PM back home; ties with China to get a new height

great wallBangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned home on Wednesday from Beijing after ending her six- day official visit to China. A flight of Biman carrying the PM and members of her entourage landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at 2:10 pm.

Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury and high civil and military officials were present at the airport to receive the prime minister.

Meanwhile, hundreds of leaders and workers of Awami League and its associate bodies including Jubo League, Chhatra League, Swechchasebak League, Jubo Mohila League, Sramik League gathered at the airport and the road between Jahangir Gate and Ganobhaban to welcome Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League president.

An early report says: Bangladesh and China have agreed to further expand and raise their partnership of cooperation to a newer height, exploring more avenues and opportunities for cooperation. They agreed to sustain momentum of high-level interaction and engagements, institutional cooperation, strengthen communication and coordination, people to people exchanges and forge closer cooperation on international affairs and climate change issues.

It was told in the joint statement issued on the following day of the official talks between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang here on Tuesday.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) released the 20-point document titled-‘Joint Statement on Deepening the Closer Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation between Bangladesh and China’ today before Sheikh Hasina’s departure for home concluding her six-day official visit to China.

The two countries also inked two agreements, two MoUs and two Letters of Exchange (LoE) during her visit to China opening up new horizon to strengthen mutual cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, power generation, communications and transport and combating natural disasters.

Bangladesh has reaffirmed its support to the ‘one China policy’, the statement said adding that China has expressed its support to the efforts of Bangladesh in upholding national and regional peace, stability and progress. – Our Monitor

Report on journalists’ welfare trust bill placed in JS

iqbalThe aims and objectives of ‘Bangladesh Journalists Welfare Trust Bill, 2014′ are providing financial assistance to the poor, insolvent, sick and wounded journalists, stipend for special contribution of the journalists, and award stipend to the meritorious children of journalists, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu said.

The JS standing committee report on the Trust was placed in the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) on Sunday with a recommendation for passage of the bill in an amended form. Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Ministry AKM Rahmatullah placed the bill in the House.

Earlier, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu introduced the bill on April 2 this year.

A 13-member board of trustee would be constituted with information minister as the chairman of the board while information secretary the vice-chairman. The trust would be a statutory body and the managing director, to be appointed by the govt, would act as member secretary of the trust.

The other members of the trust will be: Principal Information Officer (PIO), a DG-level officer to be nominated by the PMO, a finance division officer with the rank and status of not below a joint secretary, DG of Bangladesh Press Institute, joint secretary (press) from the Ministry of Information, two BFUJ representatives and three journalists to be nominated by the government.

The trust will have two funds–permanent and current–and the government will mainly provide the fund.

It may be mentioned here that the step for making such a trust for the welfare of journalists was taken with the guidance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. At an earlier help-cheque distribution program she instructed the journalist leaders and concerned government officials to give the Trust a constructive shape so that the journalists can get its benefit for ever. — Staff Reporter

Karate belt examination held in city, performance better

karate 7karate 4The belt examination of the students of Bangladesh Karate-Do was held at its central ‘dojo’ (practice venue) at Katabon, Dhaka on Friday (June 6, 2014). Kajol Das, Maya Mondal, Awlad Hossain, Md Mijanur Rahaman and Main Uddin Ahmed were the examiners.

The photographs show the ongoing test process and students with the examiners after the event.

While speaking to examinees, film fight director Kajol Das advised them to be more prompt in responding to any attack and for achieving that they will have to practice more and more.

Md Mijanur Rahaman, a karate teacher, professionally a banker, suggested the students to follow the discipline of belts and never to break it which he termed most important for making oneself a good martial artist.

Awlad Hossain, the chief coach of Bangladesh Karate-Do said, students must be loyal to the teachers. If they follow the rules properly then they will be able to become good karate figures.

Maya Mondal, manager of Bangladesh Karate-Do, sought suggestions from all for smooth running of the organisation. She also pointed out that the rent of the venue is getting higher day by day and it is now hard to run an institution dealing with martial arts.

Martial artist Main Uddin Ahmed, a journalist by profession, urged all the students to look at martial art with purity and fresh mind and go on with hard practice. “If you respect martial art it will award you respect and honour”, he added. –Report: Staff Reporter,  Photo: Kamal Hossain

Dan Mozena for deepening US-Bangladesh partnership

mozenaDan Mozena, US Ambassador in Dhaka, will seek efforts to further deepen and strengthen America’s partnership with Bangladesh during his three-week visit to the United States this month. He will also lead a group of young Bangladeshi businessmen on a planned program to Wall Street (New York City) and Silicon Valley (California.)

According to a media release on Thursday,  the ambassador, throughout his three-week stay in the USA, will seek to further deepen and strengthen America’s partnership with Bangladesh.

He will take part in official consultations within the US government and with members and staff of Congress and will speak to the Heritage Foundation (Washington) on the US-Bangladesh partnership.

Dan Mozena will also present a keynote at a conference titled ‘Globalisation and Sustainability of Bangladesh Garment Industry’ at Harvard University.

He will return to Dhaka at month-end. Special Correspondent

Tk 250,506cr ‘day-dream’ budget placed in Jatiya Sangsad

muhithAMA Muhith, Bangladesh Finance Minister, placed a Tk 250,506crore budget for fiscal year 2014-15 in parliament (known as Jatiya Sangsad) on Thursday.

The budget expects a GDP growth of 7.3 per cent, which is higher than the revised estimate of 6.5 per cent for the outgoing fiscal. However, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) cited the current GDP growth to be 6.12 per cent.

The new budget for set an overall revenue earning target of Tk 182,954crore keeping an overall budget deficit of around Tk 67,552crore of which Tk 18,069crore will come from the foreign sources while Tk 43,277crore from local sources, including bank borrowings.

Of the overall revenue earning target, the share of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) will be around Tk 149,720crore, non-NBR revenue Tk 5,572crore, non-tax revenue (various tolls and services fee) Tk 27,662crore and foreign grants Tk 6,206crore.

In the new budget, the finance minister has proposed doubling the tax rate on high earners. As per the proposal, the tax rate would go up for those with annual income over Tk 4.42 million from the existing 15 per cent to 30 per cent. This new tax rate was being imposed “with a view to ensuring equitable distribution of resources and to reducing economic disparity”.
Muhith’s new top tax rate is similar to the Buffett Rule introduced by US President Barack Obama in 2011, in which income over $ 1 million is taxed at a minimum 30 per cent rate. The Buffett Rule is inspired by billionaire Warren Buffett, who has long voiced support for increased income taxes on the wealthy.

A leading business tycoon, wishing not to be named, opined that the newly proposed budget is a day-dream and was sketched somehow only to be placed in the parliament. It is, in no way, representing the thoughts and farsightedness of an economist of global repute like AMA Muhith. –Special Correspondent

Every school will get multimedia class room, computer: PM

hasina june 4Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday inaugurated the four-day-long Digital World-2014, a mega exposition of IT innovations and services at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital city, Dhaka.

Young generation enlightened with computer and technological education and knowledge would take forward Bangladesh towards prosperity, she said while presenting her inaugural speech.

The prime minister announced that the government has taken steps for connecting the country with second submarine cable. Every school will get multimedia class room and computer lab and IT park will be set up in every divisional headquarters, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said, her government envisaged boosting annual export earning to US$ 5 billion from software and IT service sector. To achieve the target, she said, the private and public sector should work together.

She hoped that the Digital World-2014 would introduce the new innovations and services with the people which would make immense contribution in building Digital Bangladesh.

ICT Division of the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), national trade body for Software and IT Enabled Services are jointly organising the exhibition.

Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Abdul Latif Siddiqui presided over the function. State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, acting secretary of the ministry Kamal Uddin Ahmed, president of BASIS Shameem Ahsan and chief project officer of Digital World-2014 Russell T Ahmed, among others, spoke on the occasion.

Around 200 exhibitors from Bangladesh and abroad are taking part in the event.

–Special Correspondent

Once it was found frequently in different areas of Bangladesh

road showOnce it was found frequently in rural ‘haats’ and bazaars that someone or a group of people show their special physical fit and the spectators spontaneously present a little amount of money as pleasure which was enough for the livelihood of the concerned person(s). The scene was also not rare in city and towns also. Sometimes local homemade herbal medicine producers used to utilise those persons to attract people and then to tell the miracle stories about their produce. Now such scenes are rare. Our photographer snapped this picture recently from the city’s Mirpur area. A young boy is seen showing the fit for flying through a ring unhurt which has some knives tied in its round structure.—Staff Photo

Ershad criticises ‘formalin politics’ of AL, BNP

ershadHM Ershad, Jatiya Party chairman and former president, has criticised Awami League and BNP for making fun with a serious harmful chemical, formalin.

He told a meeting at the party’s Banani office on Monday that, “Formalin is not a matter of joke. It hurts me when top leaders of our country make fun with it”.

“Whenever we open the pages of the newspapers, we see news of murders. But our politicians don’t feel shame while joking about formalin! I get shocked to see that,” Ershad added.

Hussain Muhammad Ershad, also the special envoy to the prime minister, said he could contain the use of formalin in food items within seven days had he been there in power. He also voiced disappointment over the present situation of the country.

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia has recently said they were giving the government time to get decomposed. In reply, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her press conference on Saturday said her government has kept BNP alive with formalin.

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday said Sheikh Hasina’s rule is the era of formalin.

Ershad described the way the two major political parties are following as a curse for the country and said people are now waiting to get rid of them. — Staff Reporter


PM stresses proper maintenance of Sangsad Bhaban

sangsadBangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her dissatisfaction to see the slow progress of repair works in the parliament (Jatiya Sangsad) building. She stressed on proper maintenance of JS building (Sangsad Bhaban).

During a meeting of the Parliament Commission on Sunday, she was also critical of the initiative to install new air-conditioners in the house. Hasina has been calling for measures to save power since assuming office for the second time.

The Parliament Commission’s meeting, chaired by Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, was also attended by Opposition Leader Roushan Ershad.

The meeting discussed over the progress of the Tk 1.03 billion ‘Umbrella Project’ initiated during the ninth parliament.

After the meeting, the Speaker told reporters that the prime minister was updated on the project.

“The PM said ‘the project started during the ninth parliament and is yet to be finished. This is like the patient dying before the doctor arrived,” said Chaudhury.

While speaking to the media, the Speaker said that one of the two chillers of the central air-conditioning system is not working and the other one was only performing to 50 per cent of its capacity. She said a proposed project of Tk 220 million to repair the chillers has been cleared. The meeting also discussed the architectural plan of the Parliament House, according to the Speaker.

The meeting approved a budget of Tk 2.09 billion for the National Parliament in the coming 2014-15 fiscal. – Special Correspondent

Govt achieved notable success in different sectors: President

presidenttPresident of Bangladesh, Abdul Hamid, on Saturday urged Lions and other welfare organisations to step forward to cooperate in realising the government-taken initiatives to turn the country into a middle income one by 2021.

He made this call while inaugurating the 27th Annual Convention of Lions Club International Multiple District-315, Bangladesh at a city hotel.

“I hope we will be able to build Bangabandhu’s Sonar Bangla (Golden Bengal) soon, if we work for improvement of the fate of general people,” the president said.

He stated the government has achieved notable success in education, health and women empowerment and Bangladesh has already made significant success in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Role of different organisations and social bodies side by side the government is very important for making all out development of the nation,” the president added.

Lion members have adequate opportunities and abilities to work for the country’s socio-economic development, he observed.

The Lions Club International is the largest welfare oriented organisation in the world with 14 lakh members under 46,000 clubs in 209 countries. Presently the numbers of Lions in Bangladesh are 13,000 and Leos are 6,000, the convention revealed.

Council Chairperson of the district Dr SM Zaglul A Mojumder, FBCCI President Qazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, past international directors Sheikh Kabir Hossain and Moslem Ali Khan and convention chairman Altaf Hossain Biswas, among others, also spoke on the occasion.

–Special Correspondent

Inu terms BNP, Jamaat enemies of democracy

inuBNP and the Jamaat-e- Islami are enemies of democracy, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President and Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said on Friday. Bangladesh would be in danger if it could not be protected from them, he said speaking as chief guest at JSD Dhaka divisional council at Shaheed Col Taher auditorium in the city.

Inu said BNP chief Khaleda Zia is the patron of militants, razakars and war criminals.

Begum Zia would not be eligible for taking part in talks on democracy and election until she quits the militants, razakars and war criminals.

Presided over by JSD Joint General Secretary Iqbal Hossain Khan, the meeting was addressed, among others, by Shirin Akhtar, MP, Nazmul Haq Prodhan, MP, Lutfa Taher, MP, Nurul Akhtar and Karim Sikder.

Councillors of Dhaka, Manikganj, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Munshiganj, Faridpur, Rajbari, Gopalganj, Madaripur and Shariatpur attended the meeting.

The information minister said militancy of Jamaat-e-Islami, corruption, lack of participatory democracy, social disparity, politicization, killings and abductions are the dangers in the politics of Bangladesh.

He stressed the need for facing these dangers and running the country on the basis of four basic principles of the constitution. Special Correspondent