Dec 03, 2017
Hectic diplomatic efforts by Dhaka, at the behest of Honourable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasina, has yielded an initial success through a deal signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar for repatriation of Rohingya refugees driven out by the Myanmar army since they started an anti-Muslim crackdown in August. The Myanmar army operation has been dubbed by the UN and Amnesty International as 'ethnic cleansing'. HPM Sheikh Hasina swayed the hearts of the world by opening her country's borders to the fleeing Rohingyas setting the example of history's biggest humanitarian gesture and vowing to shelter the Rohingyas in her densely populated country until they are all safely returned to their homeland Myanmar. She has shown extreme empathy by approving $ 278 million at the ECNEC meeting yesterday for the safe shelter of Rohingyas till their repatriation to Myanmar.
Bangladesh entered the nuclear world as HPM Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the main construction work on the much-awaited Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the maiden nuclear plant of the country. She formally launched the main construction work on the plant by pouring concrete at the plant site at Rooppur in Ishwardi, north off Pabna. The Rooppur plant is expected to add 2,400MW of electricity to the national grid by 2024, helping the country meet the increasing demand for electricity. Atomostroyexport, the contractor appointed by Russia's state-owned atomic power body Rosatom, will construct the NPP at a cost of $12.65 billion, out of which, $10.1 billion has been fixed as base price, $1 billion for soil stabilisation and further cost, and the remaining $1.65 billion for price escalation.
Bangladesh Air Force is all set to dispatch two female pilots for the first time in United Nations Peacekeeping Mission. Flight Lieutenant Nayma Haque and Flight Lieutenant Tamanna-E-Lutfi, will join the mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO). BAF also deployed a C-130 transport air craft and six MI-17 helicopters with necessary ground support equipments in Congo. Meanwhile, BAF started its journey to UN Mission by sending peacekeepers in Bosnia Herzegovina in 1993. So far 6430 BAF members completed their UN peacekeeping mission in Kuwait, East Timore, Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Mali, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan and Haiti.
Bangladesh has been elected member of Industrial Development Board (IDB), which is one of the two main policymaking organs of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The official declaration came this week at the 17th session of the General Conference of UNIDO in Vienna, says a message from the Bangladesh mission there. IDB comprises 53 members, elected for a four-year term. IDB meets annually, reviews work programmes and the regular and operational budget of UNIDO and makes recommendations to the UNIDO General Conference. Bangladesh has been elected for the 2017-2021 term, along with five other countries from the Asia-Pacific -- the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India and Pakistan. It is believed that Bangladesh's election would provide the opportunity to more actively contribute to UNIDO's policymaking.
A huge number of Bangladeshi female workers are now working across the world with utmost efficiency and they’re contributing a lot to the country’s economic development. The government has taken various initiatives so that expatriate women workers could contribute more to implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) announced by the United Nations. According to the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, as many as 6,74,211 female Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) are now working in different countries around the globe.
The government has rolled out a scheme to finalise a monitoring and evaluation framework to track the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals in Bangladesh. According to media report, solid monitoring framework with robust indicators backed by a credible statistical database is the basis for effective monitoring of the progress. It will also help the policymakers take informed policy decisions, adjust policies and ensure accountability in implementing the SDGs in the country.
Works are underway to implement as many as 34 projects across the country to ensure housing facilities for all to keep up with the rapid urbanization. According to media reports, the government has taken a number of schemes to ensure adequate accommodation facilities for all levels of people including people of low-income group and slum dwellers to make the city livable. Under the 17 projects, 2,780 plots will be allocated and 6,592 flats will be handed over to the people after completing construction while the plot development and flat construction are being implemented in 18 districts.
The government has upgraded the labour directorate to a department and approved 209 new posts and six regional offices for it. The latest development came in line with the Sustainability Compact that recommended ensuring the upgrade of the Department of Labour with staff and resources. This new department will be shouldered with responsibilities for ensuring labour rights including registration of trade unions, labour-related dispute resolutions, building awareness, labour training and keeping the labour situation stable across the country.
The government has launched a new project to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and to improve sexual, reproductive health rights in the low-performing districts. The project will work on health systems strengthening, capacity development, community awareness raising, and empowering adolescents through education and will build on existing health, education, and community structures, within the government systems. UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to promote improved home and community based new-born care behaviour and practices in 25 low performing districts of Bangladesh, covering the most deprived population.
The demand of the footwear manufactured in the country is gradually increasing as well as contributing to substantial export earnings, which is a good sign for the economy. The export of the sector increased by almost 10 times over the last decade as the export earning was US$495 million in 2015-16, which was from $68 million in 2004, according to the data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). Bangladesh is holding the fourth position in producing footwear products in the international market, industry insiders said. At this moment, Bangladesh only holds one per cent of this market.
Yunnan Yongle Overseas Investment Co Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) to invest in the country's steel manufacturing and power sectors. The company, a sister concern of Kunming Iron & Steel Holding Company Ltd, has planned to invest around US$ 2.3 billion in BEZA-owned Moheshkhali Economic Zone (EZ) or Mirsarai EZ, whichever seems suitable after conducting feasibility study. Experts said it will also become a landmark to bring investments for such large-scale projects while BEZA has approved $ 8.5 billion investment proposals in Mirsarai and Feni EZs from a number of investors.
Construction of a new rail link between Akhaura in Bangladesh and Agartala in India is under way to help cut transit time and costs for shippers. The connectivity will facilitate trade between Bangladesh and the landlocked Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura in the country's northeast by connecting the two countries rail networks with a 15-kilometer (9.3 mile) link. Most of the link, 10 kilometers, will be in Bangladesh, with the remaining in India, where work began in late October, while Bangladesh is scheduled to award the contract for its portion of the work in December.
Bangladesh expressed grave concern at the recent launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) by North Korea. Bangladesh also called upon DPRK to honour its international obligation and commitments and refrain from such show of force and defiance. As a signatory to the NPT and CTBT, Bangladesh will continue to work with the International Community for the renunciation of the use of force in international relations and for general and complete disarmament, according to a statement issued by the government.
Bangladesh's export earnings from information technology and IT-enabled services will cross that from readymade garments by 2030. The scope for value addition in garments was not more than 30 percent but it was 100 percent for IT and ITES. The government targets to earn $1 billion from exporting IT products by 2018 and $5 billion by 2021 and Bangladesh is on way to hit the targets with the sector already bringing in $800 million this year.
The government has taken an initiative to set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for the country's IT sector in collaboration with Wipro, a leading global company of information technology (IT) and IT enabled services (ITES). As part of the initiative Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and Governance (LICT), a flagship project of ICT Division and the internationally reputed IT/ITES company Wipro signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 21 at the latter's Bangalore office in this regard.
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