In a brief news conference, police

said the investigation was in its early stages

nuclear deal would "contribute

constructively to the peace and stability of

the region and complement the regional

architecture," Singapore's Ministry of

Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

French leaders have been scathing of the

deal that scuppers a contract with France to

build 12 conventional diesel-electric

submarines for Australia.

Observers say Biden appeared to have

forgotten Morrison's name during

Thursday's news conference, which was

televised from three countries. The president

referred to the Australian as "pal" and "that

fellow Down Under."

Biden didn't use Morrison's name, while

he referred to Johnson as "Boris."

It reminded Australians of when then-

President Donald Trump's spokesman Sean

Spicer repeatedly referred to Morrison's

predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, in 2017 as

"Mr. Trumble."

Morrison laughed off what some have

described as an awkward exchange with

Biden that undermined Australia's

significance to the United States.

"Usually when we speak privately, he

refers to me as 'pal,'" Morrison told the

Seven Network.

and they couldn't yet release many details,

including the names of the children or how

they died.

Inspector Dave Gaskin, the Aoraki area

commander, said the deaths would be

"incredibly distressing" for residents of

Timaru, particularly after five teenagers

from the town were killed in a car crash last

month. The Stuff news organization said

neighbors Karen and Brad Cowper called

police just after 10 p.m. when they heard a

man screaming and crying. The neighbors

said they asked the man if he was OK but he

didn't respond other than to say: "Is this

really happening?"

Stuff reported the family was living in

accommodation for hospital staff, and both

the man and woman were medical


Three young children who had just moved to New Zealand from South Africa have

died in what police said Friday they're investigating as homicide. Photo : AP

Italy makes Green

Pass mandatory for

all in job market

ROME : In a last indirect push to the

ongoing vaccination campaign, Italy made

the COVID-19 green pass mandatory for all

people in the job market, both private and

public sectors, reports UNB.

After a meeting on Thursday, Prime

Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet delivered

the provision with a specific decree that will

enter into force on Oct. 15, to give

companies and public offices time to adjust.

The green pass certificate shows proof

that a person has received at least one dose

of the vaccine, or is fully immunized, or has

recovered from the infection, or has tested

negative in the last 48 hours.

Italy is the first country in the European

Union (EU) to adopt such a stringent

regulation. The step was intended as a

further incentive to those millions of

Italians who have not yet agreed to, or are

openly against the vaccine, which remains

strongly recommended but not mandatory


The non-vaccinated population would

include at least 3.6 million people over 50

years old, according to recent data provided

by the coronavirus emergency

commissioner Francesco Paolo Figliuolo in

early September.

In a joint press conference with public

administration and labor ministers, Health

Minister Roberto Speranza explained the

measure had two simple but crucial goals.

"Firstly, to make all work places in the

country safer and, secondly, to strengthen

the vaccination campaign, on which we

have very comforting," he said.

So far, health care workers and school

staff in Italy were required to have the green

pass. However, out of the job market, the

certificate was already required since mid

summer to access public transports,

including trains, planes, and ferries for

long-distance travels, to sit in restaurants

and bars indoor, and to access public places

such as libraries or leisure facilities.

Critics to the latest provision said it was

the same as forcing vaccination

surreptitiously. The measure, however, has

been backed by most of the political parties,

and main industrial and union


sATURDAY, sEpTEMBER 18, 2021


Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Improving Bangladesh

-UK relations

Foreign Minister (FM) Dr AK Abdul

Momen has once again urged the UK to

remove Bangladesh from the red-listed

countries with travel restrictions noting that

there has been an improvement in his country's

Covid-19 situation.While briefing journalists at

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday,

Momen said he raised the issue with his British

counterpart Dominic Raab.

Bangladesh highlighted its "robust vaccine rollout"

and significant reductions in Covid infection

to 5.98% and sufferings of more than 7,000

British-Bangladeshis currently stranded in

Bangladesh.Momen said the strategic relations

between the two countries should be

strengthened with a positive change in the

concept of relations and the UK should consider

removing Bangladesh from the Covid red-list


If anyone from a red listed country enters the

UK, he or she must book a quarantine hotel

(costing £2,500 pound sterling) and undergo

coronavirus tests both of which are quite

expensive, the FM pointed out. The Bangladeshi

community in UK is comparatively larger than

many other Commonwealth countries and

members of it have been playing also

comparatively more useful and constructive roles

in the host country. Considering these aspects, it

seems only natural and sensible for the UK to

reward Bangladesh whose nationals in it have

proved to be deserving of more consideration

from UK.

Indeed, facts also should justify a more liberal

policy from UK in respect of travel restrictions on

Bangladesh. Indeed, the current 5.98 per cent

Covid infection rate in Bangladesh is the lowest

in South Asia. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and

Nepal all have significantly higher infection rate

whereas Bangladesh is the only South Asian

country closest to the permissible infection rate

of 5.2 percent required for lifting travel

restrictions. Considering this good score, UK

government could show a gesture of goodwill

towards Bangladesh by easing travel restrictions

right away. In recent weeks, the falling number of

hospital beds occupancy by Covid patients and

wider, stricter and better enforcement of health

safety rules all over Bangladesh should have

supplied convincing proofs to British authorities

that Bangladesh is on the right track and truly

deserving of early lifting of restrictions.

Bangladesh and the United Kingdom have

been holding recently the fourth Strategic

Dialogue in London to review all aspects of the

relations between the two countries with a focus

on post-Brexit and post-Covid new strategic

partnership.Foreign Secretary Masud Bin

Momen ledthe Bangladesh delegation while Sir

Philip Robert Barton, Permanent Under-

Secretary at the Foreign, Commonwealth &

Development Office (FCDO) led the UK side at

the dialogue.

The Bangladesh side raised the issue related to

travel restrictions so that the UK removes

Bangladesh from the red-list. Earlier, Philip

Barton and Robert Chatterton Dickson, British

High Commissioner to Bangladesh welcomed

Masud Bin Momen and his delegation to the 4th

UK-BD Strategic Dialogue.Discussions are now

underway on a range of bilateral issues that both

sides think will strengthen the Bangladesh-UK


The Bangladesh-UK Strategic Dialogue was

launched in Dhaka in 2017 while the second

Strategic Dialogue took place at the UK's Foreign

and Commonwealth Office in March 2018 and

the third dialogue was held in Dhaka on April 24,


Bangladesh has gone on proving its worth as a

model Commonwealth country in many

respects. It has been moving forward in

democratization, progressively better observance

of human rights, reducing poverty and

underdevelopment to mention only some of the

cherished values shared by both countries.

Bangladesh has had uninterrupted elected and

parliamentary governance for the last two

decades which alone should highlight to British

authorities why this promising South Asian

country deserves more consideration from UK in

areas of importance to it.

Australia's foreign interference laws outmatched by Hun Sen

The recent announcement by

Singapore of the introduction of a

bill to combat foreign interference

online coincides with a hearing recently

held by the Joint Parliamentary

Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, Defense

and Trade of the Australian Federal

Parliament. For the first time, the

committee provided special status for a

"Cambodian Diaspora Session," which

heard evidence from members of the

community on September 13. I was one of

six witnesses to give evidence before the

committee on the human-rights situation

in Cambodia and activities carried out in

Australia by Cambodia's ruling regime.

An opinion piece I wrote on the subject

was referred to the committee.

Referring to the threat of influence by

networks based in Cambodia, Australian

political reporter Lisa Visentin wrote: "The

peak body for Australia's universities,

which is assisting the federal government

in drafting new foreign interference

guidelines, says it is unsure which

countries besides China are potentially

targeting students or exerting undue

influence on campuses.

"Hun Sen's network has been able to

divide and disrupt our community

harmony without scrutiny by the media or

the government." A relevant part of my

opinion was further noted by Visentin:

"Many students were recruited before they

left Cambodia to study in Australia. In

2016, there was a mass recruitment drive

involving at least 600 people in Sydney."

AT long last, the season of 'forever

wars' has come to an end. US

planes are securely back in their

hangars, most likely still busy scraping off

the pulverised remains of desperate

Afghans from their landing gears. The

Taliban, far from storming Kabul with

gunpowder vengeance as prophesied,

have rather breezily waltzed into the

Presidential Palace. The Emirate has been

resurrected, and if the wind in its sails

keeps up, it may be here for a long time to


As we ruminate over the consequences

of America making yet another successful

mockery of the very basic precepts of

international law, it is equally important

to take an inward glance - like many,

many others, our hands too have had their

part to play in shaping this sordid saga.

After all, where would empire be without

a little help from its front-line friends?

Who better to turn to for the plainest of

plain speak than our ex dictator-in-chief:

"We helped create the mujahideen, fired

them with religious zeal in seminaries,

armed them, paid them, fed them and

sent them to a jihad against the Soviet

Union in Afghanistan. We did not stop to

think how we would divert them to

productive life after the jihad was won".

This is putting it a bit lightly really.

We also did not stop to think what it

The question is, what is in it for the Hun

Sen government to interfere with

community activities in Australia? And

why has the Australian government

neglected the Cambodian diaspora

community? The issue of foreign

interference in Australia has always been

linked to Chinese political donations and

within tertiary sectors. Yet interference by

Hun Sen's regime in the expat Cambodian

community was never on the national

agenda, despite some members of the

opposition such as Julian Hill raising it.

Hill said in a parliamentary speech in

2018 that the Cambodian People's Party

(CPP) "has divided Australia and New

Zealand into regions and has front groups

overseen by key people in most Australian

capital cities."

Again as recently as March this year,

another member of the opposition, Chris

Hayes, was vocal on the issue. Hayes said

in regard to a motion before Parliament:

"We now see, as has been spoken about,

foreign interference from the Hun Sen

government even being played out here in


our university campuses, business and

charities, where support bases have been

actively built for this Cambodian dictator."

Unlike alleged influence by the Communist

Party of China (CPC), Cambodia's ruling

party seeks influence at the grassroots

community level - at least for the time


Understandably, national debates and

media coverage in Australia focus on the

CPC's influence, whereas the interference

by Cambodia's networks within the

community is not considered to be a

"national interest."

The lack of action by the Australian

government toward the local Cambodian

diaspora is a national disgrace, especially

for many of us who survived the genocidal

regime and fled the oppressive leadership

of Hun Sen. In fact I wrote an article for

Asia Times in 2019 titled "Foreign

interference bought Hun Sen's legitimacy,"

highlighting Canberra's fixation on China

while neglecting local communities such as

the Cambodian diaspora.

Besides members of the opposition and a

Casualties of war


truly meant to allow the CIA to send out a

global invite for a clandestine military

'jihad', internationalising the exercise,

rupturing its relatively established

position in Islamic law as an activity

undertaken by a legitimate state, and

turning it into a free-for-all buffet for

militant groups, all fuelled specifically on

an ideology that was never really meant to

transcend beyond the barrel of their guns.

As we ruminate over the consequences

of America making a mockery of

international law, it is equally important

to take an inward glance.

Then, worst of all, rather than trying to

fix the mess we helped create, we pursued

instead what the late Eqbal Ahmad

presciently called the "quest for a mirage

misnamed 'strategic depth'", which, he

lamented, had "squandered historic

opportunities and produced a new set of

problems for Pakistan's security". With


the shallow wisdom that accompanies

hindsight, it is safe to say that he was quite

correct. Post 9/11, when the United States

came knocking at our door with its

intention to invade and occupy our

neighbour, we became willing conduits to

its self-proclaimed 'war on terror'. A few

years into the affair and Musharraf was

already boasting of having "earned

bounties totalling millions of dollars" - not

that our civilian champions of democracy

proved any different. Zardari, for instance,

was far more blunt. "Collateral damage

worries you Americans," he told them, "it

does not worry me."

Imprisoned by geography and damned

by history, our western frontier -

particularly the districts that once

comprised Fata - became the focal point of

the violence that ensued. Long treated as a

semi-useful appendage and handcuffed

firmly to the FCR, it served, first, as a

small party like The Greens, Hun Sen's

activities in the community were of little

concern for the Australian government.

In March during a parliamentary

motion, Julie Owens MP highlighted the

means of influence by Cambodia on

students. Owens reminded Parliament:

"We've been hearing for a couple of years

now about attempts by the Cambodian

People's Party to coerce students in

Australia into supporting the party back in


Owen further detailed the means of

influences by Cambodian networks: "We

hear about financial inducements, threats

and threats against family at home - any

way they can find to ensure that students in

Australia, residents in Australia and

citizens of Australia do not speak out

against the government of Cambodia."

In 2019, when informed of the activities

of Cambodia's ambassador to Australia, a

representative of the Australian

government responded in the Senate: "The

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is

aware that allegations have been made by

some in the Cambodian community. "The

department has conveyed to the Royal

Embassy of Cambodia its expectation that

all diplomatic representatives in Australia

will conduct themselves professionally and

appropriately in accordance with the

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic

Relations and respect Australia's free and

open democratic society."

Source: Asia times

Iran's nuclear program was never intended to be for civilian purposes

The question of whether Iran's

nuclear program is intended for

civilian purposes or for developing

nuclear weapons is one of the most

pressing issues when it comes to regional

and global peace and security. The

response to this question will define what

policies other governments ought to

pursue toward the Iranian regime and its

nuclear ambitions.

The Iranian leaders frequently claim

that the country's nuclear program has

always been intended solely for peaceful

civilian purposes. Tehran repeatedly

resorts to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's

statements to buttress its position. In a

2010 letter to the International

Conference on Nuclear Disarmament,

Khamenei reportedly wrote: "We consider

the use of such weapons as haram

(religiously forbidden) and believe that it

is everyone's duty to make efforts to

secure humanity against this great

disaster." The supreme leader also states

on his official website that the production

and use of nuclear weapons are banned by

Islamic laws: "Both Shariah and aqli

(related to logic and reason) fatwas dictate

that we do not pursue them."

But if we meticulously examine the

history of Tehran's nuclear program, it

becomes crystal clear that it was intended

for developing nuclear weapons from the

outset. Why else would the regime's

nuclear file be filled with secrecy and

clandestine activities, when the Iranian

leaders could actually benefit if they

disclosed all their nuclear sites?

If Iran's nuclear program was genuinely

The department has conveyed to the Royal Embassy of

Cambodia its expectation that all diplomatic representatives

in Australia will conduct themselves professionally

and appropriately in accordance with the

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and

respect Australia's free and open democratic society."

set up for civilian purposes, the regime

would have declared its nuclear sites and

received technological assistance under

the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which the

Iranian government is a party. The World

Nuclear Association points to the

advantages its members get if their

nuclear program is peaceful, stating: "The

NPT was essentially an agreement among

the five nuclear weapons states and the

other countries interested in nuclear

technology. The deal was that assistance

and cooperation would be traded for

pledges, backed by international scrutiny,

that no plant or material would be

diverted to weapons' use. Those who

refused to be part of the deal would be

excluded from international cooperation

or trade involving nuclear technology."

It has been conclusively found by

intelligence agencies and the IAEA that

the regime has conducted nuclear

weapons research.

But Tehran, from the beginning,

decided to conceal its nuclear activities.

For instance, its clandestine nuclear

activities at two major sites, Natanz and

Arak, were first revealed in 2000 by

Iranian opposition group the National

Council for Resistance of Iran. In 2017,

the NCRI also released critical

information showing that Iran's nuclear

activities had continued at the highly

protected Parchin military base. The

group stated that a location at Parchin was

being secretly used to continue the

country's nuclear weapons project. It said:

"The unit responsible for conducting

research and building a trigger for a

nuclear weapon is called the Center for

But if we meticulously examine the history of Tehran's

nuclear program, it becomes crystal clear that it was intended

for developing nuclear weapons from the outset. Why

else would the regime's nuclear file be filled with secrecy

and clandestine activities, when the Iranian leaders could

actually benefit if they disclosed all their nuclear sites?

Research and Expansion of Technologies

for Explosion and Impact, known by its

Farsi acronym as METFAZ."

There are currently four covert nuclear

sites in Iran that the international

community is aware of. The International

Atomic Energy Agency last week reported

that: "The director general is increasingly

concerned that even after some two years

the safeguards issues outlined in relation

to the four locations in Iran not declared

to the agency remain unresolved."

In addition, while the Iranian

authorities have always denied seeking

The radical nature of his proposal should not be lost on

anyone. Truth and reconciliation forums are very strange

creatures of law. Unlike ordinary cou rts, they are not

punitive in their outlook. They seek, not to punish, but to

unearth the reality of what oc curred - to authenticate

the narratives of victims, redress the harm they suffered.

nuclear weapons, it has been conclusively

found by intelligence agencies and the

IAEA that the regime has indeed

conducted nuclear weapons research. For

example, the IAEA in 2011 detailed what

kind of work Iran had carried out: "The

information indicates that Iran has

carried out the following activities that are

relevant to the development of a nuclear

explosive device: Efforts, some successful,

to procure nuclear-related and dual-use

equipment and materials by militaryrelated

individuals and entities; efforts to

develop undeclared pathways for the

production of nuclear material; the

acquisition of nuclear weapons

development information and

documentation from a clandestine

nuclear supply network; and work on the

development of an indigenous design of a

nuclear weapon including the testing of


In addition, Israel's seizure of

documents from a nuclear archive in

Tehran in 2018 directly pointed to the

military dimension of Iran's nuclear

program. The Institute for Science and

International Security subsequently

warned: "Iran intended to build five

nuclear warheads, each with an explosive

yield of 10 kilotons and able to be

delivered by ballistic missile."

It is clear that Iran has always intended

to produce nuclear weapons. Therefore,

governments must devise policies toward

the regime based on such an


Source: Arab news

laboratory for ideological experiments,

then, the sanctuary of their bloodthirsty

products, and ultimately, the site of their


It was here that suicidal maniacs

unleashed living hell. It was here that

millions were displaced by kinetic

operations as we fought the wretched

TTP. It was here that our soldiers lost their

limbs and lives. And of course, it was here

that Predator drones blas ted children to

bits, while our ruling elite - be they booted

or suited - shed big fat crocodile tears,

sho ok their fists at the sky and

screeched of 'sovereign ty' and

'territorial integrity', when all the while,

they had actually been green-lighting the

entire charade.

Luckily, there may be an antidote to

what ails us. In his autobiography, Imran

Khan once suggested that "we need to

have a new relationship with our tribal

areas, where the lives of six million proud

and honourable people have been

devastated" by what was, in essence, a

"US-funded jihad". This, he wrote, could

be achieved by nothing less than a "South

African-style 'truth and reconciliation'

process". The radical nature of his

proposal should not be lost on anyone.

Truth and reconciliation forums are very

strange creatures of law.

sATurdAy, sePTemBer 18, 2021


Apple and Google accused

of political censorship

Zoom meetings mean you have

to face your own face

Andrew roTH

Supporters of the jailed Russian

opposition leader Alexei Navalny have

accused Google and Apple of

capitulating to Kremlin pressure after

the two tech companies deleted his

tactical voting app from their online


Both companies had come under

significant pressure from Russian

regulators in the days before the

country's parliamentary elections to

block access to Navalny's Smart Voting

initiative, which tries to channel

decision. "We are writing to notify you

that your application will be removed

from the Russia App Store because it

includes content that is illegal in

Russia," the note read. The Navalny

organisation had been declared

"extremist" in Russia, the note added.

Zhdanov wrote: "Removing the

Navalny app from stores is a shameful

act of political censorship. Russia's

authoritarian government and

propaganda will be thrilled."He also

said that Navalny's team was

considering launching a lawsuit against

the tech firms. The Guardian has

online application before the elections.

Local representatives for both

companies were invited to the

Federation Council, a lawmaking body,

for a severe telling-off by Russian

senators and regulators.

A lawmaker also said that employees

of the two companies could face

criminal prosecution if they ignored

demands to block the Navalny


"Entities and persons associated with

Apple and Google should realise that

the knowingly unlawful actions and

criminal inaction demonstrated upon

Alexei navalny's smart voting app disappeared from Apple and Google's russia stores.

Photo: shamil Zhumatov

evA wisemAn

Something has become clear. I need to

face up to my face. I've taken precisely

two selfies in my life, and have long

shunned mirrors. My face is a thing that

I wear on my head, for protection of

health and projection of emotion, but for

many years I've learned not to think too

much about it for fear of drowning. The

world's self-image has been dramatically

knocked by technology, by filters and

apps that allow portraits to be edited

smooth and slippery but, while I don't

want to boast, my personal shame was

already fully bedded in long before I got a

phone. For many years I was upset at not

being pretty, feeling alternately cheated

and sad, but over time I came to terms

with it, deciding to avoid mirrors, photos,

and to store that prickly energy

elsewhere. I look in the mirror once a day,

to draw on eyeliner, which establishes a

boundary and also nods to heroines, and

to paint over blemishes, sometimes

highlighting them by accident, but by

that point the game is already up.

And then pandemic and then

lockdown and then Zoom. And then my

face, floating on screen, pink and

awkward, and the mouth doing that

thing. At first it was a new kind of hell. I

thought about the Sylvia Plath poem

written in the voice of a mirror reflecting

on her reflection, two years before Plath

died - "In me she has drowned a young

girl, and in me an old woman / rises

toward her day after day, like a terrible

fish." A terrible fish. Soon we were all

talking shriekingly at the beginnings of

meetings about the horror of meeting

ourselves, and then there was a calm

moment as we fiddled with the filters,

and then all of a sudden nobody

mentioned it again, the distraction of

seeing your face as it moves, because it

wasn't funny any more.

I'm going back to the office this month

after nearly 2,000 years at home on my

is that little flickery square in the corner of the screen the real me?

biscuit-crumbed laptop, and the prospect

of talking to my colleagues in real life, just

me and them without myself has spurred

me to pick the meat off the problem.

Before now I rarely saw myself in action -

perhaps the odd flash in a train window

as we went through a tunnel, or in the

background of a video mooing at the

baby. Today, though, looking at my face

is a large slice of my life. And I wonder,

why is it so disturbing, watching yourself

be watched?

There we are vibrating in our little

squares, our roots getting greyer over the

course of the hour, our eyes being

dragged back to our own eyes, however

interesting the story we're being told.

There are certain things we've learned to

ignore in order to move more gently

through our lives, and one of them is that,

for all our inner selves, our special

thoughts, our soul, much of our identity

is formed from how we appear to other

people. And it becomes clear through

these online meetings that there's only so

much we can do to manipulate that. Are

we showing them the person we want to

show? Do we pass? As intelligent? As

human? Can they see we're pretending to

care? If I narrow my eyes, does it show

that I'm listening, or do I look like I'm

planning their death? The fragility of our

unfinished selves is revealed up there, to

the right.

It is odd, isn't it, to witness yourself? It's

actually a little much, to be confronted by

your moving mouth as you are moving it,

by this mirror you, this version of a

person you've been working on since

your teens. "Turn off the camera!"

someone will say, "Put a thing over the

screen!", when you're halfway through

your monotone monologue about the ills

of modern life, but it's not that simple.

You see, I have tried that. In lieu of a Postit

I crafted a small curtain, quite elegant,

from paper and Blu-Tack, but what

happened unfortunately was my body

thought I'd died. My poor heart, having

become accustomed to watching this face

it's been uncomfortable supporting all its

life, watching it nod sagely at

interviewees and roll its eyes at mothers

and gaze blankly as a meeting drips on,

told the rest of the body to panic, as it

appeared we no longer existed.

opposition votes toward the strongest

opponents of the ruling party, United


Google and Apple were accused of

election interference by Russian

officials amid a larger standoff between

the Kremlin and big tech over how

much control Russia's authoritarian

government can have over information

disseminated inside the country. The

Kremlin said on Friday it welcomed the

apps' removal. As voting in the

parliamentary elections began on

Friday, the apps disappeared from both

companies' Russia stores and Ivan

Zhdanov, a senior adviser to Navalny,

posted a letter from Apple that

appeared to confirm that company's

approached Google and Apple for


A Russian court imposed fines on

Google last month, as regulators

demanded social media companies

including Twitter and Facebook stored

Russian users' data in the country and

that they deleted material banned by

Russian courts and regulators. The

Russian government also told Google it

must remove search results related to

Navalny's Smart Voting initiative.

Apple was also fined $12m earlier this

year for allegedly holding a monopoly

position on the app market. It has

challenged that decision in

court.Google and Apple were singled

out for pressure for hosting Navalny's

receiving relevant warnings from

Russian officials will invariably entail

legal consequences, up to criminal

prosecution," Vladimir Dzhabarov, a

member of the Federation Council, said

at a commission meeting on Thursday,

according to Interfax. The US

ambassador was summoned to the

foreign ministry for a similar scolding.

The Russian government's accusations

of US interference in the elections

appears to intentionally mirror similar

investigations in the US.

"The Russian side possesses

irrefutable evidence of the violation of

the Russian laws by US 'digital giants'"

ahead of Russia's elections, the foreign

ministry wrote.

Apple's iPhone 13 to hit

shelves later this month

GSK teams with King's College

to use AI to fight cancer

JuliA Kollewe

The pharmaceuticals firm

GSK has struck a five-year

partnership with King's

College London to use

artificial intelligence to

develop personalised

treatments for cancer by

investigating the role played

by genetics in the disease.

The tie-up, which involves

10 of the drug maker's

artificial intelligence experts

working with 10 oncology

specialists from King's across

their labs, will use computing

to "play chess with cancer",

working out why only a fifth

of patients respond well to



Dr Kim Branson, the global

head of artificial intelligence

and machine learning at

GSK, said only 20% of

patients respond well to the

new oncology drugs that

harness the body's immune

system to fight

cancer."Sometimes it works

like a game buster … and it

wipes out the cancer. We'd

like that to work all the time.

This could be

transformative," Branson

said. The partnership will use

GSK's cancer drugs to start

with and initially focus on

solid cancers such as thoracic


gastrointestinal and women's

cancers. "Hopefully we'll

create a framework that

other people can contribute

to," Branson said.

GSK and other large drug

makers have been investing

in AI to mine the vast

quantities of data available to

develop new medicines,

pinpoint why some people

are susceptible to certain

diseases, and improve and

personalise patient care.

AI uses algorithms to carry

out tasks, with computers

learning through repetitive

processes rather than

instruction from humans.

The team will use a 3D

cellular model of a patient's

disease to study how tumour

cells from the patients

undergoing treatment

interact with immune cells.

"What if we could play

chess with the cancer?"

Branson said. "Cancer is a

tricky thing. You treat with X,

then you see resistance. The

tumour says, 'You do that,

I'm going to respond with

this.' We're using the

predictive power of AI to

think of potential strategies

to outmanoeuvre disease.

Our partnership with King's

can make this a possibility."

The team will monitor for

dynamic biomarkers -

molecules found in blood,

other body fluids or tissues

that are a sign of disease -

An ovarian cancer on a CT scan. Photo: Alamy

that can predict resistance

during treatment or a later

relapse. The research

partnership is based on a

novel machine learning

model that integrates

multimodal data, genetic and

molecular traits, tumour

location, images and

biomarker blood tests.

Prof Tony Ng, head of the

comprehensive cancer centre

at King's, said that in general

half of cancer patients who

were clinically diagnosed to

have advanced but operable

cancers came back within

one to two years after

treatment, such as

chemotherapy, when it was

discovered that the cancer

had spread to other parts of

the body.

To identify those at high

risk, the team will create a

"digital biological twin" of the

patient, to test multiple

drugs, and multiple doses, at

multiple time points.

"We are linking up the

patient with the twin and can

immediately feed back info to

the clinical trial or clinical

management algorithms,"

Ng said. "The biological twin

will not only tell us this

person has a high risk, but

also what we as oncologists

do about it."

Ng added that different

parameters besides

genomics can be looked at

within the twin, such as

whether the immune system

is suppressed through

contact with cancer cells

(quantified by new imaging

methods), to develop a

"multimodal monitoring

tool". Over the five years, the

team hope to create specialist


Branson said the

partnership could, if

necessary, use the UK's most

powerful supercomputer,

developed by the US-based

firm Nvidia, which became

operational in July. The

Cambridge-1 deploys AI

methods and is available to a

range of organisations,

including GSK and King's.

Apple Ceo Tim Cook unveiling the new iPhone 13 during a special event at Apple Park.

Alex Hern

Apple's iPhone 13 will hit

shelves later this month,

with prices starting at $699

(£679 in the UK), the

company announced at a

press event on Tuesday.A

light update from last year's

iPhone 12, the new devices

feature upgraded cameras

and the company's latest A15

chip, which it says is up to

50% faster than the


The four new iPhones - the

iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini,

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13

Pro Max - all feature the new

processor, which Apple said

would help users "absolutely

fly through demanding

workloads smoothly and

efficiently". All four phones

also feature larger batteries,

which the company says

combined with the more

power-efficient chip offers

between 1.5 and 2.5 hours

more use each day.

"iPhone 13 has a faster

chip, faster 5G speeds, a

brighter OLED display and

the most advanced dual

camera system ever in an

iPhone, and with all these

upgrades the iPhone 13 has a

better battery life," Apple's


KaiannDrance said. The

upgraded cameras have

enabled a reduction in the

"notch" on the front of the

devices, shrinking the black

bar by 20%, and a new

feature, Cinema Mode, for

shooting video using the rear

cameras. This effect allows

amateur film-makers to shift

focus between foreground

and background on the fly.

The more expensive

devices, the iPhones 13 Pro

and 13 Pro Max, also have a

new 3x zoom telephoto lens,

and an ultra-wide camera

which enables macro

photography for the first

time, for shooting small

objects from a distance of

just 2cm.

While the most


option is always to continue

using an older device, Apple

emphasised its green

credentials for the new

phones: the antenna bands

use "upcycled plastic water

bottles", Drance said, a first

for the industry, while all the

rare earth metals used in the

magnets internally are now

from recycled materials.

All four iPhones will be

available to pre-order from

Friday, and ship from 24

September. The iPhone 13

mini starts at $699/£679,

the iPhone 13 starts at

$799/£779, the iPhone 13

Pro starts at $999/£949 and

the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts

at $1099/£1049.

Alongside the phones,

Apple announced an update

to the Apple Watch and a

new iPad mini.The Apple

Watch Series 7 will have a

significant visual redesign,

with a larger, tougher screen

extending to the very edges

of the device and gently

curving round, Apple's chief

operating officer, Jeff

Williams, said.

He said it will also be "our

most crack resistant screen

ever" and that the watch will

also charge up to 33% faster

using a new USB-C


significant production

problems mean the

company remains uncertain

when users will be able to get

the watch. The on-sale date

was only given as "later this

Photo: Brooks Kraft

fall", with a price starting at

$399. Apple also announced

a redesign for the iPad mini,

the first visual refresh the

tablet has had since it was

introduced. The new design

resembles the mid-range

iPad Air, with squared-off

edges, an edge-to-edge

screen, and a shifted

TouchID sensor on the

power button at the top of

the screen.

Like the iPad Air, the new

mini doesn't have FaceID for

unlocking the device, and

has a USB-C port for

charging and data rather

than a lightning port as well

as the requisite updates to

the front and rear cameras.

The new front camera allows

the iPad to support Apple's

"Center Stage" feature,

which automatically zooms

in on the speaker in video

calls. "We're so excited about

the new iPad mini," said

Apple's Katie McDonald, a

product marketing manager

at the company. "This is by

far the most powerful and

versatile iPad mini ever." It

starts at $499/£479, and is

available to order now with

shipping next week.

sATURDAY, sepTeMBeR 18, 2021


Omar Sani, Moushumi resumes

shooting for 'Sonar Char'


Imran Ahmed Trio, one of the

prominent jazz acts in the

country, is all set to release their

second album from a European

record label in December.

The album will contain a total

of eight instrumental numbers.

It will be called, "The Imran

Ahmed Trio Live in Warsaw."

Most tracks from the album

were composed between 2018

to 2019.

The trio has been active in jazz

music for about several years

and is the first jazz group from

Bangladesh to perform on

international tours as an invited


In 2019, during their tour to

Poland, the band performed at

Trojka, the national radio

station of Poland and the

performance was recorded and

videotaped, which is being

released now on DVD and CD

format for the fans.

Talking about the album,

Imran Ahmed told The Business

Standard, "We are pretty excited

about the album. The album

Imran Ahmed Trio to release

new album from Europe

was recorded during our tour in

Poland and it was fully recorded

in an analogue system. Our tour

manager Jakub Krzeszowski

recorded the video." Jazz Po

Polsku -an organisation from

Poland that arranges festivals

and works with the jazz

musicians throughout the

year, helped Imran Ahmed

Trio to connect with the record

label which is bringing out the

album later this year. "We are

also launching our website

where we will release an early

access DVD. Fans can

download it and watch the

entire performance."

"Our tour manager, Jakub

Krzeszowski, who is also the

founder of Jazz Po Polsku

shared the album with the

record label at a music festival

and consequently the label

wanted to release the album as

the band had performed all

original numbers at the radio

show." Later, Jakub contacted

Imran and finally, the album is

being released. "We will reveal

the name of the label later this

week," informed Imran. He also

informed that all the press will

be done from Poland.

"I composed all the songs and

played guitars as well.

Mohaimin was on bass and Arjo

on drums."

The current line-up of the

band consists of Imran Ahmed

on composition and guitar,

Mohaimin Karim on the bass

and Hasin Aryan on the drums.


Omar Sani and Moushumi are two popular film

actors of the country. They duo has presented many

popular movies to the audience. Now, they will be

seen in a new film titled 'Sonar Char'.

Talented director Zahid Hossain is directing the

movie. Zahid Hossain has also written the story,

script and dialogue of the film.

The shooting of the film began on Wednesday at

Hotapara Khatib Khamar Bari shooting spot in

Gazipur. About the movie, Omar Sani said, "The

story of the film is very nice. In 'Sonar Char' I will

play the role of a lathiyal who is dumb. The

audience will find Bangladesh, soil of Bangladesh

through 'Sonar Char'. After a long hiatus I'm

working with Moushumi and Zahid bhi is a talented

film director of the country. I hope viewers will

enjoy the movie."

Moushumi Said, "Earlier, I've worked with Zahid

bhai in the movie 'Matritto'. He always makes good

story-based films. 'Sonar Char' is also contains an

amazing story. Omar Sani's character in the movie

is very challenging. We are trying our level best to

produce a good film."

Zahid Hossain said, "Omar Sani's character

in the film is different from his previous

characters. I hope he will create an example in

his acting career through the character of the


Praneeta Patnaik on films

and Dulquer

After delivering a riveting performance in

the 2018-film, C/O Kancharapalem,

Praneeta Patnaik has been bagging some

interesting projects in Tollywood.

Soon, the actress, who is also a classical

dancer, will be seen in a pivotal role in

Dulquer Salmaan's next film Lieutenant

Ram, directed by Hanu Raghavapudi.

The actress says that she had a great time

bonding with Dulquer on the sets of the

period drama set in the 1940s. "It's a

significant role and drives the narrative with

some interesting twists," says Praneeta,

talking to us about her role and her

conversations with Dulquer.

"Dulquer is very chatty. We kept

discussing cinema and about his initial

shooting days and how things have changed

now, as well as his experiences as a

producer." Incidentally, Praneeta revealed

to us that Dulquer was actually surprised to

know that he has a huge fan base in Telugu.

Work wise, the actress has projects like

Panchatantra Kathalu, Sthalam, Richie

Gadi Pelli, and a couple of web series in her

kitty. The best part for her is that the

characters in all of her works are in sharp

contrast to one another.

"I am trying to understand what kind of

characters suit me. Earlier, I used to stay in

Vizag, and things used to be difficult for me.

But after having moved to Hyderabad, I am

at ease now. I am lucky to be picking from a

variety of roles that are being offered to me,"

states Praneeta.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Johnny Depp has not stepped into the

shoes of Pirates of the Caribbean's Jack

Sparrow. The actor completely

transformed himself and acted in the

franchise for years. The iconic look with

the hat, the beads, the hair, and his voice

are some things that people can never

forget. Fans have been missing the

actor's persona as the pirate for some

time now. However, one lucky fan got the

chance to meet Jack Sparrow once again.

The Charlie and the 'Chocolate Factory'

actor appeared at the Deauville

American Film Festival in France. He

was named as a guest of honour at the

event and was there to promote the

screening of his movie 'City of Lies'.

Depp also spent some time mingling with

fans at the event.

While talking to the fans at the film

festival, Johnny Depp met with a young

boy who was dressed up as Jack

Sparrow. A video captured by Estelle

Jachimiak, mother of the young boy,

shows them also holding a drawing of the


Model and actor Anika Kabir

Shokh is pregnant with her first

child with husband Rahman

Jon. The news was confirmed by

the actor herself.

Shokh, who has been on a

break for a while, revealed that

she is eight months pregnant

and excited for the arrival of her

first child.

Due to the surge in Covid

cases and her new family

obligations, Shokh took a break

from her modeling and acting

career last year. She married

character along with a message that

reads, "Johnny I love you." The video

Shokh announces

her pregnancy

Gazipur-based businessman

Rahman Jon on May 12, 2020.

She is currently residing at her

in-law's house in Boliadi village

of Kaliakair Police Station in

Gazipur district.

Previously, Shokh was briefly

married to actor Niloy Alamgir,

who remarried last month as


Shokh made her TV debut

acting with Redoan Rony's

2008 serial FnF: Friends &

Familyand her film debut with

"Bolo Na Tumi Amar" alongside

Shakib Khan. She has been

modeling since the early 2000's.

Depp turns Jack Sparrow of 'Pirates

Of The Caribbean' once again

went viral on social media as well.

Source: Times Of India

H o R o s c o p e


(March 21 - April 20) : You'll be

happiest away from prying eyes

today, Aries. You're not in the mood

to be friendly or participate in idle

gossip. It seems you've been having the same

conversations with the same people for some time

now. You're feeling so bored you could scream. To

avoid doing just that, spend quiet time alone

today if you can.


(April 21 - May 21) : Just when you

thought things were settled, life takes

another turn. Today brings yet another

of those turns, so hold on, Taurus. You

may receive some information that has a dramatic

impact on your life. Perhaps you'll receive an

opportunity to move to another state or country.

Perhaps you'll decide to get married. One thing is

clear - your future looks promising!


(May 22 - June 21) : You should feel

optimistic today, Gemini, with

confidence in your ability to

accomplish anything you set your

mind to. If you're working toward a specific

goal (and you should be), something is likely

to happen today that propels you that much

closer to realizing your goal. What's the next



(June 22 - July 23) : You can expect

some big changes, Cancer. All the

hard work you've been doing to

develop your confidence is

showing, and this is attracting opportunities

like bees to honey. On top of this, your passion

is high right now, so set aside private time with

your mate. Plan a romantic evening, open a

bottle of wine, and celebrate!


(July 24 - Aug. 23): Don't overreact

today, Leo. Your biorhythms are low.

In fact, you may be feeling a bit under

the weather. There's no point in

trying to keep up a cheerful front. People will see

through your facade. You would be better served

by spending time on solo activities. That way you

can spend long stretches of time in bed, where

you're meant to be today.


(Aug. 24 - Sept. 23): A long-term

project reaches a positive

conclusion, one that may have a

dramatic impact on your finances.

You've sold your manuscript to a publisher or

successfully concluded a project that's dear to

your heart. This success should give you the

confidence you need, Virgo. Don't forget to take

time to celebrate!


(Sept. 24 - Oct. 23): Change is good, but

it can be scary when it comes

suddenly. That's what you feel today

when someone announces a major

change without warning. You're not sure how to

react to the news and haven't a clue how it affects

you. All you can do now is wait. Try not to panic. In

the end, you'll see that these changes will benefit

everyone, including you!


(Oct. 24 - Nov. 22) : You're eager for

information on a particular subject

and will go to great lengths to get it,

Scorpio. Before heading off to the

library, why not try an online search? You

might find everything you need without leaving

your chair. But your search might necessitate

going to the primary source, so travel will be



(Nov. 23 - Dec. 21): You may receive

a windfall from an unexpected

source, Sagittarius. Perhaps an

uncle died and remembered you in

his will or an old legal settlement has finally

come through. Whatever the source, the extra

income is welcome now. Your vivid dreams of

late may not seem related to this financial

upswing, but they're connected.


(Dec. 22 - Jan. 20): You receive some

new insight about an important

person in your life, Capricorn, and

your relationship takes a dramatic

turn for the better. You feel you now know

this person completely, and your closeness

borders on the profound. This new alliance

could also have positive repercussions on

your finances.


(Jan. 21 - Feb. 19) : When the thought

of going to work makes it hard to get

out of bed, know that the time has

come to get another job, Aquarius.

Alas, that's probably not something you can do

now. You can be extra kind to yourself. Give

yourself a present. Find something you

thoroughly enjoy that would perk up your spirits

and cost little.


(Feb. 20 - Mar. 20) : Romance is in

the air and you must be breathing a

lot of it today, Pisces. Your blood is

boiling, your passion surging, and a

romantic dinner for two is in the cards. You'll

be inclined to shop for clothes, but curb your

appetite for material goods. What you really

want doesn't come in a box, so why waste your


SATUrDAY, SePTemBer 18, 2021


A certificate giving ceremony titled 'Parenting for Peace' held at Uddipon Conference Centre at

Adabor in the capital on Friday.

Photo : Courtesy

Libya says to

reopen border

with Tunisia

TRIPOLI : The Libyan

government on Thursday

announced that it will

reopen its border with

neighboring Tunisia starting

from Friday, after more than

two months of closure.

"The decision (to reopen

border) is a result of the

meeting between the Prime

Minister Abdul-Hamid

Dbeibah and the Tunisian

President Kais Saied in

Tunisia a few days ago," said

a statement issued by the

Libyan government's

information office.

"The meeting also resulted

in the formation of a joint

ministerial committee to

evaluate the security and

health situations, which

eventually came up with the

decision to reopen the

border," the statement said.

The two sides agreed to

implement necessary

security and health

measures to facilitate

movement of people and

goods between the two

countries, the statement


Earlier in June, the Libyan

authorities closed the border

with Tunisia due to

increased numbers of

COVID-19 infections.

The Libyan government

decided to reopen the border

with Tunisia in August.

However, Tunisia has kept

the border closed due to the

instable pandemic situation

in both countries.

EU endorses

Malta's pandemic

recovery plan

VALLETTA : European

Commission President

Ursula von der Leyen on

Thursday endorsed Malta's

recovery and resilience plan,

which will see the European

Union (EU) disbursing

316.4 million euros (372

million U.S. dollars) in

grants under the Recovery

and Resilience Facility.

She held talks with

Maltese Prime Minister

Robert Abela about the

country's plans to tap into

EU funds as part of its

COVID-19 recovery


At a press conference, von

der Leyen praised the

Maltese government's plan

to use a large chunk of the

recovery funds to finance

green initiatives in line with

the EU's digital strategy. She

said that Malta's plan was

among the greenest in the


Von der Leyen also

welcomed plans to further



independence and

efficiency of Malta's justice

and prosecution systems

and to combat money


Abela spoke about plans

to make Malta carbon

neutral by 2050 and the

planned shift to clean public

transport with electric


He said the EU funds will

be used to bolster Malta's

medium-term vision for an

improvement in quality of

life and turn the nation's

infrastructure from a

bottleneck to an enabler.

China applies to join

Pacific trade pact

abandoned by Trump

BEIJING : China has applied to join an

11-nation Asia-Pacific free trade group in

an effort to increase its influence over

international policies.

Commerce Minister Wang Wentao

submitted an application to the trade

minister of New Zealand as a

representative of the Comprehensive

and Progress Agreement for Trans-

Pacific Partnership, the Commerce

Ministry announced Thursday.

The CPTPP originally was the Trans-

Pacific Partnership, a group promoted

by then-President Barack Obama as part

of Washington's increased emphasis on

relations with Asia. China was not

included in the initial group and

Obama's successor, Donald Trump,

pulled out in 2017.

President Joe Biden has not rejoined

the group.

An official Chinese newspaper, Global

Times, said the application cements

Beijing's "leadership in global trade" and

leaves the United States "increasingly

isolated." The CPTPP, which took effect

in 2018, includes agreements on market

access, movement of labor and

government procurement.

Other members include Canada,

Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan,

Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and

Vietnam. Britain is negotiating to join. If

China joins, that would quadruple the

total population within the group to

some 2 billion people.

China's government has promised to

increase imports of goods but faces

complaints it is failing to carry out

promises made when it joined the World

Trade Organization in 2001 to open

finance and other service industries.

China is also a member of various

other trading arrangements, including

the Regional Comprehensive Economic

Partnership, which includes many

nations in Asia that are not part of the


Florida surpasses 50K COVID

deaths after battling delta wave

MIAMI : Florida surpassed 50,000

coronavirus deaths since the pandemic

began, health officials reported

Thursday, with more than one fourth

of those succumbing this summer as

the state battled a fierce surge in

infections fueled by the delta variant,

reports UNB.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention tallied 50,811 deaths

after adding more than 1,500 COVID-

19 deaths provided Thursday by the

state's health department. Those

reported deaths occurred over various

dates in recent weeks.

Florida has the 11th worst per-capita

death rate among the 50 states, the

CDC says. New Jersey, Mississippi and

New York have had the worst, but

Florida has risen from the 17th spot in

the past two weeks.

Overall, about one in every 400

Florida residents who were alive in

March 2020 has since died of COVID-

19. Only cancer and heart disease have

killed more Floridians during that

period, according to state health

department statistics. Those have each

killed about 70,000 Floridians.

Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke somberly

when asked about surpassing 50,000

COVID-19 deaths during a Fort

Lauderdale news conference

promoting the use of monoclonal

antibodies, a treatment for people

infected with the disease that reduces

death and hospitalization if given


"It has been a really tough year and a

half," DeSantis said.

The Republican governor, who has

advocated against mask and vaccine

mandates, said the most recent wave,

which began in June, has struck

younger and healthier people.

Numerous police officers and

firefighters have died from the


"It is affecting families in ways that

we are not used to, so it has been

really, really rough," DeSantis said.

Out of about 50 people present at the

news conference, DeSantis was the

only one who did not wear a mask

when not speaking. He has promoted

vaccination and has been inoculated,

but did not receive his shot publicly as

many elected officials did.

Mexico's president urges

end to "perverse" U.S.

sanctions against Cuba

MEXICO CITY : Mexico's

President Andres Manuel

Lopez Obrador on Thursday

again urged Washington to

end its more than halfcentury

trade embargo

against Cuba, calling the

decades-old sanctions policy


In a speech marking

Mexico's Independence Day

celebrations, to which

Cuban President Miguel

Diaz-Canel was invited as a

special guest, Lopez

Obrador admonished that

nations should not take

advantage of the

"misfortune of other

peoples" to further their own


Lopez Obrador said he

hoped his U.S. counterpart

Joe Biden has the "political

sensitivity" to put an end to

the "injustices" that have

been committed against

Cuba by sanctions designed

to destroy the island's

economy and cause social


Lopez Obrador also

praised Cuba for

withstanding decades of

punitive measures imposed

on the tiny Caribbean nation

by the United States.

"Having resisted 62 years

without submission is an

indisputable historical feat,"

said the president.

"The government that I

represent respectfully calls

on the United States

government to lift the

embargo against Cuba,

because no nation has the

right to subdue another

people, another country," he


Schools, colleges shut in

India's Uttar Pradesh

state amid heavy rains

NEW DELHI : India's

northern state of Uttar

Pradesh on Thursday

announced shutting down all

schools and colleges for the

next two days amid incessant

rains for more than 24 hours,

leading to a floods-like


A red alert has been

sounded in many districts,

even as the state government

advised people not to venture

out of their homes and avoid

unnecessary travel for the

next couple of days.

Heavy rains, up to 100

millimeters, have been

recorded in several districts

of the state, including

Sultanpur, Lucknow, Rae

Bareli, Sitapur and Ayodhya,

leading to floods-like

situations in most parts.

More than 10 people have

died in rain-related incidents,

said media reports.

The state government also

issued a warning about

strong winds up to 80

kilometers per hour, with

thunderstorms and lightning

incidents over the next

couple of days.

A local resident from the

Sitapur told Xinhua over the

phone that the incessant

rains have hit places around

him for over 20 hours amid

stormy winds.

A human chain was formed in front of the Hajiganj historic big mosque under the banner of

'Hajiganj Schacheton Nagarik Forum' demanding establishment of Chandpur University of Science

and Technology in Hajiganj.

Photo: PBA

Idled Thai taxis go green with

mini-gardens on car roofs

BANGKOK : Taxi fleets in Thailand are

giving new meaning to the term "rooftop

garden," as they utilize the roofs of cabs idled

by the coronavirus crisis to serve as small

vegetable plots, reports UNB

Workers from two taxi cooperatives

assembled the miniature gardens this week

using black plastic garbage bags stretched

across bamboo frames. On top, they added

soil in which a variety of crops, including

tomatoes, cucumbers and string beans, were


The result looks more like an eye-grabbing

art installation than a car park, and that's

partly the point: to draw attention to the

plight of taxi drivers and operators who have

been badly hit by coronavirus lockdown


The Ratchapruk and Bovorn Taxi

cooperatives now have just 500 cars left

plying Bangkok's streets, with 2,500 sitting

idle at a number of city sites, according to 54-

year-old executive Thapakorn


With the capital's streets deathly quiet

until recently, there's been too much

competition for too few fares, resulting in a

fall in drivers' incomes. Many now can't

afford the daily payments on the vehicles,

even after the charge was halved to 300 baht

($9.09), Thapakorn said. So they have

walked away, leaving the cars in long, silent


Some drivers surrendered their cars and

returned to their homes in rural areas when

the pandemic first hit last year because they

were so scared, he said. More gave up and

returned their cars during the second wave.

"Some left their cars at places like gas

stations and called us to pick the cars up," he

recalled. With new surges of the virus this

year, the cooperatives were "completely

knocked out," as thousands of cars were

given up by their drivers, he said.

Dutch foreign minister quits over

evacuation chaos in Afghanistan

THE HAGUE : The Dutch Minister of

Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag resigned on

Thursday for her role in the evacuation of

local embassy staff from Afghanistan,

reports UNB.

Kaag announced her decision after a

motion of disapproval against her was

passed by a majority of parliament. "The

House judges that the cabinet has acted

irresponsibly," Kaag said. "Although I stand

by our commitment, I can only accept the

consequences of this judgment as the

Minister with ultimate responsibility."

The parliament held Kaag responsible for

not picking up signals from the parliament

and from embassy staff in Afghanistan that

an emergency situation was about to arrive.

As a result not everyone could be

evacuated in time and local embassy

personnel ran into "serious danger",

according to the majority of the parliament.

There was also a lot of irritation about the

late and incomplete provision of

information to the parliament.

Officially, a minister does not have to

resign following a motion of disapproval.

The motion of disapproval against Defense

Minister Ank Bijleveld also obtained a

majority. But Bijleveld had already

announced that she would remain as

defense minister regardless of the vote,

noting that "my priority is still to bring

everyone who is still in Afghanistan to


Bangladesh Krishak League Naogaon District Unit initiated tree planting

and distribution program. The picture is taken from Naogaon Degree

College area on Friday.

Photo: PBA

3rd COVID-19 vaccine

dose boosts immunity

tenfold: Israeli study

JERUSALEM : The third vaccine dose

against COVID-19 increases the immune

protection from infection tenfold, the Israeli

Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

The ministry said that a new Israeli study,

published in the New England Journal of

Medicine, examined the effectiveness of the

third dose among those over the age of 60,

who received the booster shot in August.

The tenfold protection is compared to those

who received only two doses at least five

months ago.

The study was conducted by a team of

multidisciplinary researchers from the

health ministry, the Weizmann Institute of

Science, the Hebrew University of

Jerusalem, the Technion, the Sheba Medical

Center and the KI Research Institute, it said.

"The data from Israel indicate high

efficacy of Pfizer's third booster dose in

preventing COVID-19 infection and serious

illness," the ministry noted.

Israel began vaccinating its population

with the third vaccine dose on Aug. 1, as the

Delta variant was spreading in the country

and the effectiveness of the first two doses

eroded. To date, nearly 3 million Israelis

have received the third jab.

The researchers found that 12 days after

receiving the third shot, the rate of

infections was more than 10 times lower

among those who received the booster shot

than those did not.

This means that if the chance of those

vaccinated with two doses to get infected

with the Delta variant is about 50 percent

compared to the unvaccinated, a booster

dose lowers the risk to 5 percent, or raises

the immune defense to 95 percent, the

researchers concluded.

Palestine condemns Israeli opposition

to two-state solution

RAMALLAH : Palestine on Thursday

condemned the current Israeli government's

position of rejecting the two-state solution

and its attempts to undermine any

opportunity to establish a Palestinian state

with East Jerusalem as its capital, reports


The Palestinian foreign ministry said in a

statement that the position of Israeli Prime

Minister Naftali Bennett and Israeli Finance

Minister Avigdor Lieberman "is part of the

unilateral Israeli measures that aim at

liquidating the Palestinian cause."

The statement added that the Israeli

officials blame the Palestinian leadership

under false pretexts "to hide their ambitions

of expanding settlements on the lands of the

state of Palestine."

Accusing Bennett of being "an enemy of

peace," the statement said, "he (Bennett)

represents the stances of the settlers, their

councils, and their organizations, which lead

to incitement campaigns against the

Palestinian people."

"The Israeli incitement is a political war

and an aggression against the Palestinian

people, against their legitimate rights and

against their leadership," it said, adding that

"this policy will have an impact on the

process of solving the conflict."

Saturday, Dhaka: September 18, 2021; Ashwin 3, 1428 BS; Safar 10, 1443 Hijri

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina left Dhaka for the US Friday morning to attend the 76th session of the United

Nations General Assembly in New York, with a scheduled stopover in Finland.

Photo : Star Mail

Hasina places six proposals

to make world more liveable

DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

on Friday put forward six proposals to

make the world more liveable by bringing

down carbon emissions and tackle

the people being displaced across the

globe due to climate change, reports


She placed her proposals while delivering

the pre-recorded speech in the

'Major Economies Forum on Energy

and Climate', convened by US President

Joe Biden.

The Prime Minister, in her first proposal,

asked the major carbon-emitting

countries to take action to reduce their

emissions to keep the global temperature

rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In her second proposal, Hasina

renewed her call for fulfilling the commitment

of an annual 100-billion-dollar

climate fund by the developed countries

and distributing it 50:50 between adaptation

and mitigation.

The Prime Minister, in her third proposal,

advised the developed countries

to come forward with the most effective

energy solutions along with technology

transfer to the developing countries.

While transitioning to renewables,

stocktaking of respective development

priorities of nation-states, according to

loss and damage experienced by them

should be considered, she said in her

fourth proposal. In the fifth proposal,

Hasina mentioned that the responsibility

of rehabilitating people displaced

because of sea-level rise, increased salinity,

riverbank erosion, floods and

draughts needs to be shared by all countries.

The PM finally said the major

economies have to work with all the

stakeholders globally in partnership for

ensuring a sustainable future for the

next generation.

Regarding Bangladesh, the Prime

Minister said it is one of the most climate

vulnerable countries.

"In addition to sea-level rise, the rise in

salinity, riverbank erosion, floods and

draughts, we're facing serious climate

impact because of 1.1 million forcefully

displaced Myanmar nationals, commonly

known as Rohingyas," she added.

She mentioned that Bangladesh is

the pioneer in climate change adaptation

and mitigation efforts. "We

recently submitted an ambitious and

updated NDC. Bangladesh has one of

the world's most extensive domestic

solar energy programmes. With a low

carbon footprint, we're also vying for a

more sustainable energy mix." Hasina

said Bangladesh is going to implement

the 'Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan' - a

journey from climate vulnerability to

climate resilience to climate prosperity


As the Chair of the Climate Vulnerable

Forum (CVF) and the V20, she said,

"Our key focus is to promote the interests

of the climate vulnerable countries.

We also share the best practices through

the South Asia regional office of the

Global Center on Adaptation in Dhaka."

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB-6) members recovered 30 bombs from the

house of a bomb maker in Abhaynagar upazila of Jashore. At that time,

the RAB expedition team recovered 1.5 kg of gunpowder used for making


Photo : Shahid Joy

JSS member

gunned down in


RANGAMATI : A member of the

Parbatya Chattogram Jana Sanghati

Samity (JSS) was shot dead by assailants

in Rangamati on Friday, police said,

reports UNB.

The deceased was identified as Suresh

Kanti Chakma alias Dinesh, a resident of

Jarulchari village in Baghaichari. He was

a member of JSS Santu Larma faction.

According to locals, a group of armed

men went to Dinesh's house in the

Bangatali area of Baghaichari upazila

and pumped bullets into his body, killing

him on the spot.

Officer-in-charge of Baghaichari

police station Anwar Hossain Khan said

that the victim's body was recovered

from under a bed in Dinesh's house, suggesting

he ran for cover when the

assailants had opened fire.

"We are trying to identify the

assailants," he said.

Meanwhile, Tridip Chakma, a leader

of the JSS Santu Larma group blamed

the rival JSS MN Larma group for the


However, upazila president of MN

Larma group, Gyanjib Chakma dismissed

the allegations, saying, "There is

no member of our group in the Bangatali

area." The crime was a fallout of an

internal rivalry in the Santu Larma

group, he claimed.

"Some people are trying to create

panic in the hill area in view of the

upcoming Union Parishad election,"

said the JSS leader.

"Police have beefed up patrolling in

the area to avert any untoward situation,"

said OC Anwar Hossain.

JP expels its


Lutfar Reza

DHAKA : Jatiya Party on Friday

expelled its vice-chairman Lutfar Reza

Khokon from the party as he withdrew

from the Cumilla-7 by-polls violating

high command's decision, reports UNB.

The party also dissolved the existing

committee of its Cumilla North district

unit, said a press release.

It said Jatiya Party chairman GM

Quader took the decision as per article

20/1 (1) A of the party's constitution.

Party sources said Lutfar Reza, also the

convener of Jatiya Party Cumilla north

district unit, was given the party ticket to

contest the by-polls to Cumilla-7.

He also submitted the nomination

paper to be there in the race as the JP

candidate, but he later withdrew it violating

the party high command's decision.

Lutfar was expelled from the

party's all posts, including the primary

membership, said the media release.

The by-election to Cumilla-7 constituency

is scheduled to be held on

October 7. The seat was declared vacant

after the death of its sitting MP and former

deputy speaker Ali Ashraf on July 30.

As per schedule announced by the

Election Commission (EC), the deadline

for the submission of nominations is

September 13, while the date for the

scrutiny of nomination papers is

September 14 and the last date for the

withdrawal of candidature is September

19. Pran Gopal Datta, former vice-chancellor

of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur

Rahman Medical University (BSMMU),

is contesting the by-election as the

Awami League candidate.

FM seeks Commonwealth

solidarity for Rohingya


DHAKA : Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul

Momen has sought Commonwealth solidarity

for smooth repatriation of the

Rohingyas to their place of origin in

Rakhine State, reports UNB.

Leading the Bangladesh delegation in

the 21st Commonwealth Foreign Affairs

Ministers' meeting (CFAMM) virtually, he

urged Commonwealth to assist in persuading

the government of Myanmar to

follow their commitments.

Foreign Minister Dr Momen highlighted

the current impasse over the FDMNs

voluntary repatriation to Myanmar and

their partial relocation to Bhashan Char.

He also sought efforts to boost-up intra-

Commonwealth trade, ensure vaccine

equity and result-oriented climate action.

Commonwealth leaders have commended

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's

humanitarian role in taking bold decision

to give shelter to a huge number of

Forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals

(FDMN) and thus saving thousands of

innocent lives. They also appreciated her

leadership of the Climate Vulnerable

Forum (CVF).

They made these comments during the

21st Commonwealth Foreign Affairs

Ministers' meeting (CFAMM) held virtually

in London on Thursday.

The Foreign Minister informed the

Commonwealth leaders of the initiatives

undertaken as the Chair of the Climate

Vulnerable Forum (CVF) . The Foreign

Minister also called upon further collaboration

between the Commonwealth and

the CVF. Dr Momen urged the

Commonwealth Member States to stand

together more than ever for trade and economic

recovery which was hampered due

to the Covid pandemic.

He also called upon the post-pandemic

Commonwealth to demonstrate

Commonwealth solidarity, connectivity

and collective action to build back a more

resilient, greener and sustainable post-

Covid recovery.

The Foreign Minister informed the

meeting that as the lead country for the

Commonwealth Business-to-Business

Connectivity Cluster, Bangladesh has

relentlessly championed for connecting

the Commonwealth private sectors for

creating a tech-driven low carbon business

recovery model and a Commonwealth

digital marketplace at the first High-level

CW B2B Connectivity Dialogue organised

by Bangladesh in November 2020.

Elizabeth Truss MP, the UK Secretary of

State for Foreign, Commonwealth and

Development Affairs chaired this meeting

where Commonwealth Secretary-General

and Foreign Ministers of the

Commonwealth countries were present.

Prior to this meeting, the

Commonwealth Ministerial Group on

Guyana was held on 14 September 2021,

which was chaired by Foreign Minister Dr.


Three 'missing'

madrasa girls rescued

from Dhaka slum

JAMALPUR : Three minor girls who

went missing from the residential hall

of a madrasa in Jamalpur on Sunday,

have been rescued, police said on

Friday, reports UNB.

The three have been identified as

Mim Aktar, 9, Monira,11, and Surya

Banu,10, all students of Darul Taqwa

Mahila Madrasa in Islampur upajila of

the district.

The girls were rescued from a slum in

the Manda area of Dhaka around 12am

Friday by a police team, led by additional

superintendent of Islampur circle Md

Sumon Mia.

Sumon said that after fleeing from the

madrasa on September 12, the three

girls took a train to Dhaka.

The trio got off at Kamalapur railway

station and took a cycle rickshaw,

whose owner was tracked down by the

police team after scanning the CCTV

footage of the station.

"We rescued the three from the rickshaw

puller's house in the slum,"

Sumon said.

On September 12, during the Fazr

prayer in the early morning, the three

students went missing from the

madrasa mysteriously.

On Wednesday night, Monira's father

filed a complaint against the headmaster

of the madrasa, Moulana

Asaduzzaman, and three other teachers-Rabeya

Aktar, Shukria Aktar and

Ismail Hossain.

An FIR was subsequently lodged by

the police against the four under the

Human Trafficking Prevention Act. The

four were arrested later.

Toxic waste used in the industrial area and contaminated water from the sewerage of the

residents of the area have caused waterlogging. The photo is taken from Shyampur College

Road in the capital on Friday.

Photo : Star Mail

Biden angers France, EU with

new Australia, UK initiative

WASHINGTON : President Joe Biden's

decision to form a strategic Indo-Pacific

alliance with Australia and Britain to

counter China is angering France and

the European Union. They're feeling left

out and seeing it as a return to the

Trump era, reports UNB.

The security initiative, unveiled this

week, appears to have brought Biden's

summer of love with Europe to an

abrupt end. AUKUS, which notably

excludes France and the European

Union, is just the latest in a series of

steps, from Afghanistan to east Asia, that

have taken Europe aback.

After promising European leaders that

"America is back" and that multilateral

diplomacy would guide U.S. foreign policy,

Biden has alienated numerous allies

with a go-it-alone approach on key

issues. France's foreign minister

expressed "total incomprehension" at

the recent move, which he called a "stab

in the back," and the EU's foreign policy

chief complained that Europe had not

been consulted.

France will lose a nearly $100 billion

deal to build diesel submarines for

Australia under the terms of the initiative,

which will see the U.S. and Britain

help Canberra construct nuclear-powered


As such, French anger on a purely a

commercial level would be understandable,

particularly because France, since

Britain's handover of Hong Kong to

China in 1997, is the only European

nation to have significant territorial possessions

or a permanent military presence

in the Pacific.

But French and European Union officials

went further, saying the agreement

calls into question the entire cooperative

effort to blunt China's growing influence

and underscores the importance of languishing

plans to boost Europe's own

defense and security capabilities.

Some have compared Biden's recent

actions to those of his predecessor,

Donald Trump, under Trump's

"America First" doctrine. That's surprising

for a president steeped in international

affairs who ran for the White

House vowing to mend shaken ties with

allies and restore U.S. credibility on the

world stage.

Although it's impossible to predict if

any damage will be lasting, the shortterm

impact seems to have rekindled

European suspicions of American intentions

- with potential implications for

Biden's broader aim to unite democracies

against authoritarianism, focused

primarily on China and Russia.

Just three months ago, on his first visit

to the continent as president, Biden was

hailed as a hero by European counterparts

eager to move beyond the trans-

Atlantic tensions of the Trump years.

But that palpable sense of relief has now

faded for many, and its one clear winner,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is on

her way out.

Since June, Biden has infuriated

America's oldest ally, France, left Poland

and Ukraine questioning the U.S. commitment

to their security and upset the

European Union more broadly with unilateral

decisions ranging from

Afghanistan to east Asia. And, while

Europe cheered when Biden pledged to

return to nuclear negotiations with Iran

and revive Israeli-Palestinian peace

talks, both efforts remain stalled nine

months into his administration.

The seeds of discontent may have been

sown in the spring but they began to

bloom in July over Biden's acquiescence

to a Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline

that will bypass Poland and Ukraine,

and a month later in August with the

chaotic U.S. withdrawal from

Afghanistan that left Europe scrambling

to keep up after it had expressed reservations

about the pullout.

Then just this week, Biden enraged

France and the European Union with his

announcement that the U.S. would join

post-Brexit Britain and Australia in a

new Indo-Pacific security initiative

aimed at countering China's increasing

aggressiveness in the region.

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