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  1. 12:00 AM, January 10, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:32 AM, January 10, 2021 Bangladesh gets its first fully-automated dairy farm Kongkon Karmaker As the cowsheds were designed using a Swedish model, the animals feel more comfortable in these sheds. Photo: Star Eon Group has established the country's first automated dairy farm in a village of Badarganj upazila in Rangpur. The state-of-the-art facility will mainly produce pasteurised milk alongside other milk-based products such as ghee, curd and ice cream. Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim inaugurated the farm as chief guest yesterday. He expressed deep satisfaction over the facility, which will retail products under a Barakah brand. The dairy farm was built on 50 acres of land in Shantoshpur village at the end of 2019. The same year, Eon Group imported 225 pregnant Holstein Friesian cows from Australia which are now being reared at the farm. The cows started producing milk in December last year. During a visit to the site on Saturday, this correspondent found the cows in several large sheds separated by gender and age. A milk processing plant was also installed at the farm, which employs 45 people. Dr AKM Serajul Haq, an adviser to the farm, said all aspects of the facility were fully automated, from preparing the fodder to packaging the milk. "We are not using our hands at all in the process. The control machine runs all the steps for producing safe milk while cutting expenses," he said. Besides, IOT sensors have been set up on every cow to monitor their health, food intake, application of drugs and breeding as well. The cowsheds were designed using a Swedish model. "Cows feels more comfortable in these sheds and if they are comfortable, milk production will be high," Haq added. A dairy farm expert from the Netherlands was also appointed. The farm's processing unit can separate the harmful antibiotics and aflatoxin from the milk, which will be available in 500ml and 1,000ml packs in the market. "We are going to produce other milk-oriented products, sans milk powder, which will be marketed soon," he said. At present, the company's daily production target is around 2,000 litres. However, they have been working on a plan to produce 10,000 litres of milk per day. Momin Ud Dowlah, chief executive officer of Eon Group, termed it a revolutionary step in dairy farming. Around Tk, 4,000 crores are spent each year to import milk, especially the powdered one. If entrepreneurs across the country come forward, Bangladesh will be a milk exporting country and it is possible to earn huge profits from just this sector, he added. In the last couple of years, annual milk production has gone up 10 times in the country. There are 15,00,000 dairy farms across the country. Of them, just six were of a large scale, said Abdul Jabbar Sikdar, director-general of the Department of Livestock Services. "Per capita milk consumption in the country rose to 175ml, around 4.5ml higher. Such a farm of a high scale would create an opportunity for locals," he added. Rownak Mahmud, secretary to the ministry, as a special guest, urged all ministry officials in the region to extend their support for the sector. https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/bangladesh-gets-its-first-fully-automated-dairy-farm-2025157
  2. Myanmar navy’s quick march Mohammad Abdur Razzak | Published: 00:00, Jan 04,2021 Myanmar’s commander-in-chief senior general Min Aung Hlaing, left, talks with military officers during the welcoming ceremony for new warships and a submarine to mark the Myanmar navy’s 73rd anniversary at the Irrawaddy Naval Region Command headquarters in Yangon on December 24, 2020. — Agence France-Presse/STR THE Myanmar navy celebrated its 73rd anniversary on December 24, 2020 with the commissioning of its first-ever submarine, two 63-metre ASW corvettes, one 49-metre stealth FAC, one 56-metre LCU and two sea going tugs. In the army-ruled country, the navy has held the back seat in development priorities for decades dating back to 2000s. Its principal roles were riverine duties in support of the army’s counter-insurgency operations. In the 1990s, a couple of Chinese Hainan Class Fast Attack Craft (Gun) were principal combatants in the inventory. The modernisation of the navy started at a slow pace with the commissioning of a locally built 77-metre corvette Anwaratha in 2001, followed by Bayingtnaung in 2003. But a surge in naval expansion is observed between 2010 and 2020. In this period, Myanmar’s navy acquired a range of surface, subsurface and aerial platforms and equipment. The fleet is still expanding. There are couple of ongoing ship-building programmes, including one 135-metre (4,000) tonnes frigate with the vertical missile launch system. According to a post on a Facebook page on by Myanmar Defence Review on December 25, 2020, ‘The intense showdown with the rival Bangladesh Navy in 2008 resulted in the rapid expansion of Myanmar Navy…. In 2010 Myanmar Navy had only two 77-metre corvettes which were not armed with AShM missiles [anti-ship missile], 6 Houxin class FACs (missile) and some smaller FACs (Gun) and patrol crafts. Simply it was no match for BN which had 4 frigates including a missile frigate BNS Osman. However soon after that incident, Myanmar Navy started naval enlargement initiative…. Although the Navy modernization programme are far from over, the naval balance of power is gradually shifting towards Myanmar.” It is true that there was a problem at sea in 2008 between the two neighbours — Bangladesh and Myanmar. The trouble began when Myanmar brought in a drilling rig in the area reportedly claimed by both Bangladesh and Myanmar. Both the navies showed up their presence. The problem resolved peacefully not because of the presence of navies but subtle diplomacy by Bangladesh. After a quiet disengagement from the standoff, the Bangladesh government took the peaceful path for an amicable settlement of maritime disputes with Myanmar and, also, India. Myanmar’s military government seems to have immediately accelerated the pace of naval enlargement which began in early 2000, presumably, to employ power at sea. Bangladesh’s initiative led to a peaceful settlement of maritime dispute with Myanmar in 2012 and with India in 2014 in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Bangladesh’s initiative once again proved its preference for a peaceful settlement of disputes. In fact, both Myanmar and India should have thanked Bangladesh for helping them to ride the peaceful path to resolve maritime boundary delimitation. Myanmar has its own reasons to modernise and expand the navy. A rapid acquisition of platforms likes Landing Platform Dock, submarine, larger frigate, wider maritime air capability etc, were undertaken seemingly to reshape its naval doctrinal strategy of maintaining presence at sea with an immediate focus on achieving sea denial capability. How chancy is the Bay of Bengal’s maritime security environment? Among the basin countries of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh shares maritime boundary with Myanmar and India, Myanmar with India, and Sri Lanka with India. All these countries have delimited their common maritime boundary. None but India seems to have overseas ambition. While the sea has generally observed calm, there were provoking activities on the land. Incidents in the Bangladesh-Myanmar border were the manifestation of Myanmar junta’s arbitrary provocative action since 1978. Bangladesh has been consistently resolving problems peacefully. A peaceful way to resolve problems is certainly not weakness, but an indicator of the strength of diplomacy, wider international acceptance and the presence of strong back-up supporting political diplomacy. The problem created in the border by evicting Rohingyas from their ancestral land in 2017 was the latest in the series of unilateral provocative action beginning in 1978. The eviction of Rohingyas in 2017 was accompanied with deliberate, inciting military activities in the border. A military with the power of an overriding say on security affairs over the civilian government is unpredictable. Nevertheless, despite all odds and unwarranted stories of the past, there are good reasons to view Myanmar’s naval development with positivity. A capable and responsible navy complements a peaceful environment at sea. Mohammad Abdur Razzak is a retired commodore. http://www.newagebd.net/article/126158/myanmar-navys-quick-march
  3. 25 December, 2020 10:21:55 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 December, 2020 11:00:39 AM NLFT hostages return home with Bangladesh supports: Officials BSS, Dhaka Three Indian nationals returned safely at their home in Tripura nearly two weeks after separatist National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) operatives reportedly abducted them with officials and media reports saying Bangladesh's security forces actions largely contributed to the rescue campaign. Bangladeshi security officials familiar with the development said their stringent vigil debarred the NLFT operatives to use Bangladesh territories as abductors makeshift hideout to keep the hostages, who eventually returned safely in Tripura state two days ago. "We constantly keep a watch so no foreign insurgent or terrorist groups could use our (Bangladesh) territory," a security official said today, preferring anonymity. Media reports in India's Tripura acknowledged as well Bangladesh supports in their rescue as part of Dhaka's determination not to let any foreign terrorist or insurgent group use the country's soil. "The three abducted (Indian) construction workers . . . have reached the Dipipara BSF outpost," the Jagorron Tripura online portal reported. According to the reports, the abductors were forced to set the hostages free finding no scope to hide them in frontier areas due to the stringent security vigil by Bangladeshi border guards and security agencies. NILF is a separatist outfit that seeks Tripura's independence from India and despite a peace agreement with Indian authorities a faction of the group remained operational. http://www.theindependentbd.com/post/257631
  4. 14 December, 2020 03:28:21 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 December, 2020 03:29:53 PM Another ‘wartime bomb’ found at Shahjalal International Airport UNB, Dhaka Another 250 kg bomb, believed to be dropped during the Liberation War in 19 71, was found at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Monday. The airport authorities found the bomb 10 feet under the soil during the construction work of the third terminal of the airport around 8:35 am, said a press release of ISPR. Later, a bomb disposal unit went to the spot and defused it. The bomb was removed to a safe place maintaining necessary measures. However, the authorities concerned suspected that the bomb was dropped during the Liberation War of 1971. Earlier, on December 9, a 250kg bomb was found at the Airport during the construction work. Workers saw the cylinder-like bomb while digging for the third terminal. Construction work on the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) began in late December after months of delay. The work was originally scheduled to start in April last year and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) had planned to finish it by April 2021. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the expansion project on October 24, 2017 at a possible cost of Tk 13,610.46 crore. Later, it was revised to around Tk21,399.06 crore. Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) is financing the construction work. Four companies, including NIPPON KOEI, Oriental Consultant Global, CPG Consultants of Singapore and Design Consultants Limited of Bangladesh, were jointly appointed as consultants for the construction project on June 11, 2017. But the consulting firms could not start work in time. The expenditure for the consulting firm has been estimated at Tk 570.79 crore. http://www.theindependentbd.com/post/257222
  5. মাতারবাড়ী বিদ্যুৎ কেন্দ্রের নিরাপত্তা নিশ্চিতে যৌথ মহড়া সিনিয়র করেসপন্ডেন্ট | বাংলানিউজটোয়েন্টিফোর.কম আপডেট: ১৯১১ ঘণ্টা, ডিসেম্বর ১৩, ২০২০ মাতারবাড়ী বিদ্যুৎ কেন্দ্রের নিরাপত্তা নিশ্চিতে যৌথ মহড়া ঢাকা: কক্সবাজার জেলার মহেশখালী উপজেলায় মাতারবাড়ী ১২’শ মেগাওয়াট কয়লাভিত্তিক বিদ্যুৎ কেন্দ্রে নিয়োজিত দেশি-বিদেশি ব্যক্তিদের নিরাপত্তা নিশ্চিতে সশস্ত্র বাহিনী ও সংশ্লিষ্ট প্রতিষ্ঠানের সদস্যরা যৌথ মহড়া করেছেন। সেনাবাহিনীর তত্ত্ববধানে এই যৌথ অনুশীলন অনুষ্ঠিত হয়। রোববার (১৩ ডিসেম্বর) আন্তঃবাহিনী জনসংযোগ পরিদপ্তরের (আইএসপিআর) সহকারী পরিচালক রাশেদুল আলম খান স্বাক্ষরিত এক সংবাদ বিজ্ঞপ্তিতে এ তথ্য জানানো হয়। বিজ্ঞপ্তিতে বলা হয়, মাতারবাড়ী ১২০০ মেগাওয়াট কয়লাভিত্তিক বিদ্যুৎ কেন্দ্রে নিয়োজিত দেশি-বিদেশি ব্যক্তিদের মধ্যে বিদ্যমান নিরাপত্তা ব্যবস্থার ওপর আস্থা তৈরি, নিজস্ব পূর্ব প্রস্তুতি ও নিরাপত্তা ব্যবস্থা বাস্তবায়নের লক্ষ্যে বাংলাদেশ সেনাবাহিনীর তত্ত্বাবধানে সশস্ত্র বাহিনী ও সংশ্লিষ্ট প্রতিষ্ঠানের সদস্য কর্তৃক একটি যৌথ অনুশীলন অনুষ্ঠিত হয়েছে। অনুশীলনে সেনাবাহিনীর পাশাপাশি নৌ বাহিনী, বিমান বাহিনী, কোস্ট গার্ড, পুলিশ, আনসার, ফায়ার সার্ভিসসহ বিভিন্ন গোয়েন্দা সংস্থার প্রতিনিধিরা অংশ নেন। সেনাসদরের সার্বিক তত্ত্বাবধানে ১০ পদাতিক ডিভিশন এ অনুশীলনের আয়োজন করে। অনুষ্ঠানে প্রধান অতিথি হিসেবে উপস্থিত ছিলেন সেনাবাহিনীর ১০ পদাতিক ডিভিশনের জিওসি এবং এরিয়া কমান্ডার, কক্সবাজার এরিয়া মেজর জেনারেল আহমেদ তাবরেজ শামস চৌধুরী। বিজ্ঞপ্তিতে আরও বলা হয়, মাতারবাড়ী বিদ্যুৎ প্রকল্পটি বর্তমান সরকারের একটি মেগা প্রকল্প হিসেবে বিবেচিত। উক্ত প্রকল্পটি কোল পাওয়ার জেনারেশন কোম্পানির ব্যবস্থাপনায় প্রায় ১৬০০ একর জমির উপর নির্মাণাধীন রয়েছে। প্রকল্পটিতে এলাকার স্থানীয় কর্মকর্তা ও কর্মচারী ছাড়াও দেশি-বিদেশি নাগরিক কর্মরত রয়েছেন। যেকোনো অনাকাঙ্খিত পরিস্থিতি যেমন অগ্নি দুর্ঘটনা, শ্রমিক অসন্তোষ, সন্ত্রাসী কার্যক্রম ইত্যাদির ক্ষেত্রে সামগ্রিক নিরাপত্তার স্বার্থে প্রকল্পে নিয়োজিত দেশি-বিদেশি ব্যক্তিদের উদ্ধার, স্থানান্তর করা এবং জরুরি পরিস্থিতিতে প্রকল্প এলাকার নিরাপত্তা নিশ্চিত করার প্রয়োজনীয়তা রয়েছে। এ লক্ষ্যে প্রকল্পের সার্বিক নিরাপত্তা ঝুঁকি বিবেচনা করে সশস্ত্র বাহিনী ও সংশ্লিষ্ট সংস্থাগুলোর পূর্ব প্রস্তুতির অংশ হিসেবে এই যৌথ অনুশীলনের আয়োজন করা হয়। বাংলাদেশ সেনাবাহিনী তথা সশস্ত্র বাহিনী যেকোনো অনাকাঙ্খিত পরিস্থিতিতে মাতারবাড়ী প্রকল্প এবং এর সঙ্গে সংশ্লিষ্ট সব দেশি/বিদেশি ব্যক্তির নিরাপত্তা দিতে সবসময় প্রস্তুত। আজকের এই অনুশীলনের মাধ্যমে নিরাপত্তা নিশ্চিতকল্পে প্রকল্পের সঙ্গে সংশ্লিষ্ট সশস্ত্র বাহিনী ও অন্যান্য আইন শৃংখলা রক্ষাকারী বাহিনীর মধ্যে প্রয়োজনীয় সমন্বয় করা হলো, যা ভবিষ্যতেও চলমান থাকবে। সশস্ত্র বাহিনী ও অসামরিক প্রশাসনের ঊর্ধ্বতন কর্মকর্তারা এই যৌথ অনুশীলন প্রত্যক্ষ করেন। https://www.banglanews24.com/national/news/bd/829217.details
  6. 06:08 PM, December 09, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:49 PM, December 09, 2020 250kg bomb found buried in Dhaka airport, possibly from 1971 Star Online Report The 250-kilogram bomb was found buried at the construction site of the third terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka today. Photo: Star A 250-kilogram bomb was found buried at the construction site of the third terminal at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka today. Workers first saw cylinder-like bomb about three metres deep when they were excavating for construction work of the third terminal around 9:00am, said a high official of the security department of the airport. "It is a live bomb and there are explosives inside of it," the official said, wishing to remain anonymous. On information, the bomb disposal unit of the airport rushed to the spot and recovered the bomb. "The 250-kilogram bomb is usually called a 'general purpose' bomb. It might have been dropped there at some point during the Liberation War in 1971," the official said. The bomb was taken to Mymensingh Rasulpur base of Bangladesh Air Force around 2:45pm to deactivate. https://www.thedailystar.net/city/news/old-230kg-bomb-found-buried-dhaka-airport-possibly-1971-2008469
  7. 8 December, 2020 05:24:18 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 December, 2020 08:06:45 PM Fast-growing Bangladesh attracts Turkish entrepreneurs UNB, Dhaka Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan has said his country eyes an increased investment in Bangladesh with a significant jump in bilateral trade volume through product diversification as Bangladesh’s economy is growing fast. “We see a Bangladesh which has a very bright future. Its economy is growing fast like ours. Turkish investors are keen to invest in Bangladesh as it offers attractive incentives for foreign investors,” he told UNB in an interview at his office. Ambassador Turan who came to Bangladesh just before the Covid-19 pandemic said a prominent Turkish company will invest US$ 100 million in LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) sector in Chattogram. “That will be an initial investment.” He said improving trade between the two countries, boosting investment in Bangladesh, enhancing cultural and people-to- people ties are among his priorities during his tenure in Bangladesh. “As an envoy, there’s always a desire to do something more,” Ambassador Turan said, adding that he is lucky to see the positive atmosphere in place created by his predecessors to take forward the relations to a new height. The envoy, who also served in Italy, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Austria, Afghanistan and Belgium, laid emphasis on product diversification to help grow trade between the two countries. “Our economies are growing quite fast. We’re happy that our economic and trade relations are improving. We’re expecting better trade volume between the two countries.” The Turkish envoy said they buy a lot of jute products from Bangladesh and will explore other areas saying the two countries can always diversify their trade. “Bangladesh has a very strong pharmaceutical industry, growing IT industry,” he said adding that agro industries, light engineering, service sector, tourism and health sector are some promising areas of cooperation. The bilateral trade volume between the two countries is now around US$ 1 billion and the Ambassador said there is a scope to increase it further. Ambassador Turan said: “The trade volume between the two countries in the first 10 months of the current year stood at US$754 million and the figure is the same what we had seen in the first 10 months of 2019.” “That’s good news indeed! We kept the same level of trade despite the pandemic where other countries are experiencing a significant drop in their trade volumes. This year, the trade balance is in favour of Bangladesh as Bangladesh is selling a lot of jute products to Turkey,” he pointed out. Main commodities exported to Bangladesh from Turkey are raw materials, agriculture and food products, textile and agriculture machinery and textile chemicals, while Turkey imports jute yarns & twine, jute manufacturers’ knitwear and readymade garments. Talking about Turkish companies’ presence in Bangladesh, the Ambassador said Turkey's leading home appliance manufacturer Arçelik bought majority shares of Singer Bangladesh and made it quite profitable. The Turkish company thinks Singer Bangladesh's business will benefit significantly from the sale as Arçelik is a much larger and financially stronger company with a commitment to, and a worldwide reputation in the home appliance sector. The Ambassador said the Turkish investors are interested to invest in a special economic zone as Bangladesh offers quite attractive incentives for investment. “We’re going to organise a virtual meeting among businesses of the two countries,” Ambassador Turan said. Top executives of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) of Turkey will take part in the discussion to identify areas of cooperation and explore opportunities jointly. Turkish contracting companies are also interested in mega infrastructure projects in Bangladesh. 50 Years of Independence The Turkish Ambassador, who joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey in 1992, highly appreciated Bangladesh’s growth, especially the achievements made over the last 10 years saying 50 years have been quite a significant journey for Bangladesh. “Bangladesh is progressing in a speedy way with an impressive development achieved in the last 10 years under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In the last decade, Bangladesh has become a model for many developing countries,” he said. The Turkish Ambassador said Bangladesh has got a solid foundation given by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and today Bangladesh is a much-respected nation globally. He said Bangladesh’s foreign policy - “friendship to all, malice to none”, is coinciding with Turkey’s foreign policy motto “peace at home, peace in the world.” The Ambassador said Bangladesh is making significant contributions to global peace through its robust engagement with the UN peacekeeping operations. Therefore, it will be a very well-deserved celebration for Bangladesh, its people and the government of Bangladesh, he said. Talking about Turkish presence in the mega celebrations on March 26, the Ambassador said they are looking into how the situation evolves following Covid-19 pandemic. He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while virtually inaugurating the newly-built Bangladesh Embassy complex in Ankara on September 14, invited President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan through Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also handed over the invitation to his Turkish counterpart to visit Bangladesh. “We’ll see how the Covid-19 situation evolves in March next year. We don’t know yet how the situation will be at that time,” the Ambassador said. Ambassador Turan expressed satisfaction over his discussion with a number of ministers in Bangladesh regarding cooperation between the two countries in the coming years. “I am hoping to meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury soon.” Hospital to Be Built Responding to a question, the Turkish Ambassador said Turkey wants to establish a hospital in Bangladesh as it has vast experience in the health sector. He said it is not yet decided whether the hospital will be a specialized one or a general hospital but they plan to build it in Dhaka. “That’s one of the big projects in our mind. We would like to share our experience.” The Ambassador said they want to explore opportunities in medical tourism. “We provide very good health services. That’s why Turkey has become one of the top five destinations for health tourism in the world. Turkey could be another destination for those Bangladeshis who go abroad for better treatment.” He also said Turkey wants to boost cultural exchanges and academic cooperation to help Turkish and Bangladeshi people learn more about each other. “It gives me much pleasure that Turkish TV serials are becoming very popular in Bangladesh,” said Ambassador Turan adding that relations between Turkish and Bengali nations have strong historical and cultural roots dating back before the foundation of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Solidarity amid Covid-19 The Turkish Ambassador appreciated Bangladesh’s efforts in dealing with the Covid-19 situation. “It’s good to see that the situation is under control in Bangladesh. Bangladesh made it possible to deal with the situation in a very efficient way.” He said this is a challenging situation for all the countries due to Covid-19 pandemic and it is time to help each other. “We have to deal with it with solidarity and unity. We remain in solidarity with Bangladesh.” The Turkish envoy said upon instruction from President Erdoğan Turkish Ministry of Health provided five tonnes of medical supplies to Bangladesh including masks, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ventilators. He said Turkey provided medical supplies to 150 countries and Bangladesh is one of those countries. http://www.theindependentbd.com/post/257009
  8. 19 Bangladeshi fishermen rescued in Bay of Bengal United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka | Published: 11:06, Dec 09,2020 Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday rescued 19 Bangladeshi fishermen who were stranded in Indian waters in the Bay of Bengal. The fishermen who started from Cox’s Bazar on November 15, were stranded in the sea as their boat ‘Rana’ developed a technical glitch. They were extremely exhausted and had no food left on board. They were provided with first aid, food and water by the Indian Coast Guard. The fishing boat drifted into Indian EEZ due to breakdown in machinery. Bangladesh Coast Guard requested Indian Coast Guard to make necessary arrangements for taking over the stranded fishing boat along with the crew at the pre-designated location in the vicinity of the international maritime boundary line. The stranded boat is being towed by Coast Guard ship before being handed over to Bangladesh authorities. https://www.newagebd.net/article/123839/19-bangladeshi-fishermen-rescued-in-bay-of-bengal
  9. 12:00 AM, December 09, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:43 AM, December 09, 2020 Myanmar armed forces plagued by corruption Says rights body unveiling leaked documents Unb, Dhaka Justice For Myanmar yesterday published data from Ministry of Defence budget documents, spanning a period from the 2016-17 financial year to 2020-21, exposing the greed and corruption of the Myanmar military cartel, and its international business networks that enable the military's continued criminal conduct. In addition, Justice For Myanmar has published files related to the proposed purchase of two Airbus CASA C-295s, for a total of $38,600,000, and the VIP conversion of an Airbus A319-112, formerly used by Myanmar Airways International (MAI), for $4.8 million. The C-295 proposal involves Airbus certified training and after-sales service. UK-based Swire Group subsidiary HAECO Xiamen is contracted for the A319-112 conversion. Justice For Myanmar, a group of covert activists campaigning for justice and accountability for the people of Myanmar, is calling for an end to military business and for federal democracy and sustainable peace. Budget documents detail large-scale spending without parliamentary oversight and the allocation of funds to procure items from major corporations, including Caterpillar (USA), Alcatel-Lucent (France/Finland), Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Germany) and FANUC (Japan). Data also shows the Myanmar military's failure to disclose the bulk of their business income. The publishers assert this is evidence of wide-scale misappropriation of funds from military businesses at a massive loss for the people of Myanmar. Justice For Myanmar Spokesperson Yadanar Maung said the information exposes the greed and corruption of the Myanmar military cartel, and its international business networks that enable the military's continued criminal conduct. "We call on the Myanmar government and parliament to urgently rein in the Myanmar military's spending until they are fully under civilian control, respect human rights, are held accountable for their crimes and abide by Myanmar and international law. All assets stolen by the Myanmar military must be returned to the people of Myanmar." The documents were also provided to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), an international consortium of investigative journalists, which investigated some of the companies and exposed loopholes in the EU sanctions regulations. The OCCRP confirmed with a Jordanian source familiar with the C-295 deal that Jordan is selling the planes, although the source did not know which country the planes are being sold to. Yadanar Maung said domestic and international businesses that supply the Myanmar military risk aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. If the C-295 purchase goes ahead, they will likely be used to carry troops to ethnic areas, supporting the military's international crimes, Maung said. "We call on the government of Jordan to refrain from selling arms to Myanmar military, including C-295 planes. We call for all businesses to cut ties with the Myanmar military and for foreign governments to sanction military leaders and military-owned companies." Maung said Airbus and their partners must end all direct and indirect ties with the Myanmar military, including training and technical support. "Action is urgently needed to end Myanmar's 70-year long civil war and the people's suffering, and build a federal democracy and sustainable peace." https://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/news/myanmar-armed-forces-plagued-corruption-2008337
  10. $1b green, smart township under Army supervision Singapore’s Raffles Infrastructure Holdings will build the township in the Baunia neighbourhood Courtesy: Trust Green City Singapore's Raffles Infrastructure Holdings Limited has entered a joint venture in Bangladesh as part of a major real estate deal to build a $1 billion township, one of the largest housing projects in Dhaka. The Army Welfare Trust owns the 51.93-acre project land in Baunia designated for the development of an integrated residential town, "Trust Green City", adjacent to Mirpur DOHS and Uttara. More than 5,000 apartments will be built there, each covering 600-4,000 square feet area. "It will be a clean and smart city, just like what you see in Hong Kong and Singapore," said Brig Gen Mahmood Hasan who looks after the planning, development, and construction of the project. The foundation stone will be laid on 30 December. After that, It will take six months to one year to mobilise resources, and another five years to start the handover of the apartments built in zones 2,3 and 4 of Baunia, he added. About 400 bighas of land in Baunia will be divided into five sectors and zones 1 and 5 will be developed for commercial and rehabilitation purposes. Courtesy: Trust Green City Raffles Infrastructure will be responsible for designing, financing, construction, marketing, and maintenance of the Trust Green City, while Cupertino Power Ltd, the Bangladeshi party in the venture, will take care of the business and day-to-day operations. The joint venture will be known as Raffles Infrastructure Development Bangladesh Ltd, with Raffles holding 85% of the company and Cupertino 15%, Raffles said in a filing to the Singapore stock exchange on Tuesday. An agreement on the collaboration was signed on 30 November last. The project value is estimated at about $1 billion (around Tk8,437 crore), according to Raffles Infrastructure. Trust Green City is a state-of-the-art dream project of the Bangladesh Army, "with the noble purpose of creating socio-economic opportunities, as well as building a smart and environmentally-friendly small township conducive to healthy living," the Army Welfare Trust said while signing the deal with Raffles Infrastructure. The local company will help to process applications for various licenses and permits "from the relevant authorities in Bangladesh". Cupertino Power Ltd has expertise in project planning, feasibility studies and setting up "Operations for investors and entrepreneurs from the USA, Singapore and Japan", Raffles said in the stock exchange filing. Eric Choo, chief executive of Raffles Infrastructure, told Singapore-based The Business Times, "Upon completion of this maiden project in Bangladesh, we aim to establish a stronger presence in the region where we are actively exploring more business opportunities." Courtesy: Trust Green City Other projects under Welfare Trust in Baunia The Army Welfare Trust will also develop zone 1 as a commercial area on 145 bighas of land. The commercial zone will have a central business district, an amusement park, a hospital, a hotel and two schools. There will also be condominiums catering to the housing demand of people working within the area. Zone 5, with an area of 100 bighas, will be developed for housing specifically for those who have exchanged land with the Welfare Trust for land development, said Brig Gen Hasan. https://tbsnews.net/bangladesh/infrastructure/1b-green-smart-township-under-army-supervision-making-167374
  11. 6 December, 2020 12:15:35 PM Bangladesh-Myanmar land port on cards Army begins border road construction in CHT DEEPAK ACHARJEE, back from Thanchi, Bandarban As part of ensuring development of the Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT), the government has planned to set up a land port at Ghungdoom of Naikhongchhari in Bandarban on Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Meanwhile, for tackling cross-border terrorism at the borders among Bangladesh Myanmar and India, the government has started construction a 1,036km-long ‘Border Road’ along the three hilly districts — Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban. The 34 BGB officials said that government has constructed an international route named ‘Asian Highway’ from Cox’s Bazar to Ghungdoom border for helping to set up the proposed land port at the border. For the same purpose, the government has planned to construct a railway line to Ghungdoom border for ensuring trade and increasing ‘people to people’ relations between the countries. Commanding Officer (CO) of 34 BGB Lt. Col. Ali Haider Azad told The Independent that it will possible to do legal trading between the neighbours — Bangladesh and Myanmar — if a land port is set up at Ghungdoom area. “Once upon a time, businessmen of both countries were using the frontier for trading, now suspended on security reason after the Rohingya influx to Cox’s Bazar,” he said. “There was a corridor at the Ghungdoom area and a number of bordering people of the countries were moved through the border to meet up their relatives at the countries concerned. After Rohingya influx following the ethnic cleansing by Myanmar army, the authorities also closed the corridor,” he informed. “It will help to raise bilateral relation between the countries after setting a land port in the area,” he said and adding that it will also help to boom tourism sector of the countries also. The BGB officer also informed that the authorities concerned have completed ‘Asian Highway’ in Bangladesh side but the counterpart is yet to start construction of the road in their territory. And that’s why, the delay in set uping the land port is caused, he added. “The port requires construction of a bridge in the Myanmar territory, but they are yet to construct it. Bangladesh had proposed the Myanmar authorities to construct the bridge, but they are taking time to respond to our proposal on the matter,” he noted. “It will facilitate visit to China through Myanmar from Bangladesh once the Asian Highway on Myanmar side is commissioned. Though, still then it depends upon the decision of Myanmar government,” he opined. About the border road, the paramilitary officer said that the security of the border areas would be ensured after construction of the border road though it will take a decade to be complete. Mohammed Daudul Islam, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Bandarban told The Independent that former shipping minister Sajahan Khan had visited the sport of Naikhongchari in 2019 to see the feasibility of land port in the area. “But, no development in this regard is yet to be known,” he said. “It is the matter of the decision of the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar. It would be possible to set up a land port here if the Myanmar authorities are agreed on the matter,” he added. Chairman of Bangladesh Land Port Authority K.M. Tariqul Islam told The Independent that it will be an export oriented land port at the Bangladesh Myanmar border if it is set up at the Ghungdoom area. “We will be able to import essential commodities like wood, fish, dry fish and betel nut from Myanmar. And Bangladesh can export many Bangladeshi products like medicine through the proposed land port,” he said. The land port chairman informed that they will try to discuss the issue in the upcoming bilateral talks at the ministry of foreign affairs which will begin on December 22-24 this year. Commercial attaché of Myanmar embassy in Dhaka will join the talks, he informed. He also informed that there are so many people in the bordering areas of both countries those, who have relatives in the neighbors and frequently they are using the borders now illegally for socializing with their relatives. Meanwhile, the Engineering Construction Battalion (ECB) of Bangladesh Army has started constructing 317km road out of 1036km border road through the three hilly districts of Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban. Of the 317km border road, 40km will be constructed on the Ukhia-Ashartoli-Fooltuli route, 52km on Sajek-Shildah-Betling, 95km on Sajek-Dokanghat-Thegamukh, and 130km on Thegamukh-Loitongpara-Thanchi-Dumdumia-Rajsthali route. Talking to this correspondent, a senior officer of Bangladesh Army said that the three hilly district are sharing 144km of its border with Myanmar and 46km with India. Of the total border areas, about 28km is totally unguarded. “After construction of the border road, it will possible to contain cross-border terrorism by patrolling the porous border in the remote hilly areas,” he said. “It will take 10 years to complete the construction works of the border road,” he added. The construction of the border road will not only expand trade and commerce, develop tourism facilities in hilly areas but also generate local employment in the hills, the officer claimed. In March 2018, The National Economic Council Executive Committee (Ecnec) had approved a plan to build 317km border road in the hills aiming to fight against drug, weapon smuggling, human trafficking, infiltration and to boost trade and tourism. http://www.theindependentbd.com/post/256904
  12. 02:30 PM, December 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:39 PM, December 05, 2020 140-member contingent of Bangladesh Police leaves Dhaka to join peacekeeping mission in Mali Star Online Report Photo: collected A 140-member contingent of Bangladesh Police left Dhaka by a chartered aircraft last night to join a UN peacekeeping mission in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Commander Belal Uddin, a superintendent of police, is leading the 70-member Bangladesh Formed Police Unit (BANFPU-1) seventh rotation while SP Muhammad Abdul Wahab is the commander BANFPU-2 third rotation, having the rest 70 members. Deputy Inspector General (Welfare) Bashir Uddin Ahmed and officials of the UN Affairs Wing saw them off at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, says a press release sent by Sohel Rana, assistant inspector general of Police Headquarters. Police members have been serving in the UN peacekeeping mission in Bamako since 2013, it said, adding another BANFPU has been working in the Gundam area of the Timbuktu region in the Sahara desert in the northern part of Mali since 2017. The press release said the dedicated members of Bangladesh Police have brightened the image of country in the international arena by performing their duties with professionalism, overcoming the adverse weather and inaccessible geographical location. https://www.thedailystar.net/world/news/140-member-contingent-bangladesh-police-leaves-dhaka-join-peacekeeping-mission-mali-2006201
  13. Sheikh Hasina asks BGB to curb smuggling, protect independence United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka | Published: 14:16, Dec 05,2020 Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asked the Border Guard Bangladesh to restrict smuggling apart from protecting the country’s independence and sovereignty. ‘You’ve to love your country, its people and work for people,’ she said. The prime minister said this while virtually attending the course-completion parade of BGB 95th batch from her official residence Ganobhaban. The parade was held at BGB training Centre and College at Satkania, Chattogram. She asked the BGB personnel to discharge their duties and responsibilities adopting mentality of service towards the country and nation. Mentioning that discipline is very important for any force, Sheikh Hasina said, ‘Always remember that discipline is most important for any force.’ Hasina said that the country had been liberated with an ideology in mind and all would have to uphold that. She asked the BGB personnel to carry out the orders of seniors and be fearless in discharging duties, and work having sympathy for juniors. ‘All have to work so that the country can be developed further in the future.’ Hasina asked the newly-recruited BGB personnel to perform the basic four principles of the force — morale, brotherhood, discipline and skill — with sincerity and honesty. She said the Awami League government was continuing its efforts to establish BGB as an international standard and modern border force through its development and modernisation. ‘For that we’ve adopted the Border Guard Bangladesh Vision 2041.’ ‘Recently, we’ve turned BGB as a three-dimensional force. BGB now attains its capacity to discharge its duties in water, land and air,’ she said. She said that the government had taken a plan to recruit more 15,000 manpower in phases. Besides as part of the smart border management ultramodern surveillance equipment, ATV and modern APC, helicopter, vehicle scanner and speedboat has been inducted apart from installing new BOPs and BSPs. Talking about the second wave of COVID-19, she urged all to stay alert about it and follow the health guidelines to stay safe from this deadly disease. She reiterated that the government had made advance payment to get vaccines for coronavirus to protect people from the fatal disease. The prime minister recalled the heroic contributions of the BGB, the then East Pakistan Rifles and Bangladesh Rifles, members towards spreading the proclamation of independence of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 25, 1971 and in the Liberation War. Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan and senior secretary of public security division of home ministry Mostafa Kamal Uddin also spoke virtually at the programme from the Home Ministry. BGB director general Major General Md Shafeenul Islam delivered the welcome speech. The BGB DG handed over various awards on behalf of the prime minister among the trainees for their outstanding performance during the training programme. https://www.newagebd.net/article/123469/sheikh-hasina-asks-bgb-to-curb-smuggling-protect-independence
  14. 19 November, 2020 08:11:16 PM German company inks deal with BEPZA, relocates factory from Poland to Bangladesh Staff Reporter, Dhaka German company UBF Bridal Limited is going to establish a high-end bridal wear manufacturing industry in Adamjee EPZ. The company to this effect signed an agreement with Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) with an investment of US$ 11.87 million, said a press release. According to the statement, UBF Bridal Ltd is relocating their factory from Poland to Bangladesh. The two parties inked the deal on Wednesday by connecting virtually from BEPZA Complex in Dhaka from one end and the Bangladesh Embassy in Berlin, Germany from another. The agreement was signed at Bangladesh Embassy in Germany since the investor was unable to travel Bangladesh physically to sign necessary documents due to corona pandemic. BEPZA set a unique example by signing a lease agreement virtually for the first time with a company to continue the flow of investment in the new global situation caused by the coronavirus, the statement added. It should be mentioned that the UBF Bridal Ltd is relocating their factory from Poland to Bangladesh. Other than bridal wear, the company will produce 27 different types of bridal items, it further said. They will produce six lakh products annually to be exported to different countries including Europe. This factory will create employment opportunity for 113 Bangladeshi nationals. Member (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA Mahmudul Hossain Khan at BEPZA Executive Office, Dhaka and Managing Director of UBF Bridal Limited Adrian Konrad Gaszak at Bangladesh Embassy in Germany inked the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations. Bangladesh Ambassador to Germany Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan congratulated the German investor and assured his all-out support. Commercial Counsellor of Bangladesh Embassy Saiful Islam and Chairman of United Bridal Factory Bartosz Wodecki were present from the Berlin end; and General Manager (Public Relations) Nazma Binte Alamgir and General Manager (Investment Promotion) Tanvir Hossain of BEPZA participated from the Dhaka end during the virtual signing ceremony. http://www.theindependentbd.com/post/256274
  15. 12:00 AM, November 19, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:54 PM, November 19, 2020 GPH Ispat starts billet export to China Staff Correspondent, Ctg Steel manufacturer GPH Ispat started billet export to China yesterday with the first shipment of 25,000 tonnes worth $10.17 million through bulk cargoes. "It is the biggest ever shipment of raw materials for the rod by any Bangladeshi company," said Md Alamgir Kabir, chairman of GPH Ispat. "After fulfilling our country's demand, we are now exporting billets in large volumes." The government has taken several initiatives to give a boost to the sector that can ensure easy access of the entrepreneurs in the global market, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said at the virtual inauguration ceremony as the chief guest. The minister also urged the entrepreneurs of the steel industry to make an effective contribution to the national economy by increasing the production of MS Billet and its export to the world market. The government is trying to give an incentive to the steel entrepreneurs to encourage steel and billet exports, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said. The steel-maker's disclosure came a month after it expanded its annual billet production capacity from 2.1 lakh tonnes in 2018 to more than 10 lakh tonnes this year. The company also increased its rod production capacity from 1.50 lakh tonnes in 2018 to 7.60 lakh tonnes in this year. Having started its journey in 2006, GPH began commercial production in August 2008 with an annual capacity to produce 84,000 tonnes of billet and 120,000 tonnes of rod. Currently, 35 factories of around 400 mills of the sector make billet by importing scrap and scrap ships. Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission Chairman Munshi Shahabuddin Ahmed, Chattogram Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad and Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mahbubul Alam were also present. https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/gph-ispat-starts-billet-export-china-1997349
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