Dhaka,   Friday 14 June 2024

The South Asian Times | সাউথ এশিয়ান টাইমস
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Tigers close to Super Eight beating the Dutch by 25 runs

Tigers close to Super Eight beating the Dutch by 25 runs

Staff Correspondent Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan finally smiled with the bat while leg-spinner Rishad Hossain got vital breakthroughs to keep the Tigers in the hunt for the Super 8 phase in the ongoing Twenty20 World Cup. Shakib scored his first half-century in 20 T20 Internationals to get Bangladesh to a defendable total of 159 before Rishad broke the steady Netherlands chase to script a 25-run win in Saint Vincent on Thursday. With two wins in three games, the Tigers are now at No 2 spot in Group D. Bangladesh will look forward to the game against Nepal this Monday at the same venue as a win will cement their place in the second round of the competition. South Africa, with three victories and with a match to spare, have already qualified as toppers in the group. After being put in to bat first, Shakib remained unbeaten on 64 to propel the Tigers to a respectable T20 total. Shakib’s contribution for Bangladesh came at a crucial stage of the competition. The clash against the Dutch was almost do-or-die for Bangladesh to remain in the race. And for Shakib, the runs came amid big discussion of his value in the team. Questions have been raised if Bangladesh’s best all-rounder should be rested. There was concern with Shakib’s fitness ahead of the match. The left-handed batter was seen donning a cervical collar during the warm-up. Bangladesh were invited to bat after the Netherlands captain Scott Edwards won the toss. The struggle with the top-order continued as skipper Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Liton Das perished cheaply to put Bangladesh in trouble. Shanto reverse-swept right-arm spinner Aryan Dutt but ended in the hands of the first slip, heading back to the dressing room after scoring just one run. Liton also made only one run as he got removed also by Dutt in the fourth over. Opener Tanzid Hasan Tamim held one end of the pitch and was joined by Shakib in the middle as the duo worked on the recovery. The third wicket stand added 48 off 32 deliveries as young Tanzid played the role of the aggressor. The left-handed batter struck a 26-ball 35 before throwing away a good start. Tanzid looked for a pull but failed to make a clean connection and got caught at deep backward square leg for a simple catch. Bangladesh lost one more wicket, that of Towhid Hridoy [nine], before seeing Shakib build the second-best partnership of the innings – 41 with Mahmudullah [25] for the fifth wicket stand. Shakib in his 46-ball innings hammered nine boundaries and was later adjudged Player of the Match. Defending the target, Bangladesh restricted the Netherlands to 134 for eight in 20 overs after Rishad played a vital part. The Dutch were o to a good start with the top-order chipping in with contributions in pursuit of the target. The chase was cruising along at a good rate before wrist-spinner Rishad removed Sybrand Engelbrecht [33 o 22] to break the 42-run stand with Edwards for the fourth wicket. This triggered a late debacle in the Dutch batting as the side deteriorated from 111 for four in the 15th over to 134 for eight at the end. Rishad bagged two more wickets and eventually ended up with three, conceding 33 runs in four overs. Right-arm pacer Taskin Ahmed bagged two in four overs giving away 30 runs.

Food shortage hits St Martin’s Island

Staff Correspondent Over 10,000 residents of Saint Martin’s Island are facing severe food shortages following the suspension of vessel operations on the Teknaf-Saint Martin’s Island route. This suspension, enforced due to unrest in Myanmar near the Bangladesh border, has severely impacted the island’s supply chain. Local administration has taken alternative measures, arranging special transport via river routes and permitting goods-laden vessels to ensure essential supplies reach the island. Since February, the movement of tourist ships and other vessels has been disrupted due to escalating violence in Myanmar, which has spilled over to the border areas of Bangladesh. Recently, frequent gunfire has been reported along the Teknaf border, causing panic among island residents and further disrupting the movement of goods and people. Mujibur Rahman, chairman of Saint Martin’s Union Parishad, highlighted the gravity of the situation, saying that the suspension has led to a significant food crisis on the island. He also mentioned that gunfire had targeted vessels, which prompted authorities to impose the ban on all vessel movements. Shapuree Dwip residents spend another sleepless night amid Myanmar firingShapuree Dwip residents spend another sleepless night amid Myanmar firing Mehedi Hasan, Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer, reported that on June 5, some 25-30 bullets were fired at a trawler carrying election commission officials from Myanmar. This incident has heightened fears and reinforced the ban on vessel movement. Meanwhile, sounds of mortar shells and gunfires are being heard from across the border in Shahporir Dwip since Wednesday morning. The loud sound of mortar shells and gunfire was heard till 5pm on Thursday, locals said. Apart from this, a mortar shell exploded in the waters of that country halfway across the Naf River. Abdus, a Union Parishad member, said: "A lot of gunfire is being heard at night. As there is a river in between, it is difficult to say where the firing is going on exactly. But at night there was so much sound that we could not sleep.” Mohammad Abdullah, a resident of the Island, said: "We could not sleep at night due to the gunfire. Sounds were heard even on Thursday morning. The people are frightened. Their Eid-ul-Azha celebrations have been destroyed by the recent terror from across the border.” In this regard, Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer Adnan Chowdhury said: “The sound of firing is still heard from across the border. Two people who were stranded on the island returned in a trawler today (on Thursday).” On Tuesday afternoon, two trawlers and some speedboats bound for Teknaf from Saint Martin’s Island were shot at from across the Myanmar border. The Bangladesh authorities could not provide any information confirming whether Myanmar`s Border Police (BGP) or rebels had opened fire on the boats.

Tarique, 14 others are fugitive convicts in Aug 21 grenade attack case: PM tells JS

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said in the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) that BNP leader Tarique Zia and 14 other convicts of the August 21, 2004 grenade attack case are fugitives. “Thirty four convicts were arrested while 15 others, including Tarique Rahman alias Tarique Zia are fugitives out of 49," she told the parliament while replying to a question from treasury bench lawmaker Farida Yasmin (Women Seat-35) during the question-answer session. The question-answer session slated for the Prime Minister was tabled at the beginning of the day`s proceedings with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair. Sheikh Hasina, also the Leader of the House, said a total of 49 accused got various sentences that include capital publishment and life-term in the trial of the grenade attack case in Dhaka’s Speedy Trial Tribunal No-1 on October 10, 2018. “Of the convicts, 19 were sentenced to death, 19 others to life imprisonment while the rest 11 to various jail terms,” she added. Sheikh Hasina said that interpol served red notices on convicted accused Maulana Tajuddin, Harris Chowdhury and Ratul Ahmed Babu alias Ratul Babu who are absconding abroad. "Efforts are on to arrest the fugitive accused," she added. Two cases - one under penal code and another under explosives substances law - were filed over the deadly grenade attacks on an anti-terrorism rally of then opposition Awami League in the capital city`s Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.

20% of Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar tested hepatitis C positive: MSF

Cox`s Bazar Correspondent Almost 20% of the Rohingyas tested in the Cox`s Bazar camps in Bangladesh have an active hepatitis C infection, a study carried out by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) indicates. A blood-borne virus, hepatitis C is a disease that can remain dormant for a long time in those infected. If untreated, it can attack the liver and lead to serious or even fatal complications, usually cirrhosis or liver cancer, with an increased risk of developing several conditions including diabetes, depression and heavy fatigue. In the camps, people have very limited diagnostic and treatment options, said the MSF on Wednesday, calling for a joint humanitarian effort to combat the disease among this stateless population already deprived of basic rights and heavily dependent on aid for survival. Faced with an influx of hepatitis C patients in the Cox’s Bazar camps over the last few years, Epicentre, MSF`s epidemiology and research centre, carried out a survey of 680 households in seven camps between May and June 2023. The results show that almost a third of the adults in the camps have been exposed to hepatitis C infection at some point in their lives. Of these, almost 20% have an active hepatitis C infection. “As one of the most persecuted ethnic minorities in the world, the Rohingya population is paying the price for decades of lack of access to healthcare and to safe medical practices in their country of origin,” explains Sophie Baylac, MSF head of mission in Bangladesh. “The use of healthcare equipment that has not been disinfected, such as syringes, which are widely used in alternative healthcare practices within the refugee community, could explain the potential ongoing transmission and the high prevalence of hepatitis C among the population living in the overcrowded camps." Extrapolating the results of this study to all the camps would suggest that about one in five adults is currently living with a hepatitis C infection – totalling an estimated 86,000 individuals – and requiring treatment to be cured. “Our teams have to turn away hepatitis C patients every day, because the need for care exceeds the capacity of our organisation alone. There are barely any other available and affordable alternatives for these patients outside our clinics in the camps. This is a dead end for a stateless population deprived of the most basic rights, already facing dead ends in all areas of their daily lives," continues Sophie Baylac. Access to diagnosis and treatment is inadequate in many low- and middle-income countries, making this disease a potential public health threat. Yet, direct-acting antiviral drugs can cure over 95% of those infected. In the overcrowded refugee camps of Cox`s Bazar, access to diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C virus is almost non-existent. MSF has been the sole provider of hepatitis C care there for four years. Yet the need for treatment is extremely high. Refugees are not legally allowed to work or leave the camps. For those we cannot treat, paying for expensive diagnostic tests and drugs or obtaining appropriate care outside the camps is out of their reach. “Most refugees simply cannot be cured and resort to alternative methods of care, which are not effective and not without risks to their health,” says Sophie Baylac. They welcomed the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Save the Children that 900 hepatitis C patients are to be treated in two health centres in the camps. “This is an important step in the right direction. However, a large-scale prevention ‘test and treat’ campaign is needed to effectively limit the transmission of the virus and avoid severe liver complications and deaths,” Sophie Baylac said. For this, the involvement and determination of those coordinating the humanitarian response in the Cox`s Bazar camps will be required. Every generation of refugees living in the camps is affected by hepatitis C. “They risk severe liver complications – which are not treatable in camp settings – and may die from it despite the existence of a very effective, well tolerated and patient-friendly treatment (one tablet per day for three months) that can be inexpensive.” Over the past two years, MSF has also supported the Bangladesh Ministry of Health in drafting national clinical guidelines for the treatment of hepatitis C. MSF stands ready to continue working with national authorities, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations to implement large-scale prevention and health promotion activities, as well as a mass ‘test and treat’ campaign in all Cox`s Bazar camps in order to limit the virus transmission and treat as many patients as quickly as possible.

Dr Yunus, 13 others indicted in money embezzlement case

Court Correspondent A court here framed charges against Grameen Telecom Chairman and Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus and 13 others for allegedly embezzling Taka 25 crore from the company and laundering abroad. Judge Syed Arafat Hossain of Dhaka Special Judge Court-4 passed the order, scrapping a discharge petition filed by the accused. The court read out the charges and asked the accused, who are in bail in the case whether they would plead guilty or not. In response, the accused pleaded not guilty and demanded justice. Public prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kazal on June 2 took part in the indictment hearing and pleaded for framing charges against the accused. The defence, however, argued for discharging the accused from the charges. After hearing both sides, the court had set today for passing its order. The 14 accused in the case are- Grameen Telecom Chairman and Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Telecom Managing Director (MD) Nazmul Islam, Directors Ashraful Hasan, Naznin Sultana, Parvin Mahmud, Md Shahjahan, Nurjahan Begum and Professor SM Huzzatul Islam Latifee, President of `Grameen Telecom Sramik-Karmachari Union Md Kamruzzaman and its General Secretary Firoz Mahmud Hasan, lawyers Zafrul Hasan Sharif and Yusuf Ali, Union`s representative Md Mainul Islam and Jatiya Workers Federation`s Office Secretary Kamrul Hasan. The investigation officer in the case and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) deputy director Gulshan Anwar on February 1 filed the charge sheet against a total of 14 accused. Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court on April 2, 2024, took into cognizance the charge sheet filed in the case and sent the case to Dhaka Special Judge Court-4 for further proceedings. According to the case documents, a decision was made at the company`s 108th board meeting, presided over by Dr Yunus on May 9, 2022, to open a bank account at the Gulshan branch of Dhaka Bank Limited. However, it was found that the account was opened a day before the decision was even made. More than Taka 26 crore was transferred to the account on different occasions, as per `fake settlement agreements`. But before even distributing the share of the company`s profit to the workers, and letting them know, the accused embezzled around Taka 25 crore from the fund.

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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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