London, 30 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the people of all strata to resist terrorism and militancy. The Premier told this at a mammoth public rally in Faridpur yesterday afternoon. Earlier, the Premier inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of 33 development projects from the meeting venue.

Prime Minister said her government has been working tirelessly to ensure basic needs of the people including food, healthcare, education, clothes and housing. The Premier also said her government re-opened the community clinics, and currently people are receiving healthcare services from 18,337 such clinics and union health centers. The Premier said this while World Health Organisation Regional Director for Southeast Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official Ganabhaban residence yesterday morning. In the meeting the WHO assured of continuing its assistance in Bangladesh to eliminate three major diseases namely HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria from the country.

President Md. Abdul Hamid urged Georgia, Romania and Ukraine to take pragmatic steps to enhance the bilateral relations and expand trade and investment potentials between Bangladesh and the three countries. The President told this while three non-resident envoys namely Archil Dzuliashvili of Georgia, Radu Octavian DOBRE of Romania, Dr Igor Polikha of Ukraine called on him at Bangabhaban in Dhaka yesterday.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said the incumbent government’s digitisation process has covered a large part here to make Bangladesh a digital country. He made the remark while addressing a programme at Baridhara in the capital yesterday. He said the present government has made the digital services faster as about half of the population over six crore people come under digitalisation.

Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu said Bangladesh has a target to increase the export of readymade garment to US$50 billion by 2021. The Minister said this while speaking as a panel speaker on Focus on the Textile and Garments at Abu Dhabi yesterday. He said the government has taken a number of steps for the welfare of garment worker and the labor law has been prepared for the development of the sector.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali yesterday demanded international recognition of March 25 as the 'Genocide Day'. The Minister said this while inaugurating a seminar in the city.

Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday while speaking at a seminar said the government would take steps to bring back 195 war criminals of Pakistani military as the country breached the deal under which they had been handed over to it after Bangladesh's Liberation War.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu yesterday said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming trip to India would open up a “golden door” of opportunity in the relationship of the two neighbouring and friendly countries. The Minister was talking to journalists from India at his office.

Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya yesterday said Bangladesh wants to determine disaster management strategies by ensuring global standard compatible with the developed countries. The Minister said this at the inaugural ceremony of a two-day workshop at a city hotel.

European Parliament members yesterday acknowledged the massive progress Bangladesh has made in its readymade garment (RMG) sector. European Parliament member Norbert Neuser told reporters before wrapping up their three-day visit here. The lawmaker said they saw lots of 'really good progress in Bangladesh.

The Religious Affairs Ministry yesterday extended the pilgrims' registration period for the private Hajj agencies who have not received their passports yet until April 10.

The Comilla City Corporation (CCC) will pass through election today. Election Commission has taken all out measures to hold the election in a free, fair and credible atmosphere.

Bangladesh witnessed a sharp rise of internet users by 4.66 lakh in a month. Among the total users, mobile internet connection was 6.31 crore, according to the latest statistics released by the BTRC.

Sharmin Akter, the Bangladeshi girl who successfully resisted her family's efforts to marry her off at the age of 15, has been honored with the International Woman of Courage Award by US First Lady Melania Trump. A total of 12 women from around the world received the 2017 International Woman of Courage Award.

A three-day International Tourism Fair begins today to explore country's potentiality in tourism sector.

London, 29 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said Bangabandhu had sacrificed his life for bringing freedom of the people and now it's the responsibility of the countrymen to protect this freedom. The Prime Minister was addressing at the publication ceremony of Karagarer Rojnamcha (Diary in Jail), the second autobiography of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at the Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh auditorium at Farmgate in the capital yesterday afternoon. In the book, Bangabandhu particularly described events and experiences of his imprisonment from 1966 to 1968.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the main aim of the government is to improve the living condition of the down-trodden people. The Prime Minister made the remarks when a delegation of the European Parliament called on her at her official Ganabhaban residence yesterday evening. The Prime Minister also told the Delegation that 331 percent salary hike has been made for the new entrances in the garment sector.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has written a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina acknowledging the 'strong and growing' relationship between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. Visiting Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Simon McDonald handed over the letter to Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali yesterday morning. Earlier he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on regular holding of the strategic dialogue with his Bangladesh counterpart Shahidul Haque.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) yesterday approved 12 projects, including one for urban governance and infrastructure development, involving a total of Tk 10,147.57 crore. The approval was given in the ECNEC meeting held at the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar with ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said that the entire reserve heist money could be recovered from the Philippines, saying the authorities concerned in the Philippines is providing supports to return the stolen money. He told the media emerging from a meeting with Bangladesh officials along with Law Minister Anisul Huq on recovery of reserve heist money.

Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad and CPA Executive Committee’s Chairperson Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said the present government has been working relentlessly to change the fate of the people and the economic empowerment of women. The Speaker said this while an European Parliamentary Delegation yesterday called on her at her office in Parliament. During the meeting, they discussed on the country’s parliamentary activities, economic empowerment of women, social security and readymade garment.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Bangladesh is getting GSP facility from the EU under the 'Everything but Arms (EBA)' and the trade facilities of the EU are playing important role for socioeconomic development of Bangladesh. The Minister said this while visiting European Parliament Delegation yesterday called on him at his secretariat office. The Delegation also expressed satisfaction over the welfare and safety measures taken by the government for the country's RMG workers.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh needs continued support and assistance of the UK government in fulfilling the goals to turn Bangladesh as Sonar Bangla. He said this at an event marking 47th Independence and National Day in the Palace of Westminster's Terrace Pavilion on Monday. In the meeting some 60 members of the British Parliament said Bangladesh has made significant progress and they would stand by this South Asian country in its efforts to better the lives of its people.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid yesterday told Journalist that the government is determined to ensure 100 percent electricity in 182 upazilas by December this year and also committed to bring all the people under the power coverage by 2021. He said currently 80 percent people are getting electricity and the power generation capacity reached to 15,389 MW.

Bangladesh has urged the Danish businesses to import more products from Bangladesh ranging from ready-made garments to ocean-going ships, ceramics to pharmaceuticals, jute products to IT products and services. Ambassador Muhammad A Muhith made the call at a reception on Monday in Copenhagen.

London, 22 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the guardians and professionals to look into their children activities so that they cannot take the path of militancy, violence and drug abuse. The Prime Minister said the government will take every measure for those, who want to return from the destructive path. The Premier said this while addressing a mammoth public meeting at Freedom Fighter Asaduzzaman Stadium in Magura. Listing her government's development activities, the Prime Minister said every person would get electricity facilities. Earlier, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of 28 development projects involving over Tk 327 crore in Magura.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) yesterday approved Tk 1.15 lakh crore 4th Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Program, aiming to improve equity, quality and efficiency for gradually moving towards Universal Health Coverage and achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The approval came at a meeting of the ECNEC held at the NEC Conference Room in the city with ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. A total of nine projects were approved yesterday involving an estimated cost of Tk 1, 230.34 lakh crore.

The LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said the government has taken multiple steps to redesign and redevelop the water resources across Bangladesh and hoped that the country would see a positive picture of all polluted rivers within next six years. The Minister said this at a seminar in the city yesterday.

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday called upon teachers and guardians to keep a close watch on students so that they cannot get involved in militancy. The Minister said this while speaking at the 6th convocation of Southeast University at Banghabandhu International Conference Center in the city.

Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzel Hossain Chowdhury Maya yesterday said a disaster response committee will be formed at every ward of 11 city corporations by May 31 next aiming to cope with any disaster aftermath. The Minister said this while addressing the inaugural session of a three-day workshop organised by the ministry at Bangladesh Institute of Management (BIM) in the capital. The Minister said as innovation, solar panels will be set up on boats of 1,000 bede (gypsies) people.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam told in Chittagong yesterday that Bangladesh has intensified its diplomatic efforts to get UN recognition for March 25 as Mass Killing Day commemorating the atrocities and mass killing committed by Pakistani occupation forces in 1971. He said Bangladesh will have to approach each country separately to get support and it will first knock on the doors of those countries which stood beside us during 1971 Liberation War.

State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid has said the government is likely to sign a credit deal involving $1.6 billion with Indian Exim Bank in the first week of April for the 1320MW Rampal power plant. Last Sunday, the Legislative & Parliamentary Affairs Division of the law ministry gave the go-ahead for the signing of the facility agreement for construction of Rampal power plant.

State minister for labour and employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu yesterday said effective steps are underway to fix up national standard for proper compensating for the on duty injured or dead laborers’. The Minister said this at a view-exchange meeting at CIRDAP auditorium in the city.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki said Bangladesh is regarded as the role model for the empowerment of women in the world as the country has achieved remarkable success in advancing women under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She made this remark while speaking at the ongoing sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which is being held from 13-24 March at UN Headquarters in New York.

London, 21 March 2017

The Cabinet yesterday approved the draft of Urban and Zone Planning Bill, 2017 aimed at bringing discipline in land management and restricting the misuse of land in the country. The Cabinet gave the approval in principle at its regular weekly meeting held at the Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The Cabinet also approved a proposal for the inclusion of the 25th March in the Class 'Ka' of the circular issued by the Cabinet Division that declared the Day as the Mass Killing Day. The Cabinet also approved in principle the draft of 'The Textile Act, 2017', 'The Expatriate Welfare Board Act, 2017' and 'The Pesticides Bill, 2017'.

President Md. Abdul Hamid said upcoming International Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference will brighten the image of the country worldwide. The President said this while Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury made a courtesy call on him at Bangabhaban yesterday. During the meeting, the Speaker informed about the overall preparation of holding upcoming International Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference slated for the April 1 to 5. Dr. Chaudhury informed that as many as 1300 delegates from 113 member countries across the world have already registered for the conference.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said that the home economics education has been playing a direct role in achieving 10 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) announced by the United Nations (UN). In a message on the eve of the World Home Economics Day, the Premier said that observance of the day in Bangladesh would flourish the home economics education here.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday invited Singaporean investors and businessmen to avail the business and investment opportunities being offered by the government for foreigners for highlighting the sustainable economic and business performance of Bangladesh. The Minister was addressing the Bangladesh Business Seminar in Singapore Business Federation (SBF) auditorium. The Minister urged Singapore investors to invest in many of the country's promising sectors including garment, IT, pharmaceuticals and ship building as well as in leather products, furniture and frozen fruit industries.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Memon yesterday said the government is working relentlessly to address infrastructure and connectivity problems of the country for flourishing tourism industry. The Minister was addressing a roundtable discussion on tourism taking France Ambassador in Dhaka Sophie Aubert and Canadian High Commissioner Benoit Pierre Laramee to Rose Garden Palace in Old Dhaka.

State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan yesterday assured of considering the proposals relating to exemption of tax from manufacturing of laptop, computer and internet based devices for flourishing the IT industry. The assurance came when ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak and the ICT trade body leaders submitted a 17-point proposal for development of ICT sector at a pre-budget discussion held at the Bangladesh Computer Council Auditorium in the capital.

Bangladesh Bank has issued a master circular on rules and regulations of the Refinancing Scheme for Environment-friendly products and initiatives. As per the circular, entrepreneurs will get bank loan at lower interest rate for some 51 environment-friendly products and initiatives in 8 sectors under a Tk 200 crore re-financing scheme. It said the government has set the solar irrigation pumping system as a priority sector to replace the conventional diesel and electricity-run pumps.

Bangladesh Bank gives permission to state-owned Sonali Bank to take necessary step to bring PayPal's operation in Bangladesh. Foreign Exchange Policy Department of Bangladesh Bank issued the order yesterday to make the global online payment system PayPal available in Bangladesh.

The government has taken a project involving Taka 182 crore to preserve 360 historical places of the Liberation War aimed at letting the new generation know the glory and facts of the history of 1971 war. The government will also set up Muktijuddha Smriti Jadughar (Liberation War Memorial Museum) at each of the 360 historical sites. The project is expected to be completed by June 2019.

London, 20 March 2017

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday congratulated all the players and officials of Bangladesh cricket team for their victory against Sri Lanka in the 100th Test match. Prime Minister talked to Bangladesh skipper over phone and congratulated on their historic Test victory uttering 'Joy Bangla' and prayed for continued success of the Bangladesh cricket team.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday assured of extending all kinds of cooperation for further expansion of weaving industry. The Premier also put emphasis on modernization of weaving industry and multipurpose use of its products. The Prime Minister was addressing the first national council of Bangladesh Tanti League at the auditorium of Krishibid Institution at Farmgate in the capital.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday underscored the need for taking additional care for the Basic Bank to solve the bank's various problems, including its capital deficit. The Finance Minister told journalists after a meeting with representatives of state-owned specialized banks at secretariat in the city.

Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu said sustainable and environment-friendly industrialisation is the political commitment of the present government. The Minister said this while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the month-long 25th Chittagong International Trade Fair-2017 at Railway Polo-ground field yesterday. The Minister said the National Industry Policy-2016 has been drafted with a view to creating entrepreneurs and production-friendly industries in the country.

Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan yesterday underscored the need for building a social movement to save the rivers across the country. The Minister was speaking at an opinion exchange meeting titled ‘Save the Rivers, Save the Country, Save the People’ in the capital’s National Press Club auditorium as the main discussant. The Minister said, we have to save the rivers to save the country.

State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak yesterday said the government has planned to bring the country's all unions under high-speed internet connectivity by 2018.The State Minister was addressing an inaugural function of Jhenaidah Pourasabha's "Online billing and payment system & Human waste treatment plan project" as the chief guest.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Former Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni said the government of Bangladesh had been working relentlessly to ensure the equal and active participation of women in the mainstream socio-economic activities of the country. She said this at an event in the UN headquarters in New York mentioning that Bangladesh would continue to empower women to unlock their potentials. She was leading the Bangladesh parliamentary delegation to the IPU event.

Foreign investors can now invest their funds in local companies through purchasing shares with local currency directly as the Central Bank opened a window. It will also help in averting exchange-rate-fluctuation risk during the investment period. The Central Bank issued a clarification to this effect yesterday, asking all Authorised Dealer (AD) banks in foreign exchange to follow the latest instructions on issuance of shares in favour of non-residents by debit to non-resident Taka accounts with overseas branches and correspondents.

A Myanmar government delegation has reached Cox's Bazar to visit three camps where the Rohingyas are sheltered. The 10-member team arrived in the tourist town in the morning yesterday and met the Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner at around 11:00am.

A new gas pipeline is likely to be installed through the Padma Bridge to expand gas supply to the south and south western region and carry the LNG to be imported through Payra port to the national grid. The government is undertaking two separate projects for constructing two 30-inch diameter gas pipelines, one in the western part of Padma Bridge and another in the south-western part, Planning Commission sources said. The first pipeline will stretch 45 km from Langlolband in Narayanganj to Mawa in Munshiganj and the length of the second one will be 95 km from Jajira point to Gopalganj.

The government has restructured the Health Ministry by bifurcating it into two division namely 'Health Services', and 'Health Education and Family Welfare'. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered the bifurcation of the Ministry in line with the Rules of Business.

London, 16 March 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid has urged authorities to take extra care in planning development initiatives in environmentally delicate low lying haor region, as he wrapped up a three-day visit at Astagram, Kishoreganj on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government is making all out efforts to develop the country in a faster pace. She said this to the Brazilian Ambassador Wanja Campos Da Nobrega who paid a farewell call on her at her office.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday donated Tk 1 crore for the treatment of Dr Sabrina Nusrat, wife of Bangladesh Air Force Squadron Leader Md Mahmudul Hasan, from her Relief and Welfare Fund.

An Indian official said the Indian Union Cabinet yesterday approved revised MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between Bangladesh and India for establishing border haats which is chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reports the economic times.

Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud yesterday apparently reminded India of its commitment over Teesta saying Bangladesh awaited the draft deal on the matter to be turned into an agreement. He said this to the media at CIRDAP auditorium, Dhaka.

Malaysia has started recruiting Bangladeshi workers on the basis of government-to-government (G-to-G) arrangement. Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam, BSc said this to the media at his office yesterday.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has reiterated Bangladesh government's zerotolerance to terrorism. He said this to the 3rd Counter Terrorism Conference concluding in New Delhi yesterday. Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari inaugurated the three-day conference organized by India Foundation at New Delhi.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim has said Bangladesh is working jointly with WHO and other partners to end the scourge of tuberculosis in the country. Ministers, officials and health activists from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Korea, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal and Timor Leste apart from representatives from World Health Organization participated in the meeting held in New Delhi yesterday, said a press release.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday said the government would take initiative to thwart any digital fraudulence as part of its effort to ensure consumer rights. He was addressing a seminar that organised to mark the World Consumer Rights Day at TCB Auditorium in the capital.

Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu yesterday said the present government is committed to ensure sustainable and environment-friendly green industrialisation aimed at turning the country developed one in the globe. He was addressing as the chief guest the inaugural ceremony of the ‘National Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Fair-2017’ organised by SME Foundation at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) at Dhaka.

State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications, Tarana Halim, called for a meeting today regarding monitoring posts with offensive content on Facebook.

State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak yesterday said the government will provide training to 30,000 women to create a pool of women entrepreneurs. He said this to a function at the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) auditorium.

Online VAT registration under the new Value Added Tax (VAT) law has begun and businesspeople will be able to take electronic business identification number (e-BIN) online up to June 30.

London, 14 March 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid yesterday urged all concerned specially guardians and teachers of educational institutions to be aware of the misguided youths involved in militancy and terrorism. He said this to a public gathering on President Abdul Hamid Government College premises at Itna upazila, Kishoreganj.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina goes to Laxmipur today to inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of 27 development projects in the district. This will be the first visit of her to the district since 1997.

The Cabinet yesterday approved the draft of 'The Standards of Weights and Measures Bill, 2017', raising the amount of fine for cheating in weight and measurement. The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at the Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan during her upcoming visit to New Delhi in April. ‘It's exceptional because no head of state stays at Rashtrapati Bhavan,’ Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla said this to the media after his meeting with Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque at the ministry of foreign affairs at Dhaka.

Shaiyo Triple A, a business conglomerate of Thailand, has expressed its keen interest to invest in Bangladesh to generate electricity from garbage. Thai group's founding President Dr Suwira Songmetta conveyed the interest for the ‘waste-to-energy’ project when he met State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid at his ministry yesterday. Thai ambassador in Dhaka Panpimon Suwannapongse led the Thai delegation.

The Economic Relations Division has finalised a foreign assistance policy that will make the government, development partners and NGOs accountable for not making the best use of aid money. The final draft of the 'National Policy on Development Cooperation', which aims to cut debt risk and quick implementation of donors' soft money, was finalised last week at a meeting chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

Celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations, Bangladesh and Switzerland have vowed to strengthen cooperation on a wide range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues, said a press release of the Swiss embassy in Dhaka yesterday. In his letter, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, wrote that the excellent relations have grown and multiplied since March 13, 1972, the day when Switzerland recognised independent Bangladesh. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, in his letter to Burkhalter, highlighted the historic relations.

Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque yesterday said police forces of different countries needed direct communications for sharing of real-time information on terrorists and quickly responding to terror strikes. The diplomatic procedures are time-consuming and will come to no use in catching terrorists, he said this on the second day of a regional security conference at Dhaka. The three-day ‘Chiefs of Police Conference on Regional Cooperation in Curbing Violent Extremism and Transnational Crime’ was organised by Interpol and Bangladesh Police.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque yesterday dismissed an international security expert's statement that Islamic State carried out the July 1 Gulshan attack last year. The expert, Prof Rohan Gunaratna, lacks ‘experience in real issues’ about Bangladesh, IGP said this to the media at Dhaka.

Prominent business leaders have shown interest in building a ‘strong economic partnership’ with India through private sector initiatives. They shared their views at a reception hosted by Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla at the new Indian High Commission Complex on Sunday, said a press release.

London, 13 March 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid yesterday urged the public representatives, including local government ones, to work sincerely and honestly to take various services to the doorsteps of general people. He said this to a public rally on the premises of Abdul Haque College in Mithamoin, Kishoreganj.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said Bangladesh must have the preparation to give a befitting reply if it is attacked by anyone although it is a peace-loving nation. She also said Bangladesh is a peaceful nation and the aim of country's foreign policy is to maintain friendship with all but the nation never compromised with anybody in case of its self-respect. She said this while addressing a function marking the commissioning of two submarines-BNS Nabajatra and BNS Joyjatra at Chittagong Naval Base.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated the ‘Sheikh Hasina Water Treatment Plant’ of Chittagong WASA yesterday. Addressing the inaugural function at Chittagong Boat Club as chief guest she said people sent her to power for development of Bangladesh.

The chiefs of police and other law enforcement agencies of South Asia and neighbouring countries sat at Dhaka in a meeting yesterday, aiming to work out a regional strategy to combat militancy, extremism and other types of transnational crimes. Bangladesh police in collaboration with Interpol is hosting the three-day conference being attended by representatives from 15 countries, including hosts Bangladesh. The 14 other countries are Afghanistan, Australia, Bhutan, Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Besides, high officials of Interpol, Facebook, American IGCI and FBI, and ASEANPOL and International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) are also participating in the conference. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan formally opened the conference as the chief guest.

Japan will provide training to technical interns from Bangladesh to help create skilled manpower. Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japan International Manpower Development Organization (IM Japan) yesterday. Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam and IM Japan Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kiwi Yanagisawa inked the deal on behalf of their respective sides.

Swiss Ambassador Johan Frisell and Norway Ambassador Sidsel Bleken called on the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), KM Nurul Huda, at his office in the capital where they discussed progress in the EC’s preparation for the next general elections. The CEC said this to the daily New Age.

A special adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations (UN), Dr Dvid Nabarro, yesterday appreciated Bangladesh's continued advancement in the health and pharmaceuticals sectors and said Dhaka has already become a role model for many other developing nations. He also said it was indeed a matter of a great appreciation that Dhaka has achieved successes over years in greater heath sector, especially on reducing mothers and children deaths and taking health services to rural folks. He said this while exchanging views with Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim at the latter's office at Dhaka.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday upheld a High Court (HC) order to take steps to close down 154 Hazaribagh tanneries immediately.

The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has started a drive to relocate the illegal chemical factories and warehouses from Old Dhaka. A mobile court started the drive at Lalbagh's Shahidnagar in presence of DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon yesterday.

Hon’ble Commerce Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed joins the first ever Commonwealth Trade Ministers meeting at London on 8-10 March, 2017.

1. Hon’ble Commerce Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed highlighted Bangladesh’s developments in the field of agriculture, educations, health and ICT as well as achievements in social sectors like reducing meternal and infrant motality rates, children enrolment in priamary education under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

2. Hon’ble Minister also underscored the export led growth strategy of Bangladesh and Government’s role in implementing a number of policies supporting the economy and trade. Remarkable sucess of the RMG and other sectors were also highlighted.

3. Hon’ble Commerce Minister highlighted in the round tables the policies of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the field of ICT and implementation of ICT technology in the public sector and in the production, manufacturing and marketing sectors. The development that took place over the last several years in the areas of infrastucture, energy, reduction of poverty and social safety net programs were also highlighted.

4. Hon’ble Minister also stressed on maintaing the EBA (Everyting but Arms) policy for the UK during the post-Brexit period and urged other countres to grant duty free market access for the LDCs.

5. Hon’ble Minister met a good numbers of Trade and Commerce Ministers attending the meeting.

6. Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK H.E Mr. Md. Nazmul Quaunine and Commercial Counsellor Mrs. Sharifa Khan accompanied and assisted the Minister during the meeting.


Bangladesh Commerce Minister attended the Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ Meeting

Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council jointly organised a two-day long Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ meeting in London, UK from 9-10 March 2017. The meeting was attended by 37 Commonwealth Trade Ministers, delegates and business organisations of the Commonwealth member countries. A three member Bangladesh delegation headed by HE Mr. Tofail Ahmed, Hon’ble Commerce Minister of Bangladesh attended the meeting. The other two delegations include HE Mr. Nazmul Quaunine, High Commissioner and Mrs Sharifa Khan, Commercial Counsellor of Bangladesh High Commission, London.

At the inauguration session of the meeting on 9 March, Lord Marland, Chairman of Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council welcome the delegates and mentioned that free trade is important for enhancing export, creating new job opportunities and alleviating poverty. Commonwealth countries may play a critical role in enhancing the intra-member countries’ trade and help attaining SDGs.

Rt Hon Lain Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, UK said that with a population of 2.3 billion, a combined economy of more than US$10 trillion and annual GDP growth in excess of 4%, the Commonwealth has a huge opportunity to help member countries to face upcoming global economic challenges. He however, expressed his concerns for growing protectionism and emphasised that protectionism distorts trade, increase the cost of business and encourage inefficiency. He also mentioned that 52 members of the Commonwealth Countries has remarkable advantages than any other economic block as 60% of their population is below 30 years, they speak in common language, but also have diverse cultures and heritages which creates avenues to learn from each other.

Ms Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Centre emphasised that trade must be people oriented and support upliftment of the status of poor people across the world. She also mentioned that WTO Trade Facilitations Agreement has recently been come into force. Unfortunately, 18 Commonwealth Member countries did not yet ratify this agreement. They should be provided necessary technical and financial supports to ratify and implement the agreement.

During this event, six roundtables and three specific meetings were organised. The roundtables on the first day covers financial service, ease of doing business, technology and innovation, business and sustainability, creating an export economy and attracting investment while the second day meeting highlighted harnessing the Commonwealth advantage in a changing global trade landscape, leveraging opportunities and addressing challenges to intra-Commonwealth trade & investment and preparation of CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Governments meeting) 2018.

Hon’ble Commerce Minister of Bangladesh was one of the main speakers for roundtables on technology and innovation and creating an export economy. He said that technology and innovation is extremely for a densely-populated country like Bangladesh. We have demonstrated remarkable success in feeding 163 million people living within 147,610 square kilometres (56,990 sq mi) by using improve agricultural technology. IT is another notable sector which does not only create new jobs for our young professionals, but also helping us to bring transparency and improve efficiency both in the public and private sector. He said that development of SMEs and diversification of products and markets are extremely essential in surviving a globalised economy, but preferential market access is more important particularly, for the LDCs. He emphasised that duty free and quota-free market access for the LDCs is in the WTO agenda since Singapore Ministerial Conference in 1996, still a good number of developed countries are reluctant in granting DFQF access to all LDCs. He however, express his heartfelt gratitude to the European Union for granting duty-free market access to the LDCs under the EBA (Everything but Arms) initiatives and also thanks to other countries who also extend similar facilities to the LDCs. He also mentioned that Bangladesh demonstrated remarkable success in taking advantage of DFQF facilities in European market.

Since the Parliament session is running in Bangladesh, Hon’ble Commerce Minister had to left the UK on 10 March 2017, HE Mr. Nazmul Quaunine then represented Bangladesh on that day.

The meeting finally concluded by urging the members to submit proposals to the Commonwealth Secretariat on the following issues with the aim of improving intra-commonwealth trade so that these could be placed at the CHOGM 2018. The proposals will cover the following issues:

1. Diversification of both product and markets;

2. Development of value chain and addressing supply side constraints;

3. Introducing new market opportunities;

4. Access to digital economy and promotion of e-commerce.

5. Development of SMEs;

6. Innovation and technology;

7. Access to finance for business;

8. Creating enabling business environment;

9. Streamlining trade regulatory framework;

10. Infrastructure development such as modernization of customs, ports and transport system for facilitating trade.

11. Support for implementation of the WTO trade facilitation agreement

12. Arrangements of Commonwealth trade ministers meeting on regular intervals;

13. Funding of the Commonwealth Secretariat to extend necessary support to the LDCs.

During the event, Hon’ble Commerce Minister attended bi-lateral meetings with Secretary General of Commonwealth Secretariat, Chairperson of Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council and trade Ministers of Ghana, India, Sri-Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago and Bahama.

London, 09 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday in Parliament underscored the need for releasing those now in jails for no crime and said the victims can also ask for compensation from the authorities concerned. The Prime Minister said some NGOs and government legal aid-providing agencies have taken steps to get these detained persons released from jail. The Prime Minister also expressed her hope that the present Election Commission will take every step to hold fair, neutral and credible elections as per their constitutional responsibilities.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came back home yesterday afternoon after wrapping up her three-day official visit to Indonesia. A Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight carrying the Prime Minister and members of her entourage landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 3:05 pm.

Parliament yesterday passed the Bangladesh Shipping Corporation Bill, 2017 by voice vote. Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan placed the bill before the House, with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.

Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu said Bangladesh is the best place for investment in South Asia. He said Bangladesh government is providing different incentives, including cash incentives and tax-exemption to foreign investors. The Minister said this when a Japanese delegation called on him yesterday. In the meeting, Marubeni, A Japanese Company agreed to construct a LNG terminal in port city of Chittagong.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday in separate messages on the eve of the World Kidney Day 2017, urged all to work together to create awareness among the people about prevention and treatment of kidney disease.

Law Minister Anisul Huq said Bangladesh is committed to making further efforts in realizing the civil and political rights of people irrespective of their age, sex and color. He said this during a two-day interactive dialogue between a high-level delegation of Bangladesh and members of the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. The committee appreciated Bangladesh for submitting its initial report on ICCPR.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the number of new arrivals from Myanmar in Bangladesh since October 9 last has reached 73,000 Rohingya. He said this in an address at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday.

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday told Parliament that the government is going to nationalize 275 non-government colleges across the country.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal called upon all citizens to be united and raise voice against extremist forces and distortion of religion that they could not carry out any conspiracy against the country. He was addressing a huge view-sharing meeting at Government Madrasha Maidan in Rajshahi city yesterday.

State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak yesterday said that at least 30 per cent participant in all technology capacity development programmes in the country is women. He said this in Google Women Techmakers Conference in Dhaka as the chief guest.

Bangladesh and India yesterday signed a MoU on a project for the construction of a girls' school in Khalishpur, Khulna. The signing was held at the Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance.

Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam yesterday said that they are focusing on ease and simplicity of doing business in the country. He said this while addressing a seminar at IBFB seminar hall as chief guest.

Bangladesh Ambassador to the United States Mohammad Ziauddin met with Congressman George Holding in Washington DC on Tuesday and discussed issues of mutual interests, including women empowerment, counter terrorism and duty free quota free (DFQF) market access.

Net inflow of Foreign Direct Investment in the first seven months of the current fiscal year increased by 8.6 per cent, according to the latest statistics of the Central Bank. The data showed that Bangladesh received some $975 million during July-January period of FY17as FDI in net terms. In gross terms, inflow of FDI was $1710 million, which was seven per cent higher.

Bangladesh exports rose 3.2 per cent to $22.8 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal year 2016-17, against the same period in last fiscal year. The Export Promotion Bureau said this yesterday.

London, 08 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) leaders to dedicate themselves to strengthen maritime cooperation for a peaceful and prosperous Indian Ocean, exploring seas for common benefit. The Prime Minister said this while delivering her statement in the general debate on Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable, and Prosperous Indian Ocean Rim at the IORA Leaders' Summit at Jakarta Convention Center in the Indonesian capital. The Premier particularly proposed setting up of a maritime university in Bangladesh to create a pool of skilled mariners for the region.

Prime Minister attended the simultaneous signing of IORA Concord by 21 HODs, visited the trade exhibition area accompanied by the President of Indonesia and other heads of delegation and joined the social launch at the Jakarta Convention Center. She later attended the closing ceremony of the IORA Leaders' Summit. After concluding her three-day visit, The Premier is scheduled to return home this afternoon.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday requested the Indonesian government to play a role in sending back the Myanmar refugees from Bangladesh. The Prime Minister made this request during a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on the sidelines of the IORA Leaders' Summit. The Indonesian President said, his country want to make contribution to Bangladesh's rail sector.

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have agreed to move forward the process of signing a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries to boost bilateral trade. The decision came during a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena held in Jakarta.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called upon the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to make friendlier the visa regime for Bangladeshi nationals, especially for business visas. The Prime Minister made the request when State Minister of UAE Dr Maitha Salem Al-Shamsi called on her at the Jakarta Convention Center. During a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Jakarta Convention Center, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Nobuo Kishi highly lauded the bold steps taken by Bangladesh in combating terrorism and extreme violence. In another meeting, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of India V K Singh discussed the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in April. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the occasion of The International Women's Day. In his message, the President said, It's possible to change the country's overall scenario through ensuring gender equality in national development. In her message, the Prime Minister urged all to build developed, prosperous Bangladesh ensuring women's participation in the mainstream of the national development establishing gender equality at workplace. The Parliament yesterday passed the ‘Bangladesh Accreditation Council Bill, 2017’ to establish an accreditation council to ensure the standard of higher education in both public and private institutions in the country. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid moved the bill in the House and it was passed by voice vote. Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu yesterday told Parilament that the government is going to set up a new factory with a capacity to produce 2,800 tonnes fertiliser per day to reduce the import dependence. Minister also said there will be no compromise over relocation of Hazaribagh tanneries to Savar tannery estate. Law Minister Anisul Huq said steps have been taken for the implementation of provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Law Minister, who is leading a delegation to the meeting, said the Bangladesh will ingrain a culture of human rights in all spheres of society. The government has decided to allow the export of sand to Singapore and Maldives at Tk 1 per cubic foot. The decision was taken at a meeting with Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif in the chair. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said the government is annoyed with Chevron for initiating a deal of transferring its asset here to a Chinese company without responding to Bangladesh's offer. He said this to journalists after attending a meeting in the city on Monday. The Bangladesh government and IBM Corporation have jointly launched IBM Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) to help grow local startup businesses. ICT Division and IBM signed a MoU with regard to this at State Minister of ICT Junaid Ahmed Palak’s office at ICT Tower in the capital yesterday.

London, 07 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached Jakarta yesterday afternoon to attend the Leaders’ Summit in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). A Biman Bangladesh Airlines VVIP flight (BG-1086), carrying the Prime Minister and her entourage landed at Halim Pardana Kusuma International Airport at 2:50pm (local time).Female Empowerment and Children Protection Minister Yohana Susana and Bangladesh Ambassador to Indonesia Major General Azmal Kabir received the Prime Minister at the airport. After the warm reception, Prime Minister went through a ceremonial motorcade to Hotel Shangri-La at Central Jakarta City, a special capital region of Jakarta, where she will be staying during her visit.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday said there would be no gas crisis in the country after the completion of the construction work of the floating LNG terminal in deep-sea by 2018 and then natural gas would be imported from Qatar to meet the demand of the country. The Commerce Minister told journalists after holding a view-exchange meeting with Qatar ambassador to Bangladesh Ahmed Mohamed Al-Dehaimi in the city. The Minister said Qatar proposed to boost economic, trade and technical relations with Bangladesh and both the countries agreed to work jointly in those areas for mutual benefits. The Commerce Minister said Qatar has expressed interest to increase its investment in Bangladesh as it considers Bangladesh as a safe place for investment. He said the entrepreneurs of Qatar will be given a suitable special economic zone for investment.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said Bangladesh is deeply committed to implementing and integrating the IORA Concord in her national development paradigm. He made the remarks while addressing the Council of Ministers (COM) of the IORA in Jakarta, Indonesia yesterday. The Foreign Minister called upon the fellow members to formulate and implement projects for economic co-operation relating to trade facilitation and liberalisation, promotion of foreign investment, scientific and technological exchanges and tourism with special and preferential arrangements for LDCs and SIDS of the region.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu yesterday said, Bangladesh officially rejects the report released by the US as it was not made on the basis of proper information. He said Bangladesh can't support such careless remarks about the internal affairs of any country. He said this while talking to reporters at the ministry. About the US claim over the 'increasing' activities of extremist organisations in Bangladesh, He said, Bangladesh has been able to combat militant activities than the US government. Earlier on Friday, the US Department of State released the executive summary of the 2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

The World Bank will give Bangladesh US$300 million to strengthen the units of local government through establishing national budget transfers for all 4,550 Union Parishads and mainstreaming the annual financial audits of all Union Parishads. Kazi Azam, Secretary-In-Charge of the Economic Relations Division, and Qimiao Fan, WB's Country Director for Bangladesh, signed the financing agreement on behalf of their respective sides at the Economic Relations Division yesterday. The Local Governance Support Project-3 (LGSP3) will benefit over 115 million people across the country. The project will also pilot a fiscal transfer system for 16 Pourashavas (municipalities) in all eight Divisions.

Jute and Textile Minister Muhammad Imaj Uddin Pramanik said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a fresh initiative to revive jute sector and trying her level best to add a vibrant commodity to nation’s export basket. The Minister was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 'National Jute Day' for the first time in history. The Minister said the observance of the first ever National Jute Day is a reflection of government’s sincere efforts for jute sector. The Minister said innovation and the diversified use of jute at local and international markets has opened up a new opportunity for jute's u-turn. He also added that necessary incentives would be provided to jute sector for its new branding and global dominance.

State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim said Internet speed in Bangladesh has increased to 2-2.7mbps, 2400 times internet and data consumption growth between 2009 and 2016 as well as expansion of network facilities. She said the Posts and Telecommunications Division is now working for network expansion up to the union level.

London, 06 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina leaves Dhaka for Jakarta today on a three-day official visit to Indonesia to attend the Leaders' Summit in Commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) of 21 coastal states bordering Indian Ocean. The Prime Minister will also hold bilateral talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Sri- Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday told Parliament that Bangladesh has not yet given any country the permission to carry goods through the country under transit facility. The Minister said goods from India are being carried under trans-shipment facility of the existing Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh also received duty for letting India get the facility.

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain yesterday said rivers in and around the capital Dhaka and the Karnaphuli River in the port city of Chittagong will be made pollution-free by mapping out a coordinated master plan and its immediate implementation. The Minister, who is the chairman of a high-powered committee for preventing river pollution and improving navigability, said this while presiding over the committee's second meeting at the Local Engineering Government Department in the capital city.

Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu yesterday said equal rights to women everywhere in society could expedite the attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) within 2030. The Minister said this while speaking as the chief guest at a discussion held at the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka. The Information Minister said ensuring conducive work environment for women, appropriate policy formulations, opening up a complain desk on women harassment at every workplace, facilitating day care centers for working mothers are some solutions to improve the condition of women in short terms.

Deputy Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Advocate Md Fazle Rabbi Miah said Child Marriage Restraint Law has been passed to free the country from social menace of early marriage. He told a session on children marriage at the South Asian Parliamentary Platform Meeting in Katmandu, Nepal on 3 March. State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim yesterday told Parliament that the government has earned Tk 24,596.41 crore as revenue from the country's six mobile phone companies from January 1, 2000 to June 30, 2016. She said about 12.83 crore people of the country are now active mobile phone users, which is 80 percent of the total population.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroj Chumki yesterday said Bangladesh has become a model for women empowerment. She said this at a human chain held in front of the Jatiya Press Club.

Saima Wazed Hossain, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's daughter and Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation said Bangladesh can take pride in national awareness and planning as well as international advocacy that it has invested in tackling the problem of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). She was speaking at the auditorium of Bangabandhu Memorial Museam yesterday where BPATC and Shuchona Foundation signed a MoU under which the civil service trainees will receive training on NDDs and mental health.

NBR Chairman Md Nojibor Rahman said country's small and medium entrepreneurs will have more scope to flourish their businesses under the new Value Added Tax (VAT) law as all businesses with annual turnover up to Tk 30 lakh shall be completely exempted from paying VAT.

Nuclear techniques have helped Bangladesh to evolve new varieties of rice and increase the cereal production three-fold in the last few decades, according to a latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The report said today there is a secure and steady supply of rice in Bangladesh and the country is shifting from being an importer to an exporter of rice.

London, 02 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government undertook a series of projects for further development of the power sector considering the rising demand of electricity to meet the future need and illuminate every home of the country. She made the comment while inaugurating eight new power plants alongside transmission and distribution systems through video conferencing from her Ganabhaban residence in the capital yesterday. The Prime Minister also inaugurated Disbursement of Primary Education Stipend using Mobile Banking through video conferencing at the same time. Earlier, the Prime Minister witnessed a presentation on proposed integrated traffic management at Bijoy Sarani area of city.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday told parliament that the government would rehabilitate the militants who would return to normal life, shunning the path of militancy. The Prime Minister also said that a plan has been taken to set up a BRTA office cum Motor Driving Testing and Training Centre (BMDTTC) in every divisional city and greater district to enhance drivers' skill to minimise road accidents. She also said, steps have been taken to set up five Vehicle Inspection Centres (VICs) in four divisional cities to provide fitness certificates to vehicles automatically instead of the manual system so that unfit vehicles cannot ply on the roads.

President Md Abdul Hamid urged Ireland , Algeria and Kenya to import jute and jute goods, readymade garments and medicine from Bangladesh. President said this when New Ambassador Brian McElduff of Ireland, ambassador Lakhal Benkelai of Algeria and High Commissioner Florence Imisa Weche of Kenya presented their credentials to president Abdul Hamid separately at Bangabhaban in the capital yesterday.

The Cabinet Committee on Purchase yesterday approved a proposal to set up the four power plants. Four joint venture companies are going to invest more than $600 million in different parts of the country to generate 258 megawatts of electricity from solar energy. Funds for the power plants will be raised from international banks and financial institutions.

Bangladesh and the Russian Federation inked agreement on the establishment of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation yesterday morning at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Intergovernmental Commission will identify the main directions for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation and its priority areas of the two countries.

Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu yesterday said Bangladesh will make smart choices and has chosen solutions that guarantee workers safety, high productivity, minimum effect on the environment and maximum return for investors. The Minister was addressing a seminar in the capital.

Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam yesterday told Parliament that the Malaysian government has decided to issue temporary work permits to undocumented workers. As per the decision, around 3.5 lakh undocumented Bangladeshi workers would be legalized in Malaysia and get scope for working there.

Food Minister Qamrul Islam yesterday said that more than 5 lakh household mini silos are being constructed at the disaster-prone areas across the country along with few big size silos. The silos will have the capacity of preserving 60kg food grains during any kinds of disasters. The Minister made the discloser while addressing the inaugural session of a national workshop in the city.

State Minister for Posts and Communications Tarana Halim said yesterday that the government is going to start work on connecting the country to a second submarine cable from the current month. The Minister said this while talking to reporter after she visited landing station of the second submarine cable at Maitbhanga in Kuakata.

Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs) of the Prime Minister's Office Md Abul Kalam Azad said the government has finalized incorporation of several sustainable development goals and its indicators in private sector investment. He said this while he was speaking as chief guests in a seminar in the city yesterday.

London, 01 March 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said various social safety net programmes were undertaken to lift the poor people from the poverty line. The Prime Minister said this when newly appointed High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam Hajah Masurai Binti Haji Masri called on the PM at her Jatiya Sangsad office here yesterday evening. The High Commissioner of Brunei said Bangladeshi expatriates are very hard-working.

The National Economic Council (NEC) yesterday approved an overall Revised Annual Development Program (RADP) outlay of Tk 1,19,296 crore for the current fiscal year (FY17), down from the original overall ADP size of Tk 1,23,345 crore. The approval came from the NEC meeting held at the NEC conference room in the city with its Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

The Jatiya Sangsad yesterday passed the 'Battalion Ansar (Amendment) Bill, 2017' with a proposal to bring down service confirmation period of the members of the force from nine years to six years. Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan moved the bill and the House adopted it by voice votes.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali yesterday told Parliament that a total of 150 countries across the world have officially recognised Bangladesh as an independent nation. The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh has signed a total of 93 deals with India since 1972.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday informed the parliament that there was no existence of extra-judicial killing in Bangladesh. The Minister said, the present democratic government is firmly determined to establish rule of law and to protect people’s fundamental rights. The government does not support, approve, ratify or encourage extra-judicial killing anyway.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon yesterday said, the present government has been implementing a number of projects to flourish the tourism industry. Addressing a press conference at his office, he said internal cruise ship-Silver Discovery has started its activities in Bangladesh for the first time.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haq has said citizens who contributed to the Liberation War in 1971, staying abroad would be enlisted as freedom fighters. He told at a function in Sylhet on Monday night. The Minister further added that even those who contributed to the war of independence by writing, singing, playing and drawings would be recognized as freedom fighters in their respective fields.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda yesterday said his commission will take all-out measures to arrange free and fair elections in the country. The CEC said this while talking to reporters after attending a meeting at the conference room of Barisal Deputy Commissioner’s office.

State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) Nasrul Hamid said the electricity tariff could come to a 'rational' level within the next four to five years when the mid-term and long-term planned base load low-cost power plants come online. He was speaking at a press conference arranged on the eve of inauguration of eight power plants having the total generation capacity of 1,325 megawatts (MW), two electricity sub-stations and transmission lines, new electrification of one upazila and 100 per cent electrification of 10 upazilas across the country.

Deputy Managing Director of the IMF Mitsuhiro Furusawa said the garment sector of Bangladesh has progressed a lot over the years, and turning the factories into green units to save water, energy and the environment is a good initiative. The IMF official visited two green factories in Gazipur yesterday.

Bangladesh authorities have began a census of Rohingya refugees living in the country's southeast as part of a move to relocate them to an island. Dhaka estimates 400,000 Rohingya refugees are living in the country, including nearly 73,000 who fled a military crackdown across the border since October.

Internet banking finds a fast rise, with over 41 per cent growth recorded in the country in 2016 in real-time fund transfers and e-commerce. A total of Tk 307.52 billion was transacted through internet banking in the past year, according to latest statistics obtained from the Central Bank this week.