June 29, 2018
Bangladesh Awami League’s anniversary: 69 years with the land and people
Awami League, Bangladesh’s oldest and largest political party celebrated its 69th founding anniversary in a befitting manner on last Saturday. The party’s journey started on June 23 in 1949 when a young, secular and progressive g section of the Muslim League formed East Pakistan Awami Muslim League at a meeting at the historic Rose Garden at KM Das Lane in Dhaka’s Tikatuli. The only political party in the world history that fought for a nation’s language, freedom and flag is Bangladesh Awami League (means ‘People’s League’). It was the people’s choice even long before Bangladesh emerged as an independent country. It was the symbol of hope in 1971 when the party led the liberation war – a response to the massive genocide committed by Pakistan. At present – quite a few decades into the liberation, under the leadership of Honourable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasina - it is still the people’s choice. It is still the strongest advocate of democracy, secularism and humanity in the country.
According to the results from 416 out of 425 centers, the Awami League candidate Advocate Md. Jahangir Alam has won the Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) Mayor Election by securing 4,10,000 votes, which is more than double the votes secured by his BNP rival Hasan Uddin Sarker who bagged 1,97,611 votes. According to leaked audio conversations which resulted in the arrest of BNP’s Central Executive Committee leader Mizanur Rahman Mizan, it transpires that BNP hatched a plot to make the GCC election controversial by manufacturing unrest and violence. The conversations reveal that the plan was to use BNP men wearing Awami League badges, who would then be deployed in the city area to carry out jobs which would make the election appear rigged and biased in favour of Awami League.
Life expectancy at birth increased to 72 years last year in Bangladesh from 71.6 years in 2016, according to a survey of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). For women, life expectancy increased to 73.5 years in 2017 from 72.9 years in 2016, says the survey, titled “Bangladesh Sample Vital Statistics 2017”. Neonatal mortality rate fell from 20 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013, to 17 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017. Under-five mortality rate also decreased to 31 per 1,000 live births from 41 in 2013. On the other note, maternal mortality ratio has shown a consistent fall over the last five years, from 1.97 maternal deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013 to 1.72 in 2017.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix has highly appreciated Bangladeshi soldiers for their contribution to peacekeeping and serving in some of the most challenging conditions. In an interview with a leading daily, the top UN official also lauded Bangladesh's “very strong” political commitment to engage in peacekeeping. Noting that Bangladesh is increasing the number of women in its contingent, he said more women in peacekeeping meant more effective peacekeeping. Bangladesh is currently the second biggest contributor of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping. Till May 31, 2018 a total of 7,099 troops and police were deployed in 11 UNPKOs.
Govt takes $332 million initiative for transportation of petroleum
The government initiated a move to implement pipeline project worth $332 million for transporting white petroleum from Chattogram to Dhaka and Chandpur in a fair and uninterrupted way. Under the circumstances, the project has been drafted considering the future demand of the country in a bid to transport fuel oil in a modern way and speedy manner, reducing the fuel transportation time, simplifying the process for fuel transportation, and thus making the fuel transportation uninterrupted, time efficient, less risky and environment-friendly. The project will be implemented at Chattogram City Corporation, Cumilla City Corporation, Bhatiary, Sitakundu, Mirersarai, Feni, Choddogram, Laksam, Borura, Kochua, Hajiganj, Chandpur Sadar, Narayanganj City Corporation, Siddhirganj, Fatullah and Gazaria.
HPM Sheikh Hasina said in parliament that the country's power generation capacity is now 18,353-megawatt (MW) including the captive power. She said the government has undertaken a programme to purchase 2,336 MW power from India by the year 2022. Under the programme, this year 500 MW power will be purchased from India. Under her leadership, a target has been set to take the country's power generation capacity at 24,000 MW by 2021 and 60,000 MW by 2041. On the other hand, a plan is underway to increase the capacity of distribution and transmission line into twice as part of the 100 percent electrification by 2021.
The World Bank will provide $15 million financing to implement the National Strategy for Development of Statistics (NSDS) Implementation Support Project to help Bangladesh produce accurate statistics in a timely manner. The NSDS Implementation Support Project will improve the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS)'s capacity to produce and disseminate quality statistics in a timely manner. In 2013, Bangladesh approved the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) and Statistics Act. The project will help implement key elements of the strategy. It will enhance coverage and improve collection and quality of data for core statistics, including, national accounts, price statistics, labour and industry statistics, social statistics, and agricultural statistics. It will also produce gender-disaggregated data.
The government has successfully implemented 98% of the midday meals programmes designed for checking primary school student’s dropout. The rate of absence has been reduced after introducing of the midday meals programme for the government primary school students across the country. Moreover, another initiative has been taken to appoint a teacher for sports and culture at each of the government primary school across the country aimed at flourishing talents among the students under the fourth stage of Primary Education Development Program (PEDP).
Eight years after the introduction of machine readable passport (MRP), the government is going to introduce high-tech electronic passports or e-passports for citizens soon. The Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) has taken the initiative to enhance the security of Bangladeshi passports and to further increase their acceptability. According to the department, introduction of modern technology-based e-passports in the country is necessary also to keep pace with other countries of the world and to ensure the smooth arrival and departure of Bangladeshi citizens and foreign nationals at the immigration check post. E-passports are already in operation in some 120 countries since they are more secure and safe than the MRPs.
Bangladesh is progressively becoming one of the more important countries for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with the China-led multilateral lender looking to bankroll energy and transport projects in the country. The country is of particular interest to the AIIB as it is at an inflection point of social and economic development; a helping hand in ramping up its infrastructure would allow Bangladesh to comfortably set sail for the next stage. Next to get the financing green light from the AIIB board would be a $270 million-project to increase access to safe water supply and sanitation services to selected pourashavas and to strengthen the pourashavas' institutional capabilities for delivering improved water supply and sanitation services.
The Bangladesh embassy in Thailand has for the first time showcased the country’s development successes in a two-day exhibition in Bangkok. Bangladesh’s sustained growth and development successes over the past decade under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership including recent eligibility for graduation from the Least Developed Country category, digital Bangladesh, economic growth and tourism, agriculture, migrant workers and social development successes were on the display.
The United Nations and the Bangladesh government have started formally registering hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled a military crackdown in Myanmar, a move that officials say would help their eventual return. The registration programme started jointly by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Bangladesh government this week is aimed at creating a reliable database of refugees living in camps on Bangladesh's southern coast, said Caroline Gluck, a UNHCR representative. That data, expected to be ready by November, will have family and birth details of refugees, and will be shared with Myanmar.
Honourable President Abdul Hamid and HPM Sheikh Hasina on Monday congratulated Tayyip Erdogan on his re-election as President of Turkey for a new term saying this is a 'demonstration of Turkish people's confidence' in his leadership. In her message to Erdogan, HPM Sheikh Hasina said, "I am happy to learn that you have been re-elected as the Honourable President of the Republic of Turkey. This election, I believe, is a testimony to the trust and confidence reposed on you by the people of Turkey”.
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