Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday distributed coveted Ekushey Padak-2019 among 21 eminent citizens for their contributions to their respective fields.
The Prime Minister handed over the Ekushey Padak, the second highest civilian award in Bangladesh, to the awardees or their family members at a function organised by Cultural Affairs Ministry at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
Prof Halima Khatun (posthumous), Advocate Golam Arif Tipu and Prof Monowara Islam got the award for their role in the Language Movement.
Subir Nandi, Azam Khan (posthumous) and Khairul Anam Shakil won the award for their contributions to music while Lucky Enam, Suborna Mustafa and Liaquat Ali Lucky for performing arts.
Sayeda Khanam and Jamal Uddin Ahmed were honoured with the award for their contributions to photography and fine arts respectively while Khitindra Chandra Baishya was given the Ekushey Padak for his role in the Liberation War.
Dr Biswajit Ghosh and Dr Mahbubul Haque were conferred the award for their research while Dr Pranab Kumar Barua was awarded for his contribution to education.
Rizia Rahman, Imdadul Haq Milon, Ashim Saha, Anwara Syed Haq, Mainul Ahsan Saber and Harishankar Jaladas received the award for contributions to language and literature.
Each recipient got a gold medal, a certificate and a cheque for Tk 2 lakh.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid presided over the function.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam read out the citations of the award recipients, while Acting Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal delivered the welcome speech.
Savar, Feb 20 (UNB) - Police recovered the bodies of two female garment workers from Bhorari area in Tentuljhora union and municipality area on Wednesday morning.
One of the deceased was identified as Halima Khatun, 25, of Bharari area while the identity of the other could not be known yet.
Polce said Halima Khatun committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan of her room in the morning. Neighbours found the body and informed it to police.
Meanwhile, another unidentified woman aged around 23 years was found hanging from the windrow grill of a rented house in the municipality area.
On information, police recovered the two bodies and sent those to Swhardhy Medical College Hospital for autopsies.
Sub-inspector Akhil Khandakar of Savar Model Police Station said the mystery behind the deaths would be clear after investigation.
Two separate cases were filed with the police station in these connections, the SI added.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) - Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka ranked fifth on Wednesday in the AirVisual Index of the world’s cities with the worst air quality.
In the real-time air quality ranking, Dhaka scored 164 on Wednesday and classified as “unhealthy”, according to AirVisual.
On Tuesday, Dhaka remained on top of the air quality index for some time scoring 361 and was also classified as “hazardous”.
The United States Environmental experts develop the Air Quality Index (AQI) to rank air quality. The AQI is divided into six categories, indicating increasing levels harmful to one’s health.
India’s Mumbai topped the index with a score of 176 followed by Karachi of Pakistan and Kathmandu of Nepal.
Bangladesh, one of the most densely-populated countries in the world, has been struggling with air pollution for a long time and Dhaka continuously ranks among the world’s most polluted cities.
Many environmental experts blamed the pollution for ongoing construction of Metro Rail. They also noted brick kilns, vehicles run on fuel containing higher levels sulphur, as well as construction work, have all been identified as major sources of air pollution.
On February 9, green activists, including Poribesh Bachao Andolan (Poba) and Nagorik Odhikar Sangrakkhan Forum, voiced deep concern that around 90 percent dwellers in Dhaka city are affected by serious dust pollution and urged the authorities concerned to take effective steps to check it.
They also said the intensity of dust pollution rises usually during winter due to road digging and delayed disposal of wastes, causing the spread of various respiratory, allergy and skin diseases.
Following it, the High Court has ordered the Director General (DG) of Department of Environment (DoE) to take steps to conduct mobile court drives twice a week against those responsible for air pollution in the city.
However, a new study that uses data from the Global Burden of Disease Project has found that ambient air pollution shortens an average Bangladeshi’s life by 1.87 years.
The study also suggested that that better air quality could lead to a significant extension of human lifespan around the world.
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, worldwide, seven million people die every year from exposure to such pollution with most deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries, chiefly in Africa and Asia.
An AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality, and below 50 the air quality is good.
The index is based on the five criteria of pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
The AQI debuted in 1968, when the National Air Pollution Control Administration undertook an initiative to develop an air quality index, and to apply the methodology to Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
Worldwide, ambient particulate matter ranks as the sixth leading risk factor for premature death, according to the 2018 ‘State of Global Air’ report.
These risks are acute in Dhaka, said the report. It also suggests partial pollution like PM2.5 microscopically slam at 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less and a byproduct of combustion which is inhaled by residents.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) - Austrian Foreign Minister Dr Karin Kneissl on Wednesday appreciated the “impressive development and amazing achievements” that Bangladesh witnessed over the last one decade and assured to remain a stronger partner of Bangladesh in its development journey.
“We discussed our bilateral relations. We’re delighted to work together,” Dr Karin, who came to Bangladesh with a big delegation, told reporters after her meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at state guesthouse Meghna.
The Austrian expert team, accompanying the Minister, explored ways to boost cooperation between Austria and Bangladesh in various potential areas.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen said he is hopeful of establishing direct air connectivity between Dhaka and Vienna concluding the proposed Air Services Agreement soon that will help create more avenues of cooperation with enhanced trade relations.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has outlined certain roadmaps to reach development goals and Bangladesh needs more investment, technology transfer and better trade relations with other countries.
“They’ve (Australian FM and her team) come here to help us as a partner,” Dr Momen said adding that Bangladesh wants to have Austria’s expertise in educational learning, power generation, renewable energy and skill development; and they agreed to support Bangladesh.
The Austrian Foreign Minister highly appreciated the tremendous efforts of Bangladesh government and its people to provide humanitarian support to Rohingyas.
She said Austria is working with the European Union in its efforts for resolving the Rohingya crisis and mentioned that the EU remains serious about the cause.
Sharing their own experience, the Austrian Foreign Minister said they in a similar situation as they also have welcomed refugees. “We know the burden it has on the society.”
During the talks, the two Foreign Ministers discussed various bilateral issues including cooperation between the two countries in vocational training, agriculture, e-learning and renewable energy sectors.
Rohingya issue was discussed with due importance and Austria promised to do its part through the EU, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Foreign Minister Dr Karin and her delegation are scheduled to lay floral wreath at central Saheed Minar in the first hour of Amar Ekushey.
Kamrul Ahsan, Secretary (Bilateral & Consular), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Abu Zafar, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to Austria and Mohammad Khorshed Alam Khastagir, Director General (West Europe and EU) were part of Bangladesh Foreign Minister’s delegation at the talks.
Austrian Foreign Minister was joined by Brigitte Oppinger-Walchshofer, Austrian Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Alexander Marschik, Director General at the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Gabriele Meon-Tschurtz, Minister Plenipotentiary, Director at the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and Stephan Heisler, Minister Plenipotentiary, Office of the Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.
Munshiganj, Feb 20 (UNB) - Around 1200 metres of the much-hyped Padma Bridge now is visible following the installation of eight span on the pillars no 35 and 36 on Wednesday.
The 150-metre span, weighing 3,140 tonnees, was installed at the Zanjira point around 12:15 pm.
This is the seventh span of the Padma Bridge at the Zanjira point, and the eighth overall.
Another span is supposed to be installed on 34 and 35 pillars by March 10 at the Zanjira end.
The works of Padma Multipurpose Bridge became visible with the installation of 150-metre first span on the pillars no 37 and 38 on October 30, 2017. Later, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th and 5th spans were installed on the pillars 38-39, 39-40, and 40-41 respectively in 2018.
Besides, the F-1 span (super structure) was kept on the pillar 4 and 5 in Mawa point due to the construction works of pillar 6 and 7.
Earlier, the span was taken to the Zanjira point on Tuesday afternoon by the 3,600 tonne capacity floating crane ‘Tian-E’ from the Mawa Kumarbhog Construction Ward, five kilometres away from the point.
Engineers concerned of the Padma Bridge authority said the span was kept near the jetty for several days as it could not be floated due to poor navigability.
The construction work on the country's largest bridge started in December 2015.
The 6.15-km bridge will have a total of 41 spans, each 150 metres long.
According to the engineers concerned, a total of 41 spans will be installed on 42 concrete pillars.
Besides, 17 spans were ready to fix while the work for constructing 18 more is underway.