Though US Ambassador Peter Haas mentioned inclusion of media in the visa restriction policy for Bangladesh, the United States Department of State refrained from mentioning media. “I will say that, as we noted when we announced these new visa restrictions on Friday, they include – they include both members of law enforcement, the ruling party, and the political opposition,” US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a regular media briefing on September 25. He also said when the US Secretary of State announced the new visa policy in May, the purpose was not to take a side, but to ensure or to support free, fair, and peaceful national election in Bangladesh. Chief Justice rails against US visa policy on last working day Responding to a question specifically on the inclusion of media in the visa restrictions, the State Department spokesperson said: “I think what we have said, and we – so we have not announced because visa records are confidential – we have not announced the specific members or the specific individuals to which this will apply, but it made clear that they will apply to members of law enforcement, the ruling party, and the political opposition.” Clarifying the issue after US Ambassador Peter Haas’ remarks, the US Embassy in a Facebook post on Monday said, “We are applying the [visa restriction] policy in a balanced way against anyone [undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh] – regardless of being pro-government, opposition party, members of law enforcement agencies, members of the judiciary, or media persons.” Image of police won’t be affected due to US Visa policy: IGP US Embassy Spokesperson Bryan Schiller said the visa restriction policy can be applied to anyone “found to be undermining” democratic elections in Bangladesh. “This could include vote rigging, intimidating voters, use of violence to prevent people from exercising their rights to freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly, and the use of measures designed to prevent political parties, voters, civil society, or the media from participating in the electoral process or expressing their views,” he told UNB while responding to a question. Responding to a question on BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s release and treatment abroad, US State Department Spokesperson Miller said, “I just don’t have any comment on that.” What could be the possible reasons to apply US visa restrictions against someone?
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan paid a visit to the US Embassy in Dhaka and engaged in friendly cricket with US Ambassador Peter Haas. The US Embassy shared a video on their social media platforms, showing Shakib bowling to Haas, who in turn faced Shakib's deliveries. The video captured the camaraderie between Shakib and the US Ambassador, along with others briefly participating in the friendly game of cricket. Bangladesh poised to be a formidable contender in World Cup, Shakib believes Accompanied by his wife and children, Shakib also posed for a photo with the US ambassador. Bangladesh ready for Asia Cup with Shakib at the helm Shakib's wife, Umme Ahmed Shishir, lives in the US with their children, and Shakib frequently travels to the US whenever he finds breaks in his busy cricketing schedule. Shakib is currently enjoying a break from cricket. He is expected to join the national team soon that will travel to India to take part in the World Cup. Shakib chosen as ODI Captain of Bangladesh
The Dhaka Elevated Expressway has been witnessing higher traffic than targeted, allowing the authorities to collect tolls more than Tk 5 crore in tolls since it was opened to the public on September 3. Till 6am on Sunday (September 24), a total of 621,152 vehicles, mostly private cars, used the Dhaka Elevated Expressway and total revenue collection amounted to over Tk 5.03 crore, said project director of the Dhaka Elevated Expressway AHMS Akhtar. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on September 2 inaugurated the Airport-Farmgate segment of Dhaka Elevated Expressway after paying a Tk 2,000 toll for 25 vehicles in her motorcade. Each vehicle is charged Tk 80. Authorities opened the section from the airport to Farmgate of Dhaka Elevated Expressway for vehicular movement at 6am on September 3. It takes only 10-12 minutes to reach Farmgate from the Airport via the expressway. Read: BRTC launches bus service on Dhaka Elevated Expressway “We assumed earlier that on average around 20,000 vehicles would use the expressway daily but now the number has increased to around 30,000 vehicles,” said the project director AHMS Akhtar. When fully completed, the Dhaka Elevated Expressway will run from the capital’s Kawla to Kutubkhali area of Dhaka-Chattogram highway via Kuril-Banani-Mohakhali-Tejgaon-Moghbazar-Kamalapur-Sayedabad-Jatrabari. “We hope when it is completed, about 80,000 vehicles will be able to use Dhaka Elevated Expressway every day,” Akhtar told UNB. Replying to a question, the Project Director said vehicles can run at a speed of up to 80 km/h according to the design of the expressway but they have limited it up to 60 km/h, and 40 km/h on the ramp. They are yet to start enforcing law against violators of speed limit, although CCTV cameras and other equipment have already been installed on the expressways. Read: Elevated expressway a big step towards Smart Bangladesh: Korean Ambassador Meanwhile, Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) has been running buses on the Dhaka Elevated Expressway starting from September 18. Passengers are now crossing the Dhaka Elevated Expressway for just Tk35. Earlier on September 15 , BRTC Chairman Tajul Islam announced the new bus route from Khejur Bagan to Jashimuddin Road on the Elevated Expressway. He said initially a total of eight buses were supposed to operate from three depots. Commuters can board the buses from both ends of the expressway, he added. But the number of BRTC buses, plying on the express highway, has raised to 12. “A total of 12 buses are now running on the expressway route. Passengers are satisfied with the service, we are satisfied too that the number of passengers is increasing,” said Bishwajit, BRTC bus counter staff working at the Farmgate bus counter of Uttara-Farmgate BRTC bus route. Read: Traffic jam at landing points as Dhaka Elevated Expressway opens Eight double-decker buses started plying the expressway initially from September 18, he added. Bishwajit informed that a bus is running every 10 minutes from the farmgate bus counter to Uttara. Buses are sometimes late because of the traffic jams on either end of the expressway, he said. “We are working day and night to make the service better for the passengers. The number of buses has been increased on the route for increasing the number of passengers, soon the bus schedules can be maintained tightly,” he further said. Tanjila Rahman, a commuter, was buying a ticket from the Farmgate BRTC expressway bus counter to go to Uttara on Sunday afternoon. When asked, she said that she had come for a job interview in the morning and that she had reached Indira Road from the airport in just 10-15 minutes. “I liked the service very much. It took much less time than usual to reach from airport to here. I am going back through the same route,” she added. Another commuter, Md Rayhan, said that previously he had to travel for at least 1.5 hours to reach his office in Karwanbazar from home. He stated that it is a fantastic experience for him that he is able to reach his office using the expressway in just 20 to 30 minutes. Read: Another dream comes true: PM Hasina opens country’s first elevated expressway Another passenger Rafiujjaman Riyon opined that local buses have too many stoppages, take too much time and they often charge higher fares. “BRTC expressway route uses e-ticketing system, so the fee stays fair. BRTC could make the bus seats more comfortable. Also, if the route had a few more stops, it would help a greater number of passengers,” he suggested. UNB correspondent Taufiq Hossain Mobin took a ride on an expressway bus. It set off at 1.10pm from Farmgate for Uttara. The bus was slow at first because of the traffic jam on Bijoy Sarani, taking 23 minutes to get on the expressway. After that, the bus took only 17 minutes to reach the end of the expressway but slowed down again due to the traffic jam at the other end and he got off from the bus at 1.51pm at the airport.
Singapore will upgrade its consulate in Dhaka to a high commission from October 1. The upgrade reflects the enhanced economic and people-to-people relations between Singapore and Bangladesh, said the government of Singapore. Singapore's support sought for Rohingya repatriation, Dhaka's inclusion as ASEAN Dialogue Partner The development was shared by Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, to Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on September 20 during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York. The high commission’s operating hours will be from 9 am to 5 pm, Sundays to Thursdays (closed on Bangladesh’s public holidays and Singapore’s National Day). Foreign minister seeks to expand economic ties with Singapore Foreign Minister Dr Momen had earlier requested the Singapore Foreign Minister to set up a full-fledged mission in Dhaka that would benefit both countries. Momen called for more investment from Singapore in Bangladesh and said that Singapore can take the opportunity to invest in Bangladesh’s special economic zones. Singapore delegation meets BGMEA leaders to discuss trade potential
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to inaugurate the Agargaon-Motijheel part of Dhaka Metro Rail on October 20, 2023, Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told UNB. On that day, the PM will inaugurate the Farmgate, Secretariat and Motijheel stations of metro rail. There are seven stations on the Agargaon to Motijheel part of Dhaka Metro Rail. These are: Bijoy Sarani, Farmgate, Karwan Bazar, Shahbagh, TSC, Press Club and Motijheel. Read: Dhaka Metro Rail a symbol of Japan’s contributions to Bangladesh’s fast development: Nishimura Yasutoshi Once the Agargaon-Motijheel part of Metro Rail opens, commuters will be able to travel from Uttara to Motijheel in just 38 minutes — a miracle by Dhaka standards. Initially, five trains will run from Agargaon to Motijheel every 15 minutes and the number of trains will be increased gradually by reducing the time interval, the minister informed. MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL), said that Farmgate, Secretariat and Motijheel stations are being opened on October 20. All work involving the stations have been completed. Now, work on the passenger walkways at the station is going on and it will be finished by October 15, Siddique hoped. Read: Metro Rail and Padma Bridge prove AL believes in deeds, not words: Quader Initially all trains will not go up to Motijheel. Trains will have numbers assigned to them. According to the number, which train will go to Agargaon and which will go to Motijheel, can be identified. According to the DMTCL MD, a three-step test run is conducted on the line before a train runs commercially. The first step in the trial run is the proficiency test or performance test. The second step will be the 'System Integration Test'. The final stage will be 'trial run' or experimental movement.
Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) launched its bus service on the Uttara-Farmgate route via Dhaka Elevated Expressway on Monday (September 18, 2023). Road Transport and Highways Division secretary ABM Amin Ullah Nuri inaugurated the bus service at Manik Mia Avenue in the capital. Chairman of BRTC Md Tajul Islam was also present. After the inauguration, the first bus left from Farmgate's Khejur Bagan Golchattar for Uttara Jasimuddin Road at 11:25 am. Read: Traffic jam at landing points as Dhaka Elevated Expressway opens Initially, a total of eight buses will carry passengers and commuters can board the buses from both ends of the expressway. The buses will run all day from 7am in the morning and will continue as long as passengers are available. On September 2, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Airport-Farmgate segment of Dhaka Elevated Expressway. Read: Elevated expressway a big step towards Smart Bangladesh: Korean Ambassador About 80,000 vehicles will be able to use Dhaka Elevated Expressway every day once it is completed, project officials said. When fully completed, the Dhaka Elevated Expressway will run from the capital’s Kawla to Kutubkhali area of Dhaka-Chattogram highway via Kuril-Banani-Mohakhali-Tejgaon-Moghbazar-Kamalapur-Sayedabad-Jatrabari, according to Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader.
Another light earthquake jolted parts of Dhaka today (September 17, 2023), just six days after a mild tremor. The earthquake, measuring 4.2 magnitude on the Richter Scale, was felt at 12:49 pm -- lasted only for a few seconds, according to a Bangladesh Meteorological Department update signed by Assistant Meteorologist Farzana Sultana. The epicentre of the earthquake was in Tangali district, 59 km northwest of the BMD Seismic Centre in Dhaka’s Agargaon, it said. Read: Earthquake jolts Sylhet again No casualties were reported. Earlier, on September 9, a mild earthquake jolted parts of Sylhet region. The earthquake, measuring 4.4 magnitude on the Richter Scale, originated in the Cachar district of India's Assam and lasted for a few seconds. Read more: 3.5 magnitude earthquake jolts Sylhet
Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) has predicted light to moderate rain or thundershowers in eight divisions, including Dhaka, over 24 hours starting from 9 am today (September 17, 2023). “Light to moderate rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty wind are likely to occur at many places over Dhaka, Barishal, Chattogram and Sylhet divisions; at a few places over Mymensingh and Khulna divisions; and at one or two places over Rangpur and Rajshahi divisions with moderately heavy to heavy falls at places over Dhaka, Barishal, Chattogram and Sylhet divisions,” it said. Read: Dhaka's air quality 'moderate' this morning Meanwhile, a mild heatwave is sweeping over the districts of Dhaka, Tangail, Rajshahi, Sirajganj, Rangpur, Panchagarh, Kurigram, Moulvibazar, Jashore and Chuadanga, and it may abate in some places. Daytime temperatures may remain nearly unchanged, and nighttime temperatures may fall slightly across the country. The maximum and minimum temperatures were recorded at 37.5 and 25.2 degrees Celsius in Saidpur and Kutubdia respectively. Read: Monte Rosa glacier loses 60 m of thickness in 10 years The weather office recorded the highest 27mm rainfall in Noakhali’s Hatiya upazila. Monsoon is less active over Bangladesh and moderate over North Bay.
Dhaka's air quality was marked as 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' this morning (September 16, 2023). With an air quality index (AQI) score of 136 at 9:01 am, Dhaka ranked 6th on the list of cities worldwide with worst air quality, according to IQAir. Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh, Indonesia’s Jakarta and China’s Beijing occupied the first three spots on the list, with AQI scores of 171, 159 and 156, respectively. Dhaka's air quality 'moderate' this morning An AQI between 101 and 150 is considered ‘unhealthy’, particularly for sensitive groups. Similarly, an AQI between 151 and 200 is considered 'unhealthy' while between 201-300 is ‘very unhealthy', and 301-400 is 'hazardous', posing severe health risks to residents. AQI, an index for reporting daily air quality, is used by government agencies to inform people how safe or polluted the air of a certain city is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for them. Dhaka's air quality ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ this morning In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants: particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2 and Ozone. Dhaka's air quality continues to be 'moderate' Dhaka has long grappled with air pollution issues. Its air quality usually turns unhealthy in the winter and improves during the monsoon.
Firefighters faced difficulties dousing fire at Krishi Market due to overcrowding: Fire Service Director
Firefighters had to struggle quite a lot to bring the fire under control due to the huge crowd in front of Mohammadpur Krishi Market, said Director of the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD) Lt Col Md Tajul Islam on Thursday (September 14, 2023).“It took time to douse the flame due to overcrowding and the police and BGB have faced difficulties in controlling the crowd of onlookers,” he said while talking to reporters.Replying to a question, the fire department director said the fire might have originated from a grocery shop and an investigation will be carried out to identify the reason behind the fire. Fire at Mohammadpur Krishi Market: Traders lament losing everythingTwo people were slightly injured but no casualty was reported.He also claimed that there is no adequate water supply at the market and no primary fire controlling equipment.Besides, there is no safety plan at the market. The authorities concerned have issued notices several times, and public awareness programmes were carried out at different times but there was no response from the market authorities, said Tajul. Fire at Dhaka’s Mohammadpur Krishi Market under control; smoke still billowingTalking about the surroundings of the market, Tajul said it is like Bangabazar and the small alleys were blocked by piles of goods, and collapsible gates were closed which created a problem for the firefighters.The night guards of the market were not present during the fire, forcing the firefighters to break the collapsible gates, he said. 8 killed in 1,667 fire incidents in August: Fire Service“When we reached the spot, we saw that fire engulfed almost three-quarters of the market and the firefighting units worked hard to contain it,” said.The fire broke out at the market around 3:43 am and spread soon, said Anwarul Islam, warehouse inspector of Fire Service and Civil Defence Headquarters (Media Cell).Seventeen firefighting units are working to fully douse the blaze. It was brought under control around 9:25 am.