.The land office of Keraniganj, Dhaka, has taken a unique initiative for hassle-free land services. Any sort of information to land issues will be provided over phone by the office of South Keraniganj revenue circle in Dhaka’s Keraniganj upazila. Similarly, complaints can be lodged over the cell phone too. Upazila assistant commissioner on Monday announced that land owners can call the land office with their queries at cell phone number 01933444055.According to the land office, land owners can receive this service on weekdays, from Sunday to Thursday. The number will be active from 9pm to 5 pm. The number will remain switched off during the weekend and the public holidays. Any complaints and information will be noted down and owners will be contacted later. Rakib Hasan, assistant commissioner of South Keraniganj revenue circle, said, “We want to reduce people’s sufferings. Land owners come to the land office for information and with complaints. From now on nobody will need to come physically here for information and complaints. They can do it over phone”Moriruzzaman, a deed writer of south Rajendrapur in Keraniganj, said, “This service will save time and money. We will certainly benefit from it and it should not stop.” He called the given number and received necessary information, he said.Rakib Hassan assured that the service will continue.Pradeep Kumar Das, joint secretary of the land ministry, has appreciated the AC’s efforts in providing service to the clients. He said the ministry would support any unique idea regarding land services, adding that, “We will appreciate it if others experiment similarly.”According to the land ministry, certain decisions have been taken to conduct such initiatives like arranging land fairs in a similar manner as as tax fairs, observing land weeks, arranging a help desk in each land office, and so on. *This report, originally published in Prothom Alo online, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat.
BNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia appears before a Dhaka court on Tuesday to give her last self-defence statement in a graft case. Photo: BNPBNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia on Tuesday claimed that she never misused her good offices during her stint as prime minister and said the graft cases were filed to “politically harass” her.Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda was giving her last day’s self-defence statement during the arguments in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case in the special judge court of Bakshibazar in Dhaka.Read more: Khaleda granted bail in graft casesClaiming that all the allegations against her are “concocted” and “not proved”, the former prime minister said the graft cases were filed to “politically harass” her, the chief of country’s major political opposition camp.She said, “All the cases against me are concocted and not proved. I strongly deny all the allegations. During my stint as the prime minister, I never misused the authority in any means, didn’t exert unjust influence of my post.“[During the tenure] 6 Moinul Road [Dhaka cantonment] is my familial residence. All of my family members used to stay here. This is not the official residence of the prime minister.“Being the prime minister, I did not misuse my good offices to exert any influence on anyone subordinate to me. I never gave any unfair order to anybody.“I neither became financially benefited nor made anyone financially benefitted while I was the prime minister. I discharged my duties with utmost integrity and honesty and neither breached any law nor committed any offence.“I am completely innocent and deserve to be acquitted of this case,” claimed Khaleda.And saying these, Khaleda told the court that she wanted to conclude the statements in her defence with the verse 135 of Surah An-Nisa and then she read it out.The verse reads: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.”Earlier, Khaleda got bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases after she had surrendered before the makeshift court.On 30 November, the court issued arrest warrants against Khaleda cancelling her bail in the cases.The special judge court erected in Bakshibazar of the capital in a makeshift manner is trying the former prime minister in the two graft cases – one filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) during the military-backed emergency government in 2008 and the other by ACC during the past government led by Khaleda’s archrival prime minister Sheikh Hasina in 2011.
People from all walks of life pay their last respects to noted sculptor and freedom fighter Ferdousi Priyabhashini at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka on Thursday. Photo: Syful Islam/Prothom AloPeople from all walks of life paid their last respects to noted sculptor and freedom fighter Ferdousi Priyabhashini at the Central Shaheed Minar on Thursday.Priyabhasini was given a guard of honour at the central Shaheed Minar premises when her body was taken there around 11:00am. Her body was kept there for one and a half hours so that people can pay their tributes to the eminent sculptor.Artistes, political leaders and activists of different socio-cultural organisations converged on the area to say goodbye to Priyabhashini, reports UNB.Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader placed a wreath on her coffin.“She had sacrificed a lot as a freedom fighter, she is a bright example for the new generation. Her sculptures added new dimensions to art,” Quader said while talking to reporters after placing the wreath.Information minister Hasanul Haque Inu said, “She was an example of courage for the women who are struggling in the society in different sectors. She used to raise her voice about women’s rights.”Her daughters- Fuleshwari Prionandini, Rotneshwari Priyadarshini and two sons- Karu Titas and Kazi Shaker Turjo were present at the Shaheed Minar.Fuleshwari Prionandini said her mother had struggled throughout her life. “It is our pride that our mother’s last address will be beside Jahanara Imam.”Her namaz-e-janaza was held at Dhaka University’s central mosque after Zohr prayers. She will be buried at Mirpur Martyred Intellectuals Graveyard beside the grave of martyr Jahanara Imam.Ferdousi Priyabhashini, who had been suffering from multiple health complications, breathed her last at Labaid Hospital in the city on Tuesday.
A demonstrator chants slogan during quota reform demonstration. Prothom Alo file photoThe agitating students who had been demanding a reform in the existing quota system on Thursday suspended their demonstrations until a gazette is published abolishing quota.The leaders of the Sadharon Chhatra Odhikar Raksha Parishad announced the decision on Thursday morning, a day after prime minister Sheikh Hasina declared in the parliament that there would be no quota in the public service jobs.“We have stopped the demonstrations honouring the prime minister’s declaration,” said Hasan Al Mamun, a convener of the platform.On Wednesday, the PM in the parliament said that there would be no quota in the public services, amid countrywide protests from the students who demanded recruitment on the basis of merit.“Since no one wants the quota, I think, there should be no quota,” Sheikh Hasina said in reply to a supplementary question from Awami League member of parliament Jahangir Kabir Nanak.
Holey Artisan cafe after the attack. Prothom Alo File PhotoThe charge sheet of the militant attack at Gulshan’s Holey Artisan Bakery in the capital on 1 July 2016 will be submitted to the court next month as investigation into the matter reached its final stage, say police.The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of the police has investigated the militant attack which killed 20 people, mostly foreign nationals, and two police officials, according to BSS. Talking to BSS, Md Monirul Islam, chief of CTTC, said, “The investigation into the radical attack has almost been completed with revealing the involvement of 21 operatives of the militant outfit- neo-Jama‘atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (neo-JMB) – in the carnage.”The CTTC chief said, of the 21 JMB operatives, 13 were killed in a series of nationwide anti-militant drives by the law enforcement following the brutal attack.“We have so far arrested seven persons for their direct involvement in planning and execution of the attack. Six of them have given confessional statements under the section 164,” said Monirul Islam, an additional commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).A total of 20 people, including five foreign nationals, who were held hostages in the cafe, by the attackers on that tragic night, also gave confessional statement before the court narrating their horrible experience of the incident, he added.DMP commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia said, “We have become clear about everything from planning to execution of the attack after a thorough investigation into the matter.”According to the investigators, the arrested accused are: Rakibul Islam Regan, Hadisur Rahman Sagor, Jahangir Hossain Rajeeb alias Rajeeb Gandhi, Aslam Hossain Rashed alias Rash, Abdus Sabur Khan alias Sohel Mahfuj, Mizanur Rahman alias Baro Mizan and professor Hasnat Karim of North South University (NSU).Police also found direct involvement of two other fugitive suspected militants, Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon and Shariful Islam Khaled, a former student of the English department of Rajshahi University (RU).Khaled is also a charge-sheeted accused in the RU professor Rezaul Karim murder case.Five militants, who directly carried out the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery, were killed in a joint operation by law enforcers on the spot, the investigators said.Eight top leaders of the neo-JMB-Tamim Chowdhury, Nurul Islam Marjan, major Zahidul Islam, Sarwar Jahan, Tanveer Quaderi, Md Mizanur Rahman alias Chhoto Mizan, Abu Rayhan alias Tareq and Basharuzzaman alias Choklet, were also later killed in the nationwide anti-militant operations after the deadly attack.
Prime Minister Sheikh HasinaPrime minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government is aware of intrusion of many foreigners into Bangladesh under cover of relief workers.Such intrusion, she added, might lead to trafficking of children and women, sexual abuse, terrorism and many other social problems.”The government is issuing special-category visas for relief workers to address the problem,” she said when Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar Bob Rae met her at her hotel suite in Toronto on Monday.The prime minister urged the envoy to bring it to the government’s notice if there is any difficulty in getting visa by foreign relief workers for working in Rohingya shelter camps. “The government is cautiously dealing with the matter as many foreign nationals are working in the Rohingya camps after coming to Bangladesh with tourist visas,” she said.The prime minister’s press secretary Ehsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.He said Bob Rae informed the prime minister that he has prepared a report on his visit to the Rohingya shelter camps in Bangladesh made in November 2017.During the visit, Bob said, he himself saw the situation and conditions Rohingya Muslims were facing fleeing violence in Myanmar.”Hosting more than one million people is a big challenge,” Bob Rae observed, saying they are closely working with the Bangladesh government to address the Rohingya issue.The press secretary said Sheikh Hasina and Bob Rae discussed the sufferings Rohingya might undergo during the coming monsoon as the area they have taken shelter is prone to natural calamities, including mudslide and flood.The prime minister informed the envoy about Bangladesh’s disaster management preparedness, saying a trained group of people along with law enforcement agencies, border guards, army and political party workers is ready to tackle any situation.Later, deputy premier of Saskatchewan and trade and export development minister Gordon Wyant, QC and immigration and career training minister Jeremy Harrison made met prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her hotel room.They discussed matters relating to trade and investment and recalled Canada’s very special trade relations existing with Bangladesh for many years.They congratulated the prime minister for Bangladesh’s economic successes in recent years under her dynamic leadership, showing keen interest in enhancing the trade relations and technology transfer, particularly green technology.Sheikh Hasina recalled the historical relations between Bangladesh and Canada since Bangladesh’s independence and said the two countries have many scopes to further strengthen cooperation in various areas, particularly in education and nursing sectors.Later, a business delegation, led by president and CEO of Commercial Corporation of Canada, made a courtesy call on the prime minister. The delegation was included a number Bangladeshi-origin Canadian businessperson.The prime minister urged them to invest in Bangladesh taking the opportunities of the country’s very liberal trade regime. A trade delegation from Bangladesh would soon visit Canada to explore the trade and investment potential, she said.Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, the prime minister’s principal sectary Md Nojibur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Board (Bida) Kazi Md Aminul Islam, foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haq and Bangladesh high commissioner to Canada Md Mizanur Rahman were present.
Donald TrumpThe UN Security Council has to be ready to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs, US president Donald Trump said Monday, calling status quo “unacceptable.”“The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Trump said while hosting UN Security Council ambassadors at the White House.“This is a real threat to the world,” he said. “North Korea is a big world problem. And it’s a problem we have to finally solve.”
Visiting US principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells addressing a press conference in Dhaka on MondayThe US administration called upon the government to fulfill its commitment to holding a free fair, credible and participatory election that reflects the will of the Bangladeshi people.A senior US state department official also asked Dhaka to protect civil liberties, especially freedom of speech and press.“Bangladesh’s future success depends upon strengthening of its democratic institutions and governing structures,” visiting US principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells said at a press briefing at a city hotel on Monday.Highlighting the importance that the US government placed on Bangladesh’s role in its Indo-Pacific Strategy, she said the governments of the two countries were very much aligned in their visions for a ‘free, open, rules-based and interconnected region’Ambassador Alice Wells mentioned that in recognition of Bangladesh’s role in supporting the Indo-Pacific strategy, the US recently announced $40 million in foreign military financing for Bangladesh.Its aim is to enhance its coastal radar system, modernise and enhance its patrol boat fleet and provide training in support of expanded maritime interdiction, all part of the Bay of Bengal initiative, she added.Asked if the US Indo-Pacific Strategy was aimed at countering China, she rejected the view and said it was a ‘very comprehensive strategy’ for a free and open Indian Ocean, involving military ties, trade and investment.Pointing out that $26 trillion would be required for development in the region, she added, “This could not be done by one country alone.”The US official insisted that Washington would like to see all countries involved in the exercise, but ensuing proper labour standards and avoiding predatory debt which had been faced by certain countries in the region.In reply to a query about the elections in Bangladesh, the US official said during her discussions with the Bangladesh government officials, she had underscored the US support for free, transparent and contested elections. “The choice of the Bangladesh people should be reflected in the election,” she said, “and so our efforts are to ensure that the conditions exist for this to happen.”Ambassador Alice Wells expressed concern at the recently enacted Digital Security Act, saying there was need for the civil society and the government to discuss the law and to make any necessary changes.“It was important to have a law in this regard, but not at the cost of democracy and development,” she said.About the independence of the election commission in Bangladesh, she said it was important for the government and the commission to take all steps for a transparent, fair and contested election. “It is deeply in Bangladesh’s interests to have a free and far election.”Referring to her visit to the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, the US official commended the generosity of the government and the people of Bangladesh in responding to the humanitarian crisis. She said the US was committed to assisting Bangladesh in responding to the crisis and has provided over $345 million in humanitarian assistance specifically in Bangladesh since August 2017.“We continue to call upon the government of Burma (Myanmar) to create conditions for the Rohingya to return voluntarily to their former places of residence in Burma in safety and with dignity,” she said, adding, “We also continue to call for accountability for those responsible for the violence in the Burmese security forces.”Prior to her current assignment, Alice Wells also served as US ambassador to Jordan, the US minister-counselor for political affairs in Moscow, the political officer at the US embassy in New Dehli, in Islamabad and in Riyadh.
Shahidul Alam. File photoNoted photographer Shahidul Alam has been granted bail by the High Court.The bench of justices Sheikh Abdul Awal and Bishnudeb Chakrabarti passed the order on Thursday afternoon.”There are no legal obstacles to Shahidu’s release from jail now,” said his lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua.Attorney general Mahbubey Alam, however, has said that they will appeal to the Appellate Division.Detectives picked up Shahidul Alam from his Dhanmondi residence on 5 August on charges of ‘using electronic media to instigate disorder in the country-and spreading fabricated information and rumours via social media’.A case was filed against him with Ramna police station on 6 August.
Logo of BNPBangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Sunday raised a complaint with chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda that police are still arresting their leaders and activists across the country ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections, reports UNB.”The countrywide arrest continues against BNP leaders and activists. Police are carrying out their arrest business across the country,” BNP vice chairman major (retired) Hafizuddin Ahmed Bir Brikram told newsmen after submitting its complaint before the CEC at the latter’s Nirbachan Bhaban office.Hafiz said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir sent him to the Bangladesh Election Commission.He said they demanded the election commission take measures for stopping such activities ahead of the election slated for 30 December.The BNP leader said the CEC assured them of taking measures over the cases filed after the announcement of the election schedule.
Rohingya.Photo:ReutersBangladesh will seal off refugee camps housing about one million Rohingya Muslims for three days around the country’s tense general election this week, officials said Monday.Rohingya living in the southeastern border district of Cox’s Bazar will not be allowed out of their settlements from Saturday.The election is Sunday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who earned international praise for accepting the refugees who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar, seeking a record fourth term.The election commission ordered authorities in Cox’s Bazar to prevent refugees being exploited during election campaigning, Bangladesh refugee commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said.“This is a security measure. The embargo also applies to NGO workers. They cannot go inside the camps unless it is an emergency,” he told AFP.Police said extra roadblocks would be set up around the camps.Over 720,000 Rohingya Muslims fled what the UN called ethnic cleansing in Myanmar’s Rakhine state after August 2017. There were already nearly 300,000 refugees in the overcrowded camps.More than 450 police will be deployed in the camps alongside border guards and community police, a spokesman said.Thousands of troops were also put on law and order duties across the country Monday amid escalating poll violence, said a military statement.Media reports said some 30,000 soldiers were joining more than 20,000 paramilitary forces already deployed.At least six people have been killed in the election violence while the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) says at least 152 of its candidates have been attacked.The BNP meanwhile criticised Bangladesh star cricketer Mashrafe Mortaza for being a candidate for the ruling Awami League.One-day international captain Mashrafe is now campaigning after leading Bangladesh to a series win over West Indies this month. The BNP said though that Mashrafte could not be a candidate when he earns public money as a cricketer.“We welcome youngsters like him joining politics. But the law cannot be different for a superstar and a layman,” opposition spokesman Rizvi Ahmed told AFP.“Mashrafe is a paid cricketer of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), a government body. So we protest him taking part in an election when we see our people are getting dropped for lame excuses,” he said.Bangladesh law bars salaried public employees from contesting elections. Several opposition candidates have been disqualified because they have government jobs.Mashrafe receives taka 420,000 ($5,000) a month from the board.
Mokabbir KhanGono Forum MP-elect Mokabbir Khan, who won the last national polls from Sylhet-2 constituency, is going to be sworn in on Tuesday, following the footstep of fellow party MP Sultan Mohammad Mansur.In response to a letter sent by Mokabbir to Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury on Monday, an arrangement has been made to administer the oath at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban on Tuesday noon.Gono forum central executive committee member Afsary Ameen Ahmed carried the letter to the parliament around 4:40pm.In the letter sent in a letterhead of Gono Forum, the MP-elect said, “Me and my party has decided to take oath either on April 2 or 3.”Talking to UNB, Mokabbir said he sent the letter as per the decision of their party’s presidium members. “The party leaders and its president Dr Kamal Hossain are aware of it.”Replying to a question, he also said Kamal gave him the green signal to take the oath. “Besides, the people of my constituency also requested me to be sworn in.”On March 7, Sultan Mohammad Mansur (Moulvibazar-2) took oath as a member of the 11th Parliament.Earlier on March 3, two Gono Forum MPs-elect sent separate letters to the Speaker requesting her to arrange their oath-taking ceremony on historic March 7.However, Mokabbir Khan did not take oath on that day.BNP along with Gono Forum and some other parties joined the December-30 election in alliance under the banner of Jatiya Oikyafront. BNP bagged six seats while Gono Forum won two in the election.The alliance turned down the election results alleging ‘massive vote robbery’ and decided not to join parliament.Gono Forum expelled Sultan Mansur hours after he had joined parliament.
cpdThe Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) on Tuesday urged the government to publish the “actual data” based on which the GDP has been assessed.CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya, however, appreciated the government for the steady GDP rise and expressed concern about other aspects of national development.He was addressing a press conference arranged at CIRDAP Auditorium in the city marking the launching of a report as part of Independent Review of Bangladesh Development research programme on the acts and assessment of electoral pledges of the government within the first 100 days of its rule.”GDP is an important factor but not self-sufficient. All global development plans focus on human development. Even the SDGs have emphasised overall development of the stakeholders,” Debapriya said.He said there was little private investment in the development efforts taken place during the 100 days. “All the variables connected to GDP don’t reflect the rapid GDP growth,” he told the press conference.Debapriya noted that statistics showed an increase in labour productivity but surveys revealed that the working class’ income has not risen as discrimination is on the rise.Data and statistics provided for the research are less reliable than before, he said. “We wish to see the information and data based on which the GDP growth rate has been determined,” the CPD fellow said.CPD distinguished fellow professor Mustafizur Rahman highlighted the importance of falling discrimination, saying that it is the only way to maintain sustainable GDP growth.He also urged the government for larger budget allocation for education sector to develop skilled manpower.Meanwhile, senior CPD research fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan discussed several aspects of the current government’s initiatives and challenges to face based on the report.CPD executive director Fahmida Khatun mentioned that the banking sector has started deviating from IMF policy since 2012.She said CPD has planned to set up a banking commission involving citizens.CPD research director Khondaker Golam Moazzem mentioned that there are several complaints against reports on the newly-introduced companies in the capital market.He also said the Anti-Corruption Commission is not taking adequate measures to tackle irregularities in the stock market.CPD also made some recommendations for resolving the issues.
SaudiSaudi courts will notify women by text message when they get divorced, in a new regulation that took effect on Sunday, officials said.The measure approved by the justice ministry appears aimed at curbing seemingly rampant cases of men secretly ending marriages without informing their wives.”Women… will be notified of any changes to their marital status via text message,” the justice ministry said in a statement carried by state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel and other local media.”Women in the kingdom will be able to view documents related to the termination of their marriage contracts through the ministry’s website.”The move comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler spearheads a liberalisation drive in the conservative kingdom, which has some of the world’s toughest restrictions on women.In June last year, women celebrated taking the wheel for the first time in decades as the kingdom overturned the world’s only ban on female motorists.The kingdom has also allowed women to enter sports stadiums, previously a male-only arena, and is pushing for greater participation of women in the workforce as it seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.But in tandem with the reforms, the kingdom has seen a wave of arrests of women activists in recent months as it steps up a crackdown on dissent.The country also faces criticism over its male guardianship system, which allows men to exercise arbitrary authority to make decisions on behalf of their female relatives.On Sunday, an 18-year-old Saudi woman held at Bangkok airport said she would be killed if she was repatriated by Thai immigration officials.Pleading her case on Twitter, the woman — who wanted to seek asylum in Australia — said she was trying to flee her family, who subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.
Faridpur road accident kills two people. Photo: UNBTwo people were killed and three others injured after a lorry fell into a ditch by Dhaka-Khulna highway in Shibrampur of Faridpur sadar upazila on Saturday morning, reports UNB.The identities of the deceased couldn’t be known yet.Nurul Alam, senior station officer of Faridpur fire service, said the Faridpur-bound lorry from Dhaka fell into the roadside ditch after its driver lost control over the steering, leaving two people dead on the spot.The injured people were sent to Faridpur Medical College and Hospital, he added.
DengueSix-year-old Musnan was under treatment at the Dhaka paediatric hospital. Not being able to get up and play, she idly drew cartoons on her legs, sitting under the mosquito net to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes again. Prothom Alo File PhotoThe number of patients afflicted with dengue is lessening in hospitals around the country. Over the past 24 hours, 1200 new patients have been admitted to hospitals in Dhaka and outside the capital. This was 43 per cent less than the previous day.Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, director of the disease control unit of the health directorate Sanya Tahmina said, “Fewer dengue patients have been admitted over the past few days. It is not clear whether this is because of the Eid holidays or any other reason. It would not be scientific to comment or express any hope in this regard.”According to the health emergency operation centre and control room of the health directorate, over the past 24 hours 599 dengue patients were admitted to hospitals in Dhaka and 601 to hospitals in various districts outside of Dhaka.Many patients are leaving the hospitals too. On Monday, 1200 patients were admitted and 1659 were released from the hospitals.So far this year, 44,471 patients were admitted to government and private hospitals around the country, with 36,884 recovering and returning home.Sanya Tahmina told the press briefing, “The doctors and nurses have been working tirelessly over the past few days. They all deserve our thanks.”