Bangladesh has reiterated the clarion call made by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at his historic maiden address to the UN General Assembly in 1974, “to free the world from the scourges of nuclear war.”
Bangladesh made the call joining the international community to celebrate the entry into the force of the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) at a virtual event simultaneously held in New York, Geneva and Vienna on Friday.
In her address to the commemorative event organised by several UN Member States, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, Rabab Fatima said it was from that unwavering constitutional commitment that Bangladesh was among the first 50 countries to join this historic treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.
She said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been a strong global voice and advocate for nuclear disarmament, and led efforts to be one of the first signatories of the Treaty.
Bangladesh signed the Treaty on 20 September 2017; and ratified it on 26 September 2019, said the Bangladesh Mission in the UN on Saturday.
Recognising the dehumanising and devastating consequences of nuclear weapons, Ambassador Fatima called upon States that are yet to join, to do so, to attain universal application of this Treaty.
Echoing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s call for ‘peaceful use of nuclear technology’, Ambassador Fatima called for increased investment in research of nuclear technology for their peaceful use for the benefit of humankind.
She also called for continued global efforts to raise awareness against nuclear weapons, for a peaceful and nuclear weapons free world. Bangladesh, she said, would remain committed to reaching that goal.
Fatima paid rich tributes to the ‘Hibakushas’, the survivors and victims of atomic bombings and contamination, and the generations of activists, whose tireless efforts raised awareness about the devastating impacts of nuclear weapons, which finally led to the adoption of this landmark nuclear ban treaty.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is the first legally-binding international agreement to prohibit signatory states from developing, testing, producing, stockpiling, stationing, transferring, and using or threatening to use nuclear arms.
The Treaty has so far been signed by 86 countries and ratified by 51. The Treaty came into force on 22 January 2021 after 90 days of deposition of Honduras' instrument of ratification with the UN Secretary-General on 24 October 2020.
The event was co-organised by the missions of Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand. Among others, the heads of the International Committee of Red Cross and International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons also spoke at the event.
UN Secretary General Antoni Guterres sent a video message on the occasion.
A rare vulture was rescued by two young men in Faridpur Sadar upazila’s Shovarampur area.
The vulture has been handed over to the livestock office after first aid.
Md Emdadul Hasan and Bayezid Hossain played key roles in the rescue.
Emdadul said he learned about the vulture from Bayezid and they rescued it around 1pm on Friday.
Also read: Injured Himalayan vulture rescued in Bogura
Faridpur Livestock Officer Nurullah Md Ahsan said the vulture has injury marks on its body and it was sick. He could not specify the vulture’s species.
“It’s a local species. The vulture came down to locality in search of food,” he said, adding that it would take two or three days for the vulture to recover.
A man was arrested with 7.290kg smuggled gold at the Hazrat Shajalal International Airport on Friday.
Customs officials say the seized gold has an estimated market price of Tk 5 crore.
Members of Customs’ Preventive Team stopped Sarowar Uddin, a resident of Chattogram, who flew in from Muscat on flight BS 322 in the morning.
Also read: Two held for gold smuggling at Dhaka airport
Sixty-two gold bars and 98g gold ornaments, weighing 7.290kg, were seized from him.
Legal actions will be taken against him, customs officials said.
With a strict health guideline in place and vaccine at hand, the government will likely reopen the educational institutions soon, ending a months-long closure forced by the virus.
Although there has been no official announcement, all educational institutions were ordered on Friday to finish preparations to reopen within February 4 maintaining health guidelines to ensure safety of the students and the staff.
In a notice, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) told the heads of all educational institutions to prepare for reopening.
DSHE prepared a guideline and asked the educational institutions to follow them so that they can be reopened as soon as the order comes.
“The matter is very urgent,” the notice read.
Educational institutions were shut on March 17 last year after the country confirmed its first Covid-19 cases on March 8. The closure was extended in phases to Jan 30 this year.
Bangladesh Covid situation improving
Things are looking bright for Bangladesh in the fight against Covid-19. The infection rate is falling and the number of deaths has been declining over the last few days.
The total caseload reached 530,890 on Friday morning with 7,981 fatalities. The daily infection rate fell to 4.17% with 1.5% mortality. So far, 475,561 patients have recovered (89.5%), according to a government handout.
On May 12, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (aka daily infection rate, i.e out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.
Bangladesh approved the emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on January 7, allowing Beximco Pharmaceuticals to bring doses from the Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the vaccine.
Under the deal, Bangladesh will import 30 million doses in the next six months. Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the first consignment will arrive on Jan 25-26.
Meanwhile, the country received 2 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Jan 21 from India as ‘gift’.
On December 28, Bangladeshi pharmaceutical company Globe Biotech got approval from the DGDA for manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine for clinical trials.
Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries (BSCIC) has reduced the price of potassium iodate (iodine), the main ingredient in iodised salt.
With BSCIC authorities’ approval, a letter signed by BSCIC General Manager and Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (CIDD) Project Director Akhil Ranjan Tarafder, directed the price reduction of potassium iodate (iodine) and informed the officials and salt mill owners working in eight salt zones of BSCIC on 20 January, 2021.
BSCIC, only company to import potassium iodate from abroad as per the demand of salt factories and provides at a price fixed by the government.
In the 2017-18 financial year, the price of potassium iodate was reduced from Tk4700 per kg to Tk3000. BSIC chairman, Md. Mushtaq Hasan directed to supply to the salt factories at a price of Rs 2,500 per kg to help the factories.
Potassium iodate is used in iodising salt. It is not produced in Bangladesh, needs to be imported from abroad. About 80-90 grams potassium iodate is required per ton of salt to add moderate amount of iodine. About 30 metric tons of potassium iodate is used every year to add iodine into salt.
This is one of the various steps taken by the government to save the country's salt industry. BSCIC is working to convince hundred percent of people to use moderate amounts of iodised salt. Price lowering of potassium iodate will help propel the salt industry one step further. BSIC authorities believe that salt factory owners will be self-motivated to ensure moderate iodine mixture in salt.
Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (CIDD) Project is a public health project implemented by BSIC at the initiative of the Ministry of Industries.