20-09-2021

tbtbangla

Monday

DhAkA: September 20, 2021; Ashwin 5, 1428 BS; Safar 12,1443 hijri

www.thebangladeshtoday.com; www.bangladeshtoday.net

Regd.No.DA~2065, Vol.19; N o. 144; 12 Pages~Tk.8.00

international

French minister

decries 'duplicity' in

US-Australia sub deal

>Page 7

SPortS

Djokovic likes his

position for US Open

and calendar Slam

>Page 9

art & culture

Pori Moni set

to star in Selim's

web film 'Gunin'

>Page 10

PM leaves Finland en

route to New York to

attend the UNGA

HELSINKI (FINLAND) : Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina on Sunday left here for

USA to attend the 76th session of the

United Nations General Assembly in New

York.

The VVIP chartered flight of Biman

Bangladesh Airlines carrying the PM left

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport at 4:16 pm (local

time), said PM's press secretary Ihsanul

Karim.

Ambassador of Bangladesh in Finland

(non-resident) Md Nazmul Islam saw her

off her at the airport.

The flight is scheduled to land at John F.

Kennedy International Airport, New York

at 6pm (local time).

It is her first foreign trip since the outbreak

of the Covid-19 pandemic in March

2020.

She is going to join the UNGA for the

18th time as the head of government of

Bangladesh and will address the UNGA

general debate on September 24.

Besides, Sheikh Hasina will attend the

opening session of the UNGA general

debate on September 21 and other sideline

events in the UN headquarters (UNHQ)

on September 20-24. She will also have

talks with a number of leaders during her

stay in New York. The PM is expected to

return home on October 1 next.

Money laundering case

Sylhet DIG (Prison)

Partha Gopal lands in jail

DHAKA : A court here on Sunday sent

Partha Gopal Banik, the suspended

deputy inspector general (prisons) of

Sylhet division, to jail in a money laundering

case, reports UNB.

Dhaka Special Judge Court-4 passed the

order when Partha Gopal surrendered

before the court in the case. On June 17,

Dhaka Special Judge Court-5 granted bail

to Partha Gopal. Later, the Anti-

Corruption Commission submitted a petition

seeking cancellation of the bail order

which was granted later. The HC bench of

Justice M Enayetur Rahim asked him to

surrender before the court within Sept 20.

On January 25, 2021, the HC dismissed

a review appeal filed by Partha seeking

exemption from the graft charges in a case

filed after the recovery of Tk 80 lakh from

his residence during a drive in 2019.

Partha filed the review petition with the

HC after his appeal was rejected by a subordinate

court on November 4.

On July 28, 2019, ACC seized Tk 80

lakh from his house in the city's

Dhanmondi area after interrogating him

at the ACC headquarters over corruption .

Zohr

04:33 AM

12:00 PM

04:15 PM

06:03 PM

07:20 PM

5:46 5:57

Root-level activists are

AL's lifeline: Hasan

GAIBANDHA : Information and

Broadcasting Minister and Awami

League (AL) Joint General Secretary Dr

Hasan Mahmud on Sunday urged all to

cast their votes for those who stand

beside the people and will be with them

(countrymen) in future instead of the

"guest birds" in politics.

"The root-level activists of Awami

League are the lifeline of the party. Awami

League has turned into a party of mass

people because of the root-level activists,"

he said, addressing a civic meeting at

Circuit House before joining an extended

meeting of AL district unit here.

The minister said many leaders of the

party made mistakes and many leaders

left the party. But the activists of the

party (AL) were united always and they

keep the party afloat, said the AL joint

general secretary.

He said many leaders of Awami

League were hesitant when

Bangabandhu's daughter, the then AL

Russian President Vladimir Putin's

party was set Sunday to retain a

majority in parliament on the last

day of three-day elections in which

most Kremlin critics were barred

from the ballot.

The vote comes in the wake of an

unprecedented crackdown on the

opposition this year, with Russian

authorities jailing Putin's bestknown

domestic foe Alexei Navalny

and banning his organisations as

"extremist".

In the lead-up to this weekend's

vote, all of his top allies were arrested

or had fled the country, with anyone

associated with his groups kept

from running in the parliamentary

and local polls scheduled to close at

8:00 pm Sunday, reports The

Economic Times

"These essentially aren't elections.

People in effect have no choice," 43-

year-old businessman Vladimir

Zakharov told AFP in Russia's second

city Saint Petersburg.

The elections were also marred by

claims of censorship and rampant

ballot stuffing.

As voting kicked off Friday, Apple

and Google caused an uproar among

Russia's opposition after they

removed Navalny's "Smart Voting"

President and incumbent Prime

Minister Sheikh Hasina was arrested in

2007. Many leaders talked in different

tones and even many of them had decided

to compromise, he added.

But, the minister said, the root-level

activists were united and "our leader was

released" because of their movement.

For this, democracy has been re-established,

he added.

About elections, Hasan said everyone

would try to get nomination from

Awami League in the next national polls.

But, the Awami League does not need

anyone except the dedicated leaders, he

added. The minister urged all to cast

their votes for those who stand beside

the common people.

He said the scenario of the country has

changed in the last 13 years for the

dynamic and farsighted leadership of

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The

country would move ahead if the trend

of development continues, he added.

Putin's party set to retain

parliament majority after polls

app, which showed supporters which

candidate they should back to unseat

Kremlin-aligned politicians.

Sources familiar with Google and

Apple's decision told AFP the move

was taken under pressure from

Russian authorities, including

threats to arrest the tech giants'

local staff.

By late Friday, the popular

Telegram messenger had also

removed Navalny's "Smart Voting"

bot, and on Saturday his team said

Google was pressuring them to

delete Google Docs with recommended

candidates after a request

from Russia's media regulator

Roskomnadzor.

His team called the documents the

last "remaining" tools supporting

their election tactic and asked voters

to take a screenshot of them in case

they were removed.

Russian social media meanwhile

was inundated with reports of ballot

stuffing and military servicemen

patrolling polling stations.

Critics also pointed to online voting,

new limits on independent

election observers and the polls

being spread over three days as

presenting opportunities for mass

voting fraud.

Education minister Dr Dipu moni visited a school at Jatrabari of the capital city yesterday.

later, he talked to the journalists.

Photo : Star mail

BTRC approves

IP-based data

services only for

licensed ISPs

DHAKA : The Bangladesh Telecom

Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in a

statement yesterday said it only

approves the IP based data services

(Streaming Service, IP-TV, Video-on-

Demand) for the licensed ISPs.

Noting that the Internet Protocol

Television (IPTV) is the process of broadcasting

contents, aired on televisions,

using the Internet Protocol Network, the

statement said ISP operators approved by

the BTRC for IPTV service could show the

broadcasts of satellite TV channels

approved by the Ministry of Information

and Broadcasting only to their subscribers

through the Internet. But

required contract/approval/ release

paper must be taken from the concerned

institutions for the promotion of each

channel or program or content, it added.

It has been noticed recently that some

unscrupulous businessman is illegally

displaying IPTV to the public buying

domains or through Facebook or

YouTube channels, which are not legally

approved, the statement said.

Such broadcasting without approval is

"immoral and a violation of the

Telecommunications Act", it said,

adding the BTRC has already stopped 59

unregistered illegal IPTV.

The statement also said that the ISPs

licensed by the BTRC for the IP based

data services are not involved in such

(illegal) activities.

Detective Branch of Dhaka metropolitan Police (DmP) on Sunday conducted drive at mitford area of old Dhaka

on charges of selling adulterated and counterfeit drugs. Three people have been arrested. Photo : Star mail

Khaleda Zia's conditional release

period extended for 6 months:HM

Shafiqul iSlam (Shafiq)

The BNP chairperson and former Prime

Minister Begum Khaleda Zia's conditional

release (temporary) has been extended for

another six months. At the request of the

family, all the previous conditions were

upheld and her sentence was extended for

the fourth time. Khaleda Zia's conditional

release was extended for another 6

months. Home Minister (HM)

Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters

at the Secretariat on

Sunday (September

19).

The home minister

said Khaleda

Zia's family had

applied for an

extension of the

conditional bail and

medical treatment

she was receiving.

That application

has been approved

after proper scrutiny.

The 6-month

count will start from

September 25.

He said Khaleda Zia was initially given a

six-month privilege by suspending her

sentence for seeking treatment from her

own home. This facility was later extended

twice.

Now that facility has given again. She

will take medical treatment from her home

as she wants. However, she will not be able

to leave the country. Besides, others conditions

will remain in force, the home minister

said.

Asked about the family's demand for

permanent release of Khaleda Zia, the

minister said the court knew about it

and they would have to go to court.

We have taken the measures that we

have taken in response to their application.

And for others, they have to go to

court.

Khaleda Zia's younger brother

Shamim Eskander recently filed an

application with the Home Minister

seeking permanent release for better

treatment in abroad. The application

was sent to the Law Ministry for an opinion

from the Home Ministry. After that,

the law ministry gave an opinion to

extend the sentence for another 6

months.

Another case filed against

Evaly CEO, wife, 12 others

DHAKA : Another case has been filed

against 14 people, including Evaly CEO

Mohammad Rassel and his wife

Shamima Nasrin, chairman of the company,

on charge of embezzlement and

fraudulence, reports UNB.

Mohammad Quamrul Islam, another

aggrieved customer and son of Junedul

Islam of Old Paltan area, filed the case

with Dhanmondi Model Police Station

on Friday, said its officer-in-charge

Ikram Ali. Akash, vice president of

Evaly, Tanvir Alam, senior accounts

manager, Zahedul Islam, manager,

Jawadul Haque Chowdhury, senior

executive, are among the accused.

Earlier, on September 17, Rab personnel

arrested Evaly CEO Rassel and his

wife Nasrin, from their Mohammadpur

residence.

Rassel and Shamima were arrested

after an aggrieved customer, Arif Baker,

lodged a case with Gulshan police station

accusing them and few other company

executives of embezzlement and

fraudulence.

A Dhaka court on Friday placed them

on a three-day remand.

Besides, the Bangladesh Financial

Intelligence Unit (BFIU), an arm of the

Bangladesh Bank that specializes in

financial crime investigations, directed

all the commercial banks and financial

institutions through a common letter on

August 27 to freeze all the bank accounts

operated by top executives of Evaly.

The Directorate of National Consumer

Right Protection, a department under

the Commerce Ministry, received allegations

from consumers about "cheating"

by Evaly.

Bangladesh Bank officials said one of

the major allegations against Evaly is

forcing its consumers to deposit their

money in the e-wallet of the firm which

was totally illegal.


MONDAY, SEPtEMBER 20, 2021

2

A dissemination workshop on inception report of 'Physical Verification and Evaluation of Non-

Current Assets, Inventories and Review and Reconciliation of Grants and Other Funds of Dhaka

WASA' was held at a local hotel on Sunday. Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury, Comptroller and

Auditor General of Bangladesh was present on the occasion as the chief guest and Mahbub Ahmed,

Senior Secretary (Retd.) was present as Special Guest.

Photo : Courtesy

indefinite bus

strike underway

in Sunamganj

SUnamGanJ : district

Transport Workers Union

went on an indefinite bus

strike on Sunday morning

demanding an end to

extortion from the bus

drivers on Sylhet bypass

road, causing immense

sufferings to people.

nurul haque, general

secretary of Sunamganj

district Transport Workers

Union, said some

extortionists have been

realizing Tk 50 per bus on

Sylhet bypass road from

September 1.

They also informed the

matter to local

administration but they did

not pay any heed to resolve

their problem, forcing the

workers union to enforce

the strike, he said.

"The strike will continue

until our demand is met,"

said nurul.

mizanur Rahman,

superintendent of

Sunamganj Police, said he

suggested the transport

workers to inform the

matter to Sylhet police and

Sylhet bypass is under their

jurisdiction.he kept it in the

bucket and brought it home

as he found it to be rare. The

snake's stomach was full of

eggs and it was not moving

much. " i have nothing to do

as it is not happening in my

district."

lethal Russell's Viper snake

rescued in Kushtia

Kushtia, Sept 19 (UnB)- a deadly

Russell's Viper, one of the most lethal

snake species known to mankind,

was safely released back into the wild

on Saturday night, after being

rescued from the Gorai River in

Kushtia.

The snake was released in a remote

sandbar of Kushtia after nightfall,

with the help of a local nature lover

and the Forest department. The

Russell's Viper is identified as one of

the 'big four' species of venomous

snakes belonging to india's historic

geography (that includes lands now

in Bangladesh, Pakistan). it is also

found commonly around farmland

further east, from indonesia to

Taiwan. it is one of the genera

responsible for causing the most

snakebite incidents and deaths

among all venomous snakes due to

many factors, such as their wide

distribution, general aggressiveness,

and frequent occurrence in highly

populated areas.

locals said mridul Sheikh from

mangalbaria area of the town went

fishing in the Gorai River on

Wednesday and a five feet long snake

got stuck in his net. he kept it in the

bucket and brought it home as he

found it to be rare. The snake's

stomach was full of eggs and it was

not moving much.

The fisherman was trying to sell the

snake. Being informed, Shahabuddin

milon, a nature lover and social

worker from Thanapara area of

Kushtia town, along with Kushtia

Forest department rescued the

snake.

Sonagazi

residents to

caste vote today

Kamal Uddin BhUiyan

The mayor election of

Sonagazi municipality of

Feni will be held on September

20. For the first

time the voters will caste

vote through EVm.

There will be 49 booths

in 9 centers of 9 wards.

The voting will continue

till 4 pm.

Four candidates

sought nominations for

the mayor post, 23 for

the councilors post, and

four for the reserved

female posts.

The authorities have

said to complete the

entire process for a free

and fair election.

On the occasion of the centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh

Mujibur Rahman, Chitrangan Competition and Prize Giving Ceremony was

organized by Ball Environment Sub-Committee Bangladesh Awami League.

Mahabub-ul-Alam Hanif was present as the special guest Photo : Courtesy

Bangladesh's Farida popular

in Germany's football

dhaKa : a player is a goodwill ambassador

of a country as sometimes even anyone may

not know much about a country, but the

whole world can know about it because of a

good player, such as maradona in football.

There are many people in the world who

know a lot about maradona even though

they don't know much about his country

argentina and the name of argentine

President. in that case, maradona has

served as argentina's ambassador to the

world.

We also have a Farida Kajal, who won the

hearts of the people in Germany as a football

referee. Once, she used to play cricket. later,

Farida Kajal chose football as she could not

make a place for herself in the national team.

although the condition of football in

Bangladesh was not very good, Farida chose

this game. She however spread more light as

a football referee than she did as a footballer.

as a football referee, Farida has spread the

light in Germany and made Bangladesh's

image brighter. She served as a referee in

men's match with 22 male footballers of the

two teams on the field. There were two male

assistant referees, but only one woman on

the field holding the chief referee'ss whistle.

Such a scene often can be seen in Europe.

Farida Kajal, a Bangladeshi girl, is giving

whistle as the chief referee.

Farida is a familiar face to the referees in

the Football league in Germany. Once,

Farida has conducted games efficiently in

dhaka's Pioneer Football, Bangabandhu

and Bangamata School Football, Club

Football, district divisional tournaments.

Farida, a girl hailed from Shariatpur,

never imagined that the experience she

gained would be so useful. Going to leipzig,

Germany, she has changed the wheel of

fortune. in addition to managing various

matches in the local football league in

leipzig, she has also conducted many

matches in Berlin. more than a decade ago,

Farida used to play cricket in dhaka in 2007.

he played for abahani for three years.

although she was selected in the national

girls team, she did not get a chance in the

final team.

Frustrated Farida was admitted to football

refereeing course side by side with playing

cricket. She has successfully passed in the

refereeing examination of Bangladesh

Football Federation (BFF) and had been

conducting football tournaments as a

referee in the country till 2014. Once, she

also did volleyball refereeing course. Farida

also did her graduation course in social work

from dhaka University. in addition to her

academic studies, she also passed BPEd

from the College of Physical Education in

2011. it was difficult to make a decent living

being a referee. So she worked as a sports

teacher at Bangladesh international School

and australian international School in

dhaka for a few years. in 2014, she got the

opportunity to study in sports education at

leipzig University, in Germany. he was

admitted to leipzig University in 2015 with

a scholarship from the government of

Germany.

GD-1363/21 (8x4)

GD-1361/21 (14x4)


MonDAY, SePTeMBeR 20, 2021

3

DAE officials urged to reach bio-pest

technologies to farmers

Dhaka University Journalists' Association (DUJA) celebrates its 36th founding anniversary on

Sunday.

Photo : Courtesy

National portal works as

gateway for all information

DHAKA : Abu Sufian, a middle aged rural

man, wanted to make a passport to

materialize his long wishes of performing

hajj, but he had no idea about how to make

the passport and he had also little knowledge

about internet.

As per the suggestion of his younger son,

he visited the Bangladesh National Portal

and found the Department of Immigration

and Passport. From the website, he had been

able to know all rules about making a

passport.

"The portal has made easy to know the way

of making passport. As per the rules, I have

been able to make my passport easily and

now the process of going to perform the hajj

is underway. I want to express my gratitude

to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as she took

steps to build Digital Bangladesh," said Abu

Sufian, a dweller of a remote village under

Sonagazi Upazila in Feni district.

Tania Ferdous, a young woman, took the

birth registration certificate of her new born

baby through taking help from the national

portal. She visited the national portal and

entered the office of the registrar general,

A free workshop titled 'The Art of

Effective Note-taking: Why is it hard?

How can I become better' was organized

by Universal College Bangladesh (UCB),

the exclusive partner of Monash College

Australia to share insights about

different techniques of taking notes

precisely, a press release said.

It was a free workshop arranged for

Bangladeshi students in collaboration

with Monash College Australia. The

workshop continued from 11 am-12 pm

on Friday, and the participants took part

in it through Zoom.

Mark rooney, Learning Skills

Adviser, Monash College Diplomas,

Monash College, conducted the

workshop virtually. He shed light on

different pertinent topics related to

effective note-taking skills such as

different note-taking methods, types of

note-taking, 5 r's of note-taking, and

how these techniques can be applied in

real-life situations. A large number of

enthusiastic learners participated in the

birth and death registration. That time, she

completed online registration and after a few

days, she received the birth registration

certificate through her Union Parishad.

"For the national portal, I didn't face any

problem to find out the site of birth

registration. The process of online form is

very easy. Actually, I received my new born

baby's birth registration certificate within a

short time and without any hassle," said

Tania.

Mohammad rafiq, a farmer of the remote

village Bijoy Kara under the Chauddagram

upazila in Comilla district, faced problems as

his crops were infested with insects.

He used many things to save his crops and

also took suggestions from the nearest ones.

At last, as per his school going son's

suggestion, he went to the Union Digital

Centre (UDC) and visited the Bangladesh

National Portal. Through the portal, he

entered Agriculture Portal and submitted a

question regarding his problem.

As per the suggestion of the Agriculture

specialist, he made his crops insects free

within a short time.

workshop where they got to learn new

things, which will help them develop

this particular skill and take better notes

while attending classes. The attendees

also received a joint certificate of

participation from Monash College and

Universal College Bangladesh.

UCB has recently opened doors for

Bangladeshi students by inaugurating

its campus in gulshan, Dhaka. Students

can now start their Monash University

degree journey at Universal College

Bangladesh, the only education

ministry-approved international

education provider in Bangladesh. To

know more details about their

programs, visit -

https://www.UCBbd.org.

Dr. Sandeep, CEo, Universal College

Bangladesh, greeted all the participants

at the occasion and welcomed them to

visit the campus of UCB at gulshan 1

Avenue and experience a world class

state of the art campus where students

can start their Monash University

Charge framing

hearing against

Mirza Fakhrul,

others on Nov 21

DHAKA : A court on Sunday

set November 21 for holding

hearing on charge framing in

a case against 51, including

BNP secretary general Mirza

Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, for

using explosives and

attempting to murder one in

the capital's Paltan area

Sunday was fixed for

holding the indictment

hearing and 35 accused

including Mirza Fakhrul

appeared before the court.

Judge Fatema Ferdous of

Dhaka

Additional

Metropolitan Sessions Judge

Court-5, however, deferred

the date of hearing as a report

on death of three accused was

yet to reach the court.

Police filed the case,

number 6 (1) 14, in 2018 with

the capital's Paltan Police

Station.

Workshop on art of effective note-taking by Universal

College Bangladesh ends on a high note

degree journey right here in

Bangladesh. He said, "The youth of the

nation today, are going to be its leaders

tomorrow. They are going to be the

driving force of the nation's growth and

preserver of its prosperity. Therefore, it

is essential that they receive as many

opportunities to learn as possible. UCB

is glad to have been able to make its

contribution to the process. Today's

workshop is a part of a series of

interactive and educational workshops

that we have planned in that regard."

Students can jumpstart their journey

to a degree at Monash University

immediately after their o/AS/A/HSC

levels by joining Monash College

programs right here in Bangladesh at

UCB. Students receive the same global

academic curriculum, a 100%

guaranteed entry to Monash University

(provided entry requirements are met),

and extremely cost-effective tuition fees.

Monash University is a world top-100

ranked university (QS 2022 rankings).

State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury MP inaugurated the tree planting program on both sides of

Tulai River dug by BIWTA near Phulbari Bridge in Dinajpur.

Photo : Courtesy

rAJSHAHI : Field level officials and

staff of the Department of Agriculture

Extension (DAE) have been urged to

transfer the biorational based pest

management technologies to the

farmers to make them knowledgeable

about producing safe food.

As they are the pioneers to

disseminate the innovated technologies

to the grassroots farmers they have to

take the responsibility of making aware

about the biopesticide method.

Large-scale promotion of biorational

pest management in the farming of

fruit and vegetables has become crucial

for protecting the public health from

harmful impacts of toxic chemical

pesticides.

Agricultural scientists and

researchers came up with the

observations while addressing a

regional workshop titled "Biorational

Based Pest Management Technology

Transfer" at the DAE conference hall in

rajshahi yesterday.

Entomology Division of Bangladesh

Agriculture research Institute (BArI)

hosted the programme in association

with its 'Development and Expansion

of Bio-rational-based Integrated Pest

Management Technologies of

Vegetables, Fruits and Betel Leaf'

project.

Additional Secretary of the Ministry

of Agriculture Komolaranjan Das

addressed the workshop as chief, while

Director of Bangladesh Sugar Crop

research Institute Dr Samajit Kumar

Pal, Deputy Director of DAE Abdul

Awal spoke as special guests with Dr

Debasish Sarker, Director of Pulse

research Centre, in the chair.

BArI Principal Scientific officers Dr

Alim Uddin and Dr Jagadish Chandra

Barman also spoke.

Chief Scientific officer of the

Entomology Division Dr Nirmal

Kumar Datta portrayed the aspects of

promoting biorational based pest

management technologies during his

keynote presentation.

DAE officials from various upazilas

and unions joined the workshop

sharing their views on the issue besides

putting forward a set of

recommendations on how to remove

the existing problems and anomalies in

this field.

Komolaranjan Das urged the

participants to motivate the growers to

follow only the guidelines of the field

level agricultural officials and scientists

instead of any insecticide dealers and

sellers during the fruit and vegetable

farming from its nursing to harvesting

for the sake of a sound public health

and environment.

Using chemical pesticides in farming

fields is always harmful to soil and

public health, crops and environment.

So, there is no way but to give utmost

importance towards promoting

biorational pest management widely.

Dr Debasish Sarker told the meeting

that BArI has developed a number of

bio-rational-based integrated pest

management technologies of fruit and

vegetable and has been expanding

those to farmers level through various

training and motivational

programmes.

Darul Irfan Research Institute (DIRI) signed a memorandum of understanding with the University

of Chattogram (CU) at the vice-chancellor's office of the university, recently to provide scholarship

to M.Phil and PhD students.

Photo : Courtesy

Safe Cities

Index: Dhaka

ranks 54th

out of 60

DHAKA : Capital Dhaka

has been ranked at number

54 out of 60 cities included

in a global Safe Cities Index

by The Economist

Intelligence Unit (EIU),

reports UNB.

Although Dhaka's

position marked a slight

improvement from the

56th position it occupied in

the 2019 index, it still

places the city of 21 million

in the bottom rung among

the major cities of the

world.

Dhaka secured an overall

score of 48.9 as per the

latest index, while its score

was 44.6 in 2019.

However, EIU index

observed regarding Dhaka,

"The city has a smart city

plan or plans to invest in

the next five years."

The index is based on 76

indicators covering digital,

health, infrastructure,

personal

and

environmental security.

Denmark's capital

Copenhagen topped the

index followed by Toronto,

Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo,

Amsterdam, Wellington,

Hong Kong, Melbourne

and Stockholm.

Myanmar's former

capital Yangon ranked

60th with 39.5 points.

Among the cities of South

Asia, Karachi ranked 59th,

Mumbai 50th and New

Delhi 48th.

The Safe Cities Index was

first launched in 2015 with

44 indicators and 50 cities.

Since then, the index has

been updated once every

two years, increasing city

coverage as well as

strengthening the

framework to include

emerging challenges to

urban safety.

DIrI, CU sign MoU for

providing scholarship

to students, researchers

S M AKASH, CHATTogrAM

Darul Irfan research Institute (DIrI) signed

a memorandum of understanding with the

University of Chattogram (CU) at the vicechancellor's

office of the university, recently

to provide scholarship to M.Phil and PhD

students.

DIrI managing trustee Shahjada Syed

Irfanul Hoque Maizbhandari and CU deputy

registrar Mahbub Harun Chowdhury signed

the agreement on behalf of their respective

organisation and university on September

12.

CU vice-chancellor Professor Dr. Shireen

Akhter, pro vice-chancellor Professor Benu

Kumar Dey, Arts and Humanities Faculty

dean Professor Dr. Mohibul Aziz,

Bangladesh Studies department chairman

Professor Dr. Md Sekanddar Chowdhury,

DIrI managing trustee Shahjada Syed

Irfanul Hoque Maizbhandari and advisor Dr.

AKM Saiful Islam Khan addressed the

programme while CU syndicate member

Professor Dr. Kazi SM Khasrul Alam

Kuddusi facilitated the programme.

CU vice-chancellor Shireen Akhter

DHAKA : UN resident Coordinator in

Bangladesh Mia Seppo on Sunday said the

world needs journalists more than ever to

bring out truth while effectively dealing

with the life-threatening misinformation.

"It's ironic that in a moment with most

access to information there's an avalanche

of life-threatening misinformation out

there," she said.

The UN official said the journalists have

the responsibility to bring out truth, spread

science-based facts that save lives, protect

people and ensure rights. "That's the power

of your pen. Use that power as a force for

good." The UN resident Coordinator was

addressing the "DCAB Talk" organized by

the Diplomatic Correspondents

Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at the

Foreign Service Academy. DCAB

President Pantho rahaman and its

general Secretary AKM Moinuddin also

spoke at the "DCAB Talk" where UNrC

thanked DIrI authorities for their initiatives

and said that it would help the CU faculties,

researchers and students.

According to the agreement, DIrI will

provide three types of scholarship to the

faculty members, researchers and students

of CU every year. CU will organise a

memorial lecture on gawthul Azam Shah

Sufi Syed Ahmad Ullah Maizbhandari (Q.)

every year. Syed Delawor Hossain

Maizbhandari (r.) memorial scholarship for

the toppers at Arts and Humanities Faculty,

Social Science Faculty and Islamic History

and Culture department and Syed Emdadul

Hoque Maizbhandari (M.) scholarship for

researchers, M.Phil and PhD students.

DIrI, started its journey in 2019, is a

multi-lateral educational and research

institute with the pursuit of an in-depth

understanding and a multidisciplinary study

of Islam, with special focus on Sufism.

Syed Emdadul Hoque Maizbhandari (M.),

the incumbent Pir (spiritual leader) of

Maizbhandar Darbar Sharif, is the founder

of DIrI and his son Syed Irfanul Hoque

Maizbhandari acted as the managing trustee

of DIrI.

World needs journalists more

than ever: Mia Seppo

Mia shared UN views on rohingya and

Afghanistan crises, issues related to

Bhasan Char, climate change, sustainable

and inclusive Covid recovery, Digital

Security Act (DSA), gender issues and

cooperation framework. Mia said reports

from journalists can help educate and

clarify perceptions; as well as reconcile

people and inspire patriotism.

"You possess great potential to reinforce

and create conditions that enable a more

tolerant, just, peaceful and inclusive

coexistence," she said. Mia laid emphasis

on enhancing capacities in conflictsensitive

reporting and play a more active

and prominent role in driving media

excellence and conflict-sensitive reporting

for sustainable peace.

She said there is no development without

peace and no peace without development;

and sustaining peace is a continuous

process.


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2021

4

Acting Editor & Publisher : Jobaer Alam

e-mail: editor@thebangladeshtoday.com

Monday, September 20, 2021

Bangladesh, a star economic

performer despite the pandemic

May 25 was a historic day for Bangladesh, when its

central bank approved a $200 million currency

swap facility for the nearby island economy of Sri

Lanka. Last month, Sri Lanka's foreign exchange reserves

had dropped to $4.5 billion, or about what it owes external

lenders, following a year in which the country's economy had

been ravaged by a sharp economic downturn caused by

COVID-19. Meanwhile, Bangladesh, whose economy has

weathered the pandemic surprisingly well, held foreign

exchange reserves of about $45 billion.

Bangladesh, which had been famously written off as a

"basket case" in 1971 by U.S. President Richard Nixon's

national security adviser, Henry Kissinger -- shortly after the

country's creation following a bloody war of independence

with Pakistan - has shed that label.

In the 2020-21 fiscal year, Bangladesh for the first time

ever overtook its giant neighbor India in terms of per capita

income at market prices, although Indian chagrin was

assuaged to some extent by the fact that it remained ahead in

per capita income measured at purchasing power parity.

Nevertheless, that Bangladesh has so rapidly closed the

income gap with India, without whose intervention the

country would never have come into being, represents a

significant shift of economic prowess in the region.

Bangladesh's economic rise has been powered by the

ready-made garment industry, which according to a March

2021 report from McKinsey & Co., a management

consultancy, accounts for fully 84% of the country's exports

after recording a compound annual growth rate of 7% for the

last decade.

As the report notes, the phenomenal growth of the industry

was born out of tragedy, following several well-publicized

factory tragedies in 2012 and 2013 that led to the loss of more

than a thousand lives. Facing the prospect of losing

important customers, and the loss of tariff preferences in the

U.S., the sector was forced to restructure and has since

moved from strength to strength.

After ready-made garments, remittances from the

country's diaspora are Bangladesh's second-largest source of

foreign exchange earnings. In the first 10 months of the

2020-21 fiscal year which ended in June, the country raked

in more than $20 billion in remittances, according to central

bank data, setting a new record. This helps explain the

country's large foreign exchange buffer, which permitted its

largesse to Sri Lanka. It should be noted that the spike in

remittances in recent years reflects in part a crackdown on

hundi, a traditional but informal as well as illegal, remittance

mechanism that does not show up in official statistics.

Bangladesh's success was far from preordained. The

country is subject to frequent devastating cyclones and

flooding, and it has had more than its fair share of political

instability and internecine warfare between two political

dynasties that go back to the country's founding. As a

Muslim-majority country, Bangladesh has seen a rise in

Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, and politics, as

elsewhere in the region, have recently taken an authoritarian

turn.

While politics and geography cannot explain the country's

rise, the key seems to lie in its extremely strong social and

human development indicators, crucially including for

women. Infant mortality is 26 deaths in 1,000 live births,

lower than the 28 in India. Female literacy is 72%, higher

than India's at 66%. The female rate of labor force

participation is 36%, compared to 20% for India.

Remarkably, while this important statistic has been falling

for India, it has been rising for Bangladesh. Indeed, across

the board, Bangladesh beats India on a range of human

development indicators relating to education, health and

women's empowerment.

Any comparison between Bangladesh and its gigantic

neighbor is always going to be complex. While India is vying

to become one of the world's great powers, often billed as a

counterweight to China, its small eastern neighbor, which

has largely been a footnote in geopolitical discourse about the

region, has been quietly flying below the radar and has

become in its own way a manufacturing powerhouse for

labor-intensive goods, especially garments, something India

has never managed to accomplish despite its abundance of

unskilled labor and the efforts of successive governments.

This past year has been humbling for India. Just-released

statistics show that the economy contracted by a whopping

7.3% in the 2020-21 fiscal year which ended in March, the

worst performance in decades. By contrast, Bangladesh's

economy was estimated to have expanded by 5.8% in the

same period. Thus, while India was the worst performer

among major economies during the year of COVID-19,

Bangladesh was among the best.

While COVID cases have begun to come down, India

remains in the grip of a deadly second wave of the pandemic.

On May 18, Bangladesh gifted thousands of boxes of essential

medicines and medical equipment to India. A few weeks

earlier, the country had sent 10,000 vials of remdesivir, a

drug used to treat COVID-19, to India.

In India's 2019 general election campaign, Amit Shah, then

the president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and

currently India's home minister and Prime Minister

Narendra Modi's right-hand man, described illegal migrants

from Bangladesh as "termites," vowing to throw them one by

one into the Bay of Bengal.

In accepting foreign aid from Bangladesh, India's

governing party has had to eat crow. If Bangladesh continues

on its current trajectory, India and the world will have to take

note of the transformation of a country once written off as a

basket case into a rising star.

RECENTLY, the Sindh chief minister

said that his government will collect

the fire and conservancy tax through

electricity bills in Karachi. Increase in

efficiency and bolstering the finances of the

Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC)

were given as the main reasons for this. The

opposition in Sindh says that such a move is

the prerogative of an elected local

government which neither exists nor

appears to be in sight. The federal

government is siding with its allies.

The Sindh government's decision

highlights the fault lines in local and

provincial politics that are rooted in history.

During Gen Zia's regime, elected local

governments were revived. KMC got its

elected mayor in the person of Abdul Sattar

Afghani. Soon the KMC leadership and

provincial government rowed over property

and motor vehicle taxes. KMC wanted to

control these and other local taxes while the

government wanted the status quo

maintained. Mayor Afghani and his

comrades took to the streets. He was

arrested and later dismissed.

Similarly, the erstwhile City District

Government Karachi imposed an

infrastructure levy referred to as 'public

utility charges' in February 2009. It met

with strong opposition from different

quarters. It was felt that the economic

situation could not take the burden of a new

levy. Besides, people were contending with

regular power shutdowns and poor water

and sanitation services. Another financial

burden was unjustified. With no process of

Local decay

consultation and no presentation of proper

facts and maintainable arguments. the levy

was relegated to the back-burner.

The set-up in Sindh exercises total control

over LG functions.

For Sindh, the 18th Amendment is its

mainstay. But while it is quick to demand

more from the centre, it is wary about

sharing its fruits with local government

institutions. It demands a smooth electoral

process for the national and provincial

assemblies but stops short of guaranteeing

the same for local governments.

Provincial autonomy is boosted by the

18th Amendment, but the creation of local

governments is held hostage by the Sindh

administration. The provincial government

has expanded its control and jurisdiction,

and municipal functions have been placed

under provincial control. Water supply,

sewerage, solid waste management,

policing, land for housing, building control,

zoning and urban planning, health,

education, social welfare, urban public

transportation, etc are all controlled by the

provincial authorities.

DR NOMAN AHMED

STEPHEN BRYEN

The local government law and other

statutes have been remodelled so that the

provincial government exercises total

control over finances, administration and

daily local government functions. Even if

local elections are held, the tutelage of the

provincial administration will leave little

room for local government institutions to

perform. The government's financial

functioning is full of distortions. Budget

books, accounts and realities hardly seem to

be in sync. The availability of funds,

expenditure and prices vis-à-vis services

and commodities shows a complete

mismatch. At government offices, one loses

count of how many green-plated luxury cars

come in. Similarly, many government

departments have opened offices after

renting out expensive bungalows and

properties in posh localities in Karachi and

other locations. Often, actual work on

projects and programmes begins much

after the acquisition of accommodation,

vehicles, lower staff etc. There are rules of

businesses available for such procurements.

One wonders whether they have been

followed.

Similarly, it is common to see gun-toting

official guards and motorcades for even

mid-level government functionaries.

Meanwhile, costs are not transparent. The

safe city proj ect for Karachi costs around

Rs30 billion. Transparency

Inter na t ional Pakistan believes the

cost should be much less. It is not that all is

well with the KMC. Its capacity to deliver

has been severely eroded. It suffers from

overstaffing, the absence of operational and

financial discipline, an inability to set its

own working targets and safeguard and

document its land and property assets and

chalk out proper strategies for its current

and future working. Being under the

province's control, it acts more as a

department than an autonomous

organisation.

Political wheeling and dealing under the

garb of democracy has rightly been

perceived as the root cause for the financial

drain on local government institutions and

other government bodies. With no financial

discipline, the overall sustainability of such

bodies has been jeopardised. Reform is

needed for both KMC and other municipal

institutions. The public should keep

themselves informed about the state of

affairs and make rational choices when, and

if, local elections are held. The metropolitan

and municipal corporations must be

exposed to greater public scrutiny by the

media. Civil society institutions can push for

the reform process to begin.

How useful is the UN when it comes to pandemic policy?

It is a bit early to tell how far the UN

General Assembly will go as far as its

pandemic actions are concerned, but the

crux of the matter is the UN's usefulness when

it comes to issues, such as COVID-19 policy,

that affect all countries alike. Also, beyond the

words delivered by global leaders at the

Security Council, there are issues of how the

UN is performing via its various humanitarian

aid bodies. In March 2020, UN Secretary-

General Antonio Guterres described the

coronavirus outbreak as the "greatest test"

since the Second World War, adding that "it is

more than a health crisis, it is a human crisis."

This emphasis on "human" by the UN leader

is important because of the nature of the threat

to the organization's sustainability

development goals and other pre-pandemic

planning efforts to improve "the human

condition." Now, the UN needs to scrap, and

later rebuild, planning efforts while the gears

of the UN aid network sees to it that the

current COVID-19 policy is put into practice.

When Guterres released the UN's plan to

counter the pandemic, the document

emphasized the need for countries to act in

concert, and outlined ways to suppress

transmission of the virus, safeguard people's

lives and livelihoods, and learn from the crisis

to build back. This approach, despite valiant

efforts, is not universally applied in every

country and, thus, the UN approach to act "in

concert" is still scattered in various ways,

including vaccine diplomacy and market

share as well as distribution networks. The UN

also emphasized the "human" crisis perhaps

needed to take into consideration how

resistance to vaccine mandates and lockdowns

would impede human rationality. The UN

Pentagon needs to answer for Afghan drone misfire

Afamily member of Zemari Ahmadi.

Both were killed by a US-fired

Hellfire missile outside their house in

Kabul. The Pentagon has caved in and taken

responsibility for the drone strike that killed

10 innocent civilians, including Zemari

Ahmadi who was a 14 year-long employee

of the Nutrition and Education NGO. Most

of his family, including children, were killed

in the airstrike as they gathered around his

Toyota Corolla when he returned home

from work.

But the Pentagon admission lacks

credible details on why the Hellfire missile

killed the wrong people in the wrong place.

Prior to the admission on Friday,

September 17, the White House and

Pentagon had been insisting that those

killed belonged to ISIS-K and therefore they

killed the target they were after. We now

know that those claims were false and were

part of an effort to cover up what really

happened. The drone that was used in the

attack was an MQ-9 Reaper equipped with

sophisticated cameras, radars and other

equipment. The drone most likely spent

hours over Kabul trying to track alleged

ISIS-K threats the Reaper has an endurance

(fully loaded) of 14 hours.

One of the most problematic aspects of

the lethal strike is that the drone had been

following a white car, allegedly Ahmadi's

Toyota, for many hours. It is a problem

Similarly, the erstwhile City District Government Karachi imposed

an infrastructure levy referred to as 'public utility charges' in

February 2009. It met with strong opposition from different quarters.

It was felt that the economic situation could not take the

burden of a new levy. Besides, people were contending with

regular power shutdowns and poor water and sanitation services.

DR. THEODORE KARASIK

needs to take into consideration at a higher

level of policy analysis the psychological

damage from this multi-year pandemic event.

The UNGA passed two resolutions to address

the-then new COVID-19 global crisis. On April

2, 2020, "Global solidarity to fight the

coronavirus disease 2019" was really about

unifying a global purpose. This resolution

called for international cooperation and

multilateralism by emphasizing

synchronization. The UN's ability to

synchronize well even in the best of times is

subject to various forces on the ground that

can interfere in objectives.

Two weeks later, a second resolution,

"International cooperation to ensure global

access to medicines, vaccines and medical

equipment to face COVID-19," urged

international cooperation to ensure equitable

global access to medical equipment, treatment

and vaccines. We all know how that effort

panned out, with multiple vaccines and

multiple delivery systems support. Assessing

how to repair broken societies during and after

the pandemic should be a primary UN goal.

In addition, the document emphasized the

need for human rights to be respected during

because a different white Toyota, perhaps

operated by ISIS-K personnel, was also

moving around during this period.

Could they have become mixed up? There

is a possibility that happened, although only

a complete investigation would reveal the

truth.

More concerning are three pointss. The

first is that the drone operators, according to

Even Hill of the New York Times, identified

a building they claimed was an ISIS-K

operations center. In fact, it was the well

known location of the Nutrition and

Education NGO.

The second is that security camera

footage, which is inferior to the powerful

cameras on the Reaper drone, clearly shows

that the alleged "ISIS-K" explosives were

never properly identified and were, in fact,

water containers that the operators saw

being taken into Mr Ahmadi's home.

The third concern is why a drone would

the pandemic. That aspect is now part of a

brutal rhetorical and physical battle occurring

in societies around the world. This illustrates

that the UN wish goes only so far on the issues

of human rights until the wall of reality during

a global pandemic appears. Clearly, conflict,

climate extremes and economic shocks all

remain primary drivers of acute food

insecurity that is hindering pathogen

eradication.

In June 2020, the "UN Comprehensive

Response to COVID-19" was launched "to

save lives, protect societies, recover better" by

In addition, the document emphasized the need for human

rights to be respected during the pandemic. That aspect is

now part of a brutal rhetorical and physical battle occurring

in societies around the world. This illustrates that the

UN wish goes only so far on the issues of human rights

until the wall of reality during a global pandemic appears.

stepping up the UN aid system. This policy

document appeared six to seven months after

the outbreak when it was clear that a crisis was

imminent with the first initial pathogen wave.

The time gap was costly and illustrates how

the UN needs to prepare policy contingencies

of an extreme nature with updating on a

constant basis. The pathogen's perseverance

through every community, by passing some

and infecting others, is the "human cost and

burden." The UN cannot fix this aspect since

the remedy comes from the community.

Assessing how to repair broken societies

during and after the pandemic should be a

launch a missile at a target in a densely

populated neighborhood where collateral

damage was a certainty.

The Pentagon also claimed there was a

secondary explosion when the "bomb" in

the car exploded after the car was hit. There

is no evidence at all to support this claim but

the Pentagon has yet to state the claim was

false. Every examination of the scene makes

clear there was only one explosion caused by

The drone that was used in the attack was an MQ-9 Reaper

equipped with sophisticated cameras, radars and other equipment.

The drone most likely spent hours over Kabul trying to track alleged

ISIS-K threats the Reaper has an endurance (fully loaded) of 14

hours. One of the most problematic aspects of the lethal strike is that

the drone had been following a white car, allegedly Ahmadi's Toyota.

the Hellfire missile.

Even worse than these three unexplained

errors and false claims, the worst error of all

was that the drone strike happened when

Ahmadi's children surrounded the car.

There are two possibilities why this

happened. The first is that the operators

never saw the children and possibly fired

before the children ran out to greet their

father. The second is that the operators

actually did see the children, but by that

time the Hellfire missile had already been

primary UN goal. The UN is relying heavily on

the Food and Agriculture Organization, the

International Fund for Agricultural

Development, International Labor

Organization and the World Health

Organization to help the most vulnerable

during the pandemic. The work of these

organizations, while notable, is wrapped up in

politics and perhaps even ineffective.

The WHO is the most notorious for some

observers, and the most criticized for

inefficiency and favoritism. As the world faces

the third and fourth waves of the pandemic,

the UN system tied into these agencies is

perhaps illustrative of a setup in desperate

need of reform. This reform needs to come

later given current UN operations in

pandemic response. To be fair, the Security

Council is releasing reports on the

socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19. One is a

call to action for the immediate health

response required to suppress transmission of

the virus to end the pandemic, and to focus on

people - women, youth, low-wage workers,

small and medium enterprises, the informal

sector and on vulnerable groups - already at

risk. Noble, but is it enforceable? That is up to

individual country governments.

Overall, enhanced international support for

countries with limited abilities can be helped

by UN agencies, but individual countries really

need to stand up and governments must bend

to the demands of their communities. UN

policymakers need to see the world in a whole

new light, which may be one of the benefits of

the pandemic itself - long-term human

security.

Source: Arab news

launched. Hellfire is a fire and forget

weapon. That is, once a target is designated

and the Hellfire missile launched, it flies to

the target autonomously. It takes a Hellfire

missile as long as 30 seconds from launch to

target impact. In other words, for 30

seconds it is outside of any human control.

This problem bothered Israeli operators.

When Obama cut off Hellfire deliveries to

Israel (he didn't like the fact they were killing

Hamas terrorists with them), Israel adapted

its home-grown Spike missile for

helicopters (and later for drones). Spike has

one feature not found on Hellfire. The

operator controls it after launch and can

change the course of the missile (aim at a

different target or no target at all) or destroy

it in flight. Israel has gone to extreme efforts

to try and minimize civilian casualties in its

conflict with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah

in Lebanon and Syria.

Hellfire isn't the first US missile to take

out a target and unexpectedly kill civilians.

On the 20th day of Operation Allied Force in

Serbia in 1999, the US attacked a rail bridge

over the Grdelica ravine, southeast of

Belgrade. Two missiles were fired at the

bridge that appeared unoccupied.

However, after the second missile was

fired a civilian train was crossing the bridge

and it was hit.

Source: Asia times


MonDAy, sePteMBeR 20, 2021

5

Invest in research to save

Africa’s agriculture

GIlBeRt nAKWeyA

Agriculture in Sub-Saharan

Africa was already getting a

beating from shocks such as

droughts, desert locusts

and a growing population,

and COVID-19 has only

added to the pressure. As I

listened to proceedings at

the 11th Annual Summit of

the African Green

Revolution Forum (AGRF)

held in Kenya last week (6-

10 September), I became

more convinced that the

global pandemic is hurting

agricultural systems across

the continent, and that

urgent action is needed to

mitigate the situation.

A report released last year

by the UN's High-Level

Panel of Experts on Food

Security and Nutrition says

that measures taken to

contain the spread of

COVID-19 have had

"profound implications for

food security, nutrition and

food systems".

It became clear to me that

COVID-19 containment

measures such as stay-athome

decrees, slowed down

agricultural extension

services, reduced

household incomes against

the rising cost of

cultivation, led to

unavailability of

agricultural input materials

and uncertainty about the

marketing of the products,

among others.

But how do we cushion

agriculture in Africa against

For food systems to work well in Africa, the entire food system from production,

processing to marketing must be effective.

Photo: Axel Fassio

unforeseen crises such as

COVID-19? How can the

sector be revitalised and

made resilient? These were

some of the questions that

came to my mind as I

listened to various

panellists and attendees of

the AGRF summit.

During the summit,

experts shared knowledge

and ideas on how to create

sustainable food systems in

Sub-Saharan Africa amidst

the shocks of climate

change and burden of

disease in the region.

The continent needs

robust policy changes in

agriculture to ensure that

the sector becomes

responsive to the

population's current food

needs and to further the

socioeconomic

development of Africa

through creation of jobs.

Speakers at the event

were particularly concerned

with how the region can

find innovative solutions to

increase agricultural

production that can address

the challenges of shrinking

arable land caused by

population growth and

other shocks such as

climate change and

COVID-19.

For food systems to work

well in Africa, the entire

food system from

production, processing to

marketing must be effective

- but success hinges on

smallholder farmers who

are at the frontline.

"Smallholder farming is

the engine of agriculture in

Africa. It must therefore be

productive, profitable and

caring about the

environment," said Enock

Chikava, deputy director of

the country systems

transformation team at the

Bill & Melinda Gates

Foundation. "We need to

talk about investments in

agriculture because it's

economically viable and

financially sound."

He added that it was time

to change tack from

funding to investing in

agriculture. And I couldn't

agree more. Such

investments will make the

sector fund itself without

relying on external funding

that may not be

sustainable.

Boosters condemned as COVAX

reins in supply forecast

Ruth DouGlAs

The debate over COVID-19 booster

shots for rich countries intensified this

week as COVAX - the global initiative to

supply vaccines to the world's poorest -

downgraded its supply forecast for this

year by a quarter.

WHO chief scientist Soumya

Swaminathan said she was "very

concerned" that some countries were

talking about boosters while frontline

health workers elsewhere remained

without their first two doses.

She was talking at an update

Wednesday on the progress of COVAX,

where it was announced that the facility

is projected to supply around 1.4 billion

doses by the end of 2021- a 25 per cent

reduction since the July forecast.

Only 20 per cent of people in lowand

lower-middle-income countries

have received a first dose of the vaccine,

compared to 80 per cent in high- and

upper-middle income countries,

according to a joint COVAX statement.

A total of 230 million doses had been

delivered to 139 countries by the end of

August. A number of countries have

begun rolling out a booster shot to

vulnerable populations, or are

considering doing so, including Israel,

the US, UK, France and Germany.

"We're very concerned that some

countries are talking about boosters

when there isn't a lot of evidence that

vaccines are failing to protect people

from severe disease at this point of

time," said Swaminathan.

"Many, many other frontline workers

and healthcare workers in many

countries have not received their

primary course of immunisation." She

said the world was still seeing around

4.5 million COVID-19 cases a week and

about 10,000 deaths a day, adding:

"This is not something that we should

be seeing 20 months into the

pandemic."

A day earlier, WHO director-general

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he

was "appalled" by comments from an

association of pharmaceutical

manufacturers that G7 countries have

enough vaccine supplies to fully cover

all adults and teenagers, and offer

booster shots to at-risk groups.

"I will not stay silent when companies

and countries that control the global

supply of vaccines think the world's

poor should be satisfied with leftovers,"

he said during a news conference. He

called on wealthier countries

considering boosters to stave off until at

least the end of the year "to enable very

country to vaccinate at least 40 per cent

of its population".

"Third doses may be necessary for the

most at-risk populations […] But for

now, we do not want to see widespread

use of boosters for healthy people who

are fully vaccinated," he added.

Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the

Vaccine Alliance, said the buying up of

doses by rich countries, along with

challenges in scaling up production,

and regulatory delays in the approval of

two new vaccine candidates, had led to

the lower supply forecast.

The 1.1 billion doses currently

available for delivery between now and

the end of the year would be "skewed

towards" 92 lower-income countries

participating in the Advanced Market

Commitment, a financing mechanism

led by GAVI, according to Berkley.

"We still believe that we can secure

more doses for 2021," he said, adding:

"We cannot afford further delays… So

we'll be using all means available to us

to ensure our partners and

stakeholders match their public

commitment to COVAX with action."

He said GAVI was calling on

manufacturers to be transparent about

supply schedules, and requesting

countries with enough doses to meet

domestic need to give up their place in

manufacturers' queues.

Anthony Fauci, director of the US

National Institute of Allergy and

Infectious Diseases, stressed the

benefits of a third dose, in an online

lecture, and said: "We can do both: we

can do a booster programme at the

same time as dramatically increase the

doses going to low- and middleincome

countries, which is the reason

why we [the US] have already given

over 100 million doses to 90 countries

and will be giving a half a billion doses

ethiopia's ministry of health officials receiving the country's first CoVID-19 vaccines via the CoVAX facility in March

2021. Photo: unICeF ethiopia

GAReth WIllMeR

Extreme events are

increasingly compounding

each other, even if they

initially seem wide apart and

unconnected, making it more

crucial to tackle their root

causes, says a report.

The Interconnected

Disaster Risks report, by UN

academic arm the United

Nations University, focuses

on 10 disasters worldwide in

2020-21. These include

Amazon fires, floods in

Vietnam, Cyclone Amphan in

Bangladesh and India, and

locust outbreaks across

multiple countries, as well as

COVID-19, and the Arctic

heatwave.

"The world witnessed a

number of record-breaking

disasters that showed us

clearer than ever before how

interconnected we are," says

the report. Tackling them in

"fragmented, isolated and

insular ways" is no longer

tenable, it adds.

While it is already known

that many events are

interconnected, homing in on

a limited set shows the links

more explicitly, says Jack

O'Connor, an author of the

report and senior scientist at

UNU's Institute for

Environment and Human

Security. "What we want to do

with this report is to get

people to see disasters more

not as isolated events, but as

the tip of an iceberg," he said.

"If you dig underneath, you

find that they're really caused

by these big systems and

structures that have patterns."

The report highlights both

the knock-on effect of one

disaster on others, and

similarities in root causes. The

most common causes were

identified as insufficient risk

management

and

undervaluation

of

environmental costs in

decision-making, as well as

climate change.

One event covered by the

report - the extinction of the

Chinese paddlefish - shared

similar root causes with the

destruction caused by Cyclone

Amphan, in that dam building

in both cases had

InGA VesPeR

Civil society organisations

have called on influential

donors to stop funding

industrial agriculture

programmes, which they say

harm smallholder farmers

and the environment. The

Alliance for Food

Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)

- which represents 200

million small-scale food

producers - along with 165

organisations from 40

countries, sent a letter

Tuesday to donors of the

Alliance for a Green

Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

and other 'Green Revolution'

organisations, urging them

to redirect their support to

African-led agroecology and

low-input farming systems.

The green revolution of the

1950s to 1970s intensified

agriculture by increasing the

use of inputs - fertilisers,

pesticides and irrigation - for

high-yielding modern crops.

"Farmers all over Africa

have shown far more

promising results sharing

knowledge and working with

scientists to establish lowinput

farming methods that

leave the control of

production in the hands of

African farmers," the letter

states.

AGRA's funders include

the Bill & Melinda Gates

Foundation, the Rockefeller

Foundation and the

governments of the United

States, United Kingdom and

Germany. The programme

provides African farmers

with subsidies to buy

commercial seeds such as

maize, as well as fertilisers to

help increase yield. It also

funds research efforts in its

13 partner countries.

AFSA co-founder Million

Belay said that access to such

funding was often claimed as

one of the benefits of AGRA.

"But only a very small

amount of money is flowing

into Africa for research," he

said. "Government funders

tend to give the money to

western-based research

institutes, that is a sad fact."

Nnimmo Bassey, executive

director of the Nigeria-based

Health of Mother Earth

Interconnected disasters:

the tip of the iceberg

consequences for nature and

people, undermining

ecosystems downstream.

The paddlefish extinction

also shared similarities with

Amazon fires, says O'Connor,

as both resulted partially from

landscape interventions to

harness economically

valuable resources. In the case

of the Amazon, trees were cut

down for agriculture,

resulting in declining local

rainfall and worsening fires.

In turn, deforestation is

linked to Western demand for

meat, and has a knock-on

effect on climate change,

exacerbating extreme events

elsewhere in the world, says

the report. "The scale of the

interconnection, when you

really look into it, is surprising

even for us," says O'Connor,

referring to scientists studying

the phenomenon.

COVID-19 has also

illustrated how multiple

hazards can undermine wellestablished

measures to

mitigate disasters. For

example, says O'Connor, the

pandemic reduced the

effectiveness of early warning

Foundation, said that this

mindset of trying to bring

knowledge to Africa, rather

than relying on local

expertise, was failing to

address the problems within

agriculture on the continent.

"AGRA or similar

organisations do not have

the knowledge that African

governments or countries

have," he told SciDev.Net.

"AGRA does not know Africa

more than Africans. The very

problem with these

messianic interventions is a

lack of respect for knowledge

available in their areas of

interest."

AGRA did not respond to

SciDev.Net's requests for

comment. The COVID-19

pandemic has exacerbated

hunger and malnutrition,

with 21 per cent of the

African population

undernourished, according

to the UN. Mariann Bassey-

Orovwuje, a programme

manager for Friends of the

Earth Africa, said that lowintensive,

small-scale

farming of local crops had

proven to be the best way of

preventing hunger.

systems during Cyclone

Amphan, complicating storm

preparedness including

moving people to shelters.

COVID-19 also affected the

ability of Vietnam to deal with

last year's floods.

This all makes it important

to tackle root causes in an

integrated way to achieve

multiple benefits rather than

solving single problems, says

the report. "When you're

trying to plan for the

unexpected, you have to use a

systems-thinking approach,"

says O'Connor. "Planning for

what we've already seen is not

going to be enough."

He adds that these

consequences are essential to

consider when solutions to

issues can simultaneously

have highly damaging

environmental effects. For

example, hydropower dams,

which many countries in the

global South plan to build in

the coming years, provide

renewable energy but can also

have

devastating

environmental impacts.

The report highlights the

need to consider and mitigate

A spokesperson for the Bill

& Melinda Gates Foundation

said: "We share AGRA's view

that there are many paths to

sustainably increasing

smallholder farmers'

productivity and incomes in

Sub-Saharan Africa. We

support organisations like

AGRA because they partner

with countries to help them

implement the priorities and

policies contained in their

national agricultural

development strategies."

A spokeswoman for the

German Federal Ministry for

Economic Cooperation and

Development said the

ministry was "taking

seriously the criticisms of

AGRA" and had demanded

"stringent monitoring and

valid accounting" within the

organisation.

"The German government

fundamentally supports the

central tasks of AGRA,

"the trade-offs for clean

energy, irrigation, water

supply, ecosystem quality and

biodiversity" in an

interdisciplinary way.

Saleemul Huq, director of

the International Centre for

Climate Change and

Development in Dhaka,

Bangladesh, agrees that

focusing on interconnected

issues is important. "I believe

that the world is now entering

the era of loss and damage

from human-induced climate

change, and we all need to

work together to deal with this

issue," he said.

In Brazil, Ane Alencar,

science director at the

country's

Amazon

Deforestation is linked to demand for meat, and has a knock-on effect on climate

change.

Photo: Christian Braga

including transforming

smallholder farming and

value chains, and increasing

farm productivity to meet

the needs of a growing

population and improve

food security," she said. "The

Environmental Research

Institute, says a lack of

political will to fight processes

such as deforestation

hampers the country's ability

to deal with interconnected

events. "Understanding of the

importance of the Amazon to

Brazilians and the world, and

the connection with meat

consumption, food prices and

other things alike is very

important," she said.

Calls for halt to funding for

industrial agriculture

'Green Revolution' organisations have been urged to redirect their support to

African-led agroecology and low-input farming systems. Photo: Al Kags

ministry has advocated for

environmental sustainability

since the start of AGRA, this

is part of our funding

agreement."

She said the ministry was

aware of criticisms including

claims of the negative

impacts of intensive farming,

such as monoculture and

debts, but had "not seen any

evidence that any of these

negative impacts had come

about in the projects we fund

in Burkina Faso and Ghana".

She refuted AFSA's claims

that rising hunger was linked

to AGRA's methods, citing

"political frameworks, a

growing population, climate

change and regional

conflicts" as other factors.

AGRA is holding its annual

African Green Revolution

Forum this week, during

which it brings together its

funders and recipients. The

organisation will also be

represented at the UN Food

Systems Summit, which

begins on 23 September.

AFSA supporters say they

will be present at the summit

to state their case.


MoNDAY, SePTeMBer 20, 2021

6

A farewell reception was held for three outgoing officers at Araihazar and a reception ceremony was

held for three new officers on Saturday.

Photo: Md Shahjahan Kabir

Farewell reception of three

officers held Araihazar

MD SHAHJAHAN KABIR, ARAIHAZAR

CORRESPONDENT

A farewell reception was held for three

outgoing officers at Araihazar and a

reception ceremony was held for three

new officers. Member of Parliament

Alhaj Nazrul Islam Babu was present

as the chief guest at the function

presided over by Upazila Chairman

Mujahidur Rahman Hello Sarkar at

Shaheed Mazarul Haque Auditorium

at 4 pm on Saturday.

Outgoing UNO Md. Sohag Hossain

Assistant Commissioner (Land) Ujjal

Hossain Upazila Engineer Md. Nasir

Uddin were given a farewell reception.

Newly joined UNO Md. Rafiqul Islam

AC Land and Upazila Engineer Ariful

Islam were welcomed with flowers.

Among others, Upazila Vice

Chairman Md. Rafiqul Islam Rafiq

Women Vice Chairman Jharna

Rahman, Narayanganj District

Council Panel Chairman Sirajul Islam

Bhuiyan, UP Chairman, Saiful Islam

Swapan, Md. Ali Hossain, Sirajul

Islam, Amanullah Aman, Shahida

Mosharraf, Upazila Jubo League

President Ahmedul Kabir Ujjal

General Secretary Rezaul Karim

Bhuiyan were also present at the

occasion.

Flood

situation

improves in

Jamalpur

JAMALPUR: Over all flood

situation in the district

improved as water level in

the river Jamuna dropped

significantly, yesterday,

reports BSS.

Water Development

Board sources said during

the last two days water level

in the river Jamuna dropped

32 cm and was flowing 31

cm above the danger level at

Bahadurabad ghat point till

12 o'clock last noon.

The flood water entered

169 villages in 39 unions

under six Upazilas of the

district affecting about one

lakh people. The flood

damaged 475 houses

completely, 132 houses

partially, 17.25 kilometer

earthen road and 800 meter

carpeted road. A total of 117

tube wells were also went

under food water.

District Relief and

Rehabilitation Officer, Md

Nayeb Ali said 192 families

took shelter in 4 flood

shelters in Dewanganj and

Islampur Upazila.

He said 90 tonnes rice,

1000 packets dried food and

Tk 12 lakh 50 thousand were

distributed among the flood

victims.

3 die of Covid-19, casualties

reach 1,205 in Rangpur

RANGPUR: Three more died

of Covid-19 during the last 24

hours ending at 8 am

yesterday, raising the death

toll to 1,205 in the division,

reports BSS.

"The Covid-19 situation

continues improving with

decreasing fatalities and

increasing recovery rate now

in the division," Focal Person

of the Covid-19 and Assistant

Director (Health) for Rangpur

division Dr ZA Siddiqui told

BSS yesterday.

The three new casualties

were reported from

Panchagarh and Dinajpur

districts in the division.

The district-wise break up

of the 1,205 fatalities stands at

286 in Rangpur, 79 in

Panchagarh, 86 in

Nilphamari, 63 in

Lalmonirhat, 66 in Kurigram,

243 in Thakurgaon, 320 in

Dinajpur and 62 in

Gaibandha districts.

The average casualty rate is

2.25 percent in the division.

Meanwhile, the number of

Covid-19 cases reached

53,650 as 110 people were

diagnosed with the virus after

testing 735 samples in the

division on Saturday while the

daily positivity rate is 9.80

percent.

Earlier, the daily positivity

rates were 6.88 on Friday,

12.60 percent on Saturday,

12.04 percent on Wednesday,

12.08 percent on Tuesday,

16.05 percent on Monday and

11.66 percent on Sunday last

in the division

"The district-wise break up

of 53,650 patients stands at

12,195 in Rangpur, 3,532 in

Panchagarh, 4,331 in

Nilphamari, 2,688 in

Lalmonirhat, 4,541 in

Kurigram, 7,264 in

Thakurgaon, 14,348 in

Dinajpur and 4,751 in

Gaibandha of the division," he

added.

Divisional Director (Health)

Dr Md Motaharul Islam said a

total of 2,60,612 collected

samples were tested till

Saturday, and of them, 53,650

were found Covid-19 positive

with an average positivity rate

of 20.59 percent in the

division.

In the meantime, the total

number of healed Covid-19

patients reached 48,735 with

recovery of 225 more infected

patients in the division where

the average recovery rate

currently stands at 90.84

percent.

The 48,735 recovered

patients include 9,852 of

Rangpur, 3,192 Panchagarh,

4,122 Nilphamari, 2,451

Lalmonirhat, 4,274 Kurigram,

6,427 Thakurgaon, 13,820 in

Dinajpur and 4,598

Gaibandha districts in the

division.

Among the 53,650 patients,

148 are undergoing

treatments at isolation units,

including 21 critical patients

at ICU beds and nine at High

Dependency Unit beds, after

recovery of 48,735 patients

and 1,205 deaths while 3,562

are remaining now in home

isolation.

"Meanwhile, the number of

citizens who got the first dose

of the Covid-19 vaccine rose to

20,17,483, and among them,

8,07,178 got the second dose

of the jab till Saturday in the

division," Dr Islam added.

Talking to BSS, Chief of

Divisional Coronavirus

Service and Prevention Task

Force and Principal of

Rangpur Medical College

Professor Dr AKM Nurunnobi

urged people to abide by the

health directives to maintain

the improving trend of the

Covid-19 situation.

RU students launch COVID-19

campaign in northwest region

RAJSHAHI: Rajshahi University (RU)

students have started a week-long awareness

campaign against Covid-19 pandemic in the

country's northwest region voluntarily, reports

BSS.

A group of around 80 students from various

disciplines of the university launched the

awareness campaign to make people conscious

about the global pandemic. The campaign

continues in different villages of all 16 districts

in Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions under the

banner of North Bengal COVID 19 youth

Forum of RU disseminating COVID-19

awareness messages since Saturday last.

Salient features of the campaign are to

disseminate messages of social distancing,

avoiding crowds, washing hands for at least 20

seconds, wearing masks, registering and

receiving vaccines, maintaining hygiene etc.

Bangladesh Betar, Rajshahi and UNICEF are

extending support to the students to inspire

them to do volunteer work for limiting the virus

spread.

MASRAKUL ALOM, JOyPURHAT CORRESPONDENT

A reception ceremony organized by

District Bar Association was held for newly

appointed Joypurhat District and Sessions

Judge Md. Nur Islam on Saturday.

Joypurhat District Bar Association

president Adv. Nipendranath Mandal PP

chaired the occassion while among others,

The youth volunteers are seen interacting

with community people in the under-served

and hard-to-reach areas and collecting

community feedback to share with local

administration and stakeholders.

They are also distributing masks and soaps

among several disadvantaged groups,

including marginalized communities and

ethnic minority people. As a whole, students

will also continue Covid-19 awareness

campaign through social media platforms.

Earlier on Friday, some RU teachers and

UNICEF officials held a virtual meeting

discussing and devising ways and means on

how to make the awareness campaign a total

success. Professor Pradip Kumar Panday of the

Department of Mass Communication and

Journalism and his department colleagues

Associate Professor Naziat Hossain

Chowdhury and Assistant Professor Mamun

Abdul Kaioum and UNICEF Communication

for Development Officer Monjur Ahmed

addressed the meeting as focal persons.

Newly appointed Joypurhat District and

Sessions Judge accorded reception

Judge of Joypurhat Women and Child

Abuse Suppression Tribunal (District and

Sessions Judge) Md Rustam Ali,

Joypurhat Deputy Commissioner Md

Shariful Islam, Joypurhat Superintendent

of Police Mf Masum Ahmed Bhupathi and

Judicial Magistrate Md. Jahangir Alam

were also present at the occasion.

Illegal sand

mining in

Nabinagar,

18 arrested

ANWAR HOSSAI, NABINAGAR

CORRESPONDENT

A mobile court in

Charlapang of Nabinagar

West Union on Saturday

morning conducted a raid in

the banks of Meghna and

Titas rivers and seized three

sand dredgers and three

sand boats.

During this time, 18

workers in dredgers and

sand boats were detained.

Upon hearing the news of

the raid, the owner fled. The

operation was conducted by

Assistant Commissioner

(Land) and Executive

Magistrate Mosharraf

Hossain. He said the

operation was carried out in

the wake of complaints from

locals. 18 workers including

3 dredgers and 3 boats have

been detained. This

campaign will continue.

At a press conference on

Saturday afternoon, Upazila

Nirbahi Officer Ekramul

Siddique said there is no

lease for sand extraction in

Nabinagar. Those who are

extracting sand are

extracting sand illegally.

Nabinagar Police Station OC

Aminur Rashid and OC

(Investigation) Nure Alam

were present at the time.

A reception ceremony organized by District Bar Association was held for newly appointed Joypurhat

District and Sessions Judge Md. Nur Islam on Saturday.

Photo: Masrakul Alom

A mobile court in Charlapang of Nabinagar West Union on Saturday morning conducted a raid

in the banks of Meghna and Titas rivers and seized three sand dredgers and three sand boats

and 18 workers.

Photo: Anwar Hossain

RMP seeks to

strengthen beat

policing to

combat crimes

RAJSHAHI: The Rajshahi

Metropolitan Police (RMP)

is intended to combating

social crimes through

strengthening the beat

policing activities along with

making the society free from

drug-addiction, terrorism

and militancy through

ensuring community

participation, reports BSS.

The observation came at a

beat policing meeting at

Char Mazar Diar village

under Paba Upazila in the

district yesterday.

RMP Commissioner Abu

Kalam Siddique addressed

the meeting as focal person

with Deputy Commissioner

Monirul Islam in the chair.

Additional

Commissioners Suzayet

Islam and Mazid Ali, Deputy

Commissioner Sazid

Hossain, Officer-in-Charge

of Damkura Police Station

Mahbub Hossain and

Haripur Union Parishad

Member Shamim Sheikh

also spoke.

The discussants opined

that integrated efforts by the

police and the public in

general, including the young

generation, could help root

out the abuse of drugs along

with its illicit trafficking and

trading.

Present farmer-friendly govt

modernising agriculture'

RANGPUR: The present

farmer-friendly government

is working tirelessly to

modernise the agriculture

sector for implementing the

Green Revolution of Father

of the Nation Bangabandhu

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,

reports BSS.

Senior Secretary of the

Ministry of Agriculture Md

Mesbahul Islam said at a

view-sharing meeting with

farmer-members of

common interest groups

(CIG) of the National

Agricultural Technology

Program (NATP)-phase-2

Project at village Nijdorpa in

Kawnia upazila of the

district on Saturday

afternoon as the chief guest.

The Kawnia Upazila

Department of Agricultural

Extension (DAE),

Department of Livestock

and Department of Fisheries

jointly organised the event

under the NATP-phase-2

Project.

Mesbahul Islam said the

present government led by

Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina is doing everything

for bringing huge changes to

agriculture to keep crop

production increasing amid

changing climate to attain

sustainable food security.

"The activities include

mechanisation of

agriculture, providing

subsidies in fertilizers, latest

technologies and

agricultural incentives to

farmers to reduce

production cost of crops and

make farm activities more

profitable," he said.

Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina has announced that

not a single inch of land

should be left unproductive

to enhance crop production

and ensure food security.

"To the end, the DAE,

Department of Livestock

and Department of Fisheries

and other agriculture related

organisations are working

with farmers at the

grassroots levels," Mesbahul

Islam said.

He said agricultural

scientists are evolving many

new varieties of high

yielding and hybrid varieties

of crops to increase

production of healthy and

nutritious foods and ensure

fair prices for farmers

through various valuechains

and networks.

The Ministry of

Agriculture and the Ministry

of Fisheries and Livestock

are working persistently to

implement the Green

Revolution of Father of the

Nation Bangabandhu by

creating local entrepreneurs

among farmers to ensure

fair prices of their produce.

"We need to produce more

with less resources. Houses

cannot be built everywhere.

We want to implement the

dream of Prime Minister

Sheikh Hasina to build a

developed Bangladesh by

2041," he said.

The Senior Secretary

visited the CIG activities

being implemented with

assistance of agriculturerelated

departments in the

village, expressed

satisfaction and thanked

farmers for keeping the

economy dynamic during

the Covid-19 pandemic.

Presided over by

Additional Deputy

Commissioner (General)

Md Golam Rabbani, Project

Director (Additional

Secretary) of the NATPphase-2

project Md Matiur

Rahman, Additional

Director of the DAE's

Rangpur region Bidhu

Bhusan Ray and Kawnia

Upazila Chairman Anwarul

Islam Maya addressed the

event as special guests.


monDAY, SePtember 20, 2021

7

Sorry is not enough for the Afghan survivors of an errant US drone strike that killed 10 members of

their family, including seven children.

Photo : AP

Afghan survivors of US drone

strike: Sorry 'is not enough'

KABUL : Sorry is not enough for the

Afghan survivors of an errant U.S.

drone strike that killed 10 members of

their family, including seven children.

Emal Ahmadi, whose 3-year-old

daughter Malika was killed on Aug. 29,

when the U.S. hellfire missile struck his

elder brother's car, told The Associated

Press on Saturday that the family

demands Washington investigate who

fired the drone and punish the military

personnel responsible for the strike.

"That is not enough for us to say

sorry," said Ahmadi. "The U.S.A.

should find the person who did this."

Ahmadi said the family is also

seeking financial compensation for

their losses and demanded that several

members of the family be relocated to a

third country, without specifying which

country.

The AP and other news organizations

in Kabul reported after the strike that

the driver of the targeted vehicle,

Zemerai Ahmadi, was a longtime

employee at an American

humanitarian organization and cited

an absence of evidence to support the

Pentagon's assertion that the vehicle

contained explosives.

US to step up deportation

flights for migrants

stranded at Texas bridge

DEL RIO, United States : The

United States said Saturday it

would ramp up deportation

flights for thousands of

migrants who flooded into the

Texas border city of Del Rio,

as authorities scramble to

alleviate a burgeoning crisis

for President Joe Biden's

administration. The migrants

who poured into the city,

many of them Haitian, were

being held in an area

controlled by US Customs

and Border Protection (CBP)

beneath the Del Rio

International Bridge, which

carries traffic across the Rio

Grande river into Mexico.

Video footage showed

thousands of people under

and around the bridge and

more walking across the river,

clutching their belongings.

Del Rio Mayor Bruno

Lozano told reporters there

were over 14,000 migrants

"waiting to be detained." He

added that both local and

federal authorities were

dispatching personnel, buses

and aircraft as part of the

operation. The port of entry at

Del Rio has been temporarily

closed, and traffic is being

rerouted to relieve the

bottlenecks that had formed

at the bridge.

Homeland Security said it

would "secure additional

transportation to accelerate

the pace and increase the

capacity of removal flights to

Haiti and other destinations

in the hemisphere within the

next 72 hours."

The statement also said the

Biden administration was

taking action to "reduce

crowding and improve

conditions for migrants on US

soil," and working with

"source and transit countries

in the region."

The missile struck as the car was

pulling into the family's driveway and

the children ran to greet Zemerai.

On Friday, U.S. Marine Gen. Frank

McKenzie, head of U.S. Central

Command, called the strike a "tragic

mistake," and after weeks of denials,

said that innocent civilians were indeed

killed in the attack and not an Islamic

State extremist as was announced

earlier. The drone strike followed a

devastating suicide bombing by the

Islamic State group - a rival of the

Taliban - that killed 169 Afghans and 13

U.S. military personnel at one of the

gates to the Kabul airport. For days,

desperate Afghans had swarmed the

checkpoints outside the airport, trying

to leave the country amid the chaotic

U.S. and NATO troops pullout, fearing

for their future under the Taliban.

McKenzie apologized for the error

and said the United States is

considering making reparation

payments to the family of the victims.

Emal Ahmadi, who said he heard of

the apology from friends in America,

insisted that it won't bring back

members of his family and while he

expressed relief for the U.S. apology

and recognition that his family were

innocent victims, he said he was

frustrated that it took weeks of pleading

with Washington to at least make a call

to the family.

Even as evidence mounted to the

contrary, Pentagon officials asserted

that the strike had been conducted

correctly, to protect the U.S. troops

remaining at Kabul's airport ahead of

the final pullout the following day, on

Aug. 30. Looking exhausted, sitting in

front of the charred ruins of Zemarai's

car, Ahmadi said he wanted more than

an apology from the United States - he

wanted justice, including an

investigation into who carried out the

strike "and I want him punished by the

U.S.A." In the days before the

Pentagon's apology, accounts from the

family, documents from colleagues

seen by The AP and the scene at the

family home - where Zemerai's car was

struck by the missile - all sharply

contradicted the accounts by the U.S.

military. Instead, they painted the

picture of a family that had worked for

Americans and were trying to gain visas

to the U.S., fearing for their lives under

the Taliban.

French minister decries 'duplicity'

in US-Australia sub deal

PARIS : France's foreign minister on

Saturday denounced what he called the

"duplicity, disdain and lies" surrounding the

sudden rupture of France's lucrative contract

to make submarines for Australia in favor of

a U.S. deal and declared that a crisis is at

hand among the Western allies. A day after

France recalled its ambassadors to the

United States and Australia, French Foreign

Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian pummeled

what he suggested was a backroom deal that

betrayed France.

The recalling of its ambassadors "signifies

the force of the crisis today" between the

French government and Washington and

Canberra, he said in an interview on France

2 television. He said it was the first time ever

that France, the United States' oldest ally,

has recalled its ambassador to the U.S.

The announcement by President Joe

Biden of the deal, alongside the leaders of

Australia and Britain, for at least eight

nuclear-powered submarines has set France

in a fury. The French had signed a contract in

2016 for a dozen conventional diesel-electric

submarines and the work to make them was

already underway. The deal with French

majority state-owned Naval Group was

worth at least $66 billion.

Diplomatic niceties have gone out the

window as French authorities seek to make

their anger known. Le Drian denied reports

that there had been advance consultations

with France ahead of the announcement,

saying "this isn't true." Allies "don't treat

each other with such brutality, such

unpredictability, a major partner like France

... So there really is a crisis," Le Drian said.

"There are reasons for us to question the

strength of our alliance," Le Drian said.

Earlier, France's ambassador to Australia

also strayed from diplomatic language when

describing what has been widely billed in

France as the "contract of the century."

France's foreign minister on Saturday denounced what he called the

"duplicity, disdain and lies" surrounding the sudden rupture of France's

lucrative contract to make submarines for Australia in favor of a U.S. deal

and declared that a crisis is at hand among the Western allies. Photo : AP

Taliban to female

Kabul city workers:

Stay home

KABUL : The interim mayor

of Afghanistan's capital says

many female city employees

have been ordered to stay

home by the country's new

Taliban rulers.

Hamdullah Namony told

reporters Sunday that only

women who could not be

replaced by men have been

permitted to report to work.

He says this includes skilled

workers in the design and

engineering departments as

well as female attendants of

public toilets for women.

Namony's comments were

another sign that the

Taliban are enforcing their

harsh interpretation of

Islam, including restrictions

on women in public life,

despite their initial promises

of tolerance and inclusion.

In their previous rule in the

1990s, the Taliban had

barred girls and women

from schools and jobs.

The mayor says a final

decision about female

employees in Kabul

municipal departments is

still pending, and that they

would draw their salaries in

the meantime.

He says that before the

Taliban takeover of

Afghanistan last month, just

under one-third of close to

3,000 city employees were

women who worked in all

departments.

Turkey reports

26,161 daily

COVID-19 cases

ANKARA : Turkey on

Saturday confirmed 26,161

new COVID-19 cases, raising

its tally of infections to

6,820,861, according to its

health ministry.

The death toll from the

virus in Turkey rose by 221

to 61,361, while 24,023 more

people recovered in the last

24 hours.

A total of 335,244 tests

were conducted over the

past day, it said.

Turkey started mass

COVID-19 vaccination on

Jan. 14 after the authorities

approved the emergency use

of the Chinese Sinovac

vaccine.

More than 52.6 million

people have received their

first doses of vaccines, while

over 41.9 million had their

second doses. Turkey has so

far administered over

104.89 million doses

including third booster jabs.

Indian gov't asks states to

analyze COVID-19 situation,

strengthen health

infrastructure

NEW DELHI, Sept 19

(Xinhua/UNB) -- India's

federal government on

Saturday asked states to

undertake in-depth analysis

of the COVID-19 situation,

strengthen health

infrastructure, increase

stock of essential medicines

and augment human

resources.

BRUSSELS : The Belgian town of

Aarschot has a vaccination rate of 94%

of all adults, but Mayor Gwendolyn

Rutten worries her town is too close for

comfort to the capital of Brussels,

where the rate stands at 63%. But

there's not much she can do about it.

Her hope is that the government

mandates vaccination. "Otherwise, you

drag all others back into danger,"

Rutten said in a recent interview.

But few European Union countries

have issued outright mandates, instead

requiring people to show proof of

immunization, a negative test or recent

recovery from COVID-19 to participate

in ever more activities - even

sometimes to go to work.

More sweeping requirements are the

order of the day in the U.S., which has

faced significant vaccine resistance.

President Biden announced mandates

last week that cover large portions of

the population, sometimes without any

option to test instead.

Despite apparently divergent

strategies, officials in both the U.S. and

the EU are struggling with the same

Yemen Houthi rebels execute

9 over senior official's killing

SANAA : Yemen's Houthi rebels executed on

Saturday nine people they said were involved

in the killing of a senior rebel official in an

airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition more

than three years ago.

The execution took place by firing squad

and was held in public, early in the morning

in the rebel-held capital of Sanaa. The

Iranian-backed Houthis later distributed

photos apparently showing the killings.

Hundreds of people attended the execution,

mostly Houthis and their supporters.

The executions took place despite repeated

calls by rights groups and lawyers to stop the

killings and retry the suspects. They said the

trial, held in a rebel-controlled court where

the nine were convicted and sentenced to

death, was flawed, reports UNB.

The nine were among more than 60 people

the Houthis accused of involvement in the

targeted killing of Saleh al-Samad in April

2018. Former President Donald Trump was

also accused, according to court documents

obtained by The Associated Press. Also

accused were top Western, Israeli and Gulf

Arab officials.

The Houthis charged the nine with spying

for the Saudi-led coalition, which has been

waging war against the rebels for years in an

effort to bring back Yemen's internationally

recognized government to power.

Al-Samad, who held the post of president

in the Houthi-backed political body, was

killed along with six of his companions in an

airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition in the

coastal city of Hodeida.

The nine, including a 17-year-old boy, were

arrested months after al-Samad's killing.

They were forcefully disappeared for months

and held in undisclosed places where they

suffered inhumane treatment, according to

Abdel-Majeed Sabra, a Yemeni lawyer

representing one of the people executed.

The executions were also broadcast on big

screens in Sanaa's Tahrir Square. The

executions and the public display caused

outrage across the country, including among

the relatives of the nine and also in Sanaa,

where people usually refrain from criticizing

the rebels for fear of reprisals.

"I can't believe what has happened. This is

madness and a crime," Abdel-Rahman

Noah, a brother of one of the executed, told

The Associated Press.

Another relative said she did not expect the

Houthis to go through with the executions.

"We were shocked. ... We thought that they

were just threatening," she said tearfully,

speaking on condition of anonymity for fear

of reprisals from the rebels.

The rebels did not respond to requests for

comment.

Yemen's Houthi rebels executed on Saturday nine people they said were

involved in the killing of a senior rebel official in an airstrike by the Saudi-led

coalition more than three years ago.

Photo : AP

France accuses Australia, US

of 'lying' in escalating crisis

PARIS : France on Saturday accused

Australia and the United States of lying over

a ruptured Australian contract to buy French

submarines, warning a grave crisis was

underway between the allies.

Australia's decision to break a deal for the

French submarines in favour of American

nuclear-powered vessels sparked outrage in

Paris, with President Emmanuel Macron

recalling France's ambassadors to Canberra

and Washington in an unprecedented move.

The row has sparked a deep rift in

America's oldest alliance and dashed hopes

of a post-Donald Trump renaissance in

relations between Paris and Washington

under President Joe Biden.

Speaking to France 2 television, Foreign

Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gave no

indication Paris was prepared to let the crisis

die down, using distinctly undiplomatic

language towards Australia, the United

Same goal, different paths: US,

EU seek max vaccine rates

question: how to boost vaccination

rates to the max and end a pandemic

that has repeatedly thwarted efforts to

control it.

And the apparent split may in fact be

narrowing. While not calling their

restrictions mandates, some European

countries are making life so difficult for

those without the vaccine that it may

amount to the same thing.

In a perhaps surprising move in a

country known for touting individual

freedoms, Biden has imposed sweeping

vaccine requirements for as many as

100 million Americans, including many

private-sector employees and health

care workers. Employees at firms with

more than 100 workers will need to get

immunized or test weekly, while

vaccination will be required for

employees of the executive branch and

contractors who do business with the

federal government - with no option to

test out. There are some exemptions.

The seemingly more aggressive U.S.

policy may reflect greater pressures

there. The EU, which initially lagged

way behind the United States in terms

States and Britain, which is also part of the

three-way security pact.

"There has been lying, duplicity, a major

breach of trust and contempt," Le Drian said.

"This will not do."

He described the withdrawal of the

ambassadors for the first time in the history

of relations with the countries as a "very

symbolic" act that aimed "to show how

unhappy we are and that there is a serious

crisis between us". But Australia has

rebuffed French accusations of betrayal, with

Defence Minister Peter Dutton insisting

Canberra had been "upfront, open and

honest" with Paris about its concerns over

the deal.

On Sunday, Australian Finance Minister

Simon Birmingham said his country had

informed the French government "at the

earliest available opportunity, before it

became public".

of vaccinations, surpassed it at the end

of July. As of Thursday, the 27-nation

bloc had 60% of its population

vaccinated compared to 53% for the

United States, according to Our World

In Data. In the both places,

immunization rates vary widely from

country to country or state to state.

American authorities from Biden on

down have labeled the current phase a

"pandemic of the unvaccinated," with

data showing that nearly all COVID-19

deaths in the U.S. are now are in people

who weren't vaccinated. EU officials

have used the same description for

continuing outbreaks in their countries.

But it's harder for the EU writ large to

impose vaccine mandates since health

policies are the responsibility of the 27

national governments, and top EU

officials walk on egg shells addressing

the issue. Asked specifically by The

Associated Press whether mandatory

vaccination could be part of the

solution, three EU commissioners

swerved around the question, though

none argued against it.

"This is not within our remit.


MOnDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2021

8

Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) has signed an agreement with SME Foundation to disburse

stimulus loan arranged by Government of Bangladesh recently. MTB is among the 15

(fifteen) banks who are participating under this stimulus package of SME foundation for

Micro, Small and Medium enterprises. Under this agreement, the fund will be disbursed at

4% interest rate to Rural & Marginal Micro, Small and Medium entrepreneurs with special

focus on marginalized people of rural area of Bangladesh with a view to elevating their life

standard and accelerating the recovery from the loss incurred due to COVID-19 pandemic.

M. A. Mannan, MP , Minister, Ministry of Planning, People's Republic of Bangladesh

attended the event as the Chief Guest while Kamal Ahmed Mojumder, MP, State Minister,

Ministry of Industries, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, State Minister, Ministry of ICT and Zakia

Sultana, Secretary, Ministry of Industries were also present as Special Guests. Professor Dr

Md. Masudur Rahman, Chairperson, SME Foundation presided the event. Dr Md Mafizur

Rahman, Managing Director of SME Foundation and Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing

Director & CEO of Mutual Trust Bank signed the agreement on behalf of their respective

organization.

Photo: Courtesy

Lankabangla Distributes Health

Equipment to Prevent Covid-19

Lankabangla Foundation

has distributed protective

materials at the Faridpur

Civil Surgeon's Office to

prevent corona infection.

On 16th September 2021,

on the occasion of

prevention of corona

infection, the program

was organized by

Lankabangla Foundation

at Faridpur Civil Surgeon's

Office. By maintaining the

social distancing The

Executive Vice President

and Head of Risk

Management Division

Mohammed Kamrul

Hasan FCA has handed

over thehealth equipment

items to the Medical

Officer of Faridpur Civil

Surgeon Office Dr. Tansiv

Jubayer. On the occasion,

Senior Vice President and

Head of Human

Resources Division

Mohammad Hafiz Al

Ahad; Senior Assistant

Vice President and Head

of General Infrastructure

and Services Division

Muhammad Habib

Haider; Senior Manager

and Head of LankaBangla

Finance's Faridpur

Republicans withhold

support for US debt

ceiling increase

WASHINGTON : Republican leaders in

Congress on Tuesday continued to withhold

support for efforts by the Democratic

majority to increase the US debt ceiling,

reports BSS.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned

last week that the government will run out of

money next month unless lawmakers take

action, and banking groups have urged

Congress to move to prevent "irreparable

harm" to the US economy.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy called for raising

the debt ceiling in an interview with CNBC. "I

think it's scary for consumer confidence and

for confidence in US businesses and potential

credit ratings if we don't make sure that we

raise that debt ceiling," Jassy said.

The Securities Industry and Financial

Markets Association (SIFMA), American

Bankers Association and other industry

groups said in a letter to congressional

leaders that defaulting "on our existing

obligations would be irresponsible and do

irreparable harm to the US economy and

taxpayers."

Even "a short-term delay would cause

serious harm at a time when our economy

continues to recover from the impact of the

Covid-19 pandemic," the letter read.

The country's debt and deficit have soared

during the Covid-19 pandemic after

Washington approved three massive

spending bills aimed at lessening the damage

to the economy. But Republican Senate

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said

Democrats will have to resolve the issue on

their own.

"The Democratic leaders have every tool

and procedure they need to handle the debt

limit on a partisan basis, just like they are

choosing to handle everything else,"

McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Congress is currently considering a $1.2

trillion infrastructure plan that has the

backing of Democrats and some

Republicans.

Also on their agenda is a massive social

spending plan costing $3.5 trillion over 10

years, which has only garnered the support of

Democrats who plan to pay for it with tax

increases on corporations and the wealthiest

Americans.

McConnell objects to what he called a

"massive reckless tax and spending spree."

"When it comes to spending," he said,

Democrats "have made a conscious decision:

They don't want Republican governing

partners. They want to go it alone."

Democrats could wrap a debt ceiling

increase into the spending package, which

would allow them to approve it without

Republican votes, but the party's leaders have

indicated they want a separate, bipartisan vote.

"When President (Donald) Trump was in

office, Democrats stepped up on three

separate occasions to work with Republicans

to suspend the debt ceiling and continue to

ensure that the US was able to pay its bills,"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said

Tuesday. But now Republicans "recklessly,

irresponsibly... seem eager to push our

economy to the brink of total catastrophe by

suggesting they will oppose any effort to raise

the debt ceiling." "Shame on him," Schumer

said of McConnell.

Congress suspended the debt limit for two

years in 2019. That lapsed on July 31,

resetting the cap at $28 trillion and forcing

Treasury to begun taking "extraordinary

measures" to continue funding government

operations without breaching the limit.

Raising the debt limit does not increase

spending, but simply allows Treasury to pay

for projects already approved by Congress.

Without an increase, the United States could

face an unprecedented default on payments.

Branch Mohammad

Shahadut Hossain and

Senior Consultant of

Faridpur General Hospital

Dr. Abu Ahmed Abdullah

(Masud) were also present

with other higher officials

of LankaBangla Finance

and Faridpur Civil

Surgeon's Office. VTM

Sticks & Tubes, 3-Layer

Surgical Masks, N-95

Masks, KN-95 Masks,

Hexisol Hand Sanitizers,

Oxygen Cylinders, Pulse

Oximeter, etc. were

distributed at the Faridpur

Civil Surgeon's Office as

part of the Lankabangla

Foundation Health

Equipment Handover

Program. It is to be noted

that, the Lankabangla

Foundation has organized

the program as part of the

Corporate Social

Responsibility (CSR)

program to provide

assistance to the affected

and at-risk families of the

country in the fight against

the ongoing pandemic.

Central banks

tiptoe towards

tapering

PARIS:To taper or not to

taper? That is the question

facing central bankers as

they debate when they

should unwind the massive

economic support measures

they deployed last year to

prevent a pandemicinduced

Great Depression,

reports BSS.

"The withdrawal of

monetary and fiscal support

is inevitable. The key

question is timing," said Eva

Sun-Wai, fund manager at

M&G Investments.

As the US Federal Reserve

and other central banks hold

meetings this week, here are

key questions regarding

their monetary policies:

The Fed, the European

Central Bank and their peers

in Japan, Britain and

elsewhere brought down

interest rates and unleashed

huge asset-buying

programmes last year to

prevent an economic

catastrophe.

The goal of the

programmes is to keep the

economy humming by

making it cheaper for

people, businesses and

governments to borrow

money.

The Fed, which begins a

two-day policy meeting on

Tuesday, slashed rates to

zero at the start of the

pandemic in March 2020.

To provide liquidity to the

world's biggest economy, it

is buying at least $80 billion

a month in Treasury debt

and at least $40 billion in

agency mortgage-backed

securities.

UAE, Israel eye trillion-dollar prize

one year into Abraham Accords

DUBAI : The United Arab Emirates

marks one year since normalising ties

with Israel on Wednesday, a move

which drew Palestinian anger but that

leaders hope could reap a trillion

dollars in economic exchanges, reports

BSS.

Watched by then US president

Donald Trump, the UAE and Gulf

neighbour Bahrain formally recognised

Israel on September 15, 2020 in

Washington, prompting Palestinian

accusations of a "stab in the back".

The surprise step, under the USbrokered

Abraham Accords, broke with

decades of Arab consensus that ruled

out formal ties while the Palestinian

conflict was unresolved.

However, it marked a thaw in the

region, with Morocco and Sudan soon

following suit and regional power Saudi

Arabia, the world's top oil producer,

allowing some overflights from the

Jewish state.

The economic benefits have come

quickly for the UAE and Israel, who

signed a series of deals ranging from

tourism to aviation and financial

services.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid

made a landmark visit to the UAE in

July, opening an embassy in Abu Dhabi

and a consulate in Dubai, while the

UAE established an embassy in Tel

Aviv.

In this age of information

technology, the Minister

Group has brought new

model of smart televisions

to the market to let the

customers to have a smart

experience enjoy watching

TV. TV is no longer just an

opportunity to watch

programs broadcast from

television stations. In this

age of internet, TV is an

smart way for checking e-

mails, social media,

knowing the situation of

the country, reading news.

Following in his footsteps,

Minister's Glorious Voice

Control Smart Android

LED TV has come as a new

surprise in the country's

market which can be

controlled through voice.

As the quality of

domestic products is

increasing day by day, the

prices are being

competitive and also

decreasing to make the

products more affordable.

"After a year of the Abraham Accords,

we have a story to say," UAE Minister of

Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri

told a panel discussion by the Atlantic

Council, a US think-tank, on Monday.

"We exchanged ambassadors, we

have signed over 60 MOUs

(memorandums of understanding). We

have 600-700 million of bilateral trade

happening, we have funds of billions of

dollars that has been announced.

"We're looking to create over a trillion

dollars of economic activity over the

next decade."

Further benefits will come if a major

deal to ship Emirati oil to Europe via an

Israeli pipeline clears objections from

environmentalists, who fear damage to

unique coral reefs in the Red Sea.

Beyond economics, the

rapprochement was also pushed by

mutual concern over Iran, with the

regional rivalry even pushing Riyadh

into quietly building relations with the

Jewish state over the past several years.

'It's really strategic' - Online criticism

of Israel is frequent in both the UAE

and Bahrain but open dissent over the

normalisation is rare, likely to avoid

angering authorities.

Even when Israeli air strikes levelled

buildings during an 11-day conflict with

Hamas in May, triggering an upswell of

outrage, the relationship continued

unhindered.

The 32-inch Glorious Voice

Control Smart Android

LED TV is available for

only Tk 24,900. In addition

to voice control, this

unique TV can be

controlled with any

smartphone equipped in

Android and iOS. The new

Glorious Voice Control

Smart Android LED TV

has Dolby sound system

which is enough to produce

crystal clear sound, it is

equipped with Bluetooth

and IR, Bluetooth

speakers, A 53 1 GHz 4

cores powerful processors.

To ensure smooth gaming

performance the TV has

Mali 450 MP 2 graphics

and has Android 9.0 (pi)

operating system and 1 GB

RAM and 8 GB internal

memory.

The Glorious Voice

Control Smart Android

LED TV includes lightning

prevention system which

will definitely save TV from

"All the Arab world was a bit

preoccupied with what was happening

in Gaza and with the pictures coming

out," Ilan Sztulman Starosta, head of

the Israeli consulate in Dubai, told AFP

in an interview.

"But still they didn't change the policy

because the peace with Israel is a

national interest for the Emirati

government, and the same from the

Israeli government.

"For us, it's really strategic."

Sztulman Starosta said about

200,000 Israelis had visited the UAE

over the past year, despite Covid, and

an estimated 40 companies from his

country had set up in the Gulf state's

free-trade zones.

The Emirates now has its first

students enrolled in Israeli universities,

added Sztulman Starosta, who is

hoping the Abraham Accords can

inspire further ties around the region.

"If we can make it work here, we can

make it everywhere," he said.

"If we managed to make this peace

work, and it is working, for the better of

Israeli and Emirati citizens, then this

model can be applied to other countries

in the area.

"And that's how we're going to

change the paradigm that Jews and

Muslims can live and have normal

relations and fruitful and enjoyable

(collaborations)."

Minister launches Voice Control

smart Android TV to the market

LONDON: British retail sales fell last

month as the grocery sector was hit by

people returning to restaurants and pubs

after virus curbs were lifted, data showed

Friday, reports BSS.

Sales by volume slid 0.9 percent in

August from the prior month, the Office

for National Statistics (ONS) said in a

statement, after a 2.8-percent drop in

July. Food store sales suffered from the

recovering hospitality industry, which

was shuttered by lockdowns during much

of the pandemic but reopened earlier this

year. "Sales fell again in August, though

not nearly by as much as July and,

UK retail sales

drop as more

consumers eat out

overall, remained above their prepandemic

level," said ONS statistician

Jonathan Athow. "Other data suggest

that the drop in food stores' sales is linked

to an increase in eating out following the

lifting of coronavirus restrictions."

Motor fuel sales rose on the month as

people ventured out more after the

economy fully reopened in July.

any damages during

storms or load shedding.

This voice control TV will

be available at all the

Minister's showrooms,

dealer points and online

stores, all across the

country at the reach of the

customers. Also, customers

can buy the necessary

household items from the

Minister through cash on

delivery and online

payment with easy

installments sitting at

home.

Overall retail sales are 4.6 percent

higher than before the start of the deadly

coronavirus outbreak.

However, Britain's economic recovery

is flattening as a result of the stubborn

pandemic, supply chain bottlenecks and

the elevated cost of commodities.

Annual inflation meanwhile spiked in

August to a nine-year peak of 3.2

percent, data showed this week.

"The decline in retail sales volumes in

August suggests that the stalling in the

economic recovery in July continued into

August," noted economist Paul Dales at

research consultancy Capital Economics.

An agreement was signed between SIBL & SME Foundation to disburse SME investment under the second

phase of incentive package announced by Honorable Prime Minister. Dr. Md. Mofizur Rahman, Managing

Director of SME Foundation and Md. Tajul Islam, Managing Director & CEO (C.C) of SIBL, signed the agreement

in favor of their respective organization at the event organized by SME Foundation on 16 September,

2021. Planning Minister M.A. Mannan, MP, State Minister of Industries, Kamal Ahmed Majumder, MP, State

Minister of ICT, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, and Secretary of Ministry of Industries, Zakia Sultana were also

present at the event. Professor Dr. Md. Masudur Rahman, Chairman of SME Foundation presided over the

program.

Photo: Courtesy


MoNDAY, SepteMber 20, 2021

9

Cup holders France stuttered again in their bid to qualify for the 2022 finals in Qatar after a 1-1 draw

in Ukraine.

photo: Ap

France draw again as Dutch

roll in World Cup qualifying

SportS DeSk

Cup holders France stuttered again in

their bid to qualify for the 2022 finals in

Qatar after a 1-1 draw in Ukraine, while

Memphis Depay inspired the

Netherlands to a rout of Montenegro

on Saturday, reports BSS.

France drew their fifth successive

match as Anthony Martial scored his

first international goal in five years to

earn Didier Deschamps' side a point in

Kiev. The Manchester United forward,

who missed Euro 2020 with a knee

injury, grabbed just his second goal in

29 caps to cancel out a magnificent

first- half strike by Ukraine midfielder

Mykola Shaparenko.

Les Bleus remain four points clear at

the top of Group D but have played two

games more than Finland, who they

host in Lyon on Tuesday. Joel

Pohjanpalo's second-half effort

clinched Finland a 1-0 victory over

Kazakhstan.

"We are maybe not in a better

situation than we were before the

match, but it is not any worse either. It's

just one more point when obviously our

goal was to take all three," Deschamps

told French broadcaster M6.

Ukraine have now drawn all five of

their qualifiers so far, including both

matches against France.

Depay led the Netherlands to a 4-0

defeat of Montenegro in Eindhoven

that kept Louis van Gaal's team right

behind Group G leaders Turkey, who

won 3-0 in Gibraltar.

Barcelona star Depay opened the

scoring for the Dutch with a penalty

and netted a second on the hour.

Captain Georginio Wijnaldum added a

slick third and Cody Gakpo bagged his

first goal for the national team with a

terrific curling shot.

"Once the first goal went in we played

in a much more relaxed manner and

produced some very good football,"

said Van Gaal, back for a third spell in

charge of the Netherlands.

"Memphis had an extraordinary

game. He was undoubtedly the man of

the match."

Erling Haaland converted a spot-kick

as he scored for the second game

running in Norway's 2-0 win against

Latvia, with Mohamed Elyounoussi

also on target in Oslo.

Norway and the Netherlands are

both a point back of Turkey, who go to

Amsterdam next week. "Now we must

win on Tuesday against Turkey. A

victory would put us in an ideal position

for qualification," added Van Gaal.

Marcelo Brozovic's late goal gave

Croatia a 1-0 victory away to Slovakia,

ensuring the 2018 World Cup runnersup

stayed level with Russia in Group H.

Russia beat Cyprus 2-0 away while

Slovenia won 1-0 at home to Malta.

Denmark needed an 85th-minute

effort from Jonas Wind to see off the

Faroe Islands 1-0 and record a fifth win

in as many outings in Group F.

Eran Zahavi followed up his hat-trick

against the Faroes in midweek with two

more goals to power Israel past Austria

5-2.

Scotland moved above Austria into

third place as Lyndon Dykes' early

strike sealed a 1-0 home win over

Moldova.

Aleksandar Mitrovic struck twice as

Serbia defeated Luxembourg 4-1 to

edge above Portugal on goal difference

at the top of Group A.

A late Shane Duffy equaliser salvaged

the Republic of Ireland a disappointing

1-1 draw at home to Azerbaijan.

Halep, Medvedev

draw early Sunday

duty at US Open

SportS DeSk

Two-time Grand Slam

champion Simona Halep

and Russian second seed

Daniil Medvedev will start

US Open matches on

Sunday at Arthur Ashe

Stadium trying to reach the

quarter-finals, reports BSS.

Romanian 12th seed Halep,

the 2018 French Open and

2019 Wimbledon winner,

will meet Ukraine's fifthseeded

Elina Svitolina in the

first afternoon match.

Svitolina, a 2019 US Open

semi-finalist, leads their

rivalry 5-4 after winning

their most recent match at

the 2019 WTA Finals.

But it's her only win in

their four hardcourt

meetings.

Medvedev, this year's

Australian Open runner-up

and a 2019 US Open runnerup,

will face British 24th

seed Daniel Evans, who

hopes to reach his first

Grand Slam quarter-final.

It will be their first

meeting. Sunday's night

matches on New York's

main stadium will start with

American Frances Tiafoe,

who ousted Russian fifth

seed Andrey Rublev,

meeting 12th seed Felix

Auger-Aliassime of Canada.

Djokovic likes his position for

US Open and calendar Slam

SportS DeSk

Novak Djokovic says he's in "good position"

to complete the first men's singles calendaryear

Grand Slam in 52 years by winning four

more matches to capture the US Open,

reports BSS. World number one Djokovic

rallied past Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4/7),

6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in three hours and 32 minutes

on Saturday to reach the fourth round on the

New York hardcourts. The 34-year-old

Serbian star said it was his winning his

second French Open title this year, his

"Mount Everest" of Slam crowns, that

convinced him a one-year Slam sweep was

possible. "After I won in Paris this year, I felt

like, 'OK, I like my chances on grass, I won

two Wimbledons in a row, I've improved

over the years on grass -- it did not seem

impossible anymore to go for all four in a row

in the same year," Djokovic said.

"So here I am. I'm in a good position to do

that. Still in the tournament. But I've got to

take one match at a time."

With a fourth career US Open trophy,

Djokovic would complete the first men's

singles sweep of major titles in the same year

since Rod Laver in 1969.

Djokovic also chases history in quest of his

21st career Grand Slam title, which would

break the deadlock for the men's record he

shares with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer,

both absent with injuries.

Nishikori, who fell to 2-18 against Djokovic

with a 17th consecutive loss, said he saw no

sign the pressure of the Grand Slam quest

had changed how his rival played.

"I'd say he was the same," Nishikori said.

"Maybe he's feeling that inside, a lot of

pressure, but I couldn't see during the

match."

Next up for Djokovic will be a first meeting

with 99th-ranked US wildcard Jenson

Brooksby, who outlasted Russian 21st seed

Aslan Karatsev 6-2, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Brooksby, 20, eliminated Karatsev on the

Russian's 28th birthday, becoming the

youngest American in the US Open last 16

since Andy Roddick in 2002.

"(Brooksby) is one of the players the locker

room talks about quite often because of his

talent," Djokovic said. "Hopefully I can be at

my best."

Djokovic could face a Wimbledon final

rematch with Italian sixth seed Matteo

Berrettini in the quarter-finals, Olympic

champion and fourth seed Alexander Zverev

of Germany in the semi-finals and an

Australian Open final rematch with Russian

second seed Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Djokovic, who has won eight of the past 12

Slams, completed a career Grand Slam by

winning the 2016 French Open, which also

gave him all four Slam titles at the same time,

though not in a calendar year.

"Probably the greatest Grand Slam career

satisfaction I had is when I won four in a row

back in 2016 when I crowned it with the first

Roland Garros trophy," Djokovic said.

"Even though I grew up playing on clay, I

feel like Roland Garros has always been

probably the Mount Everest for me. Out of

all four Slams, that was the toughest for me

to win. "Both 2016 and this year's win on

French Open feel kind of similar. I felt if I win

Roland Garros in that year, I have a good

chance to maybe do it all in same year,

calendar Slam."

Marathon golds decided as 'most

important' Paralympics wrap up

SportS DeSk

Swiss wheelchair master Marcel Hug

defended his marathon title on the final

day of the Tokyo Paralympics on

Sunday, as organisers hailed the "most

important edition" of the Games ever,

reports BSS.

The last day's action saw 14 gold

medals up for grabs, starting with

thebearly morning marathon events

and another star turn from "silver

bullet" Hug.

The 2016 Rio T54 champion opened

up an early gap on the field, and moved

away from silver medallist Zhang Yong

over the last two uphill kilometres.

"I don't know how to feel. I'm just

tired. Empty," said Hug, who won the

sixth Paralympic gold of his career in a

time of 1hr 24min 2sec.

In the women's T54 marathon,

Australian Madison de Rozario clung

on to finish ahead of Swiss great

Manuela Schaer, winning the gold by

just one second.

"That was the longest 500 metres of

my life," de Rozario told reporters after

finishing in a Paralympic record of

1:38.11.

"That finish line couldn't have come

quick enough."

The 27-year-old was adding a second

gold to her T53 800m title in Tokyo.

She also took bronze in the T54

1,500m.

There was also gold for host nation

Japan in the women's T12 marathon,

Swiss wheelchair master Marcel Hug defended his marathon title

on the final day of the tokyo paralympics on Sunday. photo: Ap

with Misato Michishita coming home

in a time of 3:00.50.

Morocco's El Amin Chentouf won

the men's T12 marathon, while China's

Li Chaoyan took the honours in the

men's T46.

Organisers had urged local residents

to stay home and watch the action on

TV, but sweet shop owner Atsushi

Nishimura told AFP in Tokyo's

Asakusa district that he was glad he saw

it live.

"We could have enjoyed the Olympics

and Paralympics differently if they

weren't during a pandemic, but I think

it was good for us that we could host the

events," he said.

With the Games almost at a close,

International Paralympic Committee

chief Andrew Parsons declared the

Tokyo Paralympics the "most

important edition" in history.

He pointed to the participation of

163 delegations -- one less than the

London 2012 record -- with 86 teams

winning medals and 62 claiming at

least one gold. "I don't have any doubts

that this was the most important

edition of the Paralympic Games,

because of the pandemic, because we

gave a voice to 1.2 billion persons with

disability," he said.

"The Paralympic movement is

stronger than ever before," he added.

The delegations included two

athletes from Afghanistan, who made a

dramatic arrival with the Games

already in progress after being

evacuated from Kabul.

IPC spokesman Craig Spence said

taekwondo athlete Zakia Khudadadi

and sprinter Hossain Rasouli, who

competed in long jump, had been

offered the chance to carry

Afghanistan's flag at the closing

ceremony.

But there was still plenty of sporting

action to get through, with medals

decided in four other sports.

The United States beat China 3-1 to

take gold in women's sitting volleyball,

with the two teams meeting in the final

for the fourth straight Games.

The Americans had ended China's

run of three consecutive golds five years

ago in Rio, and they got the upper hand

again after establishing an early two-set

lead.

Japan were set to take on the United

States in the men's wheelchair

basketball final later in the day.

In shooting, Slovakian Veronika

Vadovicova won the mixed 50m rifle

prone SH1 final, edging out Sweden's

Anna Normann and Spain's Juan

Antonio Saavedra Reinaldo.

There were also finals in badminton,

which was making its Paralympic debut

in Tokyo.

Novak Djokovic says he's in "good position" to complete the first men's singles calendar-year Grand

Slam in 52 years by winning four more matches to capture the US open.

photo: Ap

Defiant Sharma sees India

into slender lead over

England in fourth Test

SportS DeSk

Rohit Sharma held firm as India lost just one

wicket before lunch on the third day of the

fourth Test against England at the Oval on

Saturday, reports BSS.

India were 108-1 in their second innings at

the interval, nine runs ahead of England's

first innings 290 that saw Ollie Pope score 81

on his Surrey home ground and all-rounder

Chris Woakes, also returning to Test cricket,

make exactly 50. Sharma was 47 not out,

having been missed for the second time this

innings by Rory Burns in the slips, with

Cheteshwar Pujara 14 not out.

England great James Anderson took the

only wicket of the session when he had KL

Rahul caught behind for 46.

India resumed on 43-0 with the five-match

series intriguingly poised at 1-1. Sharma,

having seen an edge on four off Anderson

strike Burns on the boot at second slip, was

20 not out and Rahul 22 not out.

Saturday's overcast conditions, which

aided swing movement and eventually saw

the Oval floodlights switched on, made

batting against Anderson and Woakes, who

took 4-55 in the first innings, difficult.

But that did not stop Sharma driving

Anderson's sixth ball of the day down the

ground for a superb boundary, with Rahul

later matching it with one of his own off

Woakes.

And when Woakes, dropped short, Rahul

hooked him for six over long leg to go to 41.

Next ball, however, Woakes reverted to a

much fuller length and Rahul was given out

lbw. Umpire Alex Wharf, however, had taken

an unusually long time to make a decision

and his verdict was overturned by an India

review that showed the ball missing leg

stump.

Zimbabwe hold off Ireland in T20 thriller

SportS DeSk

Zimbabwe won the final match of their

Twenty20 series against Ireland by five runs

as Craig Ervine starred with an unbeaten 67

in Bready on Saturday, reports BSS.

The series ended 3-2 in Ireland's favour after

the hosts took an unassailable 3-1 lead on

Thursday.

Leading by example, Zimbabwe captain

Ervine hit his 67 from 57 balls.

Dion Myers added 26 for the tourists, who

finished on 124-4 as Ireland's Mark Adair

took 3-23.

Ireland were unable to chase down the

total, struggling to recover from losing

opener Paul Stirling for 19.

Neil Rock top scored with 22 but Luke

Jongwe and Donald Tiripano each took three

wickets to keep Ireland at bay.

Craig Young hit 10 from the penultimate

over to give Ireland a glimpse of a dramatic

victory.

The hosts needed six from the final ball to

win with one wicket left but Josh Little was

run out.

Ireland's Stirling was named player of the

series after recording his maiden T20

international century in the third match.

Ireland and Zimbabwe will meet again in a

three-match one-day international series in

Belfast starting on Wednesday.

Back to drawing

board for Barty after

shock US Open loss

SportS DeSk

Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty

crashed out of the US Open in

the third round on Saturday,

disappointed but ready to put

defeat behind her and start

planning for what comes

next, reports BSS. The

reigning Wimbledon

champion won 11 of 14 games

after dropping the first set,

was then broken twice while

serving for the match and

eventually dropped a shocker

to American Shelby Rogers 6-

2, 1-6, 7-6 (7/5).

"It's never nice when you

have a couple opportunities to

serve out a match and can't

get it done," Barty said. "Six in

the third is brutal, It's a tough

one to swallow. "I found a way

to really turn it in my favor

and just wasn't able to just

quite finish off. It's

disappointing but we'll move

on." The 25-year-old

Australian fell one round shy

of matching her deepest US

Open run. It's the only Slam

where she hasn't reached the

semi-finals.

"I feel like the Slams you're

kind of building up to it and

afterwards there's a reset,"

Barty said. "We reset now. We

go back to the drawing board,

work out what we want to do

for the rest of the season."

Barty won titles this year at

Miami, Melbourne, Stuttgart

and Cincinnati as well as her

second Grand Slam crown

despite being away from her

homeland since February.


MoNDAY, sepTeMBeR 20, 2021

10

Amitabh Reza to return

government grant received

for 'Pencile Aka pori'

Nuhash's 'Moving Bangladesh' selected

for Tokyo International Film Festival

TBT RepoRT

'Moving Bangladesh' is the only Bangladeshi film

selected among 14 other full-length feature films

selected in the Tokyo Gap Financing Market

(TGFM) section at the 34th Tokyo International

Film Festival 2021.

TGFM provides funding to the producers of

feature films and TV series that are still being

made. To qualify for submission, a film must

have 60% of its total budget.

A total of 20 projects were selected this year,

out of which 14 are full-length feature films, three

animated films, one TV series, and two animated

TV series. Earlier, 'Moving Bangladesh' was also

invited to Marché du Film - Festival de Cannes.

This film is inspired by the real-life story of a

group of friends who are sick of being stuck in

traffic and life. So they decided to create an app

called 'Pathao', which would bring a significant

change in everyone's life for good.

Being the first film to make it to Asia's most

celebrated film festival, 'Moving Bangladesh' is a

huge milestone for the Bangladeshi film industry.

The festival is scheduled to run from 30

October to 8 November.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, TGFM will take

place virtually from 1 November to 3 November.

Priyanka Chopra sorry for role

on 'The Activist' show

Another judge from "The Activist" has

spoken up regarding backlash against

the show.

On Thursday, Priyanka Chopra Jonas

addressed the issue in a statement on

her verified Instagram account in the

wake of CBS and its production

partners, Global Citizen and Live Nation,

announcing that changes have been

made to the series.

"I have been moved by the power

of your voices over the past

week. At its core, activism

is fueled by cause and

effect, and when people

come together to raise

their voice about

something, there is

always an effect,"

Chopra Jonas wrote.

"You were heard."

"The show got it

wrong, and I'm sorry

that my participation in

it disappointed many of

you," she added.

The forthcoming series

had originally been

billed as one in which six

activists from around

the world come together

"to bring meaningful

change to one of three

urgent universal causes:

health, education and the

environment" by

competing against each

other.

The concept of pitting

activists against each other was quickly

condemned on social media and in news

reports. Another judge, Julianne Hough,

shared a lengthy note on her verified

Instagram account Tuesday about the

backlash.

"Thank you for using your voices,

calling me in, your accountability, and

your candor," wrote Hough, who is a

judge along with Chopra Jonas and

Usher. "I am deeply listening with an

open heart and mind."

Hough also cited critics who

said the show "promoted

pseudo activism over real

activism," which rather

than lift up the work of

activists, she said, fueled

"hypocrisy."

Moving forward the new

show "will showcase the

tireless work of six activists

and the impact they have

advocating for causes they

deeply believe in," and "each

activist will be awarded a

cash grant for the

organization of their

choice, as was planned for

the original show,"

according to the

statement from the

network and its

partners.

Source: Times Of India

TBT RepoRT

Renowned director Amitabh

Reza Chowdhury will return

government grant received for

making a feature film on

Humayun Ahmed's novel

'Pencile Aka Pori'.

"With due respect to

eminent writer Humayun

Ahmed and his family, I have

decided to back out from the

film as my vision about the

film does not align with the

viewpoint of the authority,"

Amitabh Reza said.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Steve

Rogers hails HYDRA in a new piece of

creepy Captain America fan art. Ever

since he first explained how he could "do

this all day" in 2011's 'Captain America:

The First Avenger', Steve Rogers (Chris

Evans) has been a cornerstone of the

MCU. The same could be said for

HYDRA, the authoritarian, centuryspanning,

terrorist organization bent on

world domination.

In that first film, Rogers battled

Johann Schmidt/Red Skull as he

separated the organization from Nazi

Germany. Following HYDRA's "defeat"

in 1945, it was secretly rebuilt inside of

S.H.I.E.L.D. by Arnim Zola. Thankfully,

a recently-thawed Rogers was there to

stop them and liberate a brainwashed

Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The

Winter Soldier. After that film, HYDRA

seems to be a thing of the past and,

following some time-traveling antics in

Avengers: Endgame, a wrinkly Rogers

passed his shield to Sam Wilson/Falcon

The ace director said,

continuing the film might have

caused more obstacles in the

future.

Aynabaji famed director has

already received Tk18 lakh as

the first installment from the

government.

Amitabh is currently working

on returning the first

installment within the

government's preferred date.

Amitabh Reza had been

planning to make a film on

Humayun Ahmed's 'Pencile Aka

Pori' for the last couple of years.

TBT RepoRT

He even had discussed with

Humayun Ahmed about doing a

feature film on his work when

the writer he was receiving

cancer treatment.

After the death of renowned

writer Humayun Ahmed, a

board of trustees has been

formed to protect the literary

and creative work of the

celebrated writer.

The board of trustees is run by

After much speculation surrounding

who would play the character of

Rabeya in 'Gunnin', Dhallywood

actress Pori Moni has been finally

signed with the eminent filmmaker

Giasuddin Selim's upcoming web

film.

Giasuddin Selim has confirmed the

news on Saturday regarding casting

Pori Moni in 'Gunnin'.

"Pori Moni's name was in the back

of my mind for the role of Rabeya for

quite a few days," he said.

"She fits well for the character.

Another reason I chose her is that I

think she needs to get back to work as

soon as possible after the terrible

hardships she endured in recent

times. I worked with her before in

'Swapnajaal' and web series 'Preeti'. I

(Anthony Mackie)-who officially

inherited the mantle of 'Captain

America' in Disney+'s 'The Falcon and

the Winter Soldier'. Despite rumors of

Humayun Ahmed's family. The

rules and regulations instructed

by the trustee board became

inconvenient for Amitabh Reza,

hence he has decided to back

out 'Pencile Aka Pori'.

The director received

immense praise for his film

Aynabaji. Recently, Amitabh

Reza is awaiting the release of

'Munshigiri' and 'Rickshaw

Girl'.

Pori Moni set to star in

Selim's web film 'Gunin'

have faith in her ability, and I believe

she will portray the character

perfectly," Selim said.

'Gunnin' is an adaptation of a short

story with the same name authored

by prominent writer Hasan Azizul

Haque. It is a story of a farmer's

village against the backdrop of the

'70s. Its script and dialogue are

written by director Selim.

'Gunnin' is the first film that Pori

Moni signed up to work after being

released from the jail on bail recently

following her arrest in a case filed

over illegal possession of foreign

liquor last month.

When asked about the risk of

hampering the film's shooting as Pori

Moni is still fighting the case, Selim

said, "We have to take some risk if we

have to succeed. I have no problem

with that. I think we can manage."

'Captain America' hails Hydra in creepy

evil Steve Rogers's art

Evans reprising his role in the future, his

tenure in the MCU has run its

course...for now. With Phase 4 projects

like Loki and What If…? exploring the

multiverse, alternate versions of Rogers'

"Cap" are still very much a thing.

Digital artist Erathrim on

Instagram recently shared some art,

which sees Rogers' Captain America

sporting the skull and tentacles on

his chest. The creepy piece imagines

a universe where the star-spangled

man hails HYDRA.

With the multiverse in play, its

possible audiences could see the

infamous HYDRA 'Captain America' in

the MCU (most likely in an episode of

What If…?). As was the case in "What

If... Captain Carter Were the First

Avenger?," if the character appears in a

season of Marvel Studios' animated

series, he probably won't be voiced by

Evans.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

H o R o s c o p e

ARIes

(March 21 - April 20) : A strange letter

or phone call could come your way

today, Aries, and the information you

receive could seem rather garbled. It

may be good news or bad, or possibly neither, but

don't accept it at face value. Somewhere along the

line someone has misinterpreted some important

information. If what you hear is important to you,

check the facts before accepting it as truth.

TAURUs

(April 21 - May 21) : Today is a day in

which you need to use logic. You could

receive an unsettling and unexpected

letter or phone call, perhaps involving

money. The person communicating with you is

probably operating under a misconception, so don't

panic if it's bad news. Talk to people in a position to

know the facts before moving ahead with the

information. Chances are it's been garbled.

GeMINI

(May 22 - June 21) : Your level of

concentration generally tends to be

strong, Gemini, but today you could be

temporarily at a disadvantage. Your

thoughts seem vague and disjointed and you're less

able to express yourself clearly and precisely. Make

sure the people around you know that. At the same

time put in extra effort to make yourself understood

or you could cause confusion.

cANceR

(June 22 - July 23) : Today you might

intuit some strange and unsettling

thoughts and feelings from a brother,

sister, or neighbor, Cancer. This person

isn't likely to want to talk about what's bothering

them, even if you express concern. Sometimes

people have to work these things out for themselves.

Just make it clear that you're available to talk about

it and then let it go. That's all you can do now.

Leo

(July 24 - Aug. 23): Some disconcerting

information you receive today from a

group you're affiliated with could have

you wondering if you have a future with

this group, Leo. This might be disillusioning for you,

but this isn't a good day to make any decisions. Wait

a few days and then consider what you heard today

objectively and assess its impact. You'll be in a far

better frame of mind.

VIRGo

(Aug. 24 - Sept. 23): Usually your

mind is sharp and centered, Virgo, but

today you'll probably feel like you can't

think straight. Your thoughts might be

vague and disjointed. If there's something you need to

do immediately, either make a great effort to focus on

the task at hand or get some help. Otherwise, leave

major chores or decisions for another day. You'll be

your old self again tomorrow.

LIBRA

(Sept. 24 - Oct. 23): You generally tend

to be intuitive, Libra, but today your

sensitivity might approach the level

of an oracle - or seem to! You might

have some good luck picking up the thoughts and

feelings of others, but your premonitions, while

plentiful, are off track. Write them down and

check them out later, but don't put any stock in

them, at least not now.

scoRpIo

(Oct. 24 - Nov. 22) : You may have a

very strange and somewhat

disturbing dream about a friend

tonight, Scorpio. It may wake you

up in an unsettled state. Write it down if you

can. This might exorcise some of the emotions

involved and shed some light on whatever

caused you to have the dream. Don't worry!

Chances are it's symbolic and not prophetic.

sAGITTARIUs

(Nov. 23 - Dec. 21): A lack of

communication between you and someone

close could lead to misunderstandings,

Sagittarius. This might not seem that

important, but sometimes a lack of clarity can lead to bad

feelings in the future. Make your intentions clear to everyone.

If someone misinterprets anything thing you say, explain it

more precisely right then. You don't want some careless

words to come back to haunt you.

cApRIcoRN

(Dec. 22 - Jan. 20): Today you might be

so intent on your work that you don't

hear what someone says to you,

Capricorn. No matter how important

your task, take the time to listen and pay attention to

what someone tells you, however trivial it may seem

now. It might not matter in the end, but it's best to

err on the side of caution. Sparing a few minutes

now could avoid a serious rift in a friendship.

AQUARIUs

(Jan. 21 - Feb. 19) : If you're presently

romantically involved, Aquarius, you

could find that one of you feels very

passionate while the other doesn't.

Compromise! If you're currently unattached,

someone for whom you feel nothing could express

an interest in you that's more than friendly. This is a

difficult situation, but you have to sidestep this

person's attentions without hurting any feelings.

pIsces

(Feb. 20 - Mar. 20) : Are you working

at home today, Pisces? This won't make

your efforts any less intense, especially if

your work involves writing or speaking

on the phone. Whatever you're doing will probably

seem urgent. You need to do things carefully or you

may miss important details or express yourself

vaguely. Slow down and don't work too quickly. It may

take longer, but you won't regret it.


moNDAY, SEPTEmBER 20, 2021

11

Army person

killed in Bogura

road crash

BOGURA : An army person

was killed as a bus hit him at

Shajahanpur in Bogura

district on Saturday night.

The deceased was

identified as Shamim

Ahmed, 36, son of Abdur

Rashid of Dolvita village in

Sarishabari upazila of

Jamalpur district. He was a

member of the FI unit of

Bogura Cantonment.

Witnesses said a

Chattogram-bound bus hit

Shamim around 9pm when

he was returning home

riding a bicycle after

shopping at Majhira port

with his eight-year-old son.

Injured Shamim was

immediately rushed to

Bogura Combined Military

Hospital (CMEH) where

doctors declared him dead.

Tourist vehicle comes

under attack in

Rangamati: 2 injured

RANGAMATI : A tourist

vehicle was attacked by

miscreants on Rangamati-

Bandarban road at Golachipa

in Rajasthali upazila of

Rangamati district on

Saturday.

Quoting locals, officer-incharge

of Chandraghona

Police Station, Mafzal

Hossain Khan, said a group of

miscreants ambushed the

vehicle carrying 19 tourists

while passing through the

area around 7:30 pm, reports

UNB.

Two tourists-Waisinu

Marma and Mehaising

Marma- suffered serious

bullet wounds in the attack.

They were taken to

Chandraghona Hospital in

Kaptai upazila. A tense

situation is prevailing in the

area following the incident.

Australia had 'deep

and grave concerns'

over French subs: PM

SYDNEY : Australian Prime

Minister Scott Morrison said

Sunday the French

government would have

known Canberra had "deep

and grave concerns" about

French submarines before the

deal was torn up last week.

"I think they would have

had every reason to know that

we had deep and grave

concerns that the capability

being delivered by the Attack

Class submarine was not

going to meet our strategic

interests and we made very

clear that we would be making

a decision based on our

strategic national interest," he

told a press conference in

Sydney.

GD-1365/21 (6x3)

After a few days, winter vegetables will be available in the market. New vegetables will come to the market

in the middle of Kartik. Farmers are busy in cultivating vegetable Cauliflower in advance due to

good prices. The picture was taken from Fulbari Ghat area of Sherpur Upazila yesterday. Photo : TBT

Myanmar military convoy hit by

roadside bomb near Yangon: junta

YANGON : Myanmar anti-junta dissidents

have carried out a bomb attack on security

forces near Yangon, with several killed in an

ensuing firefight, the military and media

said.

The Southeast Asian nation has been in

turmoil since the military toppled Aung San

Suu Kyi's elected government in February,

sparking mass pro-democracy protests and a

bloody crackdown by the military.

Various townships across Myanmar have

formed so-called "people defence forces" to

fight back against the junta, although the

majority of clashes have been reported in

rural areas.

Security forces were travelling through

Khayan, a suburb of Myanmar's commercial

hub Yangon on Friday when they were

attacked with a homemade bomb, the junta

said in a statement on Saturday.

"Both groups fired back and forth-a

member of the security forces was injured,"

the statement said, adding that firearms and

ammunition were confiscated after the clash.

"Some terrorists were... (killed), one of

them was wounded."

Local media reported at least two

dissidents were killed and one arrested.

Earlier this month a "National Unity

Government" made up mostly of lawmakers

affiliated with Suu Kyi's ousted party called

for a "people's defensive war" and urged

civilians to target junta assets.

Communications towers belonging to the

military-owned Mytel company have been

targeted across Myanmar.

Conflict has also intensified in the Sagaing

and Magway regions, where locals this week

accused the military of burning down homes

and displacing thousands.

"The military has been crushing our region

because of the local resistance forces," a 25-

year-old woman from Magway's Gangaw

township told AFP.

Samajtangrik Chhatra Front-Gaibandha unit brought out a rally in the district

yesterday marking Education Day.

Photo : TBT

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Coronavirus indicators

continue to improve

in Europe

ROME : The main

coronavirus indicators are

improving across Europe,

even though individual

countries use different

strategies to confront the

spread of the pandemic.

According to the

European Center for

Disease Prevention and

Control (ECDC), there were

nearly 380,000 laboratoryconfirmed

coronavirus

cases in the 30-nation

European Economic Area

(EEA), which includes 27

countries that make up the

European Union, plus

Norway, Iceland, and

Lichtenstein, in its latest

weekly report, which closed

Sept. 17.

That is the sixth

consecutive week that the

weekly figure dropped.

The EEA's weekly total

cases are far below the 2021

peak of more than 1.1

million new cases recorded

from March 28 to April 3,

and the all-time peak of

more than 1.4 million new

cases in November 2020.

That improvement has

come despite wide

variations in the vaccination

rate among EEA states.

Church in former

IS Iraqi stronghold

gets new bell

MOSUL : A bell was

inaugurated at a church in

Mosul on Saturday to the

cheers of Iraqi Christians,

seven years after the Islamic

State group overran the

northern city.

Dozens of faithful stood by

as Father Pios Affas rang the

newly installed bell for the first

time at the Syriac Christian

church of Mar Tuma, an AFP

correspondent reported.

It drew applause and

ululations from the crowd,

before prayers were held.

"After seven years of silence,

the bell of Mar Tuma rang for

the first time on the right bank

of Mosul," Affas told them.

IS jihadists swept into

Mosul and proclaimed it their

"capital" in 2014, before they

were driven out three years

later by the Iraqi army after

months of gruelling street

fighting.

The return of the Mosul

church bell "heralds days of

hope, and opens the way, God

willing, for the return of

Christians to their city," said

Affas.

"This is a great day of joy,

and I hope the joy will grow

even more when not only all

the churches and mosques in

Mosul are rebuilt, but also the

whole city, with its houses and

historical sites," he told AFP.

The bell weighing 285

kilogrammes (nearly 630

pounds) was cast in Lebanon

with donations from

Fraternity in Iraq, a French

NGO that helps religious

minorities, and transported

from Beirut to Mosul by plane

and truck.

GD-1364/21 (6x4)

Virus lockdown end in

sight for Australia's

second-largest city

MELBOURNE : Australia's second-largest city

will exit its coronavirus lockdown in late

October if vaccine targets are met under an

official roadmap released Sunday.

About five million people in Melbourne have

been under stay-at-home orders since August

5, the sixth lockdown they have endured so far

during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officials in Victoria state, which includes

Melbourne, announced those orders would be

lifted when 70 percent of over-16s are fully

vaccinated. They projected that target would

be reached around October 26.

"Lockdown will end. The (limited) reasons to

leave your home and the curfew will no longer

be in place," Victoria premier Dan Andrews

said, adding that a raft of restrictions would still

be enforced.

Restaurants and pubs will be allowed to

reopen but only with a maximum of 50 fully

vaccinated people seated outdoors, while a ban

on visitors to homes will remain in place.

But once the vaccination rate lifts to 80

percent-projected by roughly November 5 --

fully vaccinated Melbourne residents will enjoy

a greater range of freedoms, including no

masks outdoors, up to 10 visitors to homes,

and the option to work from offices.Andrews

said the health system was likely to come under

"intense pressure" as a result of the changes,

but the staggered reopening would help

Melbourne to "normalise" its virus response.

"We cannot perennially or permanently

suppress this virus. Lockdowns have been

about buying time to get to 70 and 80 percent

vaccination," he said.

"We are fast approaching those milestones

and at that point we have got to open the place

up, because remaining closed forever has its

own cost in every sense of that word."

The announcement came a day after several

police officers were wounded and more than

200 protesters were arrested at a violent antilockdown

demonstration in Melbourne.

Officers used pepper spray on the crowd, who

defied stay-at-home orders to march through an

inner-city suburb in opposition to pandemic

restrictions.Melbourne spent almost four

months in lockdown last year, and has been

recording hundreds of new cases each day

despite enforcing strict lockdown rules. After

pursuing a "zero Covid" strategy for much of the

pandemic, Australia has struggled to contain the

more infectious Delta variant and state leaders

are increasingly moving to ease restrictions once

higher vaccination coverage is reached.

Police have arrested Atiqur Rahman Rony alias Quarter Rony, a terrorist

identified in multiple murder and arms cases. There are 9 cases against him

in different police stations including Tangail Sadar police station. Photo : TBT

GD-1362/21 (4x3)

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Monday, Dhaka: September 20, 2021; Ashwin 5, 1428 BS; Safar 12, 1443 Hijri

A bird and a squirrel are eating leftover food. The picture is taken from Suhrawardi Udyan

on Sunday.

Photo : TBT

School Reopening

Instead of their playground, they

came back to a paddy field

KUSHTIA : Returning after 18

months, the students of Ramnagar

Paschimpara Primary School in

Mirpur upazila of Kushtia district

have been deprived of utilising their

beloved school playground for any

recreation, as the authorities concerned

turned the playground into a

paddy field during the pandemicinduced

closure of schools.

After the reopening on September 12,

students all over the country returned to

their classrooms with much enthusiasm

after a long closure due to the Covid-19

pandemic.

But the students of Ramnagar

Paschimpara Primary joined classes

with a heavy sigh as they returned to see

what had been their playground, had

now turned into a paddy field.

This was not a case of neglect - a deliberate

decision was taken to cultivate

paddy on the children's playground,

and implemented.

The paddy cultivated belongs to

Ruhul Azam Keru, president of the

school managing committee, wh o took

advantage of the school closure. The

students and guardians demanded justice

and immediate steps in this regard.

According to the school sources, the

school stands on government-owned

land, and the process is on to place it

under government control. The officials

of Upazila Primary Education Office

also visited the school.

Global Covid-19

DHAKA : The global Covid-19 caseload

has surpassed 228 million, but there are

some unmistakable signs that the pandemic

is starting to wane finally, both

globally and in Bangladesh.

With more and more people around

the globe vaccinated, it should also be

more difficult for the virus to gain transmission

momentum on Sunday, than at

any previous point since the novel coronavirus

appeared in late 2019.

As of this, the 37th week of 2021, case

numbers are falling in a majority of

countries around the world, according to

Johns Hopkins University data analysed

by the European CDC. According to

their analysis, although new case numbers

have increased from the week

before in 64 countries, there are now 108

countries in which they have decreased -

including the worst-affected countries

like the USA, India, Brazil, South Africa.

Bangladesh is among them.

There are also 5 countries - mostly

Pacific Island nations with small populations

- now that have not seen any new

infections for four consecutive weeks. In

eleven countries, case numbers are said

to be holding steady from where they

were a week ago. Of the majorly affected

Talking to the reporters, the students

of the school claimed that they used to

have joyous times in the school playground

by playing soccer and other

games, but since returning they have

had none of that.

The students also demanded that they

be allowed to return to their beloved

playground, in its previous state.

Acting headmaster of Ramnagar

Paschimpara Primary School said "The

land of the school is owned by the government

and the quality of the school

was good. I have no idea why the member

of a managing committee has cultivated

paddy in the playground."

Contacted over phone, Ruhul Azam

denied the allegation against him.

Expressing shock over the incident,

Nazrul Karim, general secretary of

Mirpur Upazila Sachetan Nagarik

Committee, demanded immediate

action against the school committee

president Ruhul Azam.

Masud Rana, Upazila Primary School

Education Officer, said "There is no

scope to cultivate paddy on the playground

of a school.

A team will visit the spot and action

will be taken after that."

Linkon Biswas, Upazila Nirbahi

Officer (UNO), said "Those who were

involved in the incident would not be

spared and steps will be taken to bring

the playground back to its previous state

and shape."

World turning the

corner, at last?

countries, the UK is in this category.

The shift is also being reflected in policy

shifts: on Friday, the UK announced

it would be moving Bangladesh (and 8

other countries) off its Red List for travellers.

The total caseload and fatalities from

the virus stand at 228,113,556 and

4,685,144, respectively, as of Sunday

morning, according to JHU.

So far, 5,883,069,259 Covid vaccine

doses have been administered across the

globe.

The US has logged 42,048,376 cases

and 673,464 deaths to date, according to

the JHU data.

Brazil, which has the world's secondhighest

pandemic death toll after the

United States and the third-largest caseload

after the US and India, recorded

21,230,325 cases with 590,508 fatalities,

as of Wednesday.

India's COVID-19 tally rose to

33,417,390 on Saturday, as 35,662 new

cases were registered during the past 24

hours across the country, showed the

federal health ministry's latest data.

Besides, 281 more deaths were also

recorded since Friday morning, taking

the death toll to 444,529.

Declining trend

in Covid cases

continues:DGHS

DHAKA : The number of Covid-19 cases

in Bangladesh continues to fall, said the

Directorate General of Health Services

(DGHS) on Sunday, reports UNB.

DGHS spokesperson Prof. Dr.

Mohammad Nazmul Islam revealed the

information at a virtual press briefing

after reviewing the infection situation of

the last 30 days.

"In the past seven days, 12,758 people

tested positive for Covid-19, the figure is

3,758 less than the previous seven days.

Besides, the death rate also dropped in

the last seven days. The case positivity

rate was 7% in the first two days of the

last week and then it dropped to 6% or a

little bit more,"he said.

According to a report from January to

September, some 11,077 people got infected in

February and a total of 40,682 people tested

positive in Sept. The highest number of Covid

patients was in July with 3,36,226 , he said.

Among the top ten districts with high

infection rate, a total of 5, 13,942

patients were detected in Dhaka district

while 22,629 in Noakhali.

"We have not got any directives to

resume mass vaccination campaign

across the country and if there is any

decision we'll let you (people) know,"

said Nazmul.

Regarding the vaccination of children

between 12-17 years, the DGHS

spokesperson said the Health Ministry,

DGHS will take decision as per the suggestion

of the National Technical

Advisory Committee.

How Dhaka became

a city of restaurants

DHAKA : The burgeoning population of

Dhaka city, especially the youth and

young families, has been growing

increasingly dependent on restaurants

or eateries for their recreation and entertainment

for quite a while now. Over the

past two years of the pandemic, this

would seem to have become even more

pronounced, reports UNB.

As the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021

have forced people to stay at home and

rely more on home delivery services and

takeouts from the eateries in the capital,

residents in Dhaka rushed to the eateries

to have some quality time with family

and friends within the familiar, cozy

ambiences of city restaurants, once or

whenever the lockdowns were minimized

or lifted intermittently.

The GoB eased the latest lockdown on

August 11, and since then, the restaurants

were immediately geared up to

welcome the food-lovers back, with open

arms and exciting offerings.

This decision certainly inspired a large

number of people, especially the urban

youth and middle to upper-middle class

families, to enjoy their meals and catchups/meet-ups

in the restaurants.

In order to attract customers, many

restaurants have been inviting customers

over social media platforms, especially

through the food blogging groups on

Facebook, noted food reviewers and their

YouTube channels, with delicious offerings

consisting of scrumptious food items

within lucrative price brackets.

"We, the urban youths, don't really

have a large number of options in Dhaka

where we can see our friends and dear

ones, except for the restaurants and coffee-places.

BNP is conspiring abroad to

tarnish country's image:Quader

DHAKA : Awami League General

Secretary Obaidul Quader on Sunday

said BNP is creating disorder inside the

country and hatching conspiracy abroad

to tarnish the country's image. He said

this at a press conference on contemporary

issues at his official residence here.

Quader, also road transport and

bridges minister, strongly condemned

BNP's demonstration and protest prior

to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's

arrival in New York to join the United

Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

He said the premier didn't go abroad for

the last 19 months due to coronavirus pandemic

but she decided to join the UNGA

considering the national interests.

There are scopes to hold bilateral

talks with leaders of different countries

on mutual interests on the sidelines

of the UNGA and that is why the

prime minister is going to join the

UNGA in person instead of joining it

virtually, he said.

Quader said the prime minister didn't

want to lose the scopes of expressing

opinions in favor of Bangladeshi people

on different issues including coronavirus

(Covid-19) pandemic, climate change

KHULNA : A total of 10 Union Parishads

in Khulna, Satkhira and Bagerhat districts

will go to the first phase of polls in Khulna

division today.

The electronic voting machines (EVMs)

will be used in the polling of all 95 centers

under seven upazilas in three districts in

the division. The elections will be held

from 8 am to 4 pm without any break.

Earlier, the Election Commission (EC)

decided to hold elections to 367 UPs of the

country in the first phase.

But, on June 10 last, the EC postponed

polls to 163 union parishads due to the

high infection rate of coronavirus. The EC

has already instructed the authorities concerned

to hold the elections following the

and Rohingya crisis at the large forum of

the UN in view of the importance of the

assembly.

"Being astonished, we are noticing

that BNP has started waging demonstrations

in New York centering this crucial

visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

before her arrival there," he said.

Mentioning that BNP lost people's

confidence due to evil politics, the AL

general secretary said BNP is now holding

indoor series meetings to find ways

to create unrest in the country to fish in

troubled water.

He said none can break the records of

political repression and cruelty that BNP

created during their government's

tenure. Quader said Sheikh Hasina's

government doesn't believe in filing

secret (gayebi) cases, but if anyone

indulges in wrongdoing, he or she would

be treated as wrongdoers.

Pointing to BNP, he said BNP's evil

attempts to thwart the country's prevailing

stability will never be successful. The

AL general secretary said BNP again

started hatching conspiracies under new

strategies to make hindrance on the

ways of strengthening democracy.

Elections to 10 Union Parishads

in Khulna division today

health guidelines. Talking to BSS,

Regional Election Officer of Khulna Md

Younus Ali said, EVM machines and others

election equipment have already been

sent to all EVM polling centers.

"Adequate security measures have been

taken while necessary preparations have

been completed for holding a free fair and

credible election," he said.

"Law enforcement agencies led by magistrates

will patrol all polling centers

including vulnerable centers," said Khulna

deputy commissioner Md Moniruzzaman

Talukder. Action will be taken against law

and order situation violators, he said,

adding that local administration is determined

to hold acceptable polls.

HC grants bail to

Keya chairman

DHAKA : The High Court on Sunday

granted six-week anticipatory bail to

Chairman of Keya Cosmetics Ltd

Abdul Khaleque Pathan and his wife

in cases filed by the Anti-Corruption

Commission over money laundering

and acquiring illegal assets.

The bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam

Talukder and SM Mujibur Rahman also

asked the couple to surrender their passports

and their three children to surrender

to a lower court by six weeks.

Advocate Nitai Ray Chowdhury

represented the defendants before

the court while Deputy Attorney

General AKM Amin Uddin Manik

stood for the state.

On September 15, ACC filed five cases

against the Keya group Chairman, his

wife Nasrin, two daughters and son for

acquiring assets beyond their known

income and money laundering at ACC

combined district office-1.

In the cases, ACC complained that the

accused acquired illegal assets worth

more than Tk 183.84 crore and also

concealed information about wealth

worth more than Tk 96.29 crore. On

September 16, the accused sought anticipatory

bail from the High Court.

Testimony of PWs ends

in graft case against

Lutfozzaman Babar

DHAKA : A court on Sunday adjourned

till September 21 the hearing of a graft

case against former state minister

Lutfozzaman Babar.

Judge Mohammad Shahidul Islam of

Dhaka Special Judge Court-7 passed the

order as last prosecution witness (PW)

and investigation officer (IO) of the case

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)

Assistant Director Mirza Jahidul Alam

testified and was cross examined by the

defence afterwards.

ACC filed the case against Babar with

Ramna Police Station on January 13 in

2008, for amassing illegal wealth worth

around Taka 7.05 crore.

Deputy Assistant Director of the ACC

Rupok Kumar Saha on July 16, 2008,

filed charge-sheet in the case. The court

on August 12, 2008, indicted Babar in

the graft case.

Police obstructed the activists of Bangladesh Chhatra Moitri who tried to besiege Secretariat

demanding cent percent vaccination of the students.

Photo : Star Mail

It's shared responsibility to ensure

Rohingya isn't a forgotten crisis: UN

DHAKA : UN Resident Coordinator in

Bangladesh Mia Seppo on Sunday said it

is a "shared responsibility" of the international

community to make sure that the

Rohingya crisis is not a forgotten one as

the world faces more crises.

"Making sure that the Rohingya crisis

doesn't become a forgotten crisis is a

shared responsibility. Obviously, the government

of Bangladesh through its foreign

policy is doing a lot to make sure that

the crisis is not forgotten," said the UN

official while responding to questions at

an event titled "DCAB Talk."

She recognised that Bangladesh has

played a critical role in a "defining

tragedy" of their time despite challenges

of its own and mentioned that they are at

the final stage to begin its operations at

Bhasan Char to support the Rohingyas

and the massive efforts of the government

of Bangladesh. Diplomatic

Correspondents Association, Bangladesh

(DCAB) arranged the DCAB Talk at the

Foreign Service Academy. DCAB

President Pantho Rahaman and its

General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also

spoke. Recognizing Bangladesh's massive

investment in Bhasan Char, Mia said

there has been, rather, lot of negative

coverage about Bhasan Char and it is

important that they have somehow managed

to move away from that.

She said they want to be partners in

trying to create something so that everybody

can live and the conversation that

they are having now is important.

Regarding the proposed

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

to engage in Bhasan Char, Mia said there

are protections and humanitarian imperatives

and they are obviously looking to

support the massive efforts of the government

in Bhasan Char.

"We're also looking to really work with

those Bangladeshi NGOs who are already

in Bhasan Char and providing services,"

she said, indicating that they will be joining

this partnership as soon as they have

agreed on the MoU.

Mia indicated that this will be a little bit

different from their role in Cox's Bazar as

what she says the history of these two is a

bit different.

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