April 02, 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May has written to Honorable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasina acknowledging the 'strong and growing' relationship between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. During a recent visit to Bangladesh Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Simon McDonald handed over the letter to Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali recently. In a related development, ruling out the possibility of effect on Bangladesh after Britain's exit from the European Union, some 60 members of the British Parliament have lauded Bangladesh's ongoing development efforts under the leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina.
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Ambassador Thomas A Shannon has praised Bangladesh as a global example of a tolerant, pluralistic, and moderate nation, terming this country as the most important regional partner for his country. Impressed by idealism, optimism, and resolution of the people of Bangladesh, the envoy said that people of this land fought and died for liberty which would inspire future generation to continue their struggle for liberty, democracy and tolerance.
UN Under-Secretary General for Field Support Atul Khare has applauded the outstanding contributions of Bangladesh in the field of peacekeeping. The expert mentioned laudable professionalism and forthcoming attitude of Bangladesh peacekeepers and conveyed his sincere gratitude to HPM Sheikh Hasina for her active role and personal interest in strengthening UN's effort in peacekeeping. The comments were made while he was addressing the inaugural session of a two-day workshop on Peacekeeping Rapid Deployment.
As part of a weeklong anti-militancy clampdown, law enforcers have busted three militant hideouts and recovered huge cache of arms and explosives across the country. During separate raids, as many as seven militants were neutralized while others succumbed to their injuries caused by explosion of suicide vests. In all the hideouts, the militants visibly lived as ordinary tenants, while local residents said they had little idea about the extremists' identity as they tried to evade interactions with neighbours.
The government plans to turn Manpura into a green island by installing solar power systems as part of its scheme to light up remote and off-grid areas through renewable energy. Under the plan, Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources has identified 250 hard-to-reach areas to light them up by solar and other types of renewable energy. These areas range from remote locations in the coastal belt to chars and haors in northwest and northeastern parts of the country.
Works are laid out to ensure 100% electricity in 182 upazilas by December this year as a step towards fulfilling the government’s electoral promise to ensure electricity for all by 2021. As of now, 80% people have gained access to electricity and the power generation capacity reached 15,389 MW. Of the 182 upazilas, electricity will be reached out in two phases—100 by June and the rest by December this year.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB) is set to provide $60 million for a project to address Bangladesh's gas supply deficit -- the second loan for the country after the multilateral lender was formed last year. The $60 million loan is for the Bangladesh Natural Gas Infrastructure and Efficiency Improvement Project, which is being co-financed by the Asian Development Bank. In June last year, the China-led bank had approved $165 million for a power distribution system upgrade and expansion project in Bangladesh.
The government will build 735 cyclone centres to be known as 'Mujib Killa' in the coastal districts aiming to protect the lives and properties during natural disasters such as cyclone and flood. Besides, it will renovate 235 old cyclone centres. Each of the cyclone centres will have fresh drinking water, solar panel facility and separate ramp for the people with disabilities. Apart from building cyclone centres, the government will build high-standard sheds for animals.
Visiting European Parliament delegation expressed satisfaction over the welfare and safety measures taken by the government for the country's RMG workers. According to a delegation member Arne Lietz, Bangladesh's RMG sector is progressing fast and the progress made as regards to ensuring rights of the workers as per the labour law is noteworthy. Last fiscal year, Bangladesh's exports to the EU stood at $18.68 billion, which is 54.57% of the total exports in the 12-month period, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
India is a strong partner and a good friend of Bangladesh and it will continue to work together shoulder to shoulder to contribute towards peace, security and development of this entire region, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said. The Indian Premier made the comment ahead of his Bangladesh counterpart HPM Sheikh Hasina's official visit to India from April 7-10. Experts lent out hopes that this visit would take the bilateral relations between two countries into a new height while HPM’s government has cracked down hard on Islamist militants to keep India’s Northeastern flank free from menace of terrorism.
Condemning the recent spate of blasts, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed his country's willingness to work together with Bangladesh to curb militancy. The Turkish Premier was talking to his Bangladesh counterpart over the phone last week. During the nearly 15-minute conversation, HPM Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government's “zero-tolerance” policy against terrorism and said some misguided people were defaming Islam in the name of religion.
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