London, 28 October 2016

H.E. Ambassador Md. Nazmul Quaunine on Friday (October 28, 2016) took over the charge as the new High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Great Britain.

He succeeds Ambassador M. A. Hannan, who went on retirement in Dhaka.

A career diplomat, Quaunine was the Bangladesh ambassador to Indonesia.

He belongs to the 1985 batch of BCS (Foreign Affairs) Cadre. In his distinguished diplomatic career, besides being the Ambassador of Bangladesh in Indonesia & the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he also served in Bangladesh Embassy in Washington D.C., Bangladesh Permanent Mission to UN in Geneva and Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad and London in various capacities.

Ambassador Quaunine obtained an M.B.B.S from Dhaka Medical College. He completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Diplomacy and international Relegations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIS), Geneva. He is married and blessed with a son and a daughter.

London, 27 October 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought doctors' sincere support to implement the 15-year Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to make the country's healthcare system befitting to time. She expressed her hope that BCPS would play its due role for development of human resources to implement the goal. The Prime Minister said this while addressing the 13th Convocation of Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) at Krishibid Institution in Dhaka. She urged the physicians to provide medical services to patients properly. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated her call to all to stay alert so that war criminals, looters, killers can never to return to power. The Prime Minister was speaking when leaders of Bangladesh Chattra League (BCL) met her at Ganobhaban yesterday. Prime Minister asked each and every leader and activist of BCL, who believes in the ideology of Bangabandhu's politics, to become patriotic and instill dutifulness into themselves for the welfare of the nation and country. President Md. Abdul Hamid has urged Norwegian entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh saying there are many scopes to expand trade and investment relations between Bangladesh and Norway. The President made the call when newly appointed ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh Sidsel Bleken presented her credentials to him at Bangabhaban in Dhaka yesterday. The envoy said Norway values bilateral relations with Bangladesh. Trade and investment between the two countries are gradually increasing; she said and hoped that this trend will be strengthened further in future. Later, newly appointed High Commissioner of Pakistan to Bangladesh Rafiuzzaman Siddiqui presented his credentials to the President. The cabinet committee on public purchase yesterday approved 'Greater Dhaka Sustainable Urban Transport Project' of Tk 8.58 billion. The committee also approved eight other projects involving a total of Tk 9.53 billion. Finance Minister AMA Muhith presided over the meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat. Bangladesh has advanced two steps into 176th position in doing-business environment, according to World Bank ratings carried in its 'Doing Business Report 2017'. The report says the country performed better in 'property registration' and 'resolving insolvency' categories in the business environments. Dhaka and New Delhi are preparing for the upcoming bilateral visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in December. As part of the preparations, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla held a meeting with Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque in Dhaka yesterday.

London, 26 October 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with other newly-elected office-bearers of Bangladesh Awami League paid tributes yesterday to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Prime Minister along with other newly-elected office-bearers of the party including General Secretary Obaidul Quader paid homage to Bangabandhu by placing wreath at his portrait in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi in Dhaka yesterday. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council yesterday approved the 3rd revision of the ‘One House One Farm’ project raising its cost by Tk 6,813.27 crore, aiming to lift people out of the poverty trap by 2020. The approval came from the ECNEC meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. It is one of 10 projects - seven new and three revised ones - the meeting approved involving a total cost of Tk 9,443.64 crore to be financed entirely from the national exchequer. Beating projection the annual growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) hit the highest ever record at 7.11 per cent in the last 2015-16 financial year (FY16), according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). For this, countries economy expanded more than 7 percent last fiscal year, after nearly a decade of registering 6 percent growth. According to BBS, the total size of the GDP stood at $17,328,637 million at the end of FY16 on June 30, 2016. Besides, the country's per-capita income (Gross National Income-GNI) also increased to US$1,465 in the financial year (FY) 2015-16 from $1,316 in the previous fiscal, FY2015, the government statistics showed. China is likely to provide Bangladesh up to $25 billion for the projects it has committed, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday. Bangladesh utilizes foreign aid in a very conservative way, so the country's debt burden is still very low, around $24 billion, minister said. The finance minister said, in next three years he expects to get $1.8 billion assistance from the WB a year. The government received US$501 million concessional foreign aid in the first quarter (Q1) of the current financial year (FY) 2016-17, officials said yesterday. In July-September of the last FY2016, the multi-lateral and bilateral donors disbursed $502.24 million foreign assistance, the Economic Relations Division (ERD) data showed. President Md. Abdul Hamid asked the Navy to be more active in protecting the marine resources and maritime boundary of the country. He also asked the navy to make necessary efforts for the use of the vast potential of blue economy. The President was talking to Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed when he made a call on him at Bangabhaban yesterday. The Navy chief informed the President that two submarines would be added to the fleet of Bangladesh Navy this year. A five day long joint exercise titled 'Exercise Co-Operation Afloat Readiness and Training' (CARAT)- 2016 between Bangladesh Navy and US Navy has been formally inaugurated yesterday in the School of Maritime Warfare & Tactics at Chittagong Naval Area. Bangladesh Navy is participating in this exercise for the 6th consecutive year. The exercise is conducted with the aim to assess, strengthen and enhance interoperability between two navies. A coastal shipping service between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be launched soon after signing an agreement in this regard. After a meeting between the two countries at the Secretariat, Shipping Secretary said the final agreement would be signed soon between two countries. Both the sides have already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the secretary-level meeting after finalizing the draft agreement. A six-member Sri Lankan delegation participated in the meeting. British High Commissioner in Dhaka Alison Blake has said the historic links between the United Kingdom and port city Chittagong will remain strong and vital for both Bangladesh and the UK. The British High Commissioner made the remark after her recent visit to Chittagong. The British High Commissioner held meetings with officials, civil society and business leaders in Chittagong. During meetings, they discussed ways for strengthening the UK-Bangladesh bilateral relationship and the scope for greater cooperation on prosperity and opportunities for British businesses, and issues of economic and social development. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Security force (BSF) of India launched a joint band display at no-man's land area in Benapole-Petrapole border yesterday. A Dhaka court yesterday framed charges against 7 people in a case filed in connection with the murder of Italian aid worker Tavella Cesare.

London, 25 October 2016

The Cabinet approved a proposal to raise the allowances of gallantry award winners, war-wounded freedom fighters and the families of martyred freedom fighters. The approval came at the Cabinet meeting held at the Secretariat yesterday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. According to the proposal, the 'Bir Shrestha' gallantry award winners will get Tk 30,000 as monthly allowance instead of Tk 12,000 while the 'Bir Uttam' gallantry award winners Tk 25,000 against their existing allowances of Tk 10,000 per month. Besides, the 'Bir Bikram' gallantry award winners will get Tk 20,000 against their existing allowances of Tk 8,000 per month while the 'Bir Protik' gallantry award winners will get Tk 15,000. Those who have been receiving more than one allowance until now will be allowed to avail themselves of the higher allowance after the implementation of the proposal. The new allowances will come into effect from January 01, 2016. The Cabinet adopted an obituary resolution expressing deep shock at the death of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Another resolution was adopted thanking Rezwana Siddiq Tulip and Rupa Haq, two Bangladesh origin British citizens, for becoming ministers in the shadow cabinet of the UK Labour Party. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered suspension of sand lifting and asked ministers to prepare a policy guideline in this regard to protect the bridges, national highways and roads from illegal lifting of sands from rivers. The order came after the Cabinet meeting when she asked the ministers for water resources, land, shipping and state minister for energy and mineral resources to prepare the guideline in this regard holding an inter-ministerial meeting. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked Awami League leaders and activists to get ready for the next general election and make the best use of the remaining time of the AL government's tenure. Prime Minister vowed afresh to free Bangladesh from poverty and urged the AL leaders and activists to prepare a list of ultra-poor homeless people and those living in great distress. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League chief, said this when top party leaders from different levels of the country came to her official residence Ganobhaban to greet her for being reelected as the party president. Prime Minister's ICT adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy observed that the country's people will stand on their own feet through building Sonar Bangla (Golden Bangla) as dreamt by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He said this while inaugurating an IT-cum-training institution in Sirajganj through videoconferencing from the Prime Minister's Office. Such training institutions are being constructed to implement the goal, he added. Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece Dimitrios Paraskevopoulous expressed his country's eagerness to enhance economic collaboration in agriculture, infrastructure and shipping sectors of Bangladesh. The Greek Secretary General (Foreign Secretary) showed the interest during the 2nd Political Consultations between Bangladesh and Greece held in Dhaka, according to the Foreign Ministry press statement. Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque and Ambassador Dimitrios Paraskevopoulous led their respective sides during the consultations held six years after the First Political Consultation held in Athens in April 2010. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFFRI) will establish its permanent office in Bangladesh to gear up work in this field. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the IFFRI signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect in Dhaka yesterday, said an IFFRI press release. A business delegation of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) attended the D-8 Chambers of Commerce and Industry Izmir (CCII) meeting in Turkey. FBCCI President Abdul Matlub Ahmad led the business delegation at the two-day CCII meeting held at Izmir ended on October 2, said a press release yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, President Matlub emphasized on D-8 plus to increase the volume of trade and investment between the member countries. Kuwaiti businessmen have expressed their interest to invest in Bangladesh after learning about various facilities over the foreign direct investment (FDI) here as provided by the government. Their expression of investment interest was evident during a meeting in Kuwait yesterday with the visiting delegation of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a statement said. Newly appointed Norwegian Ambassador Sidsel Blieken has said she would work to further strengthen the good relations between the two countries through promoting shared goal of creating peaceful and inclusive societies based on equal rights for all. 'The relationship between Norway and Bangladesh has always been one of friendships and strong bonds, and I want to deepen that during my stay in Bangladesh through our engagements in diplomacy, trade and development,' said a media release of Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka yesterday quoting Blieken as saying. The government has appointed Maj Gen Azmal Kabir as the next Bangladesh Ambassador to Indonesia. Kabir was served as the Instructor, Engineer Centre and School of Military Engineering and School of Infantry and Tactics.

London, 19 October 2016

The World Bank (WB) committed to providing Bangladesh with $2 billion over the next three years in fresh funding to help the nation tackle and adapt the negative impacts of climate change. 'Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change and we must do all we can to support the government in its efforts to adapt to this growing threat,' said WB Group President Jim Yong Kim making the announcement yesterday at a press conference. Sajeeb Wazed Joy, ICT adviser to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said Banladesh is the only country which digitized quickly defying many debacles and the people of Bangladesh getting the result of the country's ICT development. Now the country is the example to the world as it got digitized within a short period of time utilizing the capacity, he added. ICT adviser made the remarks while addressing a reception programme accorded to him for getting an award on ICT in Dhaka yesterday. Tech companies can register their internet domain on dot Bangla (.bangla) from December 16, Bangladesh's Victory Day. 'Through this process, Bangla will secure its position as a language in cyber space,' State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim said at a press briefing at the Secretariat in Dhaka yesterday. Visiting World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim said he fully supports what Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is doing for the development of Bangladesh. World Bank President made the remark when he met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganobhaban yesterday. During the Meeting, President Kim offered assistance to share experiences about easing doing business in Bangladesh. Dr Kim mentioned that the World Bank is fully committed to providing support to Bangladesh in implementing its climate change adaptation and mitigation programs. Highlighting her government's various steps for the development of the country, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her main aim is to ensure basic needs, including food and shelter, for the people. She said Bangladesh has become self-sufficient in food due to various steps of her government. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh would be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals only if Awami League remains in power. She came up with this remark while giving her introductory speech at a meeting of its Council Preparation Committee at Ganobhaban yesterday. Expressing her hope to organize the party in a better way through the upcoming council, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said all have to remember that the socioeconomic status of the country will develop as long as Awami League remains in power. Prime Minister thanked people for keeping their trust and confidence in Awami League. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the children of the country to prepare themselves as worthy citizens to have their own dignified place in this competitive world. The premier made these remarks at a function marking her younger brother Sheikh Russell's birthday, also the youngest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Russell Jatiya Shishu Kishore Parishad organised the programme at Krishibid Institution in Dhaka yesterday. Expressing her government's firm commitment to stop brutalities in future, Prime Minister said her government has enacted laws to protect the rights of children and stop their abuses. The PM distributed prizes among the winners of different sports and cultural competitions on the occasion. The country's largest digital exposition is set to kick off today in Dhaka to showcase technology-based innovations and achievements aiming to unlock the economic potential of the IT sector. Analysts and government officials from different countries will take part in discussions at the three-day Digital World 2016 at International Convention City Bashundhara, organisers said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the event; her ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy will also be present.

London, 17 October 2016

Country's biggest ICT expo, Digital World 2016, will be held at the International Convention City of Bashundhara, from October 19-21. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu disclosed the dates during a press briefing at the conference room of PID yesterday. There will be 12 seminars alongside ICT exhibition in the country's Digital World, organised by the ICT Division in collaboration with Bangladesh Computer Council, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and Access to Information (a2i) program, said Information Minister. As a testament to its commitment to the Bangladeshi consumers and as part of an ambitious plan to tap into the highly potent market, Microsoft will be participating in Digital World 2016 as a key sponsor. 'Digital World' is the largest IT Expo of Bangladesh which covers the breadth of knowledge in the IT program, and highlights the optimum use of the economic potentials of ICT. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has proposed three specific ways for engagement between economic and technological cooperation groups BRICS and BIMSTEC. The ways she has proposed are to develop quality and resilient infrastructure in BIMSTEC member states, to focus on development of science, technology and innovation capabilities, and to hold talks between BRICS and BIMSTEC for sustainable economic development. She came up with the proposals at the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit in Indian state of Goa yesterday. Extending thanks to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his wonderful initiative to bring the leaders of BRICS and BIMSTEC to a single table, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina focused on how the leaders of both the groupings could identify mutual scope as well as synergies for cooperation. She urged the leaders of both the forums to join hands to deal with terrorism and violent extremism to achieve sustainable development through security and stability. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged BIMSTEC leaders to find out the mentors, masterminds, abettors, financiers, arms suppliers and trainers of terrorists and extremists to defeat terrorism. She was delivering her statement at the BIMSTEC Leaders' Retreat held at Goa of India yesterday. In Bangladesh, Prime Minister said, her government has taken a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism and violent extremism. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said as she stood there as one of the four founding leaders who had inspired the launching of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) way back in 1997, during the past 20 years, BIMSTEC has made progress in connecting two regions - South Asia and South East Asia. She emphasized implementation of the Free Trade Area (FTA) initiative among BIMSTEC member countries in order to boost intra-regional trade. The PM urged the leaders to finally adopt the four FTA-related agreements during the 20th anniversary of BIMSTEC next year. Terrorism and Teesta river water-sharing issues came up for discussion as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Goa yesterday. The Teesta issue came up at the meeting between the two Prime Ministers and it was agreed that more discussions were needed to arrive at an acceptable solution, said Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also met Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on the sidelines of the BRICSBIMSTEC outreach summit at Cavelossim in Goa. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet in Bangla, welcomed his Bangladesh counterpart to the BRICS Summit in Goa and thanked her for strengthening ties between New Delhi and Dhaka. The World Bank is going to observe End Poverty Day in Bangladesh this year in acknowledgment of the country's remarkable success in reducing poverty. Its President Jim Yong Kim arrived in Dhaka yesterday on a two-day visit to see firsthand the progress Bangladesh has made in transitioning successfully to a lower-middle income country. He will participate in an event to mark the 'International Day for the Eradication of Poverty' today. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the program. Chief economist of the WB Paul Romer and Vice President for the South Asia Region Annette Dixon will also participate in the discussion. Chinese investments in Bangladesh's power and energy sector would be over US$5.32 billion, as the country has inked four agreements and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with different local power sector entities during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. A senior energy ministry official said of the total investments, a 1,320-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant at Paira, to be implemented by the state-run North West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL), would fetch $1.984 billion. A total of 27 agreements and MoUs were inked between China and Bangladesh on Friday in presence of the Chinese President and Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.Bangladesh and Nepal are agreed to set up two hydro-electricity plants capable to produce 1,500 megawatts. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and Nepalese Romi Gauchan Thakali yesterday made the disclosure after a meeting at secretariat in Dhaka. Commerce Minister said both the countries agreed to establish the plants along with Indian cooperation. It is also expected that after setting up the KhulnaMongla rail line within 2018, trade will be enhanced through the railway service between Bangladesh and Nepal. According to the Global Hunger Index of the International Food Policy Research Institute's, Bangladesh is ranked 90 among 118 countries. It is ahead of India (97), Pakistan (107) and Afghanistan (111). In 2008, Bangladesh's score was 32.4 but now it has improved to 27.1. Expressing concern over the loss of innocent lives in clashes in Myanmar, Bangladesh underscored the need for arresting perpetrators and bringing them to justice. Taking note of attacks on the Border Guard Police posts in Rakhine on October 10 and clashes that followed, Bangladesh yesterday said it finds these developments in Rakhine disturbing and unequivocally condemns the attacks. In a press statement, the Foreign Ministry said Bangladesh as a responsible neighbour on its own had sealed off the borders with Myanmar in the early hours of October 10 to deny the perpetrators escape. Bangladesh apprehended two Rakhine Muslims and handed them over to the Myanmarese authorities within a day. State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam has said Bangladeshis are not allowed to go to Libya as the law and order situation in the North African country is not safe for them. He came up with this warning while addressing a seminar at the CIRDAP Auditorium in Dhaka yesterday on Irregular Labour Migration in Bangladesh Crises and Ways forward. The state minister has said that the government is always aware about the safety and security of the expatriate workers and the people going abroad.

London, 10 OCTOBER 2016

Bangladesh High Commission, London, dedicates cultural programme to 1971 freedom fighters, martyrs

The Bangladesh High Commission in London hosted the "Summit Bangladesh Evening” on 09 October 2016 at the Brady Arts Centre in the heart of where the Bengali diaspora lives. It was dedicated to the freedom fighters and martyrs of the 1971 Bangladesh war.

The programme, which started with the song "JOY BANGLA, BANGLAR JOY" was originally named "Summit Evening of Young Bangladeshi performers," but changed as the four young men could not come due to visa complexities.

Nadeem Qadir, Minister (Press), organised and anchored the programme, while British-Bangladeshi artists Shammem Azad, Srity Azad, Gouri Chowdhury, Hashi Rani and Sobira Sultana Sonia presented their numbers which was cheered by the crowd.

Khandaker M. Talha, the acting High Commissioner of Bangladesh, could not attend due to unaviodal circumstances.

Qadir, in his introductory remarks said, he was happy to be able to organise the programme, the first ever by the high commission in the Brady Arts Centre.

He said he missed the four young talents who could not come as their visas were refused.

He said the programme has three dimensions -- too present Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Golden Bengla, give the young talents a platform to the British audience and bridge Bangladeshis and British-Bangladeshis.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in particular wants that Bangladesh and its youths are projected properly, Qadir added.

He thanked the sponsors Summit Communications Ltd from Dhaka and London's Tower Hamlets, London Tradition, Hillside Travels, Sonali Business Centre, Faith Printers, Qunatum securities, JMG Cargo, BBCCI, Bangla TV and Hamlets Training Cenrtre.

Media partners were Bangla TV, Weekly Jonomot and Betar Bangla.

Speaking on the occassion, Mr. Nahas Pasha, Chief Editor of weekly Jonomot said that such programmes should be held regularly.

Channel I Europe Managing Director Mr. R. A. Faisol Chowdhury (Shoaib) praised Nadeem Qadir, saying the press (minister) was very active and have been doing things that none had done before in that post.

Hillside Travel Managing Director, Mr. Helal Uddin Khan, said he would continue to support High Commission programmes.

Mr. Unmesh Desai of the Greater London Council said the programme was perfect to uphold Bangladesh.

A similar programme was staged at the London's prestigious Nehru Centre on Oct 6, 2016.

Nadeem Qadir
Minister (Press)

London, 10 October 2016

Bangladesh fought back in the second ODI with a strong bowling display which led Tigers an easy win against England. Tigers have spectacularly won the second match by 34 runs against England. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina extended her heartiest congratulation to Bangladesh cricket team for defeating touring England side in the second oneday international (ODI) match. The government looks to tap Chinese investment into Bangladesh by awarding them a special economic zone as well as availing loans at cheap rates from Beijing, said Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday. He made the comment at a discussion on 'Bangladesh-China Relation: Achievement and Expectation' organized by the Economic Reporters' Forum at the CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka. The discussion came days ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Dhaka. The government has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to develop the country's Dhaka-Sylhet corridor into four lanes with its proposed investment of US$ 2.2 billion. Roads and Highways Department (RHD) inked the framework agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited at a ceremony yesterday. Bangladesh and India are set to kick off the much-awaited cross border power trade through BBIN, an initiative of South Asian member states to formulate, implement and review quadrilateral agreement on connectivity of power. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told this to the media yesterday at his secretariat office while speaking about the outcome of his recent visit to India. The State Minister said, the bilateral discussion with Indian state minister for power, coal and renewable energy Piyush Goyal was successful. He added, the Indian private sector firm Adani also informed us to install grid connectivity for supplying their 1,600 MW of electricity to Bangladesh. They are also interested to install our national transmission line for supplying the electricity. Twenty percent of Bangladeshi social enterprises are led by women, significantly higher than in mainstream business, a survey findings revealed. It also said women in social enterprises make up 41 percent of the full time equivalent workforce; more than double of their participation rate in the general workforce. The British Council, United Kingdom's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, launched survey reports “The State of Social Enterprise in Bangladesh” and “Social Enterprise Policy Landscape in Bangladesh” yesterday in Dhaka.

London, 07 OCTOBER 2016

Bangladesh High Commission, London, hosts first ever cultural programme in Nehru Centre

The Bangladesh High Commission in London hosted the "Summit Bangladesh Evening” on 06 October 2016 at the prestigious Nehru Centre in the heart of the city. It was dedicated to the freedom fighters and martyrs of the 1971 Bangladesh war.

The programme was originally named "Summit Evening of Young Bangladeshi performers," but changed as the four young men could not come due to visa complexities.

Nadeem Qadir, Minister (Press), organised and anchored the programme, while British-Bangladeshi artists Shammem Azad, Srity Azad, Gouri Chowdhury, Hashi Rani and Sobira Sultana Sonia presented their numbers which was cheered by the crowd.

Khandaker M. Talha, the acting High Commissioner of Bangladesh, in his speech said that the high commission would like to host more such programmes in collaboration with the Nehru Centre.

"This programme will showcase Bangladesh and its talents," he added. Talha also thanked Minister (Press) Nadeem Qadir for organising the event.

Nehru Centre assistant Director Ms. Vibhaji said she was delighted to give the venue for the event and looked forward to more such programmes, even on a joint-venture

Qadir, in his introductory remarks said, he was happy to be able to organise the programme, the first ever by the high commission in the Nehru Centre.

He said he missed the four young talents who could not come as their visas were refused despite submitting all papers from the high commission.

"We will bring them soon," he asserted.

He said the programme has three dimensions -- too present Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Golden Bengal, give the young talents a platform to the British audience and bridge Bangladeshis and British-Bangladeshis.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in particular wants that Bangladesh and its youths are projected properly, Qadir added.

He thanked the sponsors Summit Communications Ltd from Dhaka and London's Tower Hamlets, London Tradition, Hillside Travels, Sonali Business Centre, Faith Printers, Qunatum securities, JMG Cargo, BBCCI, Bangla TV and Hamlets Training Centre.

Media partners were Bangla TV, Weekly Jonomot and Betar Bangla.

A seven-minute documentary sent by the four absent Bangladeshi performers was also screened.

A second show is set for 09 October in East London's Brady Arts Centre.

Nadeem Qadir
Minister (Press)

London, 06 October 2016

The Jatiya Sangsad passed the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Bill, 2016’ in an amendment form with a provision for non-government organisations to take prior approval from the NGO Affairs Bureau to undertake any project and implement it with foreign donations.

Bangladesh has finally got the right to dot bangla (.bangla) domain to express its identity internationally. Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) yesterday made the announcement of allocating the .bangla domain in favour of Bangladesh, State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim told media over phone from Turkey.

Bangladesh has been elected chairman of Asia-Pacific Information Super-highway Working Group for the next one year. United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific countries at a high-level forum meeting, held in Bangkok on Tuesday, supported Bangladesh to lead the Information Highway, a press release said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned that stern action would be taken against persons concerned if any irregularity was found in the preparation of the list of extreme poor for the distribution of rice at Tk 10 per kilogram. She issued the warning while replying to a supplementary question in Parliament. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said her government was the first to appoint a female secretary to the highest position of the civil service in the country. The government has appointed women to every department for ensure their participation in running affairs of the country and as a result women empowerment is increasing. She said this while replying to a question in the Jatiya Sangsad yesterday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the House that the work on infrastructural development of Payra Port would be completed by 2023. In reply to a question Prime Minister said construction of three jetties of the port would be completed by 2018. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that country's current literacy rate will be over 70 percent. She said this while replying to a question in the Jatiya Sangsad yesterday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought Norwegian support to further develop and expand Bangladesh's aquaculture and shipbuilding sectors for mutual benefits. Country wants Norway's cooperation in developing fisheries sector with its technologies, projects and ventures in breeding fingerling, fishery management, and taking up joint ventures in marine aquaculture projects in Bangladesh's coastal regions, she said. The premier came up with the request when Norwegian ambassador in Dhaka Merete Lundemo paid a farewell call on her at her office in Dhaka yesterday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed the authorities concerned, including ministries, to work with efficiency and appropriate strategies and action plans so that the country can survive in this highly competitive world. The present world is the most competitive one and her government wants to build the country with all possible capacities to survive competing in the international arena, she said. The Prime Minister made the call yesterday while presiding over the 4th meeting of the National Skill Development Council held at the Prime Minister's Office. President Md. Abdul Hamid described communal harmony as a great tradition of Bangladesh and urged all irrespective of caste and creed to continue to make efforts so that none can tarnish this tradition. The President said this when an 8-member delegation, including the trustees of Buddhist Religious Welfare Trust, made a courtesy call on him at Bangabhaban in Dhaka yesterday. Bangladesh's economy will grow by 6.9 percent this fiscal year despite the subdued global growth, said the International Monetary Fund which was released in Washington on Tuesday. The number of Bangladesh's extreme poor people, according to a World Bank (WB) report, has dropped from 18 per cent in 2009-10 to 12.9 per cent at the end of the last fiscal year (FY). Bangladesh sought India's assistance in setting up of a network for supplying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to high-rise buildings and apartments, cooperation in the field of bio-fuels and training of its personnel in hydrocarbon sector. India has agreed to work with Bangladesh in these sectors and share its experiences. Dhaka's request for India's help and the latter's response came when Bangladesh State Minister State for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid met India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in New Delhi yesterday.

London, 05 October 2016

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said Bangladesh would stay beside India if the neighboring country came under attack as a result of ongoing tension with Pakistan. The Home Minister was addressing a views-exchange programme at the Secretariat organised by Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum yesterday. The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved eight projects, including one for the procurement of 200 MG passenger coaches for Bangladesh Railway, involving a total of Tk 3,488.20 crore. The approval was given in the ECNEC meeting held at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar yesterday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The Jatiya Sangsad yesterday unanimously adopted a thanks giving motion on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for receiving the 'Planet 50-50 Champion' and 'Agent of Change Award'. The UN-Women recognised the PM as 'Planet 50-50 Champion', while Global Partnership Forum handed over the 'Agent of Change Award' to her at a high-level reception at the UN Headquarters. Meanwhile, the Parliament yesterday also passed the 'President's Pension, Gratuity, and other Privileges Bill, 2016', with the provision that presidents whose tenures are declared illegal or unconstitutional by the higher court would be declared ineligible to receive the benefits. The government has approved proposals for taking foreign loans of $3.5 billion for two mega power projects-coal-fired Rampal and Payra power plants. Of these, Rampal will get $1.6 billion from Indian Exim Bank while Payra will receive $1.9 billion from China Exim Bank, Power Division sources told the media. The UN has accepted Bangladesh's proposal of creating 'Global Compact on Migration' to improve the migration governance and protect them during the emergencies, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said yesterday. 'The UN member states decided to finalize and adapt the framework after two years of negotiation,' he told reporters after a discussion organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies in association with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Organization for Migration. A ground-breaking project based in Bangladesh that allows villagers to earn income by selling excess solar energy was recently announced as one of 13 winners of a United Nations climate change award, a press statement said. ME SOLshare’s innovative technical solution, allows marginalized households without the means to finance their own solar PV home systems to purchase solar power from their neighbours at low cost. Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu told the parliament that more than 2800 newspapers are being published in the country at present. The Minister revealed the information while replying to a question in the Jatiya Sangsad yesterday. Bangladesh will be able to take part in 2019 World Cup directly and the results for the next one year will have no impact on this, said the BCB chief Nazmul Hasan Papon. Two Bangladeshis have bagged the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The announcement was made on Monday in Abu Dhabi. Marina Tabassum and Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury have won the award for the design of Dhaka's Bait Ur Rouf Mosque and Gaibandha's Friendship Centre, respectively.

London, 03 October 2016

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh's diplomatic relations with Pakistan will continue alongside disputes although Pakistan has been making various adverse statements on the ongoing war crimes trial. Prime Minister made the comment while replying to a query during her scheduled press conference on her recent visits to Canada and the USA at Gono Bhaban yesterday. About her Canada visit, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh’s relations with Canada further consolidated and deepened through her recent visit to the North American country. She said she requested her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau to extradite Noor Chowdhury, the self-confessed killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, from Canada, saying his trial would be held as per the existing law of the country. Prime Minister and President of ruling Awami League Sheikh Hasina also said after 35 years of leading the country's largest party she would be happy to see new leadership at the helm of the organisation. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the Election Commission to ensure the security of the data being used for preparing smart national identity (NID) cards, saying there should be a firewall in such a digital project to check forgery. She was inaugurating the distribution of smart NID cards at a function in the capital's Osmani Memorial Hall yesterday. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed handed over the smart NID card of President Md. Abdul Hamid to him at Bangabhaban yesterday. Bangladesh and the United States pledged to work together for further enhancing the security cooperation between the two countries in the coming years. Both the countries made the pledge at the fifth round of Bangladesh-United States Security Dialogue that ended in Dhaka yesterday. The US side appreciated Bangladesh’s policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and violent extremism, and not allowing its territory to be used for terrorist activities against other countries. They also applauded Bangladesh government’s efforts to control terrorist activities in the aftermath of the Holey Artisan attack by involving all relevant agencies, and the launch of a specialised counterterrorism and transnational crime unit under Dhaka Metropolitan Police, according to a joint statement. The Exim Bank of China is set to provide Bangladesh with US$ 1.16 billion in loan for implementing three major projects according to Economic Relations Division. The government would modernize 8,500 post offices as e-centre's across the country by June, 2017 to disseminate information and communication technology services to the rural people. State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak told this at the parliament yesterday. Replying to another question in the parliament, State Minister said the government has earned Tk 15.07 billion from mobile companies in the financial year 2015-16. The Press Councils of India and Bangladesh have decided to work towards ensuring that accredited journalists from both countries should be allowed visa-free entry into each other's territory, reports PTI on Sunday. Officials said that Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Justice (retd) C K Prasad recently led a delegation to Bangladesh where it was decided that the Press Councils of the two countries would enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of journalism. A six-member media delegation from Myanmar arrived in Dhaka on Saturday on a weeklong visit to have better understanding about Bangladesh and promote people-to-people contacts between the two countries. Myanmar Press Council Secretary Thiha Saw, who is also the Executive Director of Myanmar Journalism Institute, is leading the delegation.