Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) – The High Court on Thursday imposed a two-month injunction on realisation of Tk 12,579.95 crore dues from Grameen Phone (GP).
The court fixed November 5 for the next hearing.
A bench of Justice AKM Abdul Hakim and Justice Fatema Najib passed the order after accepting a GP’s appeal challenging a lower court order.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) claims dues of Tk 12,579.95 crore in 27 sectors from GP. Having failed to recover the money, BTRC on April 2 sent a notice to GP threatening to revoke its license.
Later, GP moved a lower court seeking a temporary injunction on the BTRC’s notice which was turned down on August 28. Later, GP filed an appeal with the High Court.
Advocates SM Amin Uddin, Sharif Bhuiyan and Tanim Hossain stood for the GP while Advocate Khandakar Reza –i-Rakib represented the BTRC.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) – Bangladesh and the United States are in discussion to conclude two “foundational defence agreements” to take the “robust and important” military cooperation between the two countries to the next level, say US government officials.
The two proposed agreements are General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) but the US side declined to comment on the current status of the discussion.
Bangladesh has expressed interest to purchase advanced and sophisticated military hardware from the USA to “modernise” its operations that apparently leads to the discussion on concluding these “certain foundational” defence agreements.
The US thinks these two agreements are “essential” to enabling a closer defence relationship expanding opportunities for defence trade, information sharing and military-to-military cooperation between the two countries.
Asked whether Bangladesh has already agreed to conclude these two proposed agreements, a US official wishing to remain unnamed said, “We’re hopeful that we can conclude. We’re still in discussion.”
Over the past four decades, Bangladesh and China have maintained close military ties reaching defence relations between the two countries 'unprecedented heights' said a diplomatic source.
China is not only a reliable and affordable source of weapons and equipment for Bangladesh armed forces, but also provides military training and technology, according to Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.
Asked about the perception about the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) and US are doing everything to contain China, the US official said IPS is not about containing or countering China but they are trying to respond to requests from their partners. “We’re trying to do everything we can do in helping our partners.”
Officials said the US over the last year provided $3.3 million to send 233 members of the Bangladesh military to attend various military professionalisation courses within the US and the wider Indo-Pacific region.
Another US official said they really value the relationship that they have with Bangladesh military and it appears that Bangladesh is “interested” in modernising their military.
“We desire to support the Bangladesh military forces goal 2030, as Bangladesh seeks to modernise its military equipment,” said the US government official adding that they greatly value the contribution of Bangladesh military officers who attend US military courses.
Over the last year, the US provided $5.3 million to cover the total cost of procurement and delivery of Five 38’ Metal Shark Boats to support the maritime security objectives of the Bangladesh Navy.
The US official said the GSOMIA is a “foundational” government to government bilateral agreement that enables greater collaboration and sharing of classified military information in the form of intelligence.
It is a reciprocal legally-binding agreement that ensures governments understand and commit to protect classified military information at an “equivalent level” of security.
Responding to a question, the US official said the GSOMIA does not obligate governments to share classified information or materials but it only ensures equivalent protection of the information shared by partner governments.
The US government has GSOMIA with 76 partner countries across the world, including some in South Asia.
According to the US government officials, ACSA is all about “simplifying military logistical support” between countries.
He said the purpose of the ACSA is to allow the US and partner nation forces to procure and pay for supply and services that covers food, water, fueling, transportation, patrolling and training. The US has ACSA over 100 countries that include India and Sri Lanka.
Though the US is keen to have these deals done, one of the US government officials, termed some proposed deals “really very boring”.
The US government official said ACSA also improves US’ ability to respond to any potential humanitarian or natural disaster involving Bangladesh and facilitate the transfer of fuel from the US military to Bangladesh Navy ships operating the outside of normal areas.
For example, if a US Navy ship requires 55 thousand gallons of fuel in the Bay of Bengal, it can ask Bangladesh to provide it on payment or in exchange of similar logistic support, the US official explained.
Suppose a Bangladeshi Navy ship near Lebanon requires refuelling and if there is a US facility nearby, Bangladesh can ask the US to refuel their ship in return, they added.
Responding to another question, the US official said there are many things that get negotiated between partner countries - good price and values.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) - Highlighting the negative effects of genetically modified (GM) food on human body, speakers at a convention on Thursday urged the government and other stakeholders to stop the commercial production of GM golden rice being marketed as an ‘healthier alternative’ to regular rice.
“The burden of golden rice has been imposed on the country in the name of nutrition. The inventors of golden rice have failed to provide any proof to guarantee its safety. Worldwide it has been rejected as a failed innovation,” said Nasrin Sultana, a representative of the International Union of Food.
She and other speakers gave their opinions at the convention jointly arranged by Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF) and National Women Farmers & Workers Association (NWFA) at the Jatiya Press Club.
“In terms of crop, environment and health, golden rice is a controversial product. The most alarming factor is that scientists haven’t been able to provide any solution to the GM food effect on human body,” Nasrin said while presenting the keynote paper.
GR2E is developed by splicing three foreign genes -- two from corn and one from a bacterium -- into BRRI dhan29, the ‘Golden Rice’ which is said to be capable of producing beta carotene alias pro-vitamin A.
“Although the paddy has been marketed as a rich source of beta carotene, 84 percent of that gets damaged within six months if not packed and stored in regulated temperature,” Nasrin said, citing the findings of a research carried out by the Indian government.
According to a report of the United States Food and Drug Administration, golden rice contains a low level of beta carotene which is not sufficient to tackle vitamin deficiency.
British Food Chemistry Journal data show that golden rice loses three-fourth of beta-carotene if stored within eight months of production.
BAFLF General Secretary Abdul Majid said the lack of bio safety studies while introducing golden rice in the country’s market is an alarming matter.
“The reason behind commercial farming of golden rice without ensuring the safety of public or environment is nothing but protecting the interests of multinational companies and increasing their profit,” he said.
Speakers held the weak bio-safety law as the key reason behind GM food lobbying in Bangladesh.
“Because of our ineffective bio-safety law, multinational companies are using the country as the testing ground for GM crops,” said Abdul Majid.
BAFLF and NWFA put forward a set of proposals that include banning the golden rice and BT brinjal, introducing stricter bio-safety law and providing effective help to farmers in preserving domestic seeds.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) - A court here on Thursday placed two accused in Abrar Fahad murder case on a 3-day remand each after expiry of their 5-day remand.
The accused are Tabakkharul Islam alias Tanvir and Amit Saha of Civil Engineering department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).
Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Abu Sayeed passed the order when investigation officer of the case Md Wahiduzzaman sought a 7-day remand for interrogating the duo.
Previously, Tanvir was put on a five-day remand on October 8 while Amit on October 11.
Law enforcers arrested Tanvir from his residential hall of Buet on October 7 and Amit was arrested from city’s Sabujbagh area on October 10.
Abrar Fahad, 21, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering of Buet, was beaten to death on October 7 reportedly by Chhatra League leaders at its Sher-e-Bangla Hall.
Abrar’s father, Barkatullah, filed the case with Chawkbazar Police Station in the city against 19 people.
Twenty people have so far been arrested in connection with the murder.
Dhaka, Oct 17 (UNB) – Mentioning that inequality still remains as one of the most challenging areas in the country despite consistent economic growth over a decade, speakers at a dialogue here on Thursday urged the government to take some measures like ensuring good governance and reforming financial and tax policies to eliminate it.
The other measures include developing human resources and education, and ensuring access to justice and healthcare.
Oxfam in Bangladesh organised the national dialogue titled ‘Whither Inequality in Bangladesh’ at Cirdap auditorium in the capital, marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Dr Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, chairperson of Unnayan Onneshan and a professor of Dhaka University’s Economics department, unveiled the findings of a study at the event.
He said the share of income has concentrated and centralised among the richest groups and the distribution of income is becoming progressively unequal in the country.
“Data shows vividly the concentration of income in the country as the ratio grew from 1.73 in 1985-86 to 2.93 in 2016 and 2.23 in 1995-96 to 2.62 in 2005 which means the concentration of income has increased by 69.36 percent in the last three decades here,” Prof Rashed said.
He further said rural people have been facing the tribulation of unemployment for lack of alternative sector-based job opportunities.
Noted economist and former adviser to a caretaker government Dr AM Mirza Azizul Islam suggested reforming the financial policy and increasing the contribution of direct tax to eliminate inequality.
“The quality of equation has seen a serious deterioration. So, quality of education must be developed to reduce the unemployment rate. Allocation should be increased in education and health sectors. Our human resources development is also needed,” he said.
Mirza Azizul underscored the need for reforming the financial sector and ensuring good governance to eliminate inequality.
Planning Minister MA Mannan said although the poverty rate has come down in the country, the concern is there due to the increase in inequality. “Inequality is unfair. A legal government must be worked out to eliminate it. We’re working to do that. We’re also working in rural areas to address the problem,” he said.
The minister urged researchers to research more for the overall development of the country. “We’ve enough funds. If western people can research well, why can’t we do it? The data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics will be available for all,” he also said.
Former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed said, “We shouldn’t see who’re poor or who’re rich. We’ve to see all equally. However, sustainable development is not possible if there’s inequality.”
“Impunity is a problem here. Huge money is looted from banks but the looters are not brought to trial. How will we shape the financial sector and bring equality here?” he questioned.
Fahmida Khatun, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said inequality will widen further in the future following the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ if skilled manpower in technology is not created immediately here.
SM Monjur Rashid, policy, advocacy, campaign and communications lead of Oxfam, delivered the welcome speech with its Country Director Dr Dipanker Datta in the chair.
Former caretaker government Adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury and former Chairman of the National Board of Revenue Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid, among others, spoke at the programme.