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Hasnat Shahriyar Nahin

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  1. ‘Kotha is our Facebook, PayPal and WhatsApp’ A homegrown mobile application with the mind-boggling capability to send messages, make voice calls, order grocery and food, stream music and movies and buy tickets has started doing the rounds with a promise to make life easier for digital citizens of Bangladesh. The beta version of the country's first social and lifestyle application, Kotha, was launched on Wednesday by Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, at a programme held at the software technology park at the Janata Tower in Dhaka. Palak used the app at the event and was so amazed by its features that he declared himself the brand ambassador of Kotha, now available for download from the Google and Apple app stores. "To me Kotha is our Facebook, our PayPal, Netflix, Twitter and WhatsApp," he said, while promising the group of tech-savvy local entrepreneurs who developed the app support from the government in the form of office space and funding. Such apps in South Korea, China and the Philippines have witnessed huge success. Korea has Kakaotalk, the Philippines has Tantan and China WeChat. "So why can't this app be a success in Bangladesh?" "When we share anything in Facebook and Google all our data goes to them. They are taking the data outside the country and are also earning from us by using the data. Through Kotha we want to create a customer data hub in Bangladesh." Palak said the world is now observing a trade war and if Bangladesh faces anything like this, the country will be self-dependent in terms of users' data through platforms like Kotha. "We want to see Bangladesh as an innovative nation. Our young talents will develop search engines and communications platforms like Google and Facebook," Palak said, adding that he will work to popularise the application in the country. Besides getting a Facebook-like experience, people can listen to music, watch movies, top up phones and use digital maps. Many more services are coming on board within a couple of months, when its full version will be rolled out. Users will also be able to make payments, plan tours, take ride and buy tickets and games, which entrepreneurs think will ultimately change the social and digital lifestyle of people. "This will be an 'all-in-one app' and will save a huge amount of foreign currency as it will draw a huge volume of traffic that is currently using foreign social media outlets," said Mahboob Zaman, chairman of Kotha Technologies Limited that is developing the app. The app has already been downloaded more than 30,000 times and a huge number of youths are showing interest by sharing photos and videos. Bangladeshi customers are generating a lot of data now by using different digital services and this will soon turn into a minefield, said Zaman, a renowned technology entrepreneur and managing director of DataSoft Systems Bangladesh. "Certainly, data will be the next currency and if we have access to the data, people will experience drastic change in their lives," said Zaman, also a former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services. Every year different social media platforms like Facebook and Google are earning thousands of crores of taka from Bangladesh by means of users' data and that helps the brands connect with their customers as well, said Tashfin Delwar, chief executive officer of Kotha Technologies. Delwar said they are working to establish a network for the app where small entrepreneurs can open accounts and can run their business digitally like WeChat does in China. Owners of Kotha are also targeting the Bangla speaking community as it is the eighth most spoken language in the world. Entrepreneurs of Kotha said Bangladesh's economic growth, government's willingness, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, change in consumer perception and internet penetration -- all were contributing positively to the government's vision of Digital Bangladesh. Nonetheless, the country is still dependent on foreign services for social networking and communication, they said. Mohaimin Mostafa, its chief marketing officer, believes that Kotha will make an impact and add value to people's life. Kotha will offer the Bangladeshis their own social media and communication tool and promote use of Bangla language, he added. Delwar, the CEO, believes Kotha will gradually replace Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber and other apps like these. https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/kotha-our-facebook-paypal-and-whatsapp-1867738
  2. State Minister Sharif visits Bangabandhu Tri-Tower project State Minister for Housing and Public Works Sharif Ahmed on Wednesday visited the Bangabandhu Tri-Tower Project site at Purbachal New Town area to see the progress of the project. During the visit, Syed Qamrul Islam, Chief Operating Officer and Director (Operations) of Consortium of PowerPac Holdings and Kajima Corporation, briefed him about the project’s progress. Housing and Public Works Secretary Shahid Ullah Khandaker and Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (RAJUK) Chairman Syed Nur Alam accompanied the state minister during the visit. The consortium got allotment of a total of 114 acres of land in Sector-19 of Purbachal New Township Project from RAJUK, the development authority of capital Dhaka, to build the new commercial hub through an open auction in 2018. Syed Qamrul Islam, commenting on the project, said, “The CBD will be constructed at a cost of Tk 96,000 crore. Out of the total amount, already foreign investment promise worth Tk 60,000 has been received. Construction materials worth Tk 30,000 crore would be used in first two years of the construction, which surely would make a positive impact on our overall economy.” The Groundwork for CBD now is in progress, he added. It will have a total of 42 skyscrapers, including a 473-metre tall 111-storey iconic Legacy Tower, wherein the 96th floor will be dedicated and symbolise the journey of Legacy of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, 71-storey Liberty Tower will represent the Liberation War of 1971 and 52-storey Language Tower will represent the Language Movement in 1952. The three towers has been named as Bangabandhu Tri-Tower. The Proposed Bangabhandhu Tri-Towers layout has been designed to enhance the symbolism behind 3L’s: Language, Liberation and the Legacy. The top of the proposed Bangabhandhu Tri-Tower design shows elements of Shaheed Minar aimed at raising the tower’s status. The Bangladesh flag motif was applied to the damper design on the top floor. Matching design was designed with the motif of the National Monument of Bangladesh Jatiyo Sriti Shoudho. The 473 meters tall Iconic Tower will be the World’s 5th tallest build. Of the other skyscrapers, each will have a height equivalent to a 40-storey building, sources said, adding that a large convention center will be established to create a convenient location for traffic which will lead to global business tourism resources. The world class commercial zone arranged in conjunction with the convention is to induce tourist clusters of foreign visitors. Bangabhandhu Tri-Tower complex in the CBD consists of world class residences, retails, hospital, and community facilities. The CBD’s landmark role is to secure an excellent perception by providing river view that in turn opens more natural feelings creating a pleasant environment by connecting tower with nature. A modern & Hi-Tech protection wall will be established. This protection wall will contain elevated walkway, jogging and cycling track around the CBD. This protection wall will serve as a boundary wall for the CBD, which will give the experience of an aesthetic view and modern lifestyle. The entire project, having land area of 114 acres, will have an approximately buildup area of 47 million square feet (SFT) and this will have a sustainable smart lifestyle with 55% kept as open space by connecting green and blue network. Solar glass will be installed outside all the buildings. The solar glass is composed by several lights. The photo active cell on the glass absorbs the sunlight that transforms the energy to power the building which reduces the utility cost and increases energy efficiency. An automatic waste-management system will be put in place in the CBD to maintain the urban hygiene and upkeep of the cityscape. In order to protect the public utility facilities such as the water supply, sewage system, electrical lines, and communication systems, an underground common duct system will be implemented. This common underground duct will give safety by providing stable power, steady water supply and uninterrupted communications to all citizens of the CBD. Waste will be collected from every building efficiently by a garbage-discharge system. Through the common underground duct, buried in the lower part of the road, these wastes will be delivered up to the central waste-to-energy plant. Taking into consideration the flood level, a proper water drainage system will be put in place. Concentrating harvesting rainfall and rainwater a grit chamber is being planned to be incorporated with an effluent treatment plant. An intelligent traffic system will also be initiated which will be designed for each road and will function as a safe and convenient traffic information system. Road planning has begun for the inner wireless, charging, and pollution-free electric bus within the CBD area. The magnetic field generated from the electrical wires embedded under the road will be retrieved by a collector installed at the bottom of the bus. This will be converted into “electric energy.” The Underground Ring Walkway that will circulate the entire CBD is planned to be centered on the Bangabandhu Tri-Tower. This will create an active and live connection between the surrounding blocks, without having pedestrian traffic and congestion within the streets of the CBD. Purbachal Central Business District will achieve an urban economic growth as a new business hub and will serve as an icon of growth that will create a new lifestyle by providing the functions of a smart city and bring the new future for Bangladesh. This will be the stepping-stone of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s journey of legacy toward the developed country by 2041. Soon after receiving the allotment of the project, PowerPac officials said they signed a contract with Chinese firm – Power China International Group Ltd & Energy China Ltd to appoint them as the construction contractors while world’s seventh largest architect company South Korean Heerim Architect and Planners Co Ltd was engaged as the project architect. French firm Archetype Construction Holdings Ltd was engaged for construction and project management while Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) for soil test mobilization and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for Project Feasibility Study, Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) and Socio-environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA), they said. PowerPac officials expressed the hope that the Central Business District (CBD) will play a vital role in meeting the growing demand for commercial spaces in Dhaka city where many business houses are operating in residential areas due to inadequate commercial spaces with necessary facilities. https://bangladeshpost.net/posts/state-minister-sharif-visits-bangabandhu-tri-tower-project-26527
  3. Bangladesh approves low-cost test kit to detect Covid-19 The Government of Bangladesh has approved the production of a locally developed low-cost coronavirus (Covid-19) testing kit to tackle the pandemic. Public health organisation Gono Shasthaya Kendra that runs hospitals and medical research work in the country developed the kit, which requires some chemical reagents that need to be imported. The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) granted the approval to import raw materials. The organisation will also submit the kit to the DGDA for final approval of the World Health Organization (WHO) after producing it. The full-scale production is expected to begin in the next two weeks. The kit uses the Rapid Blot-Dot technique to detect coronavirus positive cases within 15 minutes. The technique looks for antibodies created in the body in response to the virus infection. According to the Gano Shasthaya Kendra, the kit will cost approximately BDT250-300. The standard method of diagnosis of coronavirus is by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR), which uses sequencing from a nasopharyngeal swab or sputum sample. Meanwhile, the country reported its first coronavirus death this week. The total positive cases of the disease stand at 20, while three people have recovered. Bangladesh Government has adopted strong measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country. The government has closed down all schools and banned mass gatherings. Travel bans have been imposed in all the popular tourist destinations. https://www.medicaldevice-network.com/news/bangladesh-low-cost-covid-19-test/
  4. Bangladesh Wants to Be South Asia’s Transport Hub Bangladesh has the potential to become the transport and transshipment hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Myanmar for their collective economic growth, Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said. His comments came in a statement at the end of the 'Finance Minister’s meeting of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)' hosted by India in collaboration with Asian Development Bank. The meeting brought together finance ministers from seven SASEC member nations- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka-- to launch SASEC Vision Document 2025. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presided over the day-long meeting, in which Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali was also present. Muhith said Bangladesh’s closeness with India, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and China’s Kunming makes it an ideal regional hub of connectivity. A further improvement of the multi-modal connectivity will “lead to enhanced economic cooperation among the countries of the region,” he said. He said Bangladesh’s under-construction Padma Bridge will also help improve connectivity with the neighbouring countries. Bangladesh, Muhith said, is being supported under SASEC to strengthen road, rail, and maritime connectivity with neighbouring countries along the key trade routes. As part of the ADB-assisted SASEC platform for regional power trade and interconnection arrangements, Bangladesh has expanded power sharing arrangements with India, which will possibly be expanded with Bhutan and Nepal (via India), he said. Muhith said Bangladesh government is also very keen to take necessary steps for a more enabling environment to boost intra-sub-regional trade. Building a National Trade Portal is almost finalised with a view to processing and issuing of import export registration certificate as it is connected with the national single window system. “I would like to reiterate here that Bangladesh government is committed to introduce necessary reforms in its legal and regulatory environment and its institutional procedures and practices to meet international standards,” said the finance minister. Hailing the adoption of SASEC vision document 2025, Muhith said it defines the strategic objectives on South-Asian transport, trade facilitation and energy besides exploring the potential of Economic Corridor Development. SASEC aims to combine economic corridors being developed in individual SASEC countries in order to maximise the development impacts of investments through cross border links. He said Bangladesh is discussing two major corridors to pass through the most economically advanced region of the country, Dhaka. The first is on the Banglabandha-Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox Bazar route, the second on the Sylhet-Dhaka- Khulna route. The synergic effect of these in-country economic corridors will result in a larger regional impact with improved infrastructure and connectivity. SAARC, SASEC and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) initiatives may coordinate with each other to bring synergy in regional cooperation. In this regard, six priority sectors were identified by the countries: energy and power, transportation, tourism, environment, trade, investment and private sector cooperation, and ICT. Up to December, 2016, as many as 43 SASEC projects of $8.9 billion have been completed or under way in these sectors. The meeting concluded with the adoption of a joint ministerial statement. “Our vision is for SASEC to be Asia’s powerhouse in the 21st century. We will accelerate and sustain the growth momentum of recent years by unlocking the hitherto untapped potential of the sub-region’s natural resources, industry and infrastructure through sub regional cooperation," it said. "We will leverage natural resource-based industries by tapping into latent industrial demand within the sub region. We will utilize our common heritage, culture and tourism assets to position SASEC as a single tourist destination," the statement said. "We will promote sub regional industry-to-industry links to develop regional value chains and enhance the sub region's competitiveness. We will develop gateways and hubs to expand the sub region's trade and commerce to regional and global markets. We believe that these synergies can generate annually, an estimated $70 billion in incremental GDP and 20 million in incremental aggregate employment by 2025.” CREDIT : BDNEWS24
  5. The Initiative of BIG-B (The Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt) What is "BIG-B"? Bangladesh is located with embracing the Bay of Bengal from the sea point of view, and in-between South Asia and South-East Asia from the land point. Under the current global economic power shift toward the Indo-Pacific Ocean region, this geographical advantage will provide a unique opportunity for the country to play a node and hub role in regional as well as inter-regional matters. This also suggests the Bangladesh's renewed focus on "Look East" policy to exploit the vibrant economic growth from Pacific to Indian Ocean. The BIG-B initiative is to accelerate industrial agglomeration along the Dhaka-Chittagong-Cox's Bazar belt area and beyond, encompassing developing economic infrastructure, improving investment environment and fostering connectivity. The two Prime Ministers also expected the initiative, with maximum use of Japan's advanced technologies and socioeconomic development experiences, to yield mutual benefits and prosperity to both countries. BIG-B foresees Bangladesh transcending its national borders to become a heart of the regional economy and providing a gateway for both South Asia and South-East Asia to step into a closer inter-regional relation, so that she may reshape herself as a sparkling trading nation deeply incorporated into inter-regional and global value chains. BIG-B is not incompatible with other existing vital frameworks for the regional cooperation. Rather, it aims to supplement and reinforce them for the maximization of the benefit for Bangladesh. Bangladesh has remarkably achieved the average of 6% growth in the last decade amid the downturn of the global economy, and is now ready to leap onto the higher growth path to become a middle income country by 2021. At this critical juncture, upon the Government of Japan's extraordinary commitment for the bilateral relationship, JICA will keep on providing the full-fledged sincere cooperation for Bangladesh in strategic project formulation and smooth implementation to realize the BIG-B initiative for the inclusive and dynamic development of the country for_ decades to come. For more details on BIG-B, please have a look at the speech of Dr. Akihiko Tanaka, JICA President, titled "BIG-B toward Growth beyond Borders" at the University of Dhaka on June 16, 2014.
  6. Bangladesh: a fertile plain for Japanese investment Bangladesh's per capita income will cross $4,000 within next decade and this will act as a springboard for the country looking to become a high-income economy, according to Hitoshi Hirata, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica). In 2019, Bangladesh recorded an 8.15 per cent growth in GDP while per capita income reached $1,906 as per data from the International Monetary Fund. "This is a very rapid growth. If a country achieves an average of more than 7 per cent growth per year, per capita income can be doubled within 10 years. So, it should be very easy for Bangladesh to double its per capita income within 10 years," said Hirata during an interview with The Daily Star on Thursday. Since 2018, Japanese firms began to show interest to invest in Bangladesh and Hirata hopes this trend will continue through the country's partnership with the Jica. "We are very pleased to be a partner that provides support for the development of infrastructure in Bangladesh as it will directly help the country attract more Japanese investors," he said. The Matarbari deep seaport in Cox's Bazar, which is being built with financial backing from the Jica, is a good example of how the agency assists in developing the country. The proposed deep seaport will be accessible for container ships that require more than 18 metres of depth and considering that Chattogram Port, the premier port of Bangladesh, is only accessible by vessels requiring less than 9 metres of depth. Logistic costs should diminish greatly once the project is complete in 2024. The Jica is also involved in the construction of the third terminal at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in Dhaka, which is expected to be complete within 2023. "These two infrastructure projects will become logistic hubs in the country by 2041 and about 40 per cent of all container ships anchored in the country will be handled at the Matarbari Port," Hirata said. The HSIA will have the capacity to accommodate an additional two crore passengers following the construction of the terminal, for which the Jica is providing 70 per cent of the funding. Currently, the airport can handle eight million passengers a year but that number is expected to reach 14 million by 2025 and 24.8 million by 2035. Besides, 42 per cent of Bangladesh's LNG supply will come through the Matarbari channel by 2041 while power plants in the area will account for 40 per cent of the country's energy production. Therefore, both projects play vital roles in the implementation of the BIG-B concept, which was announced during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Bangladesh in 2014. "Since the plan was declared, our lending commitment to Bangladesh sped up and reached over $2.5 billion per year while it was only $1 billion in 2014," he added. The Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt initiative, simply known as BIG-B, aims to accelerate industrial agglomeration along the Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox's Bazar belt and beyond, encompassing developing economic infrastructure, improving investment environment and fostering connectivity. Currently, there are more than 40 projects in implementation, of which 31 are being developed to improve infrastructure. This includes a few large-scale schemes for both hard and soft infrastructure. Over the past five years, Japan has more than doubled its support for infrastructure development in Bangladesh and will continue to do so due to good bilateral relations, said Hirata. Bangladesh has improved immensely in areas such as power generation, transport and port facilities in the last 10 years and this led to greater foreign investment in the country. "Therefore, both Bangladesh and Japan will benefit from the projects currently in implementation as it will attract more foreign investors, including Japanese ones, for various sectors," the Jica chief representative to Bangladesh said. Movement from Dhaka to Chattogram has now become far smoother thanks to the JICA's support in the construction of three bridges: Kanchpur, Meghna and Goumti. "We tried to improve the infrastructure level between Dhaka, Chattogram and Cox' Bazar under the Big-B initiative to help attract foreign direct investment, not only from Japan but from other countries also," he said. Bangladesh is very promising for Japanese investors due to the rapid economic growth shown by the country for the past few years. Besides, there is also a massive consumer market. The purchasing capacity of Bangladesh's middle class is on the rise and the people are very comfortable with Japanese products, according to Hirata. "If you consider the history of Japanese investment abroad, you will notice that the island nation first invested in ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia before going on to Singapore." "Upon closer inspection, you will see that Japanese firms began investing in these countries in greater numbers once the infrastructure of those countries was developed." "Now the next destination is definitely Bangladesh as infrastructure improvement is going on," Hirata said. The number of Japanese firms operating in the country will also increase after the completion of the Japanese special economic zone in 2021. After that, automobile, food processing, and leading manufacturing companies will come to Bangladesh and help diversify the economy, he said. However, the ease of doing business in the country needs to be improved if Bangladesh hopes to compete with neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia, he added. Bangladesh's taxation system, customs duty, enforceable policies and value added tax system are some of the major challenges faced by Japanese firms looking to invest in the economy. Investors make their decisions based on government policies. Therefore, if any government frequently changes policies on an ad-hoc basis, investor confidence is lost. "Investors need policy support, and incentives to invest in any economy," said Hirata, adding that countries like Myanmar and India constantly improve their policies and incentive plans to attract FDIs. Hirata also lauded the government's long-term plans while insisting that Bangladesh can become a developed country by 2041 if the economy continues to grow. The government will need to provide quality education at primary and secondary schools since highly skilled individuals are required to achieve the country's goals, he added. Bangladesh will be a top choice for Japanese companies seeking to expand their businesses in Asia and the Oceania in the next two years due to its high potential and profitability, according to a survey of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). About 70.3 per cent of all Japanese firms in Bangladesh are mulling over an expansion while 23.4 per cent would like to remain the same and 1.6 per cent are considering a reduction. As of December 2019, around 300 Japanese companies were conducting business in Bangladesh with investments reaching $386 million. Just a decade ago, there were merely 82 firms from Japan operating in the country. In another project, the Jica will assist in the construction of a new dedicated railway bridge over the Jamuna river to improve the capacity and safety of rail transportation, said Hirata. The agency also encourages the development of prototype motorcycle parts through technical support to local metal and plastic part manufacturers. Besides, the Jica helped draw up the revised strategic transport plan, which outlined short-term (2025), and mid to long-term (2035) transport plans for Dhaka. The plans were approved in 2016. The ongoing construction of metro rail and bus rapid transport projects will help solve the city's traffic congestion and could save over 35 million man-hours per day, according to Hirata. https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/bangladesh-fertile-plain-japanese-investment-1877923
  7. Cobra Gold 2020 underway The Cobra Gold 2020 military exercise began on Tuesday with 9,630 participating soldiers from 29 countries, who were required to strictly follow anti-Covid-19 measures. The Royal Thai Armed Forces announced that senior military officers of Thailand, the United States and representatives of the other participating countries attended the opening ceremony at Akathotsarot military camp in Phitsanulok province. Seven countries are participating the main drills - Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the US. China and India are present for humanitarian civic assistance exercises. Ten countries are taking part in the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team - Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, Fiji, France, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand and the Philippines Ten other countries are present for the Combined Observer Liaison Team - Brunei, Cambodia, Germany, Israel, Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sweden, Switzerland and Vietnam. The Cobra Gold 2020 activities are scheduled for areas of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Army areas in the Central Plains, the Northeast and the North, as well as in the upper Gulf of Thailand, from Feb 24 to March 6. The Royal Thai Armed Forces announcement said it was seriously implementing efficient Covid-19-prevention measures for the sake of all participants' safety. https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1865424/cobra-gold-2020-underway
  8. BFDC reveals primary cast for biopic on Bangabandhu Arifin Shuvoo to play Bangabandhu’s role Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) has published a list of primarily selected cast for the much-talked-about biopic on the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Actor Arifin Shuvoo will play the title character of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the biopic directed by noted Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal. According to the list, actress Nusrat Imroz Tisha will portray the role of Bangabandhu's wife Fazilatunnesa Mujib (Renu), actress Nusrat Faria will play the role of a younger version of Sheikh Hasina and Jannatul Sumaiya will portray the role of elder Sheikh Hasina. Eminent actress Dilara Jaman will play the role of Bangbandhu’s mother Sahera Khatun, actor Khairul Alam Sabuj will portray as Bangabandhu’s father Sheikh Lutfor Rahman, Shahidul Alam Sachchu as Sher-E-Bangla A K Fazlul Huq, Ferdous Ahmed as Tajuddin Ahmed, Tauquir Ahmed as Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, Tushar Khan as Tofazzal Hossain Manik Miah, Fazlur Rahman Babu as Khandakar Moshtaq Ahmed and Misha Sawdagor as Aiyub Khan, among others. The biopic is scheduled to be released on the occasion of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary on March 17, 2021. It will be made in Bengali and Hindi sub-title will be added as it is a joint production of Bangladesh and India. Actors from Bollywood and Tollywood will also join the casting and the shooting will begin soon. https://www.unb.com.bd/category/Lifestyle/bfdc-reveals-primary-cast-for-biopic-on-bangabandhu/46007
  9. Arifin Shuvo and Nusrat Faria to play Bangabandhu and Sheikh Hasina In total, a cast of 50 actors have been finalized for the biopic Actor Arifin Shuvoo will play the role of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, while Nusraat Faria Mazhar will play the role of Bangabandhu's daughter and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, in the upcoming Bangabandhu biopic. The Ministry of Information issued a gazette notification in this regard on Tuesday and the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) published the official list of all cast members on their website. Previously it was reported to the press that Fazlur Rahman Babu and Tauquir Ahmed agreed to join the cast to portray Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy respectively. Veteran actor Dilara Zaman was also cast to play the role of Bangabandhu's mother Sayera Khatun during the first week of February. In other pivotal roles, Nusrat Imroz Tisha (Fazilatunnesa), Raisul Islam Asad (Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani), Ferdous Ahmed (Tajuddin Ahmed), and Misa Sawdagar (General Ayub Khan) have been cast. In total, a cast of 50 actors have been finalized for the biopic. Pia Benegal as costume designer, Shama Zaidi and Atul Tiwari as screenwriters, and Dayal Nihalani as assistant director, were recruited back in February. Acclaimed filmmaker Shyam Benegal is set to direct this project. The governments of Bangladesh and India are jointly producing the feature film based on the life and works of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Work on the biopic of Bangabandhu is scheduled to start this year on March 17 and is to be released by March 17, 2021, to mark his birth centenary. https://www.dhakatribune.com/showtime/2020/03/03/shuvoo-and-faria-to-play-banglabandhu-and-sheikh-hasina?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=208974b2e640030ec65093199d3a931bd310fc32-1583314384-0-ARGFIpew-b1voTpkWoQBhpM4RJ7IY67VGgVY1bQcXVvhi2XQDnxAmbtxyrTZ1YPZi2R0aTVjZbHUYZD1rOv7ZosVtuQ91UN7TDehO_l9Cmn1j4ig8fLy4HXT8_7VOca5oD1QqFzJzhXfLTpQQzuyI5g59hzkXpUWpO8WqatQ7iZbEOfyaUk3oRS5f3HXeCydpdc5GnkupEZu4vgRcIVyWfr2KdkRptJZKwyrXql7wAeuRlvuUC15LsZVhRs37ESvEyFVOGjY0g7kJclI4Le0vJvLmtnC8Hzusgoh96Rou8lsEZekkZOkd_3upI3iSSq5fTQIptO3hCmQOOm1yb5fACtaXh_cFFo6yvovB2dSi2u2WGfesDg-yry7OFuaJY2juQ
  10. BEZA gets $20.5 billion investment proposals Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has received investment proposals amounting to around US Dollar 20.50 billion from 151 local and foreign business entities thanks to various steps of government to attract new investments, officials said. BEZA is responsible for establishing and managing of state-run special economic zones (SEZs) across the country. Out of the investment proposals, top officials of BEZA said, around $2.80 billion has already been invested in different SEZs. Around $4.808 billion will come as foreign direct investment (FDI) from different companies in Japan, China, South Korea, India, Thailand, Australia, the UK, the Netherland and the USA. World-famous companies like Honda Motors, Sumitomo Nippon, Asian Paints, Barger Paints, Adani Group, Wilmar, Yabang, Siam Group, TIC Group, Unilever, Sakata Inch and Chain Harbour are the major foreign investors. Talking to BSS recently, BEZA Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury said beyond these investment proposals, many world-renowned foreign companies are coming with big investment offers. "We've already developed eight state-run SEZs as per a move to make the country an industrial hub in the world," Chowdhury informed. The zones, he said, are – Mirsarai Economic Zone, Mirsarai Economic Zone 2A, Mirsarai Economic Zone 2B, Feni Economic Zone and SBG Economic Zone under the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN), Jamalpur Economic Zone, Shreehatta Economic Zone and Mongla Economic Zone. The BEZA executive chairmen said many entrepreneurs from home and abroad have already started construction works of their industrial units in the economic zones, while many are taking preparations to set up factories there. He mentioned that the government is providing all sorts of facilities to the economic zones to ensure investment-friendly environment. "Both local and foreign businesses who will invest in the economic zones will enjoy the same facilities," he added. Chowdhury went on saying that Jinyuan Chemical Industry Limited, a sister concern of the Chinese ZhuzhouJinyuan Chemical Industry Company Limited, has already set up their factory in the BSMSN at Mirsarai, Sitakundu and Sonagazi upazillas under Chattogram and Feni districts. "We hope that at least 20 companies will start their construction works within this year," he said. The BEZA executive chairman said the development works of another seven state-owned SEZs are going at a quicker pace to attract both foreign and local investors. "We're also planning to establish another 14 state-owned SEZs across the country," he said. Of them, the feasibility study of two SEZs – Netrokona Economic Zone and Bogura Economic Zone – has already been completed, he added. Another 12 other SEZs which is mulling to be set up are – Gopalgonj EZ-1 in Kotalipara upazila under Gopalganj district, Sitakundo Economic Zone, Tangail Economic Zone, Manikganj Economic Zone, Bhola Economic Zone, Nababganj Economic Zone, Sylhet Special Economic Zone, Chandpur Economic Zone, Jamalpur Economic Zone-2, Nilphamari Economic Zone, Araihazar Economic Zone-2 and Panchagarh Economic Zone, he continued. Chowdhury informed that the BEZA has already awarded pre-qualification license to 20 private economic zones and of them, 11 were given final license. The private economic zones who obtained the final license are Meghna Economic Zone, Abdul Monem Economic Zone, Aman Economic Zone, Bay Economic Zone, Meghna Industrial Economic Zone, City Economic Zone, Sirajganj Economic Zone, Karnaphuli Dry Dock Special Economic Zone, East West Special Economic Zone, Kishoreganj Economic Zone and Hosendi Economic Zone, he said. The BEZA chief said they have given pre-qualification license to the AK Khan Economic Zone, Arisha Economic Zone, United City IT Park, Bashundara Economic Zone, Sonargaon Economic Zone, Cumilla Economic Zone, Hamid Economic Zone and Standard Global Economic Zone. He said the economic zones have already created direct employment opportunities for around 30,000 people, and through the proposed industrial units, there will be direct employment scope for at least eight lakh people. Chowdhury said BEZA has undertaken a plan to establish 'Bhumi Bank' so that industrial development is not hindered in the next 50 years due to land scarcity. "We've already acquired 47,856.3350 acres of land for developing the 22 state-run EZs," he said. https://tbsnews.net/economy/beza-gets-205-billion-investment-proposals-51025?fbclid=IwAR3MLr_43q7x2rTOSy4rLev4OI6gpKtGY0xP2ba79oryTDiTWe7Hc8T-Py8
  11. Huawei launches app gallery for Bangladesh Huawei opened its mobile application gallery for the Bangladeshi customers yesterday. The Chinese telecom giant is now working to build a mobile application ecosystem with the help of the secured and reliable App Gallery, officials of Huawei said at the launch of the Gallery at the Westin Dhaka. As part of the effort, over 55,000 apps have been added to the App Gallery where a good number of Bangladeshi apps have also been uploaded, they said. More than 1.3 million developers and 3,000 engineers are working relentlessly with Huawei for the affluence of the entire ecosystem, Huawei said. Among the world's top three app marketplaces, Huawei currently has 400 million monthly active users in 170 countries. Besides, Huawei App Gallery is now pre-installed in more than 3 million Huawei and Honor brand handsets in Bangladesh. There are more than 400,000 active users of App Gallery in the country. Bangladesh is one of Huawei's high priority market in this region and that is why it is planning to give some incentive for local app developers, the officials also said. At the event, Huawei also unveiled its flagship smartphone Mate 30 Pro for the Bangladeshi market. The phone will run by Huawei's own operating system. Beyond Zheng, director of Huawei consumer business group of Bangladesh, and Junior Salahuddin Sanjee, sales director, described their products and app gallery in the event. https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/huawei-launches-app-gallery-bangladesh-1875103
  12. Purbachal set to get a comprehensive commercial township An imaginary projection of Purbachal comprehensive commercial township area. Dhaka, Oct 4 (UNB) – To cater to the growing demand for business spaces, a sprawling comprehensive commercial township is going to be developed in Purbachal new city area spending $8 billion. According to sources at Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) and the developer company, the commercial township named ‘Central Business District’ (CBD) will be constructed on over 100 acres of land in the next seven years. It will have a total of 41 skyscrapers, including a 465-metre tall 96-storey iconic Legacy Tower, 71-storey Liberty Tower and 52-storey Language Tower to accommodate business houses in a total space of about 38.441 million square feet (sft). Of the other 38 skyscrapers, each will have a height equivalent to a 40-storey building, the sources said, adding that a large convention centre was also included in the development plan. “We’ve already submitted our plan to Rajuk for its approval. Once approved, we’ll move to commence development work on the CBD by March 2020,” Syed Qamrul Islam, Chief Operating Officer and Director (Operations) of Consortium of PowerPac Holdings and Kajima Corporation, the developer of the area, told UNB. The consortium, a joint-venture of Bangladeshi firm PowerPac and Japanese firm Kajima, got the allotment of a total of 114 acres of land in Sector-19 of Purbachal New Township Project from Rajuk, the development authority of capital Dhaka, to build the new commercial hub through an open auction in 2018. The sources said PowerPac will work as the lead sponsor of the project while Kajima extend its support as a technical partner. They said the PowerPac-Kajima consortium has already paid Tk 317.63 crore to Rajuk in advance, 10 percent of the total land price, as per a condition of the auction. Soon after receiving the allotment of the project, PowerPac officials said, they signed a contract with Chinese firm -- Power China International Group Ltd -- to appoint it as the construction contractor while world’s 7th largest architect company South Korean Heerim Architect and Planners Co Ltd was engaged as the project architect. French firm Archetype Construction Holdings Ltd was engaged for construction and project management while Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) for soil test mobilisation and Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) for traffic impact assessment (TIA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA), they said. PowerPac also appointed Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), India for the project’s feasibility study to ascertain its commercial viability. According to the sources, Rajuk convened a high-level coordination meeting last week on the project’s development plan submitted by PowerPac-Kajima consortium to review the overall progress of the project. Representatives from PowerPac-Kajima, Heerim Architect and Price Waterhouse Cooper were present at the meeting in addition to top Rajuk officials. At the meeting, the international expert team members of the PowerPac-Kajima consortium made a presentation on the master plan, building layout design, latest earthquake prevention technology and smart-green city concept. They informed the meeting that South Korean renowned architecture firm-Heerim- has been working at the site since October 2018. At the meeting, the Rajuk chairman informed that eminent professor Dr Jamilur Reza Chowdhury has been urged to give his expert opinions as Rajuk has no expert to oversee the mega development plan of the business city with so many skyscrapers. PowerPac officials expressed the hope that the Central Business District will play a vital role in meeting the growing demand for commercial spaces in Dhaka city where many business houses are operating in residential areas due to inadequate commercial spaces with necessary facilities. They said the Purbachal CBD will have open spaces of 57 acres while additional green area will be of 12.50 acres. It will have office spaces of 12.99 million sft in 20 towers while there will be 3,858 residential units as well in 15 towers. There will be a space for parking of 40,000 vehicles in the project, said the PowerPac officials. https://unb.com.bd/category/Special/purbachal-set-to-get-a-comprehensive-commercial-township/29579
  13. ROS: Walton's own OS for TVs , 3 ministers to launch it on Mar 1 Bangladeshi electronic giant Walton has developed its own operating system for televisions making a breakthrough in the country's television production sector. The newly built OS named ROS (Rezvi Operating System), is being used in all Walton basic TVs. This OS has boosted the quality of Walton TVs and make them faster. Sources said, Walton has the largest TV research and development (R&D) division in the country where young engineers and designers are working persistently. The operating system, the first in the country, is developed as a result of their relentless research. Walton authorities said that Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar and Information and Communication Technology Division's State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak are set to visit Walton's state-of-the-art factory at Chandra in Gazipur on March 1, 2020. They will officially inaugurate the 'ROS' on that day, said a press release. Walton TV's CEO Engineer Mostafa Nahid Hossain said that ROS is a complete operating system for television. It has been developed as per the needs of the people of the country. As a result, the TV will work faster. Changing from one channel to another will take less time than before. Besides, the pictures of the TVs will be livelier. The quality of the sound will be improved and stronger than ever. Sajedur Rahman, deputy director of R&D division of Walton TV, said that “the ROS has already been used experimentally on Walton's basic LED television. We are getting positive response from customers. The OS will also be used on Walton's smart televisions soon”. He said that in addition to ROS, Walton has recently released Bangla Voice Control Smart TV in the market. Walton's smart TV with 'Android 7' operating system has English and Hindi language selection options in addition to Bangla. As a result, TV users will no longer have to type using remote button to find any content in Bangla either on YouTube or in the browser. This technology is also Walton's own invention. Currently Walton is producing and marketing basic and smart TVs from 610 millimeters to 1.397 meters with HD, full HD and 4K resolutions. The prices of these TVs range from BDT 10,800 to BDT 99, 900. Walton is providing exchange facilities and scope of getting up to BDT 5 lakh cash back with sure cash vouchers for TV customers. Up to 4 years guarantee on LED and smart TV panels of 32 or higher sizes with six months replacement facilities are available for Walton TVs. https://www.unb.com.bd/category/Business/ros-waltons-own-os-for-tvs-3-ministers-to-launch-it-on-mar-1/45397
  14. 'realme' officially to launch in Bangladesh realme, a sub-brand founded by OPPO, kick-started its operation in May 2018, will enter the Bangladesh market officially now. Prior to that, it was imported by dealers and was sold to the local market. Now the sales and service of the brand will be overtaken by the brand itself as it's opening offices in Dhaka. Last year has been quite eventful for realme as it rapidly made its presence prominent in 22 markets around the world. In a press release issued by realme, the company proudly boasted about how it has gradually completed the overall layout of the global strategic market by entering the 'Top 5 ranking of mobile brands' in multiple markets. The press release also states that the global users of realme have exceeded 25 million with a year-on-year increase by over 500%. The brand made headlines when it launched the 'realme X50 5G' smartphone. Through this device, the company officially entered the 5G era and plans to bring out more 5G devices for the market. https://www.thedailystar.net/bytes/tech-happening/news/realme-officially-launch-bangladesh-1870201
  15. 2nd perspective plan 2021-2041: Extreme poverty to be 0.68%, GDP 9.9% By 2031, it aims to bring down the extreme poverty rate to 2.55%, and increase the GDP growth to 9% The government has set targets to bring down the extreme poverty rate to 0.68%, and increase the gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 9.9% by 2041. By 2031, it aims to bring down the extreme poverty rate to 2.55%, and increase the GDP growth to 9%. The projections incorporated in “Bangladesh’s 2nd Perspective Plan 2021-2041,” was approved on Tuesday. The plan envisages the target to become a developed country by 2041. Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the National Economic Council (NEC) approved the country’s second perspective plan to turn Bangladesh as a higher middle-income country by 2031 and a higher income and developed country by 2041. For graduating the country to higher income status, the government has put emphasis on sustainable electricity and energy, while for rapid and continued growth it also stresses development of roads and transport and infrastructure. After the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan briefed the media on the document for the next 20 years, a pathway to become a developed country. The document is based on four pillars — governance, democratization, decentralization and capacity building. “The document is framed and approved to alleviate poverty, strengthen good governance further and transform Bangladesh into a modern and world-standard digital country,” said Mannan. As per the Bangladesh’s 2nd Perspective Plan 2021-2041, the extreme poverty rate in the country was expected to reduce to 2.55% in 2031 from 9.38% in 2020 (base year), while it was expected to come down further to 0.68% in 2041, the minister said. On the other hand, Mannan said the government set target to attain 9% GDP growth by 2031 while it would further expect to grow at 9.9% in 2041. The base year is 2020. In the last fiscal year, Bangladesh attained 8.15%, while in the current budget for fiscal year 2019-20, the government set target to attain 8.20% GDP. According to the second perspective plan, the country’s per capita income on current price would stand at $12,500 by 2041. In addition, moderate poverty rate is projected to come down to 7% in 2031 and to 3% in 2041. The plan also set target to reduce the income inequality to 2.80%, 2.75% and 2.70% by 2025, 2031 and 2041 respectively. To take the advantage of demographic dividend and develop human resource through quality education, the government in the plan set target to provide free education for all aged up to 12 years, 100% literacy, low cost health insurance and treatment facility for all. Meanwhile, to cope up with the global changes in the information technology, the meeting focused Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and ICT, skills development, while attention has been given to agriculture, rural poverty eradication, education and researches, and tourism infrastructures. General Economics Division (GED) member of the Planning Commission Dr Shamsul Alam said the Perspective Plan was a historic and dream document for the country as it gave a guideline about what would be the socio-economic position of the country over the next 20 years. As per the 2nd Perspective Plan, the inflation rate will come down to 4.51% by 2031 and 3.96% by 2041, while the country’s export earnings to increase to $150 billion by 2031 and $300 billion by 2041. https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2020/02/25/2nd-perspective-plan-2021-2041-extreme-poverty-to-be-0-68-gdp-9-9
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