London, 30 October 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated her call to the South Asian countries to work together to root out the poverty. The Premier made the call when Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Bangladesh Yasoja Gunasekera paid a farewell call on her at her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka yesterday. Both of them have expressed happiness over the present state of bilateral ties and emphasised on expanding the areas of economic cooperation.

Eleven persons have been awarded 20 years' imprisonment each for attempting to assassinate Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 1989. A court in Dhaka delivered the verdict yesterday in presence of nine accused out of 12. According to the records of the cases, the accused, Freedom Party leaders and activists, launched attack on Dhanmondi 32, Bangabandhu Bhaban, at night on August 10, 1989 to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She was at the house during the attack. Former Lieutenant Colonel Abdur Rashid is among the convicts.

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Secretary General Akbar Khan has paid a courtesy call on Jatiya Sangsad Speaker and Chairperson of the CPA executive committee Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury at her office yesterday. During the meeting, they discussed the overall preparations centering the upcoming 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) scheduled to be held in Dhaka on November 1-8.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said, Bangladesh will be a poverty-free country by 2024 if the current pace of development continues. He said this while addressing the inaugural session of the six-day Development Fair 2017 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka yesterday. The Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has organised the fair.

The government has instructed the police to set up five outposts at Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar in an effort to beef up security after the killing of a Bangladeshi man in an alleged attack by the Rohingya people. The instruction was given at an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hosain Chowdhury Maya at the Secretariat in Dhaka yesterday.

In the latest attempt at a diplomatic solution to the Rohingya crisis, the United States is sending a delegation comprising top officials to visit Myanmar and Bangladesh. The Department of State said Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw will lead a delegation from Oct 29 to Nov 4. The visit follows a phone call Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had made to Myanmar's army chief urging him to address the situation and take back Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon has said it is the responsibility of the global community to extend help to Rohingya orphans as it is not possible for Bangladesh alone to give them shelter for a long time. The global community will have to come forward for saving the Rohingya orphans as they did after Bangladesh's Liberation War to help the post-war orphans by adopting them. He made the urge at a discussion titled 'Rights of Children and World Humanity' at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) organised by it in association with UNICEF.

The Air Canada will start its operation from Toronto to Dhaka soon via New Delhi as per the Air Service Agreement, recently signed between Bangladesh and Canada. This was revealed yesterday when newly appointed Canadian High Commission Benoit Pre`fontaine paid a call on Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon at secretariat in Dhaka.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu has said, development of the blue economy would take the country's development to a new height. The minister said this as he was speaking at a meeting on 'oceanic architecture and coastal engineering' at city's Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University at Mirpur yesterday. He said, realizing the ocean's economic potential the country has to build up adequate skilled manpower to manage the ocean and extract mineral and fish resources properly.

A framework agreement was signed with China under which the country would provide $ 550.40 million to Bangladesh to implement 'Installation of Single Point Mooring (SPM) with Double Pipe Line' project in a bid to ensure energy security. Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam and Chinese Ambassador to Dhaka Ma Mingqiang signed the agreement at the ERD Conference Room in Dhaka.

The government has introduced 'Compliance Excellence Award' to encourage owners of the establishments and factories to maintain decent work environment. This decision was taken at a meeting of the National Industry, Health and Safety Council, held at the labour and employment ministry yesterday with State Minister for Labour and Employment Md Mujibul Haque Chunnu in the chair.

London, 29 October 2017

President Md Abdul Hamid returned home today after medical checkup in the United Kingdom. Earlier, President Hamid left London last night for Dhaka ending his eight-day visit for health checkup and treatment of eyes.

Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has said, the role of mayors is very much important to reach the development services to the grassroots. The speaker said this while inaugurating a two-day international conference on 'Cities Forum: Building Knowledge Network and Partnerships for Sustainable Development in Bangladesh' in Dhaka yesterday. ''Democratic institutions will have to work for developing planned urbanization and providing meaningful civic services to the grassroots level as urbanization is a must for making uplift sustainable'', she added.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has said, the next general election will be held under the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Election Commission (EC) will be given all cooperation in this regard. He said while inaugurating Khayer Hat 30-bed Hospital in Dakkhin Joynagar Union of Daulatkhan upazila in Bhola yesterday. Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim yesterday launched Zero TB Cities Initiative to end tuberculosis (TB) in Bangladesh organised by USAID at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel in Dhaka.

Health Ministry and United States Agency for International Development -USAID would jointly run the initiative. Nasim lauded Bangladesh's successes in the health sector as Bangladesh has set an example for its remarkable achievements including reducing child and maternal mortality as well as attaining polio-free status.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has said the community policing system would help reduce the tendency to commit crimes with the involvement of common people in the process. If the community policing can be intensified more as a helping hand of police, the tendency of criminal activities in the society will come down significantly, he said this at a function at Institution of Diploma Engineers in Dhaka marking the 'Community Policing Day-2017'. Urging the common people to come forward alongside members of the law enforcement agencies in curbing crimes, the Home Minister categorically said it would be possible to provide security for all if a strong and intensified community policing system can be established everywhere.

Myanmar's government will harvest rice from abandoned farmland in violence-scorched northern Rakhine, state media said yesterday, a move likely to raise concerns about the prospect of return for more than half a million Rohingyas who have fled the area. The border region has been emptied of most of its Muslim residents since late August, when Myanmar's military launched a crackdown on Rohingya rebels that the UN says likely amounts to ethnic cleansing.

A total of 817,000 Rohingya people are now living in Cox’s Bazar. An IOM release said, since 25 August, some 604,000 people have crossed the border, having fled violence in Myanmar. This is in addition to the over 200,000 people who had sought safety in Cox’s Bazar following previous outbreaks of violence.

Bangladeshi engineers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan has begun repairing a major road linking the capital Juba to communities living in the north of the city. The maintenance operation will cover 18 kilometres of road and is expected to be completed in six weeks' time. The state of roads across South Sudan is causing significant problems for local communities as well as the UN peacekeeping mission.

London, 26 October 2017

The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to inaugurate Tejgaon-Maghbazar-Mouchak-Shantinagar flyover today through video conference four years after she laid its foundation stone. The capital Dhaka witnessed construction of six flyovers since 2009.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said, Bangladesh is waiting for the goodwill of Myanmar to begin to take back its nationals. He said this to the media at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on his return from Myanmar yesterday. Earlier yesterday, Home Minister met State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at her office in Naypyidaw. During the meeting Aung San Suu Kyi said, her country started working to take back the Rohingyas.

China wants to see a peaceful solution to Rohingya crisis bilaterally. Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque said this to the media quoting Chinese special envoy of Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang after their meeting in Dhaka.

Dhaka has intensified diplomatic efforts for the UN Human Rights Council to hold a special session and adopt a resolution on the Rohingyas crisis. Such efforts, however, need support of at least 16 of the 45 membercountries for an exclusive session of the UNHRC on any issue. As part of the government effort, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque briefed diplomats from the US, UK, China, Russia, India, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Vatican yesterday. The Foreign Secretary also held an exclusive meeting with Saudi Ambassador Abdullah HM AlMutairi on the Rohingyas issue.

Dhaka has renewed its call at the United Nations seeking support and involvement of the international community in Bangladesh's bilateral steps for solving Rohingya crisis. Bangladesh will continue its diplomatic efforts with Myanamr to solve the issue; but it will not possible to reach a desired solution to the problem without support and involvement of international community and the UN, said Dr Dipu Moni, chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. She came up with the call while addressing as panelist at a side event titled 'Atrocities against Rohingya: From Condemnation to Action' at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has pushed in six Rohingyas of a family through Nazirakona border in Mujibnagar upazila early yesterday. Later, police detained the six Rohingyas from Maniknagar village of the upazila.

The government has directed the marriage registrars not to administer any marriage between Bangladeshi nationals and Rohingyas. The law ministry yesterday issued a notification to this effect asking the marriage registrars to administer marriages only after examining the national identity (NID) cards of both the bridegrooms and brides to be sure about their nationality.

The government has approved a proposal that would enable Akij Group to invest $20 million in Malaysia. The cabinet committee on economic affairs has given the approval at a meeting, presided over by Finance Minister AMA Muhith. The committee approved the proposal for import of 1.5 lakh tonnes of rice for $465 per tonne from Thailand through government arrangement.

The World Bank has renewed its partnership with Bangladesh on establishing transparency and accountability in public purchases and improving the overall government procurement management in the country. The Washington-based lender is providing $55 million for a project taken for digitalization of the government procurement.

 German Ambassador in Dhaka Dr Thomas Prinz has praised the steady economic growth of Bangladesh over the years as the country has set to become an economic giant in the region within the shortest period. He said this as he was speaking as the chief at the monthly-luncheon meeting of the Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Dhaka yesterday.

London, 25 October 2017

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved the 'Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway' project involving an estimated cost of Tk 16,901.32 crore aiming to ease traffic congestion in and around the capital. The approval came from the weekly ECNEC meeting held at the NEC conference room with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Of the total project cost, Tk 12,402.65 crore will come from the national exchequer while the rest of Tk 22,164.69 crore as project assistance.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated Bangladesh's call to the United Nations (UN) and the international community to take immediate and effective measures for a permanent solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis. She made the call in a message on the occasion of the United Nations Day yesterday. The Premier said, UN Day is being observed worldwide this year while hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas are entering Bangladesh to flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. These people must be able to return to their homeland in safety, security and dignity, she added.

Myanmar has agreed to take back the Rohingya people, forced out of their homes in the Rakhine state and side by side with implementing the Kofi Annan Commission's recommendations. Both Myanmar and Bangladesh would form a joint working group in this regard by November 30. A decision to this effect was taken yesterday at a bilateral meeting held at the Home Ministry level between Bangladesh and Myanmar on security and law enforcement matters at Naypyidaw. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan led Bangladesh delegation at the meeting. Two MoUs were signed with Myanmar to fetch security cooperation and set up border liaison office in respective countries.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono are scheduled to visit Bangladesh in the third week of November. The two foreign dignitaries are scheduled to reach Dhaka on November 18 on separate two-day official tours. The German minister is likely to visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar to see the plights of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals on the ground. The two FMs are likely to hold separate bilateral meetings with their Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali. The two foreign dignitaries are also expected to separately call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The German, Japanese and Bangladesh Foreign Ministers are also scheduled to fly for Myanmar on November 19 to join foreign minister-level conference of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

After the European Union (EU), the United States has also undertaken punitive measures against the Myanmar security forces for their alleged atrocities committed against Rohingyas in Rakhine state, bordering Bangladesh. At the same time, Washington is considering imposition of targeted sanctions over the brutal treatment of Rohingyas. The measures announced on Monday are imposing travel ban on current and former senior leadership of Myanmar military, consideration of economic options, declaration making the units and officers involved in operations in Rakhine ineligible to receive or participate in any US assistance programme and cancellation of invitations for senior officials of Myanmar security forces to attend Washington-sponsored programmes.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named Bob Rae as his special envoy with the responsibility to engage diplomatically to resolve the Rohingyas crisis. Mr. Rae is due to begin his work immediately to address the crisis in the Myanmar's Rakhine State.

Secretary General of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Elhadj As Sy arrives today to see the Rohingya situation on the ground. Red Cross and Red Crescent operations are going on Cox's Bazar to help the Rohingyas.

Speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has said, UNDP as a development partner could play significant role to help Bangladesh in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She said this at a function arranged for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UNDP at her JS office in Dhaka yesterday.

European Ambassador in Dhaka Rensje Teerink has said, there is still a lot of work to do in the coming years to implement the Paris Agreement, and deliver action on the ground to make the ambitious targets a reality. The Envoy said this as she was addressing the inaugural session of a daylong seminar titled 'Bangladesh and EU Dialogue on Climate Change: Global Perspective, Policies and Actions' in Dhaka. Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque attended the event as the chief guest. Environment and Forests Secretary Istiaque Ahmad and Chairman of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad also spoke.

The Cabinet Division has declared Bangladesh Secretariat a smoke-free zone and asked the secretaries of all the ministries to make sure that no one smokes in the country's administrative hub. The decision was taken as part of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's announcement to bring the tobacco consumption to a zero level by 2040.

London, 24 October 2017

The Cabinet has approved the draft of 'The Sheikh Hasina National Youth Development Institute Bill, 2017' aimed at institutionalising the existing Sheikh Hasina National Youth Centre through bringing it under a legal framework. The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at the Prime Minister's office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair yesterday. The meeting was informed that State-run organization Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (BAPEX) has explored a new gas field at Shahbazpur in Bhola. BAPEX is optimistic about finding around 700 billion cubic feet gas from this field. Taking part in a discussion at the Cabinet meeting, the PM said, Bangladesh seeks to resolve the Rohingya crisis diplomatically and peacefully and would not engage in rows with Myanmar over the issue.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said Bangladesh gets priority among all India's neighbours as per its neighbourhood policy. Calling her Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali as her brother, Sushma assured Bangladesh of resolving all the issues transparently and sincerely. She has referred to the peaceful settlement of disputes over Maritime Boundary and Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh in the past. Sushma was addressing a programme marking the inauguration of the new Chancery Complex of the Indian High Commission and 15 development projects in Bangladesh funded by the government of India at a cost of Tk 71.64 crore yesterday.

The international community has pledged an additional US$340 million to meet the needs of Rohingyas living in Bangladesh. The amount would be given in addition to the $116 million raised since the beginning of the Rohingya crisis. As per decision of the pledging conference held in Geneva yesterday, the United Nations will follow up to ensure that all the pledges are realised and the funds are swiftly released. Addressing the conference IOM Director General William Lacy Swing has urged world leaders to engage in a political process that will allow the Rohingyas to return home voluntarily.

Jordanian Queen Rania Al Abdullah has called upon the international community to respond effectively, quickly, and generously to alleviate the suffering of Rohingyas. Queen Rania made the urge during her visit to the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Cox's Bazar yesterday.      

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan left Dhaka yesterday for Myanmar to hold talks on various issues, including the Rohingya crisis, aiming to send them back to their homeland through diplomatic efforts. Myanmar Union Minister for Home Affairs Lt Gen Kyaw Swe will lead his country's team.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday said Korean electronics giants Samsung and LG Electronics will produce their products locally through joint venture. Apart from the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ), the Korean investors would also invest in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), he added. The minister revealed it to media after having a meeting with Korean Ambassador Ahn Seong-doo at his ministry office. He opined Korea would be benefited if they export products through setting up factories in Bangladesh. Mentioning that 200 Korean companies have invested in the EPZ, Mr. Tofail said more companies are keen to invest here. Korean envoy said South Korean businesses are interested to diversify their business and investment in Bangladesh through investing in pharmaceuticals, information technology and Infrastructure sector.

About 200 Bangladeshi male and female workers have got jobs in the apparel sector in Mauritius at zero migration cost as their employers agreed to bear the cost. Bangladesh high commission in Port Louis told this media yesterday.

London, 23 October 2017

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said, Myanmar must take back their nationals and the country must not punish innocent people in the name of clamping down terrorism. The Indian FM said this as she called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Gonobhaban in Dhaka yesterday.  Swaraj, appreciating Bangladesh stance on the Rohingya issue said, there should be a permanent solution of the Rohingya issues and international community should contribute to social and economic development of Rakhain. The Premier said, Bangladesh already established an engagement with Myanmar and Bangladesh Home Minister is set to visit the neighbouring country over the crisis.  Earlier Swaraj arrived in Dhaka yesterday and joined a meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) of the two countries. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali led Bangladesh delegation at the meeting. After JCC meeting both the FMs briefed media. Indian Minister said, her country has assured Bangladesh of resolving all the pending issues as Bangladesh has long been waiting to see the signing of Teesta water sharing deal. Bangladesh FM said, water resources must act as a uniting force between the two countries. He also said, Bangladesh has proposed new regional connectivity initiatives to India. AH Mahmood Ali said, India agreed to positively consider these proposals. He praised India as the most important, trusted and friendly neighbor. His Indian counterpart said, both countries achieved a great deal only because of the friendship.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has said he would visit Myanmar today for holding talks with the Myanmar government. He said this to the media at his ministry yesterday. The minister would lead an eight-member delegation including two secretaries, Inspector General of Police, Director General of Border Guard, Director General of Bangladesh Coast Guard and Additional Director General of the Department of Narcotics Control. He also said, the government so far brought 2,45,550 Rohingyas under biometric registration as part of the efforts to enlist them in document.

The European Union will co-host a pledging conference on the Rohingya crisis with Kuwait in Geneva today as more funding is needed to help the Rohingyas living in Bangladesh. The conference will be held in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Ahead of the conference, the EU has reiterated the need for an end to violence. It also urged the Myanmar government to establish a credible and practical process for the voluntary return of all Rohingyas.

A four-member delegation of the Human Rights Council's Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar met State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam at his office yesterday. Chairperson of the fact-finding mission Marzuki Darusman led the team during the meeting. The delegation will go to Cox's Bazar today to see the Rohingya situation on the ground.

Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Devrim Ozturk has called on Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya at his Secretariat office yesterday. During the meeting, the Turkish Ambassador said his government would extend cooperation for shelter, health services, latrine, tubewells and other facilities for Rohingya people.

Mobile phone operator Teletalk will distribute free SIMs among two million women for their empowerment improving living standards. State Minister for Telecommunications Tarana Halim has inaugurated the 'Aporajita SIM' distribution program at the Secretariat yesterday that would allow each woman to have two free SIMs.

London, 22 October 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated her call to the international community including the United Nations to put more pressure on the Myanmar government for taking back their nationals from Bangladesh. She made the call when UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres phoned her yesterday. During the telephonic conversation, the Prime Minister also sought the UN Secretary General's support for the implementation of her five-point proposal she placed in the 72nd UN General Assembly Session held in New York last month.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was praised by the international media for playing great role in politics and development. In a report published in the British Daily the Guardian, PM Sheikh Hasina was also hailed for successfully running Bangladesh and uplifting the country's image on global platform.

President Md Abdul Hamid has reached London on eight-day visit for health checkup and treatment of eyes. The President was received by Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Mohammad Nazmul Quaunine at the airport.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will arrive in Dhaka today on a two-day official visit to review bilateral issues. During the visit, Sushma Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation to Bangladesh and India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting. Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will lead Bangladesh delegation to the meeting. Apart from bilateral issues, huge influx of Rohingya refugees, which created humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh, is likely to come up for discussion in the meetings.

The D-8 member states have assured their political and humanitarian support for sustainable solution of Rohingya issue that created humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh. The member states gave the assurance at the 9th D-8 Summit held in Istanbul, Turkey on Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Chair. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam led a six-member Bangladesh delegation to the D-8 Summit. The D-8 member states termed the exodus of Rohingya people fleeing Rakhine state of Myanmar as an ethnic cleansing and emphasized on smooth repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in their homes with ensuring their rights. President Erdogan thanked Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for opening hearts and borders for the forcibly displaced Rohingyas, and commendable role and efforts for a solution to the problem. The Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of Malaysia recalled his recent visit to Bangladesh and stressed on further mobilizing international support to address the crisis. Among others, the First Vice President of Iran also acclaimed the humane approach of Bangladesh and reassured of their support. The D-8 leaders however, laid emphasis on the implementation of Kofi Anan Commission Report on Rohingyas for resolving the crisis.

The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng and the Special Adviser of the Responsibility to Protect, Ivan Simonovic have called upon Myanmar government to take immediate action to stop and address the commission of atrocities that are reportedly taking place in northern Rakhine state. The UN special advisers have been following the situation in northern Rakhine state for several years and warned that atrocities could be committed there.

Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan will visit Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar tomorrow to underscore the urgent need for humanitarian assistance for this vulnerable population. As a board member of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and as an advocate of the work of UN humanitarian agencies, she will visit Kutupalong Rohingya Camp and its surroundings in Cox's Bazar.

China has reiterated its position over Myanmar saying that it does not want to interfere in its internal affairs. Deputy Head of the Chinese Communist Party's international department Guo Yezhou came up with the remarks while speaking on the sidelines of the party congress in Beijing.

A group of 21 American Senators have called for sanctions against Myanmar and suspension of military aid in the wake of around 600,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh due to human rights violations by the security forces. In a letter to Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, the Senators called on Myanmar government to immediately end its ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya; permit safe access to Myanmar for journalists, humanitarians and United Nations fact-finding mission personnel; and work to address the root of this conflict by affirming support for the report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The National Road Safety Day will be observed today amid different programmes including rally and discussion in Dhaka. This year's theme of the day is: 'Sabdhane Chalabo Gari, Nirapode Fhirbo Bari' (Drive carefully, Return home safely). President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the eve of the day.

London, 19 October 2017

Nine influential US senators have applauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's strong leadership for providing assistance to more than half a million Rohingya people fleeing horrific violence in Myanmar. They said this in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday. They welcomed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's remarks in the UN General Assembly on September 22 urging a cessation of the violence in Myanmar and support for the full implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission report.

Highly appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's humanitarian role in facing Rohingya crisis, US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat said the USA will stand beside Bangladesh on Rohingya issue. She said this during a meeting with the President of BGMEA Md Siddiqur Rahman at his office in Dhaka yesterday. During the meeting the BGMEA president drew the attention of Bernicat of Bangladesh's RMG export to the USA market.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said the Rohingya issue has now become an important agenda before the international community following hectic diplomatic efforts by Bangladesh. The FM said, the present position of Russia and China on Rohingya issue is a major policy shift since they want peaceful repatriation of Rohingyas. He said this to the media in Dhaka yesterday.

Jatiya Sanshad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has urged United Nations and international community to take necessary measures to make bilateral discussion between Bangladesh and Myanmar a success to reach a settlement on the Rohingya issue. She made the urge at a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. Dr Shirin stressed on political solution to solve Rohingya crisis alongside the humanitarian assistance.

The global parliamentary community has condemned the 'ethnic cleansing' of Myanmar's Rohingyas seeking concerted steps of parliaments across the world against the atrocities as the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) adopted a resolution in its 137th Assembly in Russia yesterday. IPU's incumbent President Saber Hossain Chowdhury of Bangladesh announced this at the assembly in Russia's St Petersburg city.

The European Union has said it wants to see Myanmar's reply before taking any toughest measures like imposing economic embargo or other restrictive measures against the country. EU Ambassador in Dhaka Rensje Teerink said this to the media in Dhaka yesterday.

The UK-based Amnesty International revealed a report on atrocities in Myanmar accusing the country of committing 'crimes against humanity' by killing Rohingyas. It said this in an 'evidence-based' report incorporating testimonies from 120 Rohingyas.

A senior UN official on Tuesday returned empty-handed from five days of talks in Myanmar where he appealed for the safe return of Rohingyas who are staying in Bangladesh. Jeffrey Feltman, the UN Under-Secretary-General for political affairs, met with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi and military Commander-in-Chief General Min Aung Hlaing. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said this to the media.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the United States held Myanmar’s military leadership responsible for its harsh crackdown on the Rohingyas. He stopped short of saying whether the United States would take any action against Myanmar’s military leaders over an offensive that has driven more than 500,000 Rohingyas out of the country yesterday, reports Reuters.

UN Migration Director General William Lacy Swing has said there are ‘still gaps’ in the response capacity on the ground and additional services are required to ensure adequate and lifesaving assistance to Rohingyas. Swing made the remark as he completed a three-day visit to Bangladesh yesterday.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said the Sweden government would invest $ 1.0 billion to introduce the new technology and digitalize the grid for making the system more reliable and efficient. He said this while witnessing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Dhaka yesterday. Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh Charlotta Schlyter also spoke at the MoU signing ceremony.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam reached Istanbul yesterday to attend the ninth Summit of the D-8, an organisation for economic cooperation, scheduled to be held on October 20. Prior to the summit, the State Minister will attend the ministerial meeting of D-8 today in Istanbul. He is leading a six-member delegation including Director- General (International Organisations) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Turkey and Consul General of Bangladesh to Istanbul.

President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have mourned the death of AM Nurul Islam Anu, who was private secretary to Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman yesterday. In a condolence message, they expressed deep shock at the death of Anu and prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family.

London, 18 October 2017

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved 10 projects with estimated cost of Tk 5,783 crore. The approval came at the ECNEC meeting held at the NEC conference room with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair yesterday. The approved projects include-modernization of BTCL, erosion protection of Kirtonkhula River in Barisal, vegetable and spice cultivation and research on floating bed, building 10 secondary government high schools in Dhaka city, Islamic Arabic University, three new regional offices for the National University, Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge in Kacha River and Gingira-Keraniganj-Nawabagnj-Dohar-Sreenagar highway development.

President Md Abdul Hamid has urged the European Union to extend its continued support to put pressure on the Myanmar government to repatriate the displaced Rohingyas. The President came up with the call as the newly appointed Ambassador of European Union (EU) Rensje Teerink presented her credential at Bangabhaban yesterday. The President lauded the steps taken by EU to resolve the Rohingya issue saying the European Union is one of the significant development partners of Bangladesh. Newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi also presented credential to the President at Bangabhaban yesterday. Welcoming the envoy, the President sought more Japanese investment in the country. Meanwhile, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono is likely to arrive in Dhaka on a two-day visit on November 18. The Bangladesh FM will discuss with him the issues of mutual interest, including the Rohingya crisis, during the visit.

Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has urged the international community to play an effective and sustainable role in resolving the Rohingya crisis which created a humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh. She was speaking at a briefing organized by UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock at UN Headquarters in New York yesterday.

Bangladesh has briefed the Russian side about the Rohingya crisis and cleared misconceptions developed due to false propaganda by the Myanmar government. Deputy Speaker Md Fazle Rabbi Miah and Chief Whip ASM Feroze held a meeting with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russian Upper House Konstantin Kosachev and Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of State Duma Andrei Klimov on the sidelines of the 137th assembly of IPU in St. Petersburg yesterday and discussed the matter in details. At the meeting, the Bangladesh delegation cleared misconceptions of the Russian side on the root cause of the Rohingya crisis. Meanwhile, Prof Dr Md Habibe Millat, MP was elected President of the IPU Health Committee. The 137th IPU Health Conference in the St. Petersburg elected Prof Millat, President of the Committee.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will visit Myanmar next month to attend the 13th ASEM. Foreign Ministerial Meeting which will be held in Naypyidaw on November 20-21 where Rohingya issue will come up for discussion.

IOM has assured the government of providing all sorts of assistance in shifting Rohingyas to Bhasan Char in Noakhali. Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya said this at a joint briefing after a meeting with IOM Director General William Lacy Swing in Dhaka yesterday. The Minister said Bangladesh Navy is working at Bhasan Char to accommodate Rohingyas as per the Prime Minister's directive.

Senior UN officials have urged the international community to come together in support of a pledging conference to send a strong message to Rohingyas and their generous hosts in Bangladesh that the world is there for them in their greatest time of need. The ministerial-level pledging conference, co-hosted by the European Union and the government of Kuwait, and co-organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will be held in Geneva on October 23. It aims to raise the necessary resources to enable the humanitarian community to meet the most urgent needs of Rohingya refugees.

UNICEF has said it will not be able to continue providing lifesaving aid and protection to the Rohingya children in Bangladesh without immediate additional funding. UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said this to the media in Geneva.

London, 17 October 2017

The Cabinet has approved the draft of the 'Health Development Surcharge Management Policy-2017', aiming to control tobacco use, prevent non-communicable diseases as well as create mass awareness against the bad impacts of tobacco. The approval was given at a meeting of the Cabinet held at the Prime Minister's Office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair yesterday. The Cabinet also felicitated the PM for being regarded as 'Star of the East', 'Mother of Humanity' and being compared with 'Raoul Wallenberg' by local and international media. A prominent daily newspaper of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Khaleej Times highly admired the Premier for her humanitarian approach to the Rohingyas and this newspaper dubbed her 'Star of the East'. British media Channel 4 has titled Sheikh Hasina 'Mother of Humanity' for her benevolence towards the Rohingya refugees. On the other hand, The Asian Age has compared Sheikh Hasina with 'Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg' who became history for his great humanitarian role during the Second World War.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said, the ongoing Rohingya problem could be solved through her five-point proposal placed at the UN General Assembly on September 21 last. She said this while receiving cheques of donations to her Relief and Welfare Fund from the leaders of Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) at her office yesterday.

The European Union has announced suspension of invitations to Myanmar Military Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other top military commanders of the country. The announcement came in response to the brutal operation against Rohingyas. The EU at a meeting in Luxemburg on Sunday said it may consider additional measures if the situation does not improve. Meanwhile, The World Bank has held back $200m development loan to the Myanmar government due to the persecution on Rohingyas.

Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said Malaysia will remain beside Bangladesh to ensure smooth repatriation of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. He said this after visiting Kutupalong Rohingya camp in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar yesterday. Referring to Myanmar's unwillingness to take back its nationals, Hamidi opined that Naypyidaw would be compelled to take back its nationals if the ASEAN countries put pressure on Myanmar authorities to this end.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) responding to the proposal of Bangladesh took Rohingya issue as the top emergency item in its 137th assembly in the Russia's St. Petersburg. The IPU adopted three resolutions as 'emergency items' for discussions, of them the Bangladesh proposal on Rohingyas issue was accepted receiving the highest 1027 votes. Deputy Speaker Md. Fazle Rabbi Miah raised Rohingya issue in the IPU.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on 22 October at the invitation of her Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali. During the visit, Bangladesh FM is expected to request the Indian FM to provide strong political support for ending exodus of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals and resolving the protracted crisis. Sushma Swaraj is due to co-chair a meeting of foreign minister-level India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC). Meanwhile, India has temporarily closed Land Integrated Check Post at Radhikapur near to Biral in Dinajpur with immediate effect. Indian High Commission in Dhaka, in a notification, said this yesterday.

Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the world's Muslims, will be held in two phases on the bank of the river Turag near Dhaka from January 12-14 and January 19-21. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said this to the media after attending a meeting at his office yesterday.

The High Court yesterday asked Information Ministry, Post and Telecommunications Ministry and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regularity Commission to take measures to block the gateway of much talked about 'Blue Whale' game.

London, 16 October 2017

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said, Myanmar is destroying Bangladesh's economy by pushing the Rohingyas through the border. He said this to the media in Washington, on Saturday after attending a meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee. IMF said, it is eager to provide financial assistance to Bangladesh, along the lines of the World Bank, to deal with the Rohingya crisis. Kenneth Kang, Deputy Director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, came up with the assurance on the occasion of WB-IMF annual meeting.

Malaysia will do what it can to help Bangladesh deal with the growing influx of Rohingyas. Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi expressed this view in a meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at the State Guest House Padma yesterday. He thanked the Bangladesh government for its help in the humanitarian ground and said discussions between the two countries are being held in Dhaka soon on further steps that can be taken to help the refugees.

Deputy Speaker Mohammad Fazley Rabbi Mia has urged the world community to play a united role in repatriation of Rohingya refugees to their home country Myanmar with full respect of their rights to citizenship. The Deputy Speaker made this call while presenting an emergency proposal on this issue in a meeting of fourday long 137th Inter-parliamentary Union conference of the Asia-Pacific group at Saint Peters Burg in Russia yesterday.

With an aim to provide free medical treatment for Rohingya refugees, a 60-bed hospital named ‘Emergency Response Unit Field Hospital’ is going to open at Gundum under Ukhia upazila in Cox’s Bazar today. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BRCS) in association with Norwegian, Finland and Japan Red Cross Society has taken the initiative to set up the hospital for Rohingyas. The government of Japan is providing emergency grant aid of US$750,000 for six months through UNICEF to strengthen emergency healthcare services of the Rohingya children. UNHCR has been working with the Bangladesh government to collect data on the estimated 5,36,000 forcibly displaced Rohingyas.

The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) had attempted repeatedly to push 50 Rohingya women and children into Bangladesh along Putkhali border in Benapole since Saturday morning. However, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) foiled all the attempts of BSF, said Lt Col Tariqul Hakim, commander of BGB 21 Battalion in Khulna, adding that the number of BGB jawans have been increased in the border to tackle the ill motive of BSF. BGB and local sources said the Rohingya women and children, who were gathered by BSF, have been staying in the jungles near on Angrail border in India for two days in inhuman condition. Meanwhile, AFP adds: Bangladesh has tightened security along its western border with India amid concern that hundreds of Rohingya refugees could be pushed into its territory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has honoured Awami League lawmaker and Inter-Parliamentary Union President Saber Hossain Chowdhury with 'Order of Friendship', the highest state decoration of Russia.

Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Ma Mingqiang has said the relations between Bangladesh and China reached such a height which will help expedite development efforts benefiting people of the two friendly countries. Ambassador Ma was addressing a function titled 'Forum on China's ODA Training Programme of Bangladesh Young Diplomats' in Dhaka yesterday. Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque also spoke at the function.

Experts from South and Southeast Asian countries have called for establishing cooperative global governance for waste management through building regional and global alliances. They made the call while participating in a five-day workshop on 'Waste Management and Reduction of Marine Litter' in Singapore yesterday. Bangladesh along with 29 representatives from south and Southeast Asia participated in the event. Rear Admiral (retd) Mohd Khurshed Alam, Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs represented Bangladesh at the programme.

The World Food Day is being observed today with an emphasis on strengthening food security and rural economy to face the untoward situation of migration, now considered a great challenge across the globe.

London, 15 October 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said Awami League wants to see the next general election to be held in a free and fair manner to give democracy an institutional shape. She said this in her speech at a joint meeting of AL central working committee and advisory council at her official residence Ganobhaban in Dhaka yesterday. The PM reaffirming the present government's intention to ensure credible elections said, in various by-elections and local government elections it was proved that people can franchise their rights properly and the government did not interfere in those elections.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged Myanmar to make sure the half-million Rohingya refugees who have fled in the last two months can go home. He also said, Myanmar's government needs to create conditions that will allow the Rohingya refugees to return with dignity and with a sense of security. He said this after addressing a Security Council meeting on the issue on Friday. Addressing the same meeting, European Union Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida said, the conditions for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the Rohingya refugees must be put in place. It also asked the Myanmar government to intensify efforts to ensure full, safe and unconditional access to Rakhine State for humanitarian assistance without delay. In Naypyidaw on Thursday, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said, she had created a committee to oversee all international and local assistance in Rakhine.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid, who is also the Home Minister of the country, is scheduled to reach Bangladesh today to discuss Rohingya issues. During the visit he will have meetings with Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam. William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, will arrive in Dhaka today on a four-day visit to see current Rohingyas situation on the ground. He will visit Cox’s Bazar from tomorrow. He is expected to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, among others, during the visit.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has urged the country's exporters and manufacturers to take a 'Look East' approach to expanding and diversifying export market and products. He made the call while speaking at the inauguration of 'Showcase Korea 2017' organized by the Korea-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dhaka on Friday. Taking part at the function, Korean Ambassador in Dhaka Ahn Seong-doo said, some 200 Korean companies have invested $ 1.3 billion in Bangladesh.

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq is going to hold a press briefing on recent issues today. An official of the ministry, in terms of anonymity, said to the media that the minister will hold the press briefing basically to give reply of the statement given by Chief Justice SK Sinha during leaving country for Australia on Friday night.  

Bangladesh will take on hosts South Africa in their first one day international (ODI) of the three-match series at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley today. The cricket match will begin at 2:00pm (Bangladesh Standard Time).

Bangladesh’s capital and megacity, Dhaka, has now been ranked at the bottom in The Economist's ‘Safe Cities Index 2017’, while Tokyo has topped the list yet again. The results of the 2017 Safe Cities Index, which now covers 60 cities, again show a sharp divide in overall levels of safety between the rapidly urbanising developing world and the stagnant developed world.

In the latest Business-to-Commerce (B2C) e-commerce index, Bangladesh ranked 103rd among the 144 countries.  This list is prepared and released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) this month. In the last year index, Bangladesh ranked 117th among the 142 countries.

London, 12 October 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid has called upon local leaders, professionals and government officials to work together for ensuring national and local progress. He made the call as he was addressing a views-exchange meeting with local people representatives and professionals at Kishoreganj Circuit House yesterday. The President in his address asked them to give more emphasis on national interest. Observing that the country’s education has already gained a marked progress, he said all concerned, including guardians and teachers, must put emphasis on moral education of students to groom them up with the spirit of the country’s 1971 Liberation War.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said Bangladesh will achieve success in alleviating poverty by 2024. He came up with the assertion while addressing at an international seminar titled 'Towards Sustainable Development: Lessons from MDGs and Pathway for SDGs' organised by international think tank 'The Institute for Policy Advocacy and Governance' in New York on Tuesday.

Myanmar security forces have brutally driven out half a million Rohingyas from northern Rakhine state who are now staying in Bangladesh and the security forces torched their homes, crops and villages to prevent them from returning, the United Nations human rights office said yesterday. Jyoti Sanghera, head of the Asia and Pacific region of the U.N. human rights office, while talking to media, called upon Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to stop the violence and voiced fear that if the stateless Rohingya refugees return from Bangladesh they may be interned. Meanwhile, the United Nations has announced that its top official in Myanmar, Renata Lok-Dessallien is being recalled to headquarters in New York. Renata was the focus of a BBC investigation last month in which she was accused of suppressing internal discussion on Rohingyas. The UN said Ms Renata would leave by the end of October. AFP says, the EU will halt its ties with senior Myanmar military chiefs to protest the disproportionate use of force against the Rohingyas.

Bangladesh Envoy in Islamabad Tarik Ahsan met Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shaid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday. While discussing various bilateral and multilateral issues, the Pakistani Prime Minister lauded the role played by Bangladesh in the backdrop of the challenges posed by the influx of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. The Bangladesh Envoy requested Pakistan PM to join the international community in creating pressure on Myanmar to ensure a speedy repatriation of all of its forcibly displaced nationals.

The newly arrived Rohingya refugees have cost Bangladesh more than Tk 1.5 billion worth of forests, according to a report by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Meanwhile, Nineteen Rohingyas were detained by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) yesterday after they illegally crossed into Bangladesh from India.

Bangladesh government will import a total of 5.0 million tonnes of diesel from India over a 15-year period. The whole consignment of petroleum will come through a cross-border pipeline from India's Numaligarh refinery, located in Gloaghat in northeastern Indian state of Assam, while Bangladesh will receive it at Parbatipur petroleum fuel depot in northwestern district of Dinajpur. The government will also import 1 lakh tonnes of white rice from Myanmar. The cabinet committee yesterday approved the proposals yesterday.

The Department of Shipping has undertaken a project to conduct a maritime census in the country. The project named as ‘National Ships and Mechanized Boat Database Management and Capacity Building’ started functioning yesterday with Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan attending the ceremony arranged on the occasion.

State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak has said, his Ministry is going to hold ‘Bangladesh ICT Expo- 2017’ from October 18 to 20 for letting the people know about the remarkable successes achieved so far in ICT sector. He said this to the media at ICT Division yesterday.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that Bangladesh's economy would grow by 7.0 per cent in the current fiscal year (FY18)-yet a bit below the government-set rate. The Fund unveiled the projection in its latest World Economic Outlook, released in Washington on Tuesday on the eve of Bank-Fund Annual Meetings. Bangladeshi workers’ migration to the Maldives increased suddenly in October ignoring the island republic’s unemployment crisis. Bangladesh High Commission officials in Male confirmed this to media. A three-day first ever ‘Bangladesh Film Festival’ was inaugurated in Bishkek in celebration of the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Kyrgyz Republic. Deputy Minister for Culture of Kyrgyz Republic and Bangladesh Ambassador to the country Mosud Mannan were present on the occasion.

London, 11 October 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid has urged all to remain alert against the influence of money and muscle power in elections which ultimately effects democracy. The President made the urge while he was addressing a function marking platinum jubilee celebration of Katiadi Pilot Model High School in the school premises in Kishoreganj yesterday. He stressed flourishing democracy and maintaining political stability to ensure sustainable development, saying, tolerance, mutual respect and strengthening all democratic institutions help flourish democracy.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has sought utmost cooperation of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guteress for creating a safe zone in Myanmar in line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's proposal for a quick and permanent solution to Rohingya crisis. He made the call when he met Secretary General at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday. Muhith invited Antonio Guteress to visit Bangladesh as soon as possible. During the meeting, the UN chief highly appreciated Bangladesh for sheltering Rohingya and thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her government and the people of Bangladesh for the humanitarian effort.

Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali has said Myanmar has to take back its nationals from Bangladesh. He said the issue was created by the Myanmar authorities and they have to resolve the problems as per the Kofi Anan Commission Report. Bangladesh is not alone, he said, noting that at least 25 countries are with Bangladesh for the resolution of the Rohingya crisis. The Foreign Minister said this while inaugurating a day-long roundtable conference on the theme, 'The Rohingya Crisis: Measures taken by Bangladesh and Way Forward', organized by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies in Dhaka yesterday. He also said around 3,000 Rohingyas were killed following the army operation in the Rakhine State of Myanmar since August 25.

A massive cholera immunization campaign started in Rohingya camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf to protect the newly arrived Rohingyas and host communities from the life-threatening diarrhoeal disease. The campaign, led by the Ministry of Health and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, is being carried in the area. Meanwhile, the Singapore Armed Forces yesterday delivered S$270,000 worth of humanitarian supplies to Bangladesh to support Rohingyas.

Bangladesh Ambassador in Naypyidaw, along with envoys of four countries bordering it, have been invited by Myanmar to visit northern Rakhine, the worst affected areas from where more than 5 lakh Rohingyas were forced to cross into Cox’s Bazar due to the atrocities orchestrated by the country’s security forces since August 25.

 Bangladesh wants its friends, including India, to play a significant role in resolving the Rohingya crisis for maintaining regional stability and security, said Prime Minister's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi. He expressed the hope while speaking at the inaugural session of Bangladesh-India Security Dialogue jointly arranged by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute and Observer Research Foundation of India in Dhaka yesterday. Taking part in the dialogue, Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, a former Indian Envoy to Bangladesh, said Bangladesh should join IndiaMyanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. He said, the integration of Bangladesh into this scheme would ensure seamless connectivity all the way from India to Thailand.

Delhi is keen on signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dhaka on the construction of the IndoBangla friendship pipeline between Siliguri and Parbatipur during Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Dhaka scheduled in the third week of October. According to Indian media reports, Swaraj will visit Dhaka in the third week of October for a comprehensive review of relations with Bangladesh. She is also expected to focus on Rohingya refugees.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has commended the cyclone preparedness programme of Bangladesh. He said, cyclone preparedness techniques followed in Bangladesh are recognised as the global best practices. The Indian Minister came up with the appreciation as he was inaugurating the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Disaster Management Exercise-2017 in New Delhi yesterday. BIMSTEC Secretary General M Shahidul Islam was also present at the function.

The first batch of 40 judicial officers, comprising senior judicial magistrates, senior assistant judges and metropolitan magistrates, left for Bhopal of India on Monday to attend the ‘Training and Capacity Building Programme for Bangladesh Judicial Officers. The training programme will be administered under the ‘Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC)’ plan of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

London, 10 October 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid has urged all, irrespective of party affiliations and opinions, to give priority to national interest to speed up the country’s development and progress. He made the urge while addressing at a function marking the golden jubilee celebration of Bajitpur College in Kishoreganj yesterday. The President in his speech also stressed the need for combating corruption from all spheres of society and implementing the spirit of the Liberation War to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the common people.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali in a diplomatic briefing in Dhaka yesterday said, to make the bilateral process productive to solve the Rohingya crisis, the international community must keep its discourse alive until a logical conclusion is found. He said, the government of Bangladesh is dismayed as atrocities in Rakhine state is not stopped and influx continued relentlessly exposing human sufferings. Ambassadors, high commissioners and mission chiefs of 28 countries were present in the briefing. On the occasion, speaking to media, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said, Bangladesh will not take any 'suicidal' decision like getting involved in any war with Myanmar as it wants a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis through diplomatic efforts.

The Australian government has announced AUD 20 million to support the humanitarian needs of over 500,000 people who have taken shelter in Bangladesh. The Australian support will contribute to providing food, shelter, clean water and essential health services for the displaced people of Myanmar, said the Australian High Commission in Dhaka yesterday.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has said it requires nearly $112.5 million until February 2018 to address the needs of Rohingyas who are taking shelter in Bangladesh since August 25. The UNHCR said this yesterday in its supplementary appeal over emergency response in Bangladesh.

An agreement between Supreme Courts of Russia and Bangladesh has been signed to extend mutual cooperation on areas of e-judiciary and judicial management systems. Visiting Russian Chief Justice Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Lebedev and Bangladesh’s Acting Chief Justice Md. Abdul Wahhab Miah signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries during a meeting at the Judge’s Lounge in Supreme Court in Dhaka yesterday.

Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Mashiur Rahman has stressed the need for signing agreements between Bangladesh and India on six common rivers including Teesta. He asserted this at his address at a disscussion titled 'Asia Confluence of River Conference' hosted by the Indian High Commission in Dhaka yesterday. At another function in Dhaka, Ram Madhav, General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), expressed his party's desire to have a warm relation with the Bangladesh government. Mr. Ram Madhav at the views exchange meeting with central leaders of Bangladesh Awami League in Dhaka yesterday said, his party wants Bangladesh and India to work jointly for the economic development of the region.

Bangladesh and Nepal have agreed to examine existing tariffs and possibility of removal of non-tariff and para-tariff barriers to enhance bilateral trade. Foreign secretaries of the two countries discussed the matter at annual Foreign Office Consultations held in Dhaka on Sunday.

Facebook has started providing training to 10,000 youths on digital marketing within the next six months under its 'BoostYourBusiness' program. State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak inaugurated the training at the auditorium of Bangladesh Computer Council in Dhaka yesterday.

The 'World Mental Health Day' is being observed in the county today as elsewhere of the globe in a befitting manner with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues. This year’s theme of the day is 'Mental Health in the Workplace'. President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages wishing success of the day.

London, 09 October 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid has urged elected representatives at the grassroots to work for their welfare of the people. He made the call at a view-exchange meeting at Mithamian, Kishoreganj yesterday. The President categorically said, the elected representatives must bear in mind the rights of all people who cast their votes for electing them. Later, the President witnessed some development activities of Mithamian upazila.

The Rohingya issue will dominate at the minister-level meeting to be held this month in Myanmar as Bangladesh expects the return of all Rohingyas living in Bangladesh to their homeland through diplomatic efforts. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said this to the media in Dhaka yesterday. Meanwhile,IOM says, as many as 100,000 more people may be waiting to cross into Cox's Bazar from North Rakhine's Buthidaung Townshisp. IOM also said, an estimated 2,000 Rohingyas having fled violence are still arriving in Cox's Bazar everyday.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali has said, Bangladesh is now looking at greater economic integration with India's North-east for mutual benefit. He said this while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day festival titled 'NADI 2, the Asian Confluence River Festival' in Dhaka yesterday. BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, Bimstec Secretary General M Shahidul Islam and Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla, among others, spoke at the opening ceremony.

The visiting Nepalese Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi has appreciated the socio-economic development of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The appreciation came when he paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at his office yesterday. Bairagi is visiting Bangladesh in connection with the 2nd round of Bilateral Consultations between the foreign secretaries.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend its support to Bangladesh for promoting agricultural by-products as well as agro-based industry. Chief of USDA environmental management division Qiying Zhang gave the assurance when Bangladesh Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu visited the organisation in Washington yesterday.

The Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE) programme between Bangladesh and the USA has begun. The exercise is being held in Dhaka and Mymensingh from October 8 to 12. DREE is a civil-military disaster preparedness and response initiative taken by the governments of Bangladesh and the USA. USA Ambassador Marcia Bernicat speaking on the occasion said, the event would create an opportunity of exchanging best practices of disaster management between Bangladesh and the USA.

The first four-day long annual BIMSTEC disaster management exercise will start in New Delhi tomorrow with the participation of all of its member states. The main focus of the exercise, to be conducted from October 10 to October 13, is to synchronise the regional efforts on disaster management. About 135 delegates from all BIMSTEC member states including Bangladesh will participate the event.

Over six billion Euros were committed by public and private actors for the better management of oceans at the European Union-hosted conference in Malta. The European Commission has announced over 550 million of EU-funded initiatives to tackle global ocean challenges, at the 'Our Ocean Conference 2017'. Secretary, Maritime Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rear Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam represented the government of Bangladesh in this two-day conference. On the sidelines, he also met the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Union, Minister of Fisheries of Iceland and Minister of Fisheries of Cambodia.

The International Apparel Federation (IAF) has assured Bangladesh of extending its support for sustainable RMG sector. IAF President Han Bekke came up with the assurance during his recent meeting with Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal at the Embassy of Bangladesh in The Hague.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed deep shock at the death of former national footballer and a member of Swadhin Bangla Football team Amalesh Sen.  In a condolence message, the Prime Minister said the National Sports Award-winning footballer played an important role in building public opinion during the great War of Liberation in 1971.

London, 08 October 2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Rohingya crisis has now become a concern for the international community because of Bangladesh's efforts. She made the remark at a reception for her return from the United Nations General Assembly in New York at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport yesterday. She also said her government gave a befitting reply to insults heaped upon Bangladesh over so called ‘corruption’ by constructing the giant Padma Bridge with own funding.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is urgently seeking USD 83.7 million in additional funds for the next six months to help Rohingyas in Bangladesh. UNHCR spokes-person Andrej Mahecic said this to the media in Geneva on Friday.

India and the European Union (EU) have urged the Myanmar authorities to implement the Kofi Annan-led Rakhine Advisory Commission's recommendations and work with Bangladesh to enable the return of the displaced persons from all communities to Northern Rakhine State. India and the EU also recognised the role being played by Bangladesh in extending humanitarian assistance to the people in need, according to India-EU Joint Statement issued during 14th India-EU Summit in New Delhi on Friday.

The Malaysian government sent 20 metric tons of relief materials for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh. A Malaysian cargo flight carrying the relief materials arrived at Chittagong Shah Amanat International Air port yesterday. Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education and ICT) of Chittagong Habibur Rahman received the relief materials from Malaysian High Commission Official Ibrahim Jurry Bin Mohammad Younus.

Bangladesh is planning to sign four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the Myanmar government when a high-level team, headed by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, visits the neighbouring country in the near future. The MoUs are aimed at resolving the Rohingya crisis, crossborder terrorism and drug trafficking. The four MoUs are regarding the demarcation of the boundary of the Naf river, an instrument (official letter) handover, the border liaison office and the security cooperation dialogue, said sources in the Home Ministry.

Patrick Murphy, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, said that sanctions on Myanmar and withholding of US aid are among options for pressing that country's government to stop attacks on Rohingyas. He said this to the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thrusday.

The National Board of Revenue has waived Advance Income Tax (AIT) on relief materials, sent by different countries, or international organizations with the approval of the government under certain conditions. The income tax wing of the International Resource Division issued a Statutory Regularity Order on Thursday in this regard.

Bangladesh’s burgeoning drug industry is set to make its foray into Qatar market sometime next year as part of an effort to focus on the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Bangladesh Ambassador in Doha, Ashud Ahmed said this to the media following a pharmaceutical delegation’s visit to Qatar.

As part of digitizing the country's land management, some 65 lakh bhumi khatians (records of land rights) have been scanned and indexed into a computerized system. Under the 'Digital Land Management' project that ended in June last beginning in July 2011, the scanning and indexing of 18,500 map-sheets have also been completed.

The government has taken decision in principle to incorporate appropriate clauses for arbitration in all government contracts. Law Minister Anisul Huq said this while addressing a seminar organized by Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC) marking its 6th anniversary in Dhaka yesterday.

World Bank has expressed concern as country's remittance flow may fall in current fiscal year. Experts said cutting of costs by gulf countries, strong value of taka against dollar, fall of oil price in the international market are the main reasons of the reduction of remittance flow.

London, 06 October 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid sought enhanced trade ties with Sweden and Canada by availing existing potentials as the newly appointed envoys of the two countries presented their credentials to him at Bangabhaban yesterday. The President also stressed exchanging high-level visits at government and private sectors for consolidating the existing relations. Ambassador-designate of Sweden Cahrlotta Schlyter and High Commissioner-designate of Canada Benoit Prefontaine presented their credentials in two subsequent ceremonies after they were ceremonially welcomed to the presidential palace.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will return home tomorrow wrapping up her two-week visit to the United States and the United Kingdom. Bangladesh Awami League will accord a mass reception to the Prime Minister and the Party President on her return.

Private tour operators involved in various irregularities in hajj operations this year will have to face the music as a parliamentary body yesterday recommended taking tough actions against them for causing sufferings to pilgrims in Dhaka and Saudi Arabia. The actions suggested by the parliamentary standing committee on the Religious Affairs Ministry included cancellation of the agencies' licenses and not allowing them to send hajis to Saudi Arabia for a year.

The government has allocated 1,000 acres land more at Kutupalong in Ukhia of Cox's Bazar for Rohingyas. Relief and Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya said this to the media at his secretariat office yesterday. He also said his ministry is working to accommodate all Rohingya refugees in one area expanded to 3,000 acres of land.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith left Dhaka for the USA yesterday to attend World Bank (WB) meetings in Washington D.C. He will seek WB assistance to ensure shelter, food and healthcare for the Rohingya refugees.

New Delhi has reiterated its support for its next door neighbour Bangladesh in resolving Rohingya crisis. Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said this to the media after a meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar in New Delhi yesterday.

The UK government's Department for International Development in collaboration with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has organised a major airlift of relief items to help Rohingya refugees.

Counterterrorism practitioners from Southeast Asia have agreed on concrete steps to tighten regional cooperation and build capabilities to defeat global terrorists. The issues came up for discussion at a regional workshop on counterterrorism attended by a number of countries including Bangladesh in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on October 3-4.

The World Bank on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with four professional institutions to set up a Centre of Excellence for Urban Development. The institutions are Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), Institute of Architects of Bangladesh (IAB), Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) and the Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB). Rajashree Paralkar, Acting World Bank Country Director was present at the MoU signing ceremony.

Applicants for Indian tourist visa can walk-in and submit their applications to Indian Visa Application Centre (IVAC) in Mirpur Road without a prior appointment from October 10 onwards. The Indian High Commission said this in a statement yesterday.

A Bangladeshi trader was charged at a Malaysian magistrate’s court on Wednesday with the murder of another Bangladeshi at a flat in Shah Alam in Malaysia, said a report of the country’s national news agency BERNAMA.

Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves have crossed $33 billion again, according to a Bangladesh Bank statistics yesterday.

London, 05 September 2017

Bangladesh and India have signed the final agreement of $4.5 billion 3rd Indian Line of Credit. Indian Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley and Finance Minister AMA Muhith were present at the signing ceremony at Ministry of Finance in Dhaka yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, the Indian Finance Minister said the signing of the 3rd LoC agreement will enable the implementation of 17 pre-identified projects of developmental priority to Bangladesh in key sectors of the infrastructure such as power, railways, roads, shipping and ports. Mr. Muhith in his speech expressed satisfaction over the existing bilateral relations between the two countries terming it excellent. He hoped that the two countries will continue to cooperate with each other in the coming days.

Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury has urged the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians (ASSP) to play an important role in resolving the Rohingya crisis. She made the call while addressing the association's 8th conference being held in Colombo of Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will return home from London on October 7 after staying in the British capital for three days. The PM reached the UK on Tuesday afternoon (Bangladesh time) on her way back home wrapping up her 16-day official visit to the United States for attending 72nd UNGA.

Bangladesh has solicited support from the UN to ensure return of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals to their homeland in Myanmar. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali raised the issue when Under Secretary General of the UN Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Mark Lowcock and Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake jointly met him at his office yesterday. Both of them have visited Cox's Bazar where the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals have taken shelter. They thanked the government and the people of Bangladesh for giving shelter to the helpless Rohingyas and deeply appreciated Bangladesh's humanity and generosity. Meanwhile, an update to the UN response plan was released yesterday, seeking $430 million which is urgently needed to scale up the relief operations in support of the Rohingyas.

Bangladesh wants its first neighbour India to do more to resolve the ongoing Rohingya crisis that has been originated from the country’s second neighbour Myanmar. Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, now in New Delhi, said this to the media yesterday at his hotel suite. He will attend the 3-day 33rd India Economic Summit to be organised by the World Economic Forum in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) beginning from today.

Humanitarian organizations helping Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have said, they need $434 million over the next six months to help up to 1.2 million people. Robert Watkins, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh, yesterday said this in a statement after visiting Cox's Bazar district where Rohingyas are staying.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) have called on the Myanmar authorities to immediately stop violence in northern Rakhine State. They also urged Myanmar to promptly and effectively investigate and vigorously prosecute cases of violence against women and children. They said this in a joint statement issued yesterday.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith leaves Dhaka for the USA today to attend the annual meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The sixth round of annual Security Dialogue between Bangladesh and the USA was held at the US Department of State, Washington on Tuesday. During the meeting, the US has highly appreciated Bangladesh's human approach in providing temporary shelter and emergency humanitarian assistance to the Myanmar nationals fleeing the violence in the Rakhine State. Director General (Americas) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abida Islam led the Bangladesh delegation while Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Bureau of Political Military Affairs of the United States Department of State Mike Miller led the US delegation.

The Indian Visa Application Centres (IVACs), managed by the State Bank of India on behalf of the High Commission of India, initiated a ‘Cashless’ visa application system in Dhaka effective from yesterday.

Three day long Bangladesh Water Expo-2017, South Asia's leading exhibition on water and waste water sector, will begin today at the International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka.

London, 04 October  2017

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached London yesterday on her way back home wrapping up her 16-day official visit to the United States. Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Nazmul Qaunine received her at the airport. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has digitally cleared 61 urgent files during her official visit to the United States. The ruling Awami League will accord a mass reception to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her return home on October 7 for her bold speech about Rohingya issue at the United Nations General Assembly.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader has said, talks with Myanmar is underway on the basis of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's five point proposals placed in the UN general assembly. He said this at a press conference held in Dhaka yesterday. He also said, the global pressure forced Myanmar to hold talks on the Rohingya issue with Bangladesh in the face of the government's successful diplomatic efforts.

Ambassadors of 20 mostly western countries based in Myanmar after visiting Rakhine state yesterday said, they saw Rohingya villages were burned to the ground with residents fleeing elsewhere. They also found the scene of the violent military crackdown.

The Swiss government, highly lauding Bangladesh's efforts over Rohingya issue, has said the best solution to such a large scale displacement is their return to their homeland with safety and dignity. Head of Swiss Humanitarian Aid Ambassador Manuel Bessler said this to the media in an interview yesterday. Ambassador Bessler, also Deputy Director General of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), visited a number of Rohingya settlements in Cox's Bazar on October 1-3 as part of his three-day visit to obtain a firsthand impression of the latest influx of the displaced Rohingya population into Cox's Bazar and the related humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations has called for full implementation of the recommendations made by Kofi Annan Commission to ensure safe return of the displaced Rohingya to their homeland Myanmar. UN representatives made the call while speaking at a press conference in Cox’s Bazar yesterday. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake spoke at the press conference after visiting Rohingya refugee camps.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has offered profound condolences at the tragic deaths of 59 people in a mindless and deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, the USA on Sunday night. In a message of condolence to US President Donald J Trump shortly after the dastardly incident, the Prime Minister conveyed her heartfelt sympathy to the President, to the American people, and particularly to the members of the bereaved families.

Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury had a meeting with Indian Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in Colombo on Monday as they are staying there to join the '8th Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians'. During the meeting, they discussed the bilateral issues of the two countries, including different aspects of the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) to be held in Dhaka from November 1 to 8, 2017. Shirin Sharmin, also Chairperson of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), informed Sumitra that the preparatory work for organizing the conference is progressing on.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has sought more Indian investments in Bangladesh to reduce trade deficit saying that Indian investments and diversifying export products of Bangladesh can help reduce this trade gap. He said this as he was speaking at 'Bangladesh India Business Meeting' organized by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in Dhaka yesterday. Speaking at the meeting visiting Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said, his country can cooperate Bangladesh in bridging trade gap between the two neighboring countries.

Process of deactivating the illegal mobile handsets in the country would begin soon, State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim said this while talking to the newly elected office bearers of the Telecom Reporters Network at her office yesterday.

The government has taken initiatives to send more women workers to different countries including Japan, Russia, Mauritius, Maldives and Hong Kong. Besides, several developed countries expressed keen interest in taking skilled and semi-skilled women housemaids from Bangladesh. As many as 82,510 female workers went to overseas till August this year. Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry Acting Secretary Dr Nomita Halder said this to the media yesterday.

A high powered three-member delegation of the United Nations (UN) paid a courtesy call on Bangladesh Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq at Army Headquarters at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday. The delegation led by Assistant Secretary-General at the Department of Field Support Lisa M Buttenheim during the meet exchanged greetings and discussed Bangladesh’s contribution to the UN missions, activities and training. They highly praised Bangladesh Army’s professionalism in the UN missions.

London, 03 October 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid has said Bangladeshi peacekeepers under United Nations? supervision have set an example in establishing peace and harmony in various conflicting areas across the world. The President said this while Major General Jean Paul Deconinck, force commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) called on him at Bangabhaban yesterday. Welcoming MINUSMA force commander to Bangladesh, the President said the visit would inspire the Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the UN peacekeeping mission in discharging duties. Major General Deconinck lauded the highest standard of professionalism, devotion and bravery of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the UN mission.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is delighted at the first installation of a span on the country's muchneeded biggest infrastructure Padma Bridge project. She said, 'Yes, we've proved, we can." "I'm very happy," she said while exchanging views with leaders of Awami League and its front organisations, representing different state-chapters of the United States at Ritz Carlton Hotel on Sunday. The PM recalled her government's decision to finance the mega project from state fund after the World Bank had withdrawn its loan on a false and fictitious corruption charge. She congratulated all Bangladeshis at home and abroad for extending their support to help complete the dream bridge that would connect the country's southern region with the capital. Regarding Rohingyas the PM said, her administration has taken all necessary measures to provide shelter, food and medicare for distressed Myanmar nationals on humanitarian ground. From the function, the PM unveiled a bust of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC through video conferencing. The PM is scheduled to depart the Dulles International Airport of Washington for London today (local time 10 pm on Monday) en route home wrapping up her official visit to the United States for attending the 72nd UNGA.

Myanmar has formally proposed taking back the Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh. The proposal was made at a meeting between Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Union Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor of Myanmar Kyaw Tint Swe. At the meeting Bangladesh Foreign Minister proposed a bilateral agreement to facilitate the repatriation process and handed over a draft of the proposed deal to the visiting minister of Myanmar. The two sides at the talks at the state guesthouse Padma in Dhaka yesterday also agreed to constitute a joint working group on the repatriation of Rohingyas.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has said, Bangladesh has to enhance productivity as well as quality to achieve the export target. “Bangladesh?s capacity in terms of productivity is now 70 percent. Although the country?s capacity in world trade has now increased, more proactive measures are required to increase the productivity level to 90 to increase exports,” said the Minister. He said this as he was speaking at a seminar styled „Productivity for Sustainable Development and Growth,? held in Dhaka yesterday.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said Bangladesh has put an investment-friendly framework in place to attract foreign investors to the stock market. The Minister was addressing the inaugural session of the World Investment Week 2017 in Dhaka yesterday. Bangladesh is observing the week this year for the first time as the member of the International Organisation of Securities Commission. Bangladesh and India are set to sign the final agreement on third Indian Line of Credit (LoC) during the maiden visit of Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley beginning today. Bangladesh and the United States will hold their bilateral security dialogue in Washington today. Acting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Michael Miller and Director General for the Americas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abida Islam from Bangladesh will attend the Sixth Security Dialogue in Washington, D.C.. The meeting will discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in security areas and finding ways to address current challenges.

London, 01 October 2017

President Md. Abdul Hamid has urged all to stand beside helpless and destitute people following religious customs. The President made the urge during a reception for Hindu community on the occasion of Durga Puja at Bangabhaban yesterday. The President mentioned, communal harmony is the tradition of the people of Bangladesh and this tradition must continue. He stressed the need for taking a united effort to prevent religious extremism in the country.

The biggest project in the country's physical infrastructure sector, Padma Multipurpose Bridge, is now a visible reality as the first span (superstructure) of the bridge was placed on pillars yesterday. The 150-metre long span was installed on the pillar nos. 37 and 38. "Through the installation of first span, the Padma Bridge is now a visible reality, removing all uncertainties", said Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader. The construction work is going on in full swing to implement the project on time, said Quader. The project was initiated in 1998 when the Awami League was in power, but it went into limbo when the party lost the general election in 2001. When the AL returned to power in 2009, it revived the initiative. Though the World Bank proposed funding much of the project, it withdrew the funding raising the allegation of fictitious corruption. The government of Sheikh Hasina, however, decided to go ahead with the project using Bangladesh's own resources.

A Myanmar delegation is coming to Dhaka tonight to discuss repatriation of the refugees who have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Rakhine State. The delegation led by a minister of Myanmar's State Counsellor Office U Kyaw Tint Swe would hold a meeting with Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali tomorrow.

A leading daily newspaper of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has highly appreciated Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her humane approach in the Rohingya issue, dubbing her as the 'New Star of The East'. "The Bangladesh Prime Minister is the New Star of The East ... for her compassion and empathy in opening the border to save thousands of fleeing Rohingya," noted journalist Allan Jacob wrote yesterday in an article titled "Sheikh Hasina knows the art of compassion" in the Khaleej Times, the longest running English language newspaper published in the UAE.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has urged Myanmar to take back its nationals from Bangladesh. The Minister made the call while distributing relief goods among Rohingyas at Ukhia in Cox's Bazar. He also urged the world community to create a safe zone in Rakhine state under the supervision of the United Nations.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, now in the United States after attending the UNGA, will return home on October 7 via London, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim informed the media.

Holy Ashura, commemorating the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), is being observed across the country today with due religious fervour and solemnity. President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the occasion.

Bangladeshi expatriates will get priority in availing of National Identity (NID)-related services seeking corrections in wrong information, changing voting addresses and recollecting the NID card if the first one is lost or damaged. The Election Commission has issued a directive to its field-level officials asking them to render NID services to expatriates within the quickest logical time giving them priority.

The International Finance Corporation yesterday signed an agreement with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to implement the second Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) in the garment and textile sector. Under the programme, which was launched in 2013, garment and textile makers are to adopt modern technologies in their factories in the next four years.