July 28, 2016
Operation “Storm 26”, a special police drive that saw nine suspected militants killed in a Kalyanpur flat in the capital, this week, appears to have been well planned and executed. In the aftermath, Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina offered a quick statement that the country averted a catastrophe by busting this den of terrorists. Mainstream media outlets have deemed as a commendable one, congratulated the law enforcing agencies, commenting that this drive will infuse a sense of   confidence among the public in the long run.
History was set in motion last week when governments of India and Bangladesh stepped up with an agreement that merged the busiest land check-post at Benapole-Petrapole, easing the movement of people and goods, let alone lifting up their relations a notch higher. Last week Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi opened the new ‘Petrapole Integrated Check Post’ (ICP). The integrated post is aimed at eliminating infrastructural bottlenecks to achieve effective and efficient security, immigration, customs, and quarantine functions.
Law enforcers in separate countrywide raids over a 24-hour-period till last Wednesday apprehended at least 52 militant suspects while a good number of Jammatul Mujahidin Bangladesh militants were also placed before district courts throughout the week. The move came amid an unflinching stance as demonstrated by HPM Sheikh Hasina to tackle extremism and terrorism. Meanwhile, as part of stepped up efforts to wage a strong social awareness campaign against extremism, Imams of all the mosques across the country read khutba against terrorism, unrest and militancy during the Juma prayers on Friday.
The UN Secretary-General has announced the appointment of Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir of Bangladesh Army as Force Commander of Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).The appointment came amid Bangladesh’s demand to get more commanding roles in the peacekeeping missions as a top troops-sending country. Until last year, Bangladesh deployed nearly 9,500 troops and police in 10 different UN missions and topped the list of countries that send peacekeepers.
A resolution tabled by Bangladesh has been adopted by the United Nations. The resolution, which seeks greater and deeper interaction between the UN, national parliaments and the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), was tabled by the Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Masud Momen, and later adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. According to IPU President Saber Chowdhury the partnership between the IPU and the UN has evolved considerably and the time has come to put the relationship on a strategic and stronger institutional footing and Bangladesh is now taking the lead in this regard.
Growth and Development
Bangladesh Bank has announced its new monetary policy with an aim at further stabilizing inflation at a moderate level keeping pace with the government's budgetary target of higher growth. Under the policy, broad money growth for the 2017 year has been set at 15.5%, domestic credit is projected to grow by 16.4% in year-to-year basis, and inflation will stand at or close to 5.8%. This move seeks out another inclusive, productive use of credit; with particular attention to adequacy of credit flows to agriculture, SMEs, and environment-friendly activities.
The World Bank is set to provide an additional $10 million to its public procurement project in Bangladesh to set up a modern data centre with 200 terra-byte storage capacity. An agreement for the loan was signed between the Economic Relations Division and the Washington-based multilateral lender in Dhaka. With robust security features and 180 times more capacity, the new centre will offer storage for 8.6 million tenders and support about 325,000 registered bidders.
Trade and Investment
Bangladesh has signed an agreement with oil and gas-rich Iran on the production of LPG bullet trucks, LPG industrial storage tanks, household cylinders for cooking stoves and cylinders for vehicles in Dhaka. This is the first agreement related to joint investment between the two countries since international sanctions earlier imposed on Iran were lifted following last July's landmark deal on curbing Tehran’s nuclear programme. The site for the factory is soon to be finalized with hopes running high that the cylinders from it would hit the market within a year.
Bangladesh Honda Private Ltd, a concern of Honda Ltd of Japan, has expressed its interest in investing $60 million in motorcycle manufacturing at a special economic zone in Bangladesh. According to a draft proposal, around $25 million, on an initial basis, will be pumped to the market and a request has been placed seeking for 25 acres of land. Experts said the proposed investment was floated due to the availability of an abundance of advantages akin to a good market, higher sales curve due to a growing middle class and introduction of zero-duty benefit on exports.
Bangladesh’s export earnings from pharmaceuticals have witnessed a 13.04% jump to US$82.11 million in the just-concluded fiscal year. According to research findings, over the last two years, around 1,200 pharmaceutical products got registration for export earnings that will see a massive jump within the next three years. Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data shows that in the fiscal year 2015-16, the sector earned $82.11 billion, up by 13.04%, compared to $72.64 million a year ago.
Digital Bangladesh
The country's first-ever “IT Incubation Centre” has been launched in the country to promote IT sector by young entrepreneurs. The ICT division under the ministry of Post, Telecommunication and ICT and the private mobile phone operator Banglalink have jointly created this centre at the Software Technology Park (Janata Tower) in Karwan Bazar. Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy formally inaugurated the centre at Dhaka on Wednesday. Of 50 finalists, top 10 got a free office space along with dedicated mentor-ship. The rest of the finalists will be provided with a co-working office space for three months including the accelerator support.
Bangladesh and India will sign a deal that will see them join forces in the fight against international terrorism in cyberspace. Bangladesh's State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim has said that she held discussions on the matter with Indian counterpart Manoj Sinha at his office in New Delhi on Tuesday in this regard. The two countries will sign a MoU to this end soon and there are plans to bring other SAARC countries under this arrangement.
The government would set up multimedia classrooms at 31,340 educational institutions by providing laptop, multimedia projector, speaker and modem. The government would also train 5,20,820 teachers for operating multimedia and modern technology based classrooms. The Awami League government has so far provided ICT equipment to 23,331 educational institutions and also training to 24,122 teachers on making digital content for multimedia classrooms under the ‘ICT for Education in Secondary and Higher Secondary Level’ Project (Phase-2).
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