Dhaka,   Monday 22 April 2024

The South Asian Times | সাউথ এশিয়ান টাইমস
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Bangladesh always ready to defend its sovereignty: PM

Bangladesh always ready to defend its sovereignty: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said Bangladesh is always ready and firmly committed to defend the country`s sovereignty from attack by any external forces. "The main driving force of our foreign policy is "Friendship to all, malice to none". Our target is to ensure economic development with maintaining good relationships with all the neighbouring countries," she said. "But, we are always ready and committed to protect the country`s sovereignty from any external attack," she continued. The Prime Minister made the remarks after opening Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Battery Complex by unveiling its inaugural plaque this morning at the Artillery Centre and School at Halishahar in Chattogram. She hoped army personnel will work with patriotism, professionalism and sincerity for the welfare of the country and its people being inspired with the spirit of the Liberation War. "We will be able to build a happy, prosperous "Sonar Bangladesh" free from hunger and prosperity with collective efforts from all as dreamt of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," she said. The Premier said that the Awami League government has been working to achieve the sustainable development target by 2030 and build a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041. "That`s why, every member of the Bangladesh Army would have to be smart having knowledge of information technology," she added. The Prime Minister asked the army personnel to work for maintaining the country`s glory with dutifulness, professional efficiency and patriotism having confidence and loyalty to the leadership. She briefly described the measures taken by her government for the overall development of the Army. As part of the modernization of the Army, she said Ultra modern aircrafts, helicopters, UAV, fourth generation tank, APC, missile to destroy tanks and other war weapons have been added to the Bangladesh Army. The Premier highly praised the overall activities of the Army for the country`s welfare, saying: "Bangladesh Army has been well established as the symbol of confidence of the people." She went on saying that the Bangladesh military has been highly praised at home and abroad for its work efficiency and professionalism in the peacekeeping missions of the United Nations (UN). Modern light armoured vehicles and mine resistant ambush protected vehicles have been purchased for the Army to enhance operational capabilities and ensure their security in the UN missions. After inaugurating the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Battery Complex, she visited the artillery museum set up at the complex. During the visit, she witnessed the very realistic portrait of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman installed in the museum, the historic 3.7 inch howitzer that fired the first shot of the Mujib Battery in the Great Liberation War in 1971 and the ammunition used in the artillery regiment and replicas of all the cannons and the glorious history of the notable operations of the artillery forces in the war. On her arrival at the venue, the Prime Minister was received by Chief of Army Staff General S M Shafiuddin Ahmed. An audio-visual documentary on Mujib Battery was screened at the function. Cabinet members, Chiefs of the three services, members of parliament, noted personalities and high military and civil officials were present on the occasion.

Buet postpones exams amid student boycott

Buet postpones exams amid student boycott

Staff Correspondent Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) authorities have postponed its exams amid students` boycott of academic activities as part of their protest against politics on campus. The decision was taken on Saturday evening through an academic council meeting. The students have been boycotting their classes and exams, protesting Chhatra League activists’ gatherings at the campus where political activities are not allowed. As part of the ongoing movement against student politics on campus, Buet students have been boycotting the exams even after the Eid holidays. A member of the academic council, seeking anonymity, said: “The authorities postponed the exams considering the overall situation. The fresh exam schedule will be announced at a convenient time.” On March 27, Chhatra League President Saddam Hussain, along with other leaders and activists, entered the Buet campus when Beut student and Chhatra League activist Imtiaz Rahim Rabbi was present and allegedly played a vital role in facilitating the entry by the Chhatra League men. On March 29, a group of Buet students staged demonstrations against the alleged activities of Bangladesh Chhatra League activists on campus. Amid student protests, Buet authorities canceled the hall allocation of Rabbi on March 30, but no decision was made about his expulsion as per the demands of the students. The Buet students on April 2 appealed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, seeking her intervention to maintain their campus as a zone free of political activities. This request was articulated through an open letter to the prime minister, which was shared during a press briefing in front of the Prof MA Rashid Administrative building on the Buet campus. Student politics at Buet was prohibited following the tragic incident where a group of Chhatra League members brutally tortured second-year student Abrar Fahad, resulting in his death at the university`s Sher-e-Bangla Hall on October 7, 2019. However, on April 1, a bench of the High Court held the effectiveness of the university notice that banned student politics on the campus.

Prof Anu Muhammad’s toes severed in train accident

Staff Correspondent Renowned economist, Professor Anu Muhammad suffered injuries after his left toes were severed in a train accident at Khilgaon railway gate on Saturday. Professor Anu, also serving as the member secretary of the national committee to protect oil, gas, mineral resources, power, and ports, was rescued and promptly transported to Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s (DMCH) emergency unit. Inspector Bachchu Mia, in-charge of the police camp at DMCH, confirmed the incident, stating that Professor Anu Muhammad had been admitted to the hospital with injuries to his left leg and is currently receiving treatment. Dr Mohammad Alauddin, the resident doctor at the casualty department of DMCH, informed reporters that Anu Muhammad had sustained significant damage to both feet, and examinations are currently underway. Additionally, doctors from the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery have been called in to assist with his treatment. Anu Muhammad had traveled to Dinajpur on Friday to attend a memorial service and was returning to Dhaka on Sunday via the Ekota Express train after participating in a meeting on Saturday. Upon the train’s arrival at Khilgaon around 11am, Anu Muhammad slipped while disembarking from the slowly moving train, causing both of his legs to come into contact with the wheels. Mahatab Uddin Ahmed, who brought him to the hospital, recounted the incident, said: “Professor Anu slipped under the train’s wheels at Khilgaon, leading to the amputation of all toes on his left foot.” Reacting to the news, Jahangirnagar University economics department lecturer Istiaq Raihan said they are closely monitoring Professor Anu Muhammad’s condition and awaiting further details.

Prime Minister urges for promoting domestic sports

Staff Correspondent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the authorities concerned to promote the domestic sports of the country side by side other games. “Through the domestic sports, children will get the opportunity to flourish their merit more,” she said. The premier was addressing the prize distribution ceremony of Bangabandhu Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament-2023 and Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament-2023 at the Army Stadium in the capital on Saturday. Sheikh Hasina said that whenever she came in the power, she tried to encourage children more in sports. “Because, sports provide physical and mental strength to human beings as well as teach discipline, obedience and patriotism,” she added. The prime minister said sports teach patriotism and loyalty as well as inspires patriotism. Sheikh Hasina said that she wants the country’s children to develop themselves as worthy citizens through sports, physical exercise and cultural activities alongside studies. “I want that our children would groom themselves as the worthy citizens of the country through participating in sports, exercise and cultural events apart from studies,” she said. Through sports, Sheikh Hasina said, the country can be advanced more and made known to the whole world. “We see that our boys and girls are showing their expertise in sports in the world arena,” she added. In this connection, the premier mentioned that women football team of Bangladesh became the champion in the SAFF Women Championship 2022. She said that five players of that team came from this Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament. Sheikh Hasina said that the government is building one mini stadium in every upazila aiming to create scopes for sports round the year. “We’re also creating scopes for the challenged and autistics children to do practice,” she said. Earlier, the premier enjoyed the second half of the grand final held between Bancharampur Model Government Primary School, Brahmanbaria, and Patgram Tepurgari BK Government Primary School, Lalmonirhat. In the final of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament, Chargolabari Government Primary School of Jamalpur`s Madarganj beat Talimganj Government Primary School of Rangpur`s Mithapukur. Besides, in the final of the Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament, Patgram Tepurgari BK Government Primary School, Lalmonirhat beat Bancharampur Model Government Primary School, Brahmanbaria. The prime minister distributed prizes and medals among the members of the champion and runner-up teams of the two tournaments. State Minister of Primary and Mass Education Rumana Ali, MP, and Primary and Mass Education Secretary Farid Ahmed also spoke. Ministry of Primary and Mass Education organised the tournaments where a total of 65,354 primary schools took part from union level to national level. A total of 22,22,026 students, both male and female, participated in the tournaments. In the Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament, Mahmuda Akter won golden boot for highest scoring while Risha Akter bagged golden ball as best player. Both of them are from Patgram Tepurgari BK Government Primary School, Lalmonirhat. Besides, in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup Primary School Football Tournament, Mohammad Akash won golden ball as best player of the tournament while Md Sajjad Hossain bagged golden boot as highest scorer. Both of them are from Chargolabari Government Primary School of Jamalpur`s Madarganj upzila.

Heatwaves lingering longer in Bangladesh

Staff Correspondent The temperature exceeding 36? in larger areas of Bangladesh for longer periods of time has compelled meteorologists to issue heat alerts four times in April this year, with the country`s southwest and central regions now reeling under a very severe heatwave. Dr Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallik, a seasoned meteorologist working at the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), told Dhaka Tribune on Saturday that for the past 10 years or so, the duration of heatwave days (HWD) has been increasing in Bangladesh. In an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune on Saturday, Dr Mallik said: "Ever since 2014, the duration of mild to moderate heatwave days has been on the rise. Now, we`re experiencing very severe heatwaves this April and also observing a tendency of heatwaves not sweeping the southwest region only, but further shifting towards many central and southern districts." He has been tracking the HWD trend for over the last three decades. In a recently published scientific journal paper, Dr Mallik and his co-authors analyzed heatwaves of the 1990-2019 period to show that Jessore, Chuadanga, Rajshahi, Ishwardi, and Satkhira have been experiencing the highest numbers of heatwave days (20 to 30 days) during the pre-monsoon period (from March 1 to May 31). Their study found that Bangladesh`s capital, Dhaka, also experiences an average of 8.5 days of heatwaves during the pre-monsoon months, with the mercury shooting as high as 40.2? in the city on Saturday. "In April, we had to issue heat alerts on the very first day of the month and then again on the 10th, 14th, and 19th," said Dr Mallik. Severity of Heatwaves When temperatures exceed 36? with a large area and linger for a minimum of three or more days, it can be considered a heatwave (HW). There are four types of HW counted by the BMD – mild HW (36-37.9?), moderate HW (38-39.90?), severe HW (40-41.9?), and very severe HW (over 42?). On Saturday,Jessore experienced the country`s highest temperature of this season (42.6?). Why Heatwaves Strike Bangladesh Dr Mallik and his co-authors` paper – "A Study on the Heatwave Conditions over Bangladesh" – published in the Journal of Engineering Science, explained: "In the pre-monsoon, the sun`s rays drop down on the `Thar` desert (India) and the foothill of the Himalayas vertically, creating a hot-tempered zone. That is why these regions produce a trough of low pressure, and there is a possibility of advection of temperature towards Bangladesh." It further explained that the south/southwesterly wind carries a high amount of moisture over Bangladesh, and the heat capacity of moisture is higher than that of dry air. "Solar insulation, temperature advection, and moisture incursion are three main phenomena that are responsible for the HW condition." Dr Mallik told Dhaka Tribune on Saturday that although the highest temperature recorded in Dhaka during the day was 40.4? on Saturday, people felt the heat up to 46? because of moisture and other factors. He said they took records from all 34 stations in Bangladesh that kept heatwave readings for over the past three decades and found the highest numbers of HWD in Jessore (30.9 days). Barisal had only 2.8 days of heatwaves during the March-May period, while Sylhet had only one day, and Comilla, Chittagong, and Cox`s Bazar experienced even less than an average day of HWD. He said: "April is the hottest month in Bangladesh, and the country experienced 17 heatwave days in April last year. This April too, we`ve experienced several days of heatwaves in the first week, and then we`re in a second spell of continuous HWD since April 11." Bangladesh Experiencing Higher Rise in Summer Temperature than Global Average In recent years (2018-2022), Bangladesh has experienced a 0.9? rise in its summer temperature relative to the 1986-2005 baseline. That’s 0.2? higher than the global average increase in summer temperatures. According to the 2023 Lancet report "Countdown on Health and Climate Change," there is only one country in South Asia that has witnessed a higher temperature rise than Bangladesh. That`s Afghanistan (1.3?). The average summer temperatures have increased in South Asia, increasing the time when it is too hot to work outside and the land area affected by drought. The World Bank says that currently, the number of hours when it is too hot to work outside in Bangladesh is seven hours, but projections suggest that it might increase to eight hours by 2050. According to the Lancet report, heat exposure-related loss in labor capacity resulted in average potential income losses equivalent to $863 billion globally in 2022, and agricultural workers were the most affected. Rising temperatures helped a 28.6% increase in the transmission potential for dengue by Aedes aegypti.

Student politics turns a lucrative profession: Dr Ainun Nishat

Dr. Ainun Nishat, President of BUET Alumni Association, has said, “It is not acceptable that the students will do politics based on fringes. Now student politics has become a lucrative profession.” “It is not acceptable for students to engage in dirty politics. Ragging, extortion, abuse of power are not desirable in student politics here,” he said at a shadow parliament debate competition, held at the Bangladesh Film and Development Corporation (BFDC) auditorium on Saturday (April 20). Dr. Ainun Nishat attended the debate competition as chief guest. The theme of the shadow parliament debate competition was “Student Politics and Friendly Environment of Education in BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology)”. The “Debate for Democracy” is a non-profit, non-government, debate organization that seeks to develop the quality of life of current and future generations through debate, has organized the debate competition. Chairman of the Debate for Democracy Hassan Ahamed Chowdhury Kiron presided over the event. The editor and publisher of The South Asian Times Deepak Kumar Acharjee, retired Professor Abu Muhammad Rais, Consultant of International Organization for Migration (IOM) Dr. SM Morshed, Special Correspondent of Channel I Mustafa Kamal Mallick, senior reporter of Channel 71 Sharmin Neera attended as judges in the debate competition. Dr. Ainun Nishat said that BUET students have to study extensively for good results. Therefore, the non-politicization based on laziness disrupts the supportive learning environment of BUET students. “There may be student parliament in BUET but not party-based politics. If the court gives guidelines defining the scope of student politics, the university can formulate a code of conduct on the matter,” he opined. He said that many public universities and private universities of the country including BUP, MIST and Khulna University do not have student politics. However, these universities have a system to listen to students` opinions and demands. Hassan Ahamed Chowdhury Kiron said, "The ongoing situation regarding the student politics of BUET should be resolved by the BUET authority through discussions with all parties including students, teachers, parents, and alumni. “There is a slight difference between the student council of BUET and the student council of Dhaka University. Since BUET is a specialised higher education institution,” he said. He also said, `We have to understand what they want after seeing the solidarity of BUET students in skipping the exam after the Eid holiday. After taking all the preparations for the exam, the teachers waited but no students appeared in the exam hall. Students should take this silent protest into account. The debaters of Bangladesh University won by defeating the debaters of World University of Bangladesh. Trophies, crests and certificates were awarded to the winning teams at the end of the competition.

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India Hosts 6th Session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly in New Delhi

India Hosts 6th Session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly in New Delhi

The Sixth Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) convened in New Delhi today, presided over by Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy, Government of India, who serves as the President of the ISA Assembly. Ministers from 20 countries and delegates representing 116 Member and Signatory countries gathered for this important event, according to a press release. In his opening remarks, Raj Kumar Singh emphasized the crucial role of renewable energy sources in addressing global energy challenges. He stated that renewable energy has the potential to supply 65 percent of the world`s total electricity by 2030 and decarbonize 90 percent of the power sector by 2050. The International Solar Alliance is committed to making solar energy the preferred energy source, attracting investments, and ensuring ample energy availability to meet growing global demands. To support this, ISA has expanded its Viability Gap Funding (VGF) mechanism, increasing the grant to 35% of the project cost based on the capacity and needs of member countries. Co-President of the Assembly, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, France`s Minister of State for Development, Francophonie, and International Partnerships, emphasized France`s commitment to the ISA. France has provided significant financial support for solar projects, including the construction of the Onigbolo solar power plant in Benin, bringing 25 megawatts of clean energy to the people of Benin. She emphasized the importance of supporting partner countries in their energy transition plans, said the release. Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of the International Solar Alliance, stressed the need to accelerate the deployment of solar energy, particularly in developing countries and for applications that enhance the daily lives of those without reliable energy access. ISA is facilitating over 9.5 GW of solar applications in 55 developing countries and providing training to thousands of people in supporting solar energy. The organization is working on establishing STAR Centers as hubs of technology, knowledge, and expertise in solar energy, it said. The Assembly also discussed the ISA`s initiatives, including the development of solar mini-grids to provide universal energy access and mechanisms to attract private sector investment through guarantees provided by the Global Solar Facility. In May 2020, ISA initiated Demonstration Projects in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to showcase scalable solar technology applications and build the capacity of beneficiary member countries. Four projects, including solarization of the parliament building of the Republic of Malawi, solarization of health care centers in Fiji, installation of solar-powered cold storage in Seychelles, and solarization of a school in Kiribati, were inaugurated, it added. Singh dedicated these projects to the respective countries, highlighting ISA`s commitment to advancing the cause of energy transition through solar energy. The Assembly serves as the apex decision-making body of ISA and meets annually to assess the progress of solar energy deployment and discuss key initiatives related to energy access, energy security, and energy transition. The Sixth Assembly of the International Solar Alliance demonstrated the commitment of member countries to harnessing solar energy to address global energy and environmental challenges, the release also said.

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