London, 30 November 2016

Bangladesh and Hungary signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for boosting cooperation in different fields. These are MoU between the Foreign Ministries of Hungary and Bangladesh, MoU on cooperation in the field of water management between the two governments and MoU on cooperation in the field of agriculture between the two countries. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Hungarian counterpart Victor Orban witnessed the signing at a ceremony that took place at Kossuth Square in Budapest yesterday.

Bangladesh and Hungary identified five areas of cooperation to revive their historic relations and boost up economic ties in future as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Hungarian counterpart Victor Orban held official talks at Kossuth Square. Both the Prime Ministers in the first-ever official talks hinted opening diplomatic missions or consulate by 2018 which had been closed after brutal killing of Bangabandhu in 1975.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Dhaka and Budapest agreed to work together for the common prosperity alongside joining hands with the international community to fight against terrorism and violent extremism. The Prime Minister said this in a statement during her joint outreach with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban after their bilateral official talks on Monday. She gratefully recalled Hungary's recognition of Bangladesh as a sovereign state as one of the first European countries its moral and political support during the Liberation War in 1971. Thanking her Hungarian counterpart for his commitment to help Bangladesh, she said they will work together in the future. Describing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the role model of courage, the Hungarian PM recalled the struggle and contribution of her family for prosperity and welfare of the people of Bangladesh. He highly lauded Bangladesh's progress in the field of economy under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina saying his country is keenly waiting to strengthen cooperation with Bangladesh in a number of fields particularly in water management, agriculture and climate change.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday (local time) said any problem with water resource management must be solved by the involved countries themselves and they must not depend on the international community about it. The Prime Minister said this when she met Hungarian President Dr Janos Ader at the Presidential Palace in Budapest. During the meeting, the Hungarian President offered help to Bangladesh in fish culture and aquaculture, and proposed to work in the flood-affected areas of Bangladesh and on water purification issue. The PM briefed the Hungarian President about the scope of investment, ICT and shipbuilding in Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina encouraged Hungarian entrepreneurs to be partners with Bangladesh in investment, trade and innovative businesses for shared prosperity. 'Together, we can bring a change in the lives of millions in both of our countries,' she told the concluding ceremony of the Bangladesh-Hungary Business and Economic Forum at Marriott Hotel in Budapest yesterday. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, its business and industry leaders and members of the Bangladeshi business delegation were present, among others.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday paid rich tributes to the national heroes of Hungary at ‘Heroes Square’ in City Park of Budapest. While paying homage, the PM stood there in solemn silence for some time as a mark of respect to the national heroes who died for establishing their motherland.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country has increased 15 times in the first 10 months of the current year (2016).This time Bangladesh seems breaking all previous records with the net amount having totaled at around $ 865 crore of the 138 projects. Last year in 2015, the amount was $56.23 crore of the 129 projects, according to the data of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.

National Income Tax Day-2016 will be observed today across the country with a renewed call for creating awareness among the people for payment of income tax regularly. President Md.Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the occasion wishing success of the day.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki has called upon the international community to create a global fund for economic empowerment of women. She made the call while speaking at a forum of the second High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in Nairobi on Monday. A high-level delegation from Bangladesh, led by State Minister for Finance M A Mannan, is taking part in the four-day meeting.

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parrikar arrives in Dhaka today on a two-day official visit. He will lead an 11-member high-powered Indian delegation comprising deputy chiefs of three services during his Dhaka tour, said a press release of Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) yesterday.

Special prayers will be offered across the country on Friday seeking good health and long life of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Milad and doa mahfils will be held after the Juma prayers at all mosques while special prayers at all temples, churches and pagodas for the Prime Minister's good health and long life, said a press release yesterday.

The Bangladesh women's cricket team moved into second position in the Women's Asia Cup Twenty20 with a 92-run win over Nepal in Bangkok yesterday.

London, 29 November 2016

Stressing the need for addressing issues like protection and utilization of water resources comprehensively, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday shared a seven-point agenda with global leaders with a call for creating a Global Fund on water. The PM was delivering her statement at the Budapest Water Summit, 2016 in Hungary. She thanked the Hungarian government for organizing the Summit on such a key topic. The PM said Bangladesh has already met the MDGs for safe water and around 65 percent of its population has access to improved sanitation facilities. The PM told her audience that Bangladesh faces unique challenges- abundance in water during monsoon and scarcity during dry season. The country's vulnerability is further increased by the fact that 92 percent of its surface waters originate from outside the border, she noted. Bangladesh has urged all the parties concerned to unitedly take a pragmatic approach for realizing the legitimate rights of Palestinian people in an independent homeland free of occupation and persecution. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the call yesterday on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People that falls on November 29. “Bangladesh believes that implementation of the relevant UN resolutions, the Roadmap, the Arab Peace Plan and the efforts made by the Quartet are critical for achieving a durable solution to the long-standing issue of Palestine,” she said in her message. As Rohingyas continue to pour into Bangladesh in the face of 'ethnic cleansing' in Myanmar, diplomats and experts have suggested that Bangladesh should take a firm stance and make effective diplomatic moves to mobilize international support for resolving the crisis. Through an effective diplomatic campaign, Dhaka should also make the international community understand that Bangladesh alone cannot deal with the issue and that the global community has a responsibility to resolve the humanitarian crisis, they said. US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat said the United States is closely monitoring the human rights situation in Rakhain state of Myanmar, and also looking for support of the international community as sought by the Bangladesh government to find solution of Rohingya issue. The US Ambassador made the assurance while addressing DCAB Talk in Dhaka yesterday. A daylong 'Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit-2016' will be held on December 5 in Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia."With the theme 'Sustainable Business: The Road to Progress' the summit will explore key trade and investment opportunities that exist for Bangladesh in particular from Malaysian counterpart", Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry President M Alamgir Jalil told journalists at a press conference at National Press club in Dhaka yesterday. Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon said the government would purchase executive jet airplanes for carrying the President and the Prime Minister soon. The minister said this while talking to journalists after a Standing Committee Meeting in Dhaka yesterday. Meanwhile, three separate committees have been formed by the Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Civil Aviation Authority and Civil Aviation ministry to investigate the emergency landing of a VVIP flight carrying the premier. The posts and telecommunications division has taken a move to prepare a database of the websites spreading pornography and objectionable contents in cyber space, said officials. To this end, it has formed a committee, headed by DG of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, which would also prepare a set of recommendation to thwart any ill motive in the cyber space, they added. A three-day exposition on the capital market will begin in Dhaka on Thursday, in a bid to promote the stock market. Bangladesh beat Thailand by 35 runs in the 5th match of the Women's T20 Asia Cup in Bangkok yesterday.

London, 28 November 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached Budapest safely from Turkmenistan yesterday evening after a Biman plane carrying her had to make an emergency landing at the Ashgabat International Airport. The VVIP flight of the national flag carrier that left Shahjalal International Airport at 9:14am was forced to make the emergency landing at the Ashgabat International Airport in Turkmenistan at noon, Biman Managing Director told the media. During her brief stay at the Ashgabat Airport, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, among others, called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said in a Facebook post. At the Ferenc Liszt International Airport in Budapest, Hungarian Minister of State for Security Policy and International Cooperation Istvan Mikola, Bangladesh Ambassador to Hungary M Abu Zafar, Hungarian Ambassador in Dhaka Gyula Petho and Chief of Protocol of Hungary Istvan Manno received Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. From Bangladesh, the PM left for Budapest on a four-day visit at the invitation of Hungarian President Janos Ader to attend the Budapest Water Summit 2016 beginning today.

President Md. Abdul Hamid said the appointment of the first cardinal from Bangladesh is recognition of its tradition of communal harmony. The President said this when newly appointed Cardinal of Bangladesh Patrick D' Rozario made a call on the President at Bangabhaban yesterday. The President congratulated Patrick D' Rozario on being appointed as cardinal and said it is a great achievement for Bangladesh. He said people of all religions in Bangladesh live in a friendly and peaceful environment and hoped that the new cardinal will put all-out effort to expand the tradition of communal harmony.

Bangladesh has made a significant stride towards a digital economy as around 69 percent of government payments, or about $45 billion, are now being transacted through digital channels, according to a study conducted by a United Nations Organisation Better Than Cash Alliances (BTCA). Thirty-nine percent of these transactions are for government staff salary payments, showed the report that was launched yesterday at the Prime Minister's Office. In association with the A2i, a session was organised on 'Building Digital Bangladesh: The Way Forward for Digitising Payments'. In the session, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said digital money increases efficiency and brings down corruption.

The third-round meeting of Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA), scheduled to be held in Dhaka on December 13, has been postponed for the installation of the new government in the United States after the recent election. 'The meeting would be held in March or April on the availability of suitable time,' Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday at a press briefing after a meeting with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat at his ministry. 'While the new government would assume in office, the USTR would also be changed. So, we have to wait for the new officials,' the minister added.

Retrieving BB's Funds a high level government team led by Law Minister Anisul Huq reached Manila yesterday aiming to recover another amount of $48 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank's account in February and sent to the Philippines, a senior official in the central bank said. The visiting team includes Senior Secretary of Finance Division, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Attorney General and some other senior officials of different departments.

Public Administration Senior Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury has been appointed Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office. He will succeed Abul Kalam Azad who has been appointed as Chief Coordinator of Sustainable Development Goals affairs at the Prime Minister's Office for the next three years, according to the gazette notification issued in this regard yesterday.

The government has promoted 536 public servants to the posts of additional, joint and deputy secretaries. As many as 145 joint secretaries have been made additional secretaries while 186 deputy secretaries have been promoted to joint secretaries. Another 205 senior assistant secretaries have been made deputy secretaries. The public administration ministry issued three separate orders about the promotions yesterday.

The government has decided to appoint Maj Gen Kazi Sharif Kaikobad as the first resident high commissioner to Nigeria, says a Foreign Ministry press release.

The government has no plan to restrict free calling and messaging apps Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat and Imo, State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim has said. She told reporters at her ministry office yesterday.

The government has set a target to procure three lakh tonnes of Aman rice at Tk 33 per kilogram from local market this year to give farmers incentives and a suitable price of their produce. The procurement drive will start from December 1 and will continue till March 15, 2017, Food Minister Qamrul Islam said this at a briefing after the meeting of the Food Planning and Monitoring Committee at Secretariat yesterday.

Bangladesh national hockey team emerged unbeaten champions in the Men's AHF Cup after inflicting an emphatic 3-0 defeat on Sri Lanka in the final in Hong Kong yesterday. Retaining the title of the fifth AHF Cup which completes a hattrick of titles after their Singapore (2008) and Thailand (2012) triumphs, confirms Bangladesh have qualified for next year's 10th Asia Cup as the last and eighth team to join auto-qualifiers.

London, 24 November 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday directed members of Bangladesh Army to keep a "constant vigil" to face any "internal and external threats" for safeguarding the country's constitution and sovereignty."You will have to always remain ready to face any 'internal or external threats' unitedly for protecting the sacred constitution and sovereignty of the motherland," she said. The prime minister was addressing the flag-raising ceremony of the newly-established Headquarter 11 Infantry Brigade along with eight new units under 17 Infantry Division of the Bangladesh Army at Jalalabad Cantonment in Sylhet. Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina offered ziarat at the shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) and Hazrat Shah Paran (RA).

The government of Bangladesh on Wednesday summoned Myanmar ambassador and expressed deep concern over the recent persecution on Rohingyas in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Additional foreign secretary (bilateral issues) Kamrul Ahsan sat with the Myanmar ambassador Myo Myint Than and handed a note verbale yesterday afternoon expressing serious concern over the situation.

The government recently gave recognition to 24 more war heroines (Birangonas) as female freedom fighters for their significant sacrifice in the 1971 Liberation War. The government passed a law in the Jatiya Sangsad on January 29, 2015, for giving recognition to 'Birangonas' as freedom fighters and recently a gazette notification was issued to this end.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to recruit some 1,000 doctors from Bangladesh. “Saudi Arabia officially contacted us on November 21. They want to recruit consultants and specialist doctors from Bangladesh as soon as possible,” said a high official at the Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh. Bangladesh Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Golam Moshi confirmed the matter.

Bangladesh made a remarkable success in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) as out of 33 targets it fully implemented 13, including the one of halving the population living under poverty line, said a final evaluation report."With sustained GDP growth rate of over 6 percent, Bangladesh has been able to bring poverty rate down to 24.8 percent by 2012 against the MDG target of halving the population living under the poverty line from 56.7 percent to 29 percent by 2015," said member of the Planning Commission Dr Shamsul Alam while presenting the report at the NEC conference room here yesterday. Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal chaired the report presentation programme while commerce minister Tofail Ahmed attended it as chief guest.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, said on Wednesday that the government was pledge-bound to protect the Sunderbans and ensure rapid development of the country, simultaneously. The minister was speaking as chief guest at a seminar on "Fossil Fuels and their environmental and social impact", organized by "Progressive Engineers" at the seminar room of the Institution of Engineers', Bangladesh. Referring to the Rampal Power Plant, he said, the government had already undertaken adequate steps to absorb the "Toxes and noxes" which are quite prevalent in all older plants including the natural gas plants. He also referred to the "green belt" around Rampal Power Plant to absorb the carbon and nitrogen gases emitted.

President Abdul Hamid on Wednesday asked the Election Commission to take necessary steps to hold the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) and Zila Parishad elections in a credible manner, reports UNB. The President made the call when Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad met him at Bangaabhaban.

Ambassador of Spain to Bangladesh Eduardo de Laiglesia del Rosal made a farewell call on President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban yesterday afternoon. President Abdul Hamid thanked the ambassador for discharging his duties successfully in Bangladesh.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has decided to hold Income Tax Week from today for the first time in the country aiming to make the tax-related services easier. The income taxpayers will get all tax-related services under one roof like the Income Tax Fair.

London, 23 November 2016

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday came down hard on party lawmaker Shamim Osman for taking position against AL mayoral nominee Selina Hayat Ivy. The PM was in a meeting with senior Narayanganj AL leaders apparently to settle the long-standing rivalry between Shamim and Ivy ahead of the December 22 city polls. Hasina asked Shamim either to support Ivy or quit the party, a meeting source said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the weekly Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting of the current fiscal year yesterday held at the National Economic Council (NEC). The ECNEC approved three big projects under power sector, including Power Grid Network Strengthening Project, to ensure an uninterrupted power supply system across the country. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of 10 projects were approved in the meeting with an estimated cost of Taka 22,876.31 crore. "Of the total projects cost, the government will provide Taka 8,668.18 crore from the national exchequer while the organisations concerned will contribute Taka 585.02 crore from their own funds and the remaining Taka 13,623.11 crore will come as project assistance," he added. The minister informed that seven projects are new while three are revised among the ten approved projects. The premier Sheikh Hasina goes to Sylhet today on a daylong visit to attend a number of programmes including flag-raising ceremony of the newly-established 11 Infantry Brigade under 17 Infantry Division of the Bangladesh Army there. The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) sources said that the premier will return to Dhaka in the afternoon by a Biman flight. Bangladesh will get $20 million for reducing the risks of damages caused by natural disasters and climate change. The United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and Sweden joined hands together to provide the fund to address the country's key climate change priorities set out in the Seventh Five Year Plan. The fund will be provided under the project titled Local Government Initiative on Climate Change (LoGIC), launched on Tuesday in the Economic Relations Division (ERD) in the capital city. The project will be implemented in the next four years in seven most climate vulnerable districts where around two lakh most vulnerable households will be better prepared for reducing the risks of damages caused by natural disasters and climate change. The UK-Bangladesh Catalyst of Commerce and Industry (UKBCCI) honoured 12 Bangladeshi successful entrepreneurs for their outstanding success in their respective businesses in the United Kingdom. UKBCCI organised the ‘Business and Entrepreneur Excellence Award-2016’ for the first time to recognise the successful entrepreneurs doing business in the UK. The awards were handed over to twelve winners in twelve categories at a gala programme held in London recently. State Minister for Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Haque said yesterday the government is determined to stop all forms of child labour by 2025 and hazardous child labour by 2021. "We are confident enough to stop all forms of hazardous child labour by 2021 and all forms of child labour by 2025 as the government under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been relentlessly working on it," he said while addressing a roundtable as the chief guest. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, said on Tuesday that the government was determined to protect the interest of local television networks and professionals working with it. The minister added that under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina television was undergoing a "boom". The minister was speaking as the chief guest at a tea-party organised at the Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) auditorium with Information Secretary Mortuza Ahmed as the moderator.

London, 22 November 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her party never used the armed forces as a tool for capturing power, rather wanted to build it as a strong, disciplined and dignified force. The PM said this at a reception at Senakunja of Dhaka Cantonment yesterday. Lauding the role of the armed forces at home and abroad in nation building activities and peacekeeping, the PM said they have brightened the country's image at the international level through their relentless services.

The Armed Forces Day was observed yesterday with due solemnity and enthusiasm. On this day in 1971, Bangladesh Armed Forces comprising army, navy and air force came into existence and launched an all-out attack on Pakistan occupation forces, expediting the country’s freedom. To mark the day, President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths at Shikha Anirban in Dhaka Cantonment and stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of respect to memories of the martyrs of the armed forces who laid down their lives during the Liberation War.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her firm resolve to continue her government's work to modernize the armed forces and do whatever is necessary for ensuring the welfare of valiant freedom fighters and their successors. The Prime Minister said this while addressing a reception accorded to the gallantry award winning freedom fighters and their successors at the Armed Forces Division at Dhaka Cantonment marking the Armed Forces Day 2016. During the function, the PM distributed identity cards, the first of its kind, among the armed forces gallantry award-recipient freedom fighters who are alive.

The chiefs of the three services met President Md. Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban in Dhaka yesterday on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day. During the meeting, the President said the armed forces are playing an important role in the international arena which has brightened the country's image in the world. He urged the chiefs of the three services to put in their sincere efforts to continue the development of the armed forces.

The Asian Development Bank yesterday said it would lend $167 million to Bangladesh to improve production efficiency at the Titas gas field and expand transmission infrastructure. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is expected to lend an additional $60 million, which will be managed by the ADB. It will be the second project to be co-financed by the ADB and the AIIB. The project will install seven wellhead gas compressors to increase pumping pressure and ensure steady extraction at Titas gas field, Bangladesh's largest gas field, ADB said in a statement yesterday.

World Health Organization Director General Dr Margaret Chan has lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's success in reaching the health services to the doorsteps of grassroots people. 'Bangladesh's present achievements in health sector have set an example for many countries around the world,' she told Bangladesh Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim at a luncheon meeting hosted by WHO in honor of participants of the four-day 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai of China, an official handout said yesterday.

The fast-expanding pharmaceuticals sector fetched nearly Tk 10 billion in the first 10 months of the current calendar year. Director of the Directorate General of Drug Administration disclosed this to the media. Local drug-makers exceeded their export target of USD 80 million for the FY2015-16 and they are on course to go past the current fiscal year's export target of $95 million too, he said.

Expansion of air connectivity between Bangladesh and India was emphasized when Indian High Commissioner Harsha Vardahan Shringla met Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon in Dhaka yesterday. In the meeting, they said over one million people of both the neighboring countries travel for education, treatment, trade and tourism purposes annually. To ensure their smooth and comfortable travel, air connectivity in Dhaka-Delhi, Dhaka-Bangalore and Dhaka-Guwahati should be introduced quickly, they said.

The government is set to open passport and visa wings at the country's foreign missions in six countries aiming to provide Bangladeshi expatriates with Machine Readable Passports smoothly, officials said. The passport and visa wings will be opened at Warsaw in Poland, Copenhagen in Denmark, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Algiers in Algeria, Mumbai in India and Abuja in Nigeria, according to Home Ministry sources.

The government has mapped out a three-day program to mark the 40th death anniversary of eminent French novelist Andre Malraux, who made notable contribution to Bangladesh’s Liberation War. Under the auspices of Cultural Affairs Ministry, the French embassy in Dhaka and other institutions are jointly organizing a series of cultural events from today focusing on the support brought by Malraux to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 and his visit to Bangladesh in 1973. DG of Shilpakala Acedmy told this to the media yesterday.

London, 21 November 2016

Vowing to ensure cent percent safe water for the country's people, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday emphasised framing such a strategy paper through which Bangladesh could become a role model for the rest of the world for attaining SDG-6 of safe water and sanitation. She said in a statement at the inaugural session of the national workshop for preparing the country paper on Sustainable Development Goal-6 at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday. Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury read out the statement of the Prime Minister. Mentioning that her government has already attained an epoch-making success in ensuring safe water for people, the PM said currently around 98 percent of the country's people are getting safe water. She said some 61 percent of the people of Bangladesh have come under the sanitation system.

The country is set to celebrate Armed Forces Day today. President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in their separate messages, greeted the armed forces members.

The World Bank (WB) has termed Bangladesh ‘the champion in rural accessibility index among the developing countries’. A WB report on ‘rural accessibility index’ was released this month on reviewing the progress of rural accessibility and poverty indices amongst eight developing countries of South Asia and Africa aligned with Sustainable Development Goals. The report mentioned that Bangladesh has achieved significant progress in achieving rural accessibility compared to the other countries of the region.

Bangladesh moved up a spot in the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2016. It is 83rd most peaceful nation in the world this year, according to Sydney based think tank Institute for Economics and Peace.

The first-ever Zila Parishad (district councils) elections will be held on December 28. Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad yesterday announced the election schedule at a press briefing in Dhaka.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's scheduled public meeting in Sylhet has been postponed as the Election Commission (EC) yesterday announced the schedule for district council polls.

At least 120 people were killed and more than 150 injured when an Indian express train derailed in northern Uttar Pradesh yesterday. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday expressed profound shock at the loss of lives in the train accident of India.

The Bangabandhu Satellite Project received the prestigious 'Recognition of Excellence' award from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim received the award on behalf of the government at the concluding ceremony of the four-day ITU Telecom World 2016 in Bangkok on Thursday.

Country's pharmaceutical sector has witnessed phenomenal growth in recent years. Industry insiders and sources in the Directorate General of Drug Administration say the size of the locally-manufactured pharmaceutical drugs market is now estimated at Tk 160 billion, up from an estimated total of Tk 30 billion some 12 years ago. The market grew at an annual average rate of over 10 per cent.

People of Cox’s Bazar fear that any influx of Rohingyas across the border will have a negative impact on the region. Fresh Rohingya arrivals will aggravate the law and order situation, as it had happened earlier with the coming of those now living in the district; they expressed their worry to the media. Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the Border Guard Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Coast Guard are on alert along the border with Myanmar so that people from Myanmar cannot enter Bangladesh. He said while talking to journalists after a meeting of the National Committee on Resisting Smuggling.

Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (CWASA) signed an agreement with a Chinese firm yesterday to install pipelines under Karnaphuli Water Supply Project (KWSP), Phase- 2. Under the project, the CWASA will develop water distribution network for the low-income communities in northern, western and central parts of the Karnaphuli service area at a cost of around Tk 1,020 crore.

The government is going to form 'National SME Policy' very soon with a view to promote the Small and Medium Enterprises across the country, said Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu. Already a draft policy has been made under the Integrated Support to Poverty and Inequality Reduction through Enterprise Development (INSPIRED) project said the minister while addressing the concluding ceremony of the inspired project in Dhaka on Saturday.

Food Minister Qamrul Islam has said Bangladesh is exploring new markets to export its rice as it has been producing surplus rice. The Minister told this on Saturday while addressing the 2nd World Grain Forum, 2016 held at Sochi in Russia.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon announced that Bangladesh will take part in the bidding process in the next general meeting of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) to organize PATA Travel Mart in the country. He was addressing a meet the press on the eve of organizing a three-day international conference, titled PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum (NTFF) 2016 at Bangladesh Tourism Board in Dhaka yesterday.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said necessary laws for downloading of foreign channels would be enforced. He was speaking to a delegation of television owners called on him in Dhaka yesterday.

London, 17 November 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged global leaders to fight together the perilous threats of climate change and share the burdens equally for fulfilling the promises to make the world a safer place for the future generation. The Prime Minister came up with the remarks on Tuesday while speaking at the High Level Segment of the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) at Marrakech in Morocco. She also placed two crucial issues like water security and climate-induced migrants at the meeting to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. She stressed the need for creating a global fund on water SDG to support research, innovation and technology transfer. The Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP) approved the negotiated price and draft commercial contract with a Chinese firm to set up the Single Point Mooring with Double Pipeline in Chittagong at a cost of $550 million. The approval was given at the CCGP meeting held at cabinet division in Dhaka yesterday with Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the chair. Bangladesh will record 72 percent growth a year in e-commerce transactions in the coming days, given the unprecedented increase in internet use, according to a study conducted by Kaymu Bangladesh, a leading e-commerce company. The study has been conducted based on 10 percent exponential growth in e-commerce transactions for each passing quarter over the past couple of years. The jobless and homeless members of the Santal community had eventually received government relief. 'Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given the order to build homes for them,' Home Minister Asauddazaman Khan told reporters at a briefing at Secretariat in Dhaka yesterday. They will be rehabilitated under the shelter project of the government, the Minister added. The government will take steps to enhance exports of ready-made garments, pharmaceutical products and leather goods to New Zealand, taking the advantage of dutyfree access facility there, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said. He told these to reporters after a views-exchange meeting with New Zealand Ambassador in Bangladesh Grahame Morton at the Secretariat in Dhaka yesterday. New Zealand is interested to increase trade with Bangladesh, he said. Goods worth about US$ 73.63 million have been exported to New Zealand in fiscal year 2015-16, he added. Chittagong Port has made remarkable gains over the last few years. Shipping Minister M Shajahan Khan said this at the opening of the building of the National Maritime Institute in Chittagong yesterday. The Chittagong port has increased its cargo handling capacity. The port was 96th among the best 100 seaports in the world but it has advanced 22 steps and is now the 74th best port in the globe over the last eight years. Bangladesh will be the number one in achieving UN's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said yesterday. He said while addressing a discussion on 'Data for the SDGs'. The United Nations Population Fund and The Daily Star jointly organised it at the latter's conference hall in Dhaka. Minister Kamal said hardcore poverty in Bangladesh came down to 12.9 percent now from 25.1 percent in 2005, and it would be 3.5 percent by 2030. European Parliament's International Trade Affairs Committee (INTA) Chairman Bernd Lange lauded Bangladesh for overcoming economic setbacks that resulted following deadly collapse of Rana Plaza three years ago. Bernd Lange was leading a delegation of INTA representatives visiting Bangladesh, which also included Jean Lambert, the head of EP's delegation for South Asia. The team interacted with top officials of the Bangladesh government, politicians and business leaders at the residence of European Union Ambassador to Dhaka on Tuesday. The factory inspection agency of European apparel retailers 'Accord' seeks to extend its stay in Bangladesh for another three years, to complete remediation of the factories. The tenure of the five-year legally binding agency, which has been monitoring more than 700 garment factories, is scheduled to end in June 2018. Bangladesh has formally joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) by signing the Framework Agreement on ISA on Tuesday. Deputy Minister for Environment and Forests Abdullah Al Islam Jakob signed the agreement on behalf of the government in a program held during the Climate Conference in Marrakech. Signing of the agreement has reiterated the firm commitment of the government towards further promoting renewable energy, more particularly solar energy. This also reflects the visionary leadership and strong determination of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in tackling adversities of climate change and its resultant impacts. Pakistan’s “absurd” demand for Tk 7 billion is a strategy to evade the payment of money it owes Bangladesh, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has said. While talking to reporters at the Secretariat yesterday, Minister Tofail said Pakistan has created this counter proposal to obstruct our demand for dues. The government has recognized 108 artistes of the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra and cultural organizations which were formed during the Liberation War as freedom fighters. The Liberation War Affairs Ministry published the gazette notification in this regard yesterday. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra had played a vital role in boosting the morale of Bangladeshis during the liberation war.

London, 15 November 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was given red carpet reception as she reached Morocco yesterday on a three-day visit to attend the COP-22 United Nations Climate Change Conference 2016. Morocco Minister of National Education and Vocational Training Rachid Belmokhtar Benabdellah, Bangladesh Ambassador in Morocco Sultana Laila Hossain and senior officials of Bangladesh embassy and Morocco government received the Prime Minister at the airport. The PM is scheduled to speak at the conference today and also attend a luncheon held by King Mohammed VI of Morocco. The World Bank will provide US$2 billion to Bangladesh in the next three years to fight climate change impacts, its Climate Change Group Senior Economist Stéphane Hallegatte said yesterday The World Bank will provide the fund to assist Bangladeshi who were affected by climate change, and protect their property from natural disasters, he said. Stéphane Hallegatte made the announcement at a press conference following a report published by the World Bank on 'Natural Disasters and Global Poverty' at the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC held in Morocco. Meanwhile, World Bank has released names of 17 climate change vulnerable countries where Bangladesh has found its place. t Tk 4 lakh crore. He said the progress of current year’s budget implementation is satisfactory but there are some problems in some cases and steps are being taken to overcome them. The Minister was talking to reporters after a meeting of currency and monitory policy coordination committee and budget review committee at the Ministry of Finance yesterday. Bangladesh Navy has added two submarines to its fleet for the first time in its history with a view to further intensifying monitoring in the Bay and enhancing the force's combat capability. 'With the inclusion of the submarines, Bangladesh Navy has started its journey as a three dimensional force,' Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Nizamuddin Ahmed said at the submarines' handover ceremony at Liaonan shipyard at Dalian state of China. Rear Admiral Liu Zizhu on behalf of the Chinese government handed over the submarines to Admiral Ahmed in presence of senior naval officials of both sides. Britain will continue to work with the government of Bangladesh to help address terrorist threat, strengthen ties and promote bilateral trade. British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake made the assurance while addressing a function styled 'DCAB talks' in Dhaka yesterday. Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO (BNCU) Chairman and Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid congratulated autism expert Saima Wazed Putul for her election as Chairperson of the International Jury Board of UNESCO-Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jabar al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, said a statement released yesterday. Saima was elected as the head of the board for the next two years at a Jury Board's meeting in Paris on November 9. From now on rare documents on the 1971 Liberation War can be downloaded free of charge from an e-archive that was launched yesterday. The archive named "Muktijuddha E-Archive" was launched by Muktijoddho E-Archive Trust, a digital public library and archive research organization for the war, in a programme held in Dhaka. The website (liberationwarbangladesh) has eight categories for books, newspapers, audios, videos and photos related to the war. The 10th parliament will go into its 13th session on December 4. President Md. Abdul Hamid convened the session, said a Parliament Secretariat press release yesterday. Brahmanbaria police yesterday announced Tk 1 lakh bounty for information that would help them arrest the criminals responsible for the recent arson attacks on houses and properties of the Hindus.

London, 14 November 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina flies to Marrakech of Morocco today to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP22, which already started just days after the landmark Paris Agreement entered into force and has been ratified by 109 countries, including Bangladesh. The Prime Minister is expected to attend a luncheon hosted by King Mohammed VI of Morocco and is also expected to have interactions with various world leaders during the summit. Bangladesh's participation at the high level segment of COP-22 carries special significance considering the bold and leading role played by the country in overcoming climate change challenges. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said this while addressing a press conference at the Foreign Ministry yesterday. He said Bangladesh was one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change adversities. ‘We have been playing a significant role in global climate change negotiations, including the adoption of the Paris Agreement’, he added. President Md. Abdul Hamid urged the young generation, especially the student community, to move forward upholding the spirit of communal harmony. He said this while addressing the convocation of Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University in Tangail. The President suggested maintaining strict discipline, holding examinations and publication of results regularly and expanding sports and cultural activities in the universities. At another program in Tangail of District Bar Association, the President yesterday stressed the need for collective efforts of the judiciary, lawyers and police administration to reduce sluggishness in case disposal. The government has taken a move to develop three more land ports near BD-India border to facilitate export-import activities with the next-door neighbor and to strengthen connectivity with the regional countries, an official of the Ministry of Commerce said. The new ports are likely to be set up at Sheola of Bianibazar, Biloniya in Feni and Gobarakura-Karitoli in Mymensingh. These will connect Mizoram and Tripura on the other side. These will be developed under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-IndiaNepal (BBIN) initiative to bring dynamism in regional trade. Bangladesh and China signed a Minutes of Document (MoD) yesterday for setting up a jute viscose plant in the country. As per the MoD, China will provide financial and technical supports for setting up the plant for producing jute viscose, which has wide-ranging demands across the country. Besides, it will help strengthen mutual cooperation between the two countries in jute and textiles sector. Sweden, a major development partner of Bangladesh since its independence, presently envisages achieving its goal to be an industrialized nation. Swedish ambassador Johan Frisell at a press meet in Dhaka yesterday confidently said Bangladesh would step into industrialization phase in next 15 years. Bangladesh's ambitious target to achieve $50 billion export from Ready Made Garments alone is not a dream, the Swedish envoy said. Sweden's official aid agency SIDA is committed to developing a global labor standard through functional dialogue. It would be largest SIDA project in Bangladesh, he added.

London, 10 November 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized further raising the flow of both local and foreign investments in the country to create more jobs and spur economic activity. She told this at the meeting of the Board of Governors of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA). The PM called for building more youth entrepreneurship in the country saying that up to Tk 0.2 million collateral-free loan is being provided from Karmasangsthan Bank to young entrepreneurs so that they could contribute to the country's economy. Prime Minister Hasina said Bangladesh always values having good relations and cooperation with Myanmar, as a close-door neighbor. The PM said this when Myanmar Commander in Chief (Air) General Khin Aung Myint met her at her office in Dhaka yesterday. General Myint thanked the Prime Minister for Bangladesh's support to Myanmar against terrorist activities along the border. He has shown keen interest to replicate Bangladesh's 'Ashrayan Project' and its experience in building cyclone shelter centres in coastal areas of Myanmar. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said BNP-Jamaat leaders will have to stand trial for killing people through arson attacks, trying to resist the last general election, getting involved in corruption and pampering war criminals. She made the remarks while speaking at the meeting of Awami League Central Working Committee and Advisory Council at Ganobhaban yesterday. The PM asked the party leaders to innovate new ideas for the country and its people to turn Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021. President Md. Abdul Hamid said Bangladesh offers high standard military training and military officials of different countries take training here. There is more scope for Myanmar defence forces to take training in Bangladesh and Myanmar can utilize this opportunity, he said, adding that as a result, the relations in the area of defence of the two countries would be expanded further. The President said this when Chief of Staff of Myanmar Air Force General Khin Aung Myint met him at Bangabhaban yesterday. Bangladesh will negotiate afresh with the new US administration for restoration of its suspended generalised system of preferences (GSP) facility, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said. 'We will provide all sorts of information on labor standard, safety and working environment in the apparel factories', he added. The Finance Minister talked to the press after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs at Bangladesh Secretariat that approved import of 325,000 tonnes of urea fertilizer from Qatar for the fiscal year 2016-17. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Bangladesh could export world-class products to Sri Lanka at low price if the country signs free trade agreement (FTA). He said this while addressing the inaugural session of 5th Joint Economic Commission meeting in Colombo, revealed in an official release yesterday. The government has decided to construct an expressway on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway under the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) after the Chinese government offered US $ 11 billion for the construction of over 200km speedy route with the option of speedy train service. As a part of the decision, Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader said the BBA will now conduct a fresh feasibility study to finalize the route. Today is Shaheed Nur Hossain Day, a red-letter day in restoration of democracy in the history of Bangladesh. President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion. UNAMID peacekeepers from Bangladesh in Darfur provided free medical services to the refugee camp under the supervision of Bangladesh Peacekeeping Contingent Force Reserve Company-2. More than 500 poor and downtrodden received this medical support, said an ISPR press release. The two-day Bangladesh Denim Expo concluded yesterday with the participation of thousands of local and international denim producers, buyers and sellers and experts. The participants from a total of 14 countries visiting different stalls of expo tried to learn about their products and get experiences.

London, 09 November 2016

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Dr Numan Kurtulmus on Tuesday appreciated the steady economic growth and development of Bangladesh. Recalling the warm and traditional friendship between Bangladesh and Turkey, he expressed the hope that cooperation between the two countries will intensify in all areas in the coming days. Bangladesh Ambassador to Turkey M Allama Siddiki met the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister at the latter's office and discussed issues of mutual interest. Dr Numan showed interest in holding the next round of Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting between the two countries in the first half of 2017.He also expressed the hope that the regular holding of the meeting of the JEC will contribute to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Tuesday said those involved in attacks on Hindu community members in Nasirnagar upazila will be hunted down and brought to justice, reports UNB.“There’s no other option but to hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” he told a rally at Ashutosh Pilot High School ground after visiting the Hindu houses and Nasirnagar Goura Temple, which came under attack on October 30.Noting that there is no minority in Bangladesh, the minister said those who are involved in destabilising the country through militant activities are actually minority people, calling upon all to get united and resist them.

Bangladesh is willing to invest $ 1 billion in the 1125-MW Dorjilung Hydro-power project under trilateral cooperation with India and Bhutan. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told this when newly appointed Bhutanese Ambassador Sonam Tobden Rabgye called on him at his ministry yesterday. Ali particularly emphasised joint development of hydro-power projects and operationalisation of the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) Motor Vehicle Agreement, while Rabgye told the minister of development of his country's various sectors.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday paid tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing a wreath at his mausoleum there at noon. Flanked by cabinet members as well as newly-elected leaders of AL Advisory Council and AL Central Working Committee, Hasina laid another wreath at the grave of Bangabandhu as the party chief. The premier said “Bangladesh is moving ahead and will continue to go ahead. People's support and cooperation is very much indispensable in this regard. I hope they'll again elect Awami League in the next general election as they did in 2008 and 2014 keeping up the pace of development.” She went on saying, “A good resurgence has been created among people and no one wants terrorism and militancy anymore; rather they want peace. We're pledged-bound to ensure that peace and security, and we'll take necessary steps to this end.”She also asked the leaders and activists of Awami League and its associate bodies as well as the pro-liberation forces to continue their all-out efforts to maintain people's peace and security. The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and foreign ministry sources said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is going to confer honours on around 2,000 Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in battles against the Pakistan occupation forces during the Liberation War in 1971. The premier would hand over gifts to the families of the Indian soldiers during her upcoming bilateral visit to India early next month. Hasina will also attend two international summits on climate and water in Morocco and Hungary this month. President Abdul Hamid yesterday said there is no alternative to building a strong, modern and dependable navy to protect and extract the marine resources. He said this while speaking at the National Standard Conferment Ceremony to BNS Base Issa Khan in Chittagong. Bangladesh has 710km coastal area and about three crore people are directly or indirectly dependent on the sea, he noted. Besides, about 90 percent of the country's overseas trade is carried out through the sea, he added. “It is essential to develop the sea area and ensure its security for the development of the national economy,” he observed. After 45 years of independence, the government has finalised the definition of freedom fighter, fixing 13 as the minimum age for being recognised as a freedom fighter. Setting nine conditions for eligibility, a gazette notification was published yesterday with the consent of President Abdul Hamid. The government has finalised the definition on the basis of recommendations of the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council to prepare an acceptable list of the freedom fighters. According to the gazette, people who were 13 on March 26 in 1971 would be deemed eligible to apply for the status. As per the definition, people who took part in the Liberation War in response to the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman between March 26 and December 16 in 1971 will be recognised as freedom fighters.

London, 08 November 2016

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) yesterday gave the go-ahead to a proposal for acquiring US oil giant Chevron’s assets in Bangladesh, worth an estimated $1.5 billion. Chevron operates three gas fields in the country- the Bibiyana, Jalalabad and Moulvibazar gas fields and sells its production to state-owned Petrobangla. The gas fields contribute around 58 percent of the country’s total gas production. Bangladesh has agreed on an Indian proposal to conduct a joint survey on their side of the cross-border river Padma for construction of the Ganges Barrage at Pangsa in Rajbari. A technical committee from India made the proposal to conduct a joint survey after a recent visit to the proposed barrage site, said officials of the Bangladesh Water Development Board. ‘A joint technical sub-group would be formed incorporating officials from both the countries immediately over the Ganges barrage project,’ State Minister for Water Resources Muhammad Nazrul Islam told the media on Sunday. He said the technical group would report to their respective governments in six months after assessing the impacts of the barrage on both sides. The government will build the Kalna Bridge over the Madhumati river under the Cross Border Road Improvement Project partly with Japanese funding, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said yesterday. Apart from the Kalna bridge, the Tk 2,500 crore project includes 17 bridges on different roads, a toll plaza and two axle-load weigh stations. Japan will provide Tk 1,900 crore of the total project cost, the Minister told reporters after a signing ceremony on the appointment of consultants at Setu Bhaban in Dhaka yesterday. The government plans to extract marine genetic resources from 12,000–14,000 feet beneath the surface of the Bay of Bengal to boost the country’s blue economy. The government will negotiate a legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of the marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. The Secretary (maritime unit) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited the UN headquarters recently. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received Tk 4 crore donations for Bangladesh Journalists' Welfare Trust from the authorities of Ittefaq Group at Ganobhaban on Sunday. The trust has been set up at the initiative of the premier for the welfare of journalists and she has given Tk 5 crore as seed money for it. The government regularly provides financial assistance to insolvent journalists across the country from the trust. Prime Minister's ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy, writing in the New York Times, has made a plea to the US authorities to extradite the killer of his grandfather, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 'More than 40 years later, one of my family's assassins, Rashed Chowdhury, lives in the United States,' he wrote on Monday in the article. Joy said 'best of our knowledge, Mr. Chowdhury has not been granted refugee status; therefore, he is not immune from extradition proceedings'. 'There are no grounds for further delay in extraditing him. The United States should respond to Bangladesh's repeated pleas to conclude the matter, so that justice may be done,' he said, giving the background to the brutal assassination. US Ambassador Stephens Bloom Marcia Bernicat hinted that the existing Bangladesh-US relations would not be affected by change in the government following the upcoming US elections. Rather, she hoped that the existing bilateral relations would be further expanded in the coming days. The US envoy made the remarks after a meeting with Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader in Dhaka yesterday.

London, 07 November 2016

President Md. Abdul Hamid urged common people, professional groups and social organizations to work together with the government for the development of the country. The President said this while speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of Greater Mymensingh Samity's building and installation of its newly elected office-bearers in Dhaka yesterday. The newly-elected Awami League Central Working Committee and Advisory Council on Tuesday will pay rich tributes to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his graveyard at Tungipara in Gopalganj and the party will hold its maiden joint meeting there. The maiden meeting will be held at Tungipara with its President Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, press release said yesterday. The country's merchandise shipment in October grew by 14.39 per cent to $2.71 billion compared to the year-earlier period, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data released yesterday. The earnings also surpassed the target set for the month by 2.84 per cent. The export income in October of 2015-16 was $2.37 billion. The overall export earnings during the first four months of current fiscal year of 2016-17 grew by 6.53 per cent to $10.79 billion compared to that of the corresponding period of FY 2015-16, the data shows. Malaysia is leveraging on a G-to-G platform with Bangladesh to expedite new hires as the plantation, rubber glove manufacturing and furniture sectors are in dire need of workers, reports on Sunday. "Last week, the Cabinet has directed Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem to speed up the process of sourcing new hires from Bangladesh," said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong. The United Nations said its pledged fund of US$ 1.2 billion for sustainable development in Bangladesh for the next four years is not less than the previous commitment. The United Nations System in Bangladesh signed an agreement on November 3 which is known as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2017-2020 with the government of Bangladesh pledging US$ 1.2 billion for the next four years.

London, 03 November 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the authorities concerned to construct a house for the national cricketer Mehedi Hasan Miraz. PM's Principal Secretary Md Abdul Kalam Azad conveyed the directives to the Deputy Commissioner of Khulna yesterday. The government has appointed Major General Abul Hossain as the Director General (DG) of the Border Guard Bangladesh, according to notification issued by the Public Administration Ministry yesterday. The nation observes the mournful Jail Killing Day today by paying rich tributes to four national leaders and Liberation War heroes- Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, AHM Qamaruzzaman and M Mansur Ali, who were brutally murdered inside the Dhaka Central Jail in 1975. When Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was detained by Pakistani junta, the four national leaders led the country's independence war. The four leaders were shot dead following repeated bayonet charges at the jail on 3 November in 1975. They were sent to jail soon after the August 15, 1975 bloodbath that claimed the lives of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members. President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday gave separate messages on the occasion. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend World Climate Conference, also called ‘Conference of Parties-COP 22’ to be held on 7-18 November in Marrakash of Morocco. Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, Environment and Forest minister Anwar Hossain Manju and Water Resources minister Dr. Anisul Islam Mahmud will also accompany the premier. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina witnessed a power-point presentation on the proposed Kabi Nazrul Bhaban to be built at Dhanmondi in Dhaka. Architects Iqbal Habib and Ishtiak Zahir made the presentation before the Prime Minister at her office yesterday. The Prime Minister also gave some suggestions about the building to be constructed on the Nazrul Institute Bhaban premises at Dhanmondi Road No 28. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said India is Bangladesh's trusted friend - both the countries have signed several deals that included waterways connectivity protocol and coastal shipping agreement. He made the remarks at the seminar on 'Enhancing Indo-Bangla waterways connectivity' organised by IndiaBangladesh Chamber and Commerce Industry (IBCCI) in Dhaka yesterday. "We are working on developing the waterways connectivity for making trade easy. We have also highlighted the road connectivity under BBIN agreement," he added. Bangladesh wants Indian cooperation in implementing Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project, the first of its kind in the country, as the government feels there is a need for expert supervision to handle the mammoth task. To materialize the idea Minister for Science and Technology Yeafes Osman and senior officials of the Indian government will visit Moscow to sign a tripartite agreement this month. 'We need experts' suggestions and supervision to implement it as we do not have people with the required technical know-how here, Minister Osman told the media yesterday. A joint military training exercise called SAMPRITI 2016 will be undertaken between Indian and Bangladeshi troops in Tangail, Bangladesh, from November 5 to 18, reports ANI on Wednesday.

London, 02 November 2016

Bangladesh is eager to award a separate special economic zone to investors from the UK, as more than 200 British companies are currently operating in the country, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said. The minister said while David Kennedy, Director General for Economic Development of DFID expressed interest for a separate SEZ for British investors, in a meeting at his secretariat office in Dhaka yesterday. The DG of the UK's aid agency expressed optimism in further bolstering bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the UK in future despite Brexit.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the country's youths to shun the path of drug abuse, militancy, extremism and terrorism. She also called upon them to make the best use of their talents for the welfare of themselves, their own families and the country. The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the National Youth Day 2016 in Dhaka yesterday. She said the youths, who constitute one-third of the country's total population, is the driving force of the nation. Prime Minister said her government had been implementing a number of programs to create leadership, generate patriotism and sense of responsibility among the youth through education, training and employment.

Bangladesh’s foreign currency reserves hit a record US $31.90 billion by the end of October month, Bangladesh Bank authorities said yesterday. Central bank officials said the forex reserve is around $4.32 billion higher than that of the same period in 2015.

China has agreed to allow limited bidding for the selection of contractors for projects under its soft loan, a finance ministry official said. At present, Bangladesh applies the limited bidding method for India, which allows only Indian companies to participate in the tender for projects supported with New Delhi's soft loans of $3 billion. But from now onwards, Beijing will forward a short-list of Chinese companies and Dhaka will run the limited tendering among the candidates as per the rules of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and Thailand agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice trade between the two countries. Under the MoU, likely to be signed this year, Bangladesh will import l million metric tons of all kinds of standard rice on G2G basis annually from Thailand subject to production situation in both countries and at the prevailing level of international price. The issue was discussed at a meeting between Food Minister Qamrul Islam and Thai Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn in Bangkok yesterday. Meanwhile, Minister Islam held another meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand on Monday, where the two ministers agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in agriculture, particularly in food sector.

The 8-member high-powered Indian technical team has shown positive attitude towards the Ganges Barrage project after visiting the construction site at Pangsha in Rajbari and Farakka point, where the River Ganges enters into Bangladesh at Chapai Nawabganj. The team also agreed to form a high-power joint committee comprising experts from Bangladesh and India on the proposed barrage to store water for multipurpose use including recharging the ground water-table, irrigation, fisheries and increase flow of water in the Gorai, Water Resources Ministry officials told the media yesterday.