Dhaka, Sep 6 (UNB) – The beginning of the 12th edition of the SAFF Championship is marked by three unique features.
There are – revival of football’s popularity in the country with each game proving to be formidable crowd-puller, live telecast of the games via country’s first commercial satellite Bangabandhu-1, and comeback of Pakistan after a four-year break including a suspension from international football by FIFA.
Bangladesh hosting the seven-nation biennial event – this time named as the SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 – for the third time, after 2003 and 2009, and got off to a flying start on Tuesday with a 2-0 win against visiting Bhutan, the side that kept Bangladesh out of the international circuit for long 17-month by defeating Bangladesh by 3-1 goals in the ACC Asia Cup Qualifiers in Thimphu back in 2016.
The home of Bangladesh football, Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) with a capacity of 23000 suffered crowd droughts for a long time, but the opening day’s Bangladesh-Bhutan match pulled a good 12000-strong crowd. Braving intermittent rains the local spectators continued to enjoy the English coach Jamie Day boys’ early success in the very first match.
Jamie Day was pleased with his team performance. On Tuesday night speaking at the post-match press conference he said, “The boys played very well and I think, we deserved the win tonight.”
Earlier, a day before the match day the coach Jamie Day said, “I’m not looking in the past. We are looking forward, after a long preparation. We have 20 players and we will play match by match.” He was speaking at the pre-match press conference at BFF House.
However, in the last three editions of the SAFF Championships, Bangladesh finished their journey from the group stage after a successful title-winning campaign in 2003.
Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairman and BFF Senior-vice President Abdus Salam Murshedy earlier expected a revival of national football team’s popularity through this ongoing event.
“We need only a winning start to bring back our football loving people to the stadium as I believe football is still a popular game in Bangladesh. I hope Bangladesh will play the final,” Murshedy said on August 31.
The BFF President Kazi Salahuddin also expressed optimism this time about having a good result in the tournament. He said, “As a footballer, I can say, the level of the participating nations of this event is much higher than any other SAFF event held before. I hope we’ll be the champions. As the BFF president, I’ve done enough for the national team’s preparations. I hope we’ll get a good result.”
The BFF president was speaking on logo unveiling ceremony on September 3.
Meanwhile, country’s first commercial satellite station has made its debut on an experimental operation by facilitating Bangladesh Television (BTV) air the SAFF Championship matches.
Bangladesh entered the elite Space Club of 57 nations with the launch of its first geostationary communications satellite, Bangabandhu-1, into the orbit by US space transport company SpaceX on May 12, 2018. The satellite was launched using the latest version of SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, from the historic Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. The slot was rented from Russian satellite company Intersputnik for $28 million in January 2015.
Another feature of this edition of SAFF game is Pakistan’s first appearance in international football after a four year lull. Pakistan have overcome their frustration, making a winning return into the international football as they started their campaign in the meet with a 2-1 win against Nepal in the tournament opener also on September 4.
The ban on Pakistan, which was imposed due to third-party interference in the Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) affairs, has been withdrawn by FIFA in March 2018.
The biggest football festival of the region--The SAFF Suzuki Cup -- will end with its final on September 15 where host Bangladesh was placed in Group ‘A’ with Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan and Group ‘B’ comprises defending champions India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives to qualify the semifinals.
Bangladesh are now at the top of the group table ahead of Pakistan by virtue of goal difference.
Dhaka, Sept 5 (UNB) - BNP is getting ready to launch a ‘brief but effective’ simultaneous movement with other opposition parties in October next to force the government to release Khaleda Zia and hold the next national election under a non-party administration.
According to BNP insiders, the party is also preparing to join the 11th parliamentary polls by invigorating its rank and file with the movement.
As part of the preparations for the polls, BNP is going to form around 40,000 committees based on every polling station in 300 constituencies across the country to foil any attempt to rig vote.
Talking to UNB, senior BNP leaders said they are now working out strategies and programmes to wage the movement, mainly in the capital, so that they can get results by 10-15 days by paralysing the city.
They said their party will announce the ‘harsher’ action programmes the day the Prime Minister will form a small election-time government to carry out only routine works.
Before launching the movement, the BNP leaders said, they want to take almost all the political parties, now out of the Awami League-led 20-party alliance, into its fold to mount pressure on the government to concede to their demands.
A BNP standing committee member, wishing anonymity, said they are making a draft of the framework of the national unity with other parties. “We can wage a united or simultaneous movement after the understanding with the political parties.”
“Once the election-time government is formed, we think, the current regime will lose its importance, and there’ll be a change in the attitude of law enforcers. At that time, we’ll launch the movement and make it a success by 10-15 days,” he said.
The BNP leader said their party senior leaders will start visiting different districts very soon to give their party grassroots rank and file necessary directions for waging the movement and make them ready for the election.
Contacted, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said three is no option for their party other than going to the polls following a strong movement. “I can tell you we’ll surely wage a strong movement, no matter what. Joining the election without a movement will be useless for us.”
He said their party is preparing for a fruitful movement, and it will urge people to take to the streets at the right time. “We’ve a plus point that people are with us. If we can take to the streets, people will spontaneously join us.”
About the national unity with other parties, the BNP secretary general said there is a good progress in it. “We’re in discussions about its framework. I hope, there’ll be a national unity.”
Once the national unity is forged, Fakhrul said, all the parties may launch a simultaneous movement with almost the same demands.
He also said they are inspiring their party leaders and activists to take to the streets braving bullets, arrest and repressive acts.
Besides, Fakhrul said, they are preparing for a vote revolution on the polling day of the 11th parliamentary election. “Our party leaders and activists will guard every polling centre. There’ll be a strong directive for our party men not to leave the voting centres under any circumstances.”
The BNP leader also thinks the government will not able to hold another January-5 like election. “Can the government afford another farcical election ignoring the tremendous pressure by people and foreign friends? The government is under serious pressure by the global community to hold a credible and inclusive election.”
BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said movement is the only option for their party to free Khaleda Zia from jail and ensure a credible election under a non-party administration. “We’re getting ready for taking to the streets. We must go to polls after freeing Khaleda Zia. We’ll carry out the movement for freeing our leader and establishing a non-party neutral election-time government.”
BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said their party is taking all-out preparations both for a strong movement and the election.
He said BNP’s all possible MP candidates have started working in their respective areas to prepare the party leaders and activists so that they can resist vote fraud and rigging ‘by Awami League’.
Dhaka, Sept 5 (UNB) – The China-Europe freight train service carrying containers from both ends is gaining popularity as China has made direct rail service a major feature of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) encouraging other BRI countries to follow suit, officials said.
“Some 1400 cargo trains departed from Urumqi to European destinations since the introduction of this service back in 2016,” Deputy Manager of China-Europe Cargo Train Realignment Centre Nan Jun told UNB.
He said this service that connected European countries and 42 cities helped reduce cost and time benefiting all those connected with the service.
The China-Europe freight trains carry containers of auto parts, engineering equipment, and daily essentials leave Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The train will travel through Xinjiang's Alataw Pass and stop at a port in Kazakhstan where the containers will be transferred to ships which are bound for Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
“We’re trying to improve the efficiency of the cargo train service to further cut the cost and time making the service smoother,” Nan Jun said.
A study commissioned by the International Union of Railways estimates that China-Europe rail service could double their share of trade by volume over the next decade.
Barely a decade ago, officials said, regular direct freight service from China to Europe did not exist but today they can connect some 35 Chinese cities with 34 European ones.
Rail service is considerably cheaper than air’s, and faster than water’s, they said.
Carriers on air, rail, road and waterways carried a total of 27.54 billion tonnes of cargo in the first seven months, up 6.8 percent year on year, according to data of the Chinese government.
China-Eurasia Expo sees deals worth $39bn
The sixth China-Eurasia Expo that ended in Urumqi, the northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on September 1, witnessed deals worth around $ 39.66 bn, according to Chinese government data.
Chemical engineering, energy and environmental protection, culture and tourism, new material and others were the areas where cooperation deals were signed during the three-day expo.
On the other hand, 25 major companies from Xinjiang have signed 29 agreements with companies from 13 countries along the Belt and Road, which are worth 10.48 billion yuan.
Participants from 35 countries and regions attended the expo with a total of 704 companies, including 27 corporations on the Fortune Global 500.
The previous expo saw $ 18 billion worth of contracts signed between Chines and foreign companies.
Jhalakathi, September 4 (UNB) – After several years of relatively dull business, hundreds of fruit growers in the district’s guava-rich zones in the district are elated this year at the prospect of a bumper production of the tropical fruit.
Scores of buyers now flock the region’s Bhimruli floating market for purchasing guavas in bulk every day from day break to noon.
It has also attracted the attention of local and international tourists who keep the floating guava market as a must-see place in their tour itinerary.
The farmers load their produces on a boat in the wee hours of dawn everyday and sell them off in the market.
This year, a maund (forty kilograms) of guavas cost somewhere between Tk 250-500, stabilising a market which was in slump for the past decade.
Farmers said government’s initiative of linking Bhimruli Bazar with local growth centres through better road infrastructures paved way for improved shipments of locally grown guavas. Now they are able to meet the demands of Dhaka, Khulna and Sylhet region easily thanks to implementation of a Tk. 5 crore road developments.
The local agriculture department acknowledged the recent success story and added that guavas this year were planted in twelve villages, spanning over 500 hectares.
This has brought them Tk 2.5-3 crore in revenue.
A survey is underway for setting up of a cold storage by the Industries Ministry. Currently a rest house and public washrooms are being constructed for tourists.
Dhaka, Sept 4 (UNB) – Banks are not unfamiliar to unscrupulous borrowers who tend to secure loans by offering same piece of land property as collateral from multiple lenders.
A tricky situation arises when a certain bank wants to seize collateral to recoup its losses from defaulting borrower and suddenly finds out that multiple lenders have the lien on the same asset. This happens mostly because of forgery by unscrupulous borrowers.
A simple way to get rid of such fraudulence can be maintaining a repository of data on mortgaged lands so that debtors cannot use the same property over and over again in securing loans from multiple creditors.
And Bangladesh’s central bank is now doing this to check collateral fraudulence, said officials.
Bangladesh Bank is now in the process of completing a data repository in the form of an ‘information bank’ which will act as deterrent if anyone tries to avail loans from different lenders showing the same land.
Recently, Bangladesh Bank has sent a letter to the Finance Ministry in this connection informing that the information bank will be ready to use by March, 2019.
Earlier, the Finance Minister in a letter asked the Bangladesh Bank to inform the Ministry about the development of the introduction of information bank to stop collateral forgery.
Bangladesh Bank has informed that the initiation work of the software of the information bank has been completed and collection of collateral information from various banks and financial institutions are on.
After getting necessary hardware it will be transformed to the software system and it will be tested then to see its performance.
The software of the collateral information system is likely to be delivered by this month.
After getting the software of the collateral information system it will take six months to finish the preparatory activities by the Credit Information Bureau (CIB).
Meanwhile, the central bank has also informed the Finance Ministry that the rules under Bangladesh Bank Order 1972 needed to be amended for opening the collateral-related information for the mass people.
As per the Sections 46 (1) and 46 (2) of the Bangladesh Bank Order 1972, the central bank cannot open the information to all except the names of banks and the names of borrowers.
As per Section 46 (3) this type of information can be delivered openly at the parliament. No Court, Tribunal or any other authority can compel the Bangladesh Bank to publish the information which is kept in the CIB database.
The central bank in the letter observed that to make the CIB information public, the Bangladesh Bank Order 1972 has to be amended.