Ahead of the upcoming 12th National Parliamentary Election, the ruling Awami League has announced its election manifesto, committing to extend modern urban amenities to every village. The manifesto, with the slogan “Smart Bangladesh: Visible Development, Increased Employment,” was announced by Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today (December 27, 2023) at the Pan Pacific Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka. The manifesto promises to enhance the quality of life in villages by providing improved roadways, communication, clean drinking water, modern healthcare and medical treatment, quality education, advanced sanitation and waste management, increased electricity and fuel supply, computer and high-speed internet facilities, and expanded markets. These initiatives aim to bring all the comforts of modern cities to every village. In Smart Bangladesh Awami League seeks more safeguards for minorities, end of intolerance To ensure a reliable fuel supply, the party plans to continue encouraging and supporting the installation of biogas plants and solar panels on a group basis. The establishment of agricultural machinery service centers and workshops in villages will expand rural mechanization services, including machinery repair. This initiative will also provide training for rural youth and agricultural entrepreneurs, promoting productive employment. The manifesto includes plans for private sector investment and loan support for small and marginal entrepreneurs manufacturing and marketing light machinery. In line with the economic development of villages, cultural, sports, and entertainment programs will be expanded. This approach is expected to reduce the urban migration trend among rural youth by creating self-employment opportunities within villages. The government will fully support young people's involvement in agriculture, industry, and business. AL Manifesto on Significant Steps to Foster Women Entrepreneurs Awami League says that during its previous tenure, roads in every upazila were improved and expanded, connecting each village to upazila headquarters and linking upazilas to district headquarters and national highways. Every village has been ensured electricity supply. Drinking water and sanitation facilities have been enhanced and will be further improved. The government has taken over the expenses of primary and secondary schools, and financial support is being provided for teachers' salaries in private schools. Hospitals with 50 beds in upazilas are being upgraded to 100-bed facilities. Community clinics are bringing healthcare services to the doorstep of rural residents. Every union now has computer and internet service centers, providing employment opportunities to rural youth and facilitating communication nationally and internationally. Awami League’s Manifesto: Mega Projects for Accelerating Economic Momentum The expansion of communication, electricity, and internet services has accelerated rural production and market systems. Agricultural inputs have become more accessible, and the market for agricultural products has expanded. The extension of agricultural technology and the development of cottage and small industries are being expedited. Activities in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors have multiplied significantly in rural areas.
Ukraine's military on Sunday reported recapturing a southeastern village as Russian forces claimed to repel multiple attacks in the area, while a regional official said three people were killed when Moscow's troops opened fire at a boat evacuating people from Russian-occupied areas to Ukrainian-held territory along a flooded front line far to the south. The battlefield showdown in the southeast and chaotic scenes from inundated southern Ukraine marked the latest upheaval and bloodshed in Russia's war in Ukraine, now in its 16th month. Also Read: Ukraine's dam collapse is both a fast-moving disaster and a slow-moving ecological catastrophe Oleksandr Prokudin, governor of the Kherson region, said on his Telegram account that a 74-year-old man who tried to protect a woman was among those who died in the attack on evacuees, which wounded another 10. An Associated Press team on site saw three ambulances drop off injured evacuees at a hospital, one of whom was splattered with blood and whisked by stretcher into the emergency room. The Kherson region straddles the Dnieper River and has suffered heavy flooding since last week's breach of a dam that Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of causing. Russian forces occupy parts of the region on the eastern side of the river. Many civilians have said Russian authorities in occupied areas were forcing would-be evacuees to present Russian passports before taking them to safety. Since then, many small boats have shuttled from Ukrainian-held areas on the west bank across the river to rescue desperate civilians stuck on rooftops, in attics and other islands of dry amid the deluge. Also Read: Top UN court allows a record 32 countries to intervene in Ukraine's genocide case against Russia To the northeast, nearly half-way up the more than 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line, Ukrainian forces said they drove out Russian fighters from the village of Blahodatne, in the partially occupied Donetsk region. Ukraine's 68th Separate Hunting Brigade posted a video on Facebook that showed soldiers installing a Ukrainian flag on a damaged building in the village. Myroslav Semeniuk, spokesman for the brigade, told The Associated Press that an assault team captured six Russian troops after entering several buildings where some 60 soldiers were holed up. "The enemy keeps shelling us but this won't stop us," Semeniuk said. "The next village we plan to reclaim is Urozhayne. After that, (we'll proceed) further south." Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Ukrainian troops in the area had advanced up to 1.5 kilometers (about a mile) and had taken control of another village, Makarivka. Also Read: A dam collapses and thousands face the deluge — often with no help — in Russian-occupied Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday that Ukrainian counteroffensive actions were underway. But while the recapture of Blahodatne pointed to a small Ukrainian advance, Western and Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly cautioned that efforts to expel Russian troops more broadly are expected take time. Russia has made much of how its troops have held their ground elsewhere. The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday continued to insist that it was repelling Ukrainian attacks in the area. It said in a statement that Ukrainian attempts at offensive operations on the southern Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia axes of the frontline over the past 24 hours had been "unsuccessful." Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official in the Zaporizhzhia region, insisted that Blahodatne and two other villages in the region were in a "gray area" in terms of who controls them. However, Rogov said in a Telegram post that Russian fighters had been forced to leave the village of Neskuchne in the Donetsk region. In a video, fighters identifying themselves as members of a Ukrainian volunteer force claimed to have taken the village. Russian President Vladimir Putin has asserted that that Ukraine's counteroffensive had started, and said Ukrainian forces were taking "significant losses." Also Read: UN aid chief says Ukraine faces `hugely worse' humanitarian situation after the dam rupture In other developments: Ukrhydroenergo, Ukraine's hydropower generator, said Sunday that water levels on a reservoir above the ruptured Kakhovka dam continued to decline — at 9.35 meters (30 feet, 6 inches) on Sunday morning, marking a drop of more than seven meters since the dam break on Tuesday. Meanwhile, below the dam, Prokudin said water levels on the Ukrainian-held west bank were receding, even if more than 32 settlements remained flooded. He said conditions were worse on the Russian-occupied eastern bank, which sits at a lower elevation and where water levels were slower to drop back down. Also Sunday, the Russian military accused Ukrainian forces of attacking — albeit unsuccessfully — one of its ships in the Black Sea. According to Russia's Defense Ministry, the attempted attack took place when six unmanned speedboats targeted Russia's Priazovye reconnaissance vessel that was "monitoring the situation and ensuring security along the routes of the TurkStream and Blue Stream gas pipelines in the southeastern part of the Black Sea." All the speedboats were destroyed by the Russian military, and the ship didn't sustain any damage, the ministry said. The claim could not be independently verified, and Ukrainian officials made no immediate comment. Ukraine and Russia reported exchanging scores of prisoners of war on Sunday; Russia said 94 of its soldiers were freed and Yermak said 95 Ukrainians were released. Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has signed a decree ordering all Russian volunteer formations to sign contracts with the ministry by July 1, according to his deputy Nikolai Pankov. The move would give the formations legal status and allow them to receive the same state benefits as contract soldiers. Observers say the move likely targets the Wagner private military company. Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has a long-running feud with the Russian military, said Sunday that the group would not sign such contracts "precisely because Shoigu cannot manage military formations normally."
Climate activists pledged Sunday to defend a tiny village in western Germany from being bulldozed for the expansion of a nearby coal mine that has become a battlegroundbetween the government and environmental campaigners. Hundreds of people were expected to take part in protest training and a subsequent demonstration in the hamlet of Luetzerath, which lies west of Cologne next to the vast Garzweiler coal mine. The open-cast mine, which provides a large share of the lignite — a soft, brownish coal — burned at nearby power plants, is scheduled to close by 2030 under a deal agreed last year between the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia and utility company RWE. The company says it needs the coal to ensure Germany's energy security, which has come under strain following the cut in gas supplies from Russia since the invasion of Ukraine. Also Read: Canadian polar bears near 'bear capital' dying at fast rate But environmental groups have blasted the agreement, saying it will still result in hundreds of millions of tons of coal being extracted and burned. They argue that this would release vast amounts of greenhouse gas and make it impossible for Germany to meet its commitments under the 2015 Paris climate accord. Prominent campaigners have called on supporters to defend the village from destruction, citing the impact that climate change is already having on Germany and beyond. German news agency dpa reported that some activists have erected barricades and other defensive measures to prevent Luetzerath being razed. Last week, protesters briefly clashed with police at the site. Police have said no clearance will take place before Jan. 10.
More than one crore people have migrated from urban to rural areas in the country for loss of work and income during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic and 50 per cent of them would not return, said economist Dr Abul Barkat on Wednesday. He said the number of new types of poverty has increased and marginal, lower middle income groups have been struggling with this type of poverty while the income of the upper-middle-income group has risen despite the pandemic situation. READ: Ensure electricity for all remote villagers: Hasina He was addressing a press conference on the 21st Biennial Conference-2021 of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) at BEA office in Eskato Garden. Prof Barkat, also president of BEA, said the BEA survey and research found that more than one crore people migrated from urban to village areas losing their survival capital of business or jobs, of which 50 per cent would not go back to the big cities again. He said there are 6.82 crore workforce in the country of whom 85 per cent are working in informal sector or self-employed and they were hardest-hit by adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic. He suggested Tk 2 to Tk 3 lakh are given per head to the self-employed people for starting their work or owning small business again to make the economy vibrant. Criticizing stimulus loan disbursement to the large industries, Prof Barkat said they are capable of surviving while mostly affected small sectors were deprived from stimulus for overlapping documents. Many big companies have misused the stimulus loan and the small sector entrepreneurs are still rushing at banks for loans to survive. Such behaviour has widened discrimination in the society, he said. He warned that different forms anarchy will emerge in the country due to widening discrimination and poverty. The BEA conference is scheduled to be held on December 24-25 at the Institution of Engineers Bangladesh with the theme “Impact of COVID-19 and human Development.’ Noted economist Prof Rehman Sobhan, member of 1st planning commission, will inaugurate the conference as the chief guest. READ: President Hamid on a tour of his village and home district Kishoreganj ‘Mujib Gold Medal’ will be awarded in the conference to Prof Abul Barkat for his extraordinary contribution to economic science. General Secretary of BEA Dr. Jamal uddin Ahmed and AZM Saleh, joint convener of the conference committee also spoke in the press conference.
A shivering cold has hit the northwestern districts of the country as a mild to moderate cold wave is sweeping over some regions of the country, forcing people to stay indoors.
The video clip of a boy being tortured by a village headman in front of his mother with his hands tied up at Kajiyatal village in Muradnagar upazila for not showing due respect to him has gone viral on social media site Facebook, triggering an outcry.
Residents of Bhatidihi village and some adjoining areas in Kanaighat upazila sadar union are at the risk of losing their homesteads as receding water level of Surma River has triggered erosion.