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Bangladesh, Myanmar at odds over deadly borderclash

Reuters, Dhaka, June 1: Bangladesh has lodged a protest with Myanmar over what it called an unprovoked attack against its border guards by Myanmar security forces on May 30, following an earlier exchange of fire in which one Bangladeshi guard was killed.

Myanmar has given a different version of events and has warned Bangladesh it will not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty or territory.

Major General Aziz Ahmed, head of Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), told reporters on Saturday that a body handed over by the Myanmar side was that of guard Mizanur Rahman, 43, who had gone missing on May 28.

In a statement on Saturday, the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry said it had called in Myanmars ambassador to protest at an unprovoked eruption of gunfire from the Myanmar border force on May 30.

The Myanmar Ambassador was told that a BGB team was waiting near border pillar no. 52 for identification of the dead body which was proposed by the Myanmar side. However, to the complete surprise of the BGB, Myanmar border forces suddenly started firing on the waiting BGB team without any provocation, it said.

Myanmars Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the first incident on May 28 involved Myanmar troops and two suspected armed Bengalis in yellow camouflage uniform who entered into Myanmar territory in Maungdaw Township. One was killed and the other fled into Bangladesh, it said.

Many in Myanmar, including government officials, use the term Bengali to refer to Rohingya people, hundreds of thousands of whom live in the northwestern state of Rakhine.

They are seen by Myanmar as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. They are denied citizenship and increasingly live in segregated camps after outbreaks of communal violence over the past two years.

There was no BGB team patrolling along the border on that day, as claimed by the Bangladesh side, Myanmars Foreign Ministry said. It denied that Myanmar troops opened fire on any BGB members and said the clothing worn by the man who was killed did not match the BGB uniform.

On the May 30 incident, it said Myanmar had asked the BGB to fetch the dead body at the Boundary Pillar 52 where the exchange of fire had occurred. The allegation that the Myanmar side started to fire was far from the reality, it added.

Bangladeshs statement noted a reported deployment of Myanmar forces along the border and said that violated a 1980 agreement, so the forces should be withdrawn.

It added that Myanmar should not allow any action that may affect the friendly bilateral relations between the two.

For its part, Myanmar said it would resort to diplomatic means to solve problems peacefully in view of existing bilateral friendly relations and good neighborliness.

Earn Online

Alarm over antibiotics

The countrys rural population is exposed to serious health hazards, particularly liver and kidney damage, because of indiscriminate taking of antibiotics, a study finds. A nexus between drug companies and a section of physicians is mainly behind the irrational use of antibiotics. Patients negligence too is to be blamed, according to the findings. Citing the study, Kumar Bishwajit Sutradhar, senior lecturer of pharmacy at Stamford University in Dhaka, said drug companies bribe a section of physicians both in cash and kind. “And the result is prescriptions of inappropriate or unnecessary and expensive drugs.” Sutradhar and others conducted the study among 6,000 patients and 580 physicians, village doctors and pharmacists in rural areas of(Read more on The Daily Star)

40pc food poisonous

Banned pesticides that cause serious health hazards have been found in fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products and dry fish, according to a FAO-sponsored test at a government laboratory. The presence of toxic substances in the food samples was three to 20 times the limits set by the European Union, show test results of(Read more on The Daily Star)

HC rules on suspension of BASIC Bankofficials

The High Court yesterday instructed the authorities to explain in four weeks why the suspension of five officials of BASIC Bank should not be declared illegal. It stayed the authorities action suspending the facilities and privileges of the officials. Bangladesh Bank, the finance ministry and BASIC Bank are respondents to the rule. Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice AKM Shahidul Huq passed the order after hearing separate petitions. The petitioners are: Deputy Managing Director Monaem Khan, and General Managers Zainul Abedin Choudhury, Kh(Read more on The Daily Star)

Hasina holds meeting at Mujib’stable

The prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday held a meeting with officials of the defence ministry on a table that was used by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman when he was the prime minister and the president of the country.
The Ministry of Defence, which was the office of the then head of the government, is just beside Ganabhaban, the official residence of the prime minister.
The table used for Sunday’s meeting was also used for cabinet meetings during Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s tenure after January 12, 1972.
At the outset of the meeting, defence secretary Kazi Habibul Awal informed that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, after independence, had his office in the present defence ministry building as the prime minister and the president and held cabinet meetings there.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s eldest daughter Sheikh Hasina delivered her speech today in the conference room of the defence ministry where cabinet meetings were held during the period of Sheikh Mujib government. (Read more on New Age)

Lawyer requests NBR to unfreeze Khaleda’s bankaccounts

The lawyer of the BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, met the National Board of Revenue chairman, Ghulam Hussain, on Sunday to request the board to unfreeze her bank accounts.
‘The NBR chairman assured me that the board would soon seek opinion of the finance and law ministries on the issue as it was political and highly sensitive,’ Khaleda’s lawyer Ahmed Azam Khan told New Age after the meeting.
Azam, also the BNP chairperson’s advisory council member, said that her bank accounts had been frozen for more than six years and a half despite requests were made so that they could be unfrozen.
‘I again requested the board to unfreeze the bank accounts as there are no cases related to tax evasion against Khaleda,’ he said adding that keeping her accounts frozen was illegal and against the constitution.
He said that the BNP chairperson had applied for her eight bank accounts to be unfrozen in early 2011 but she had received no response as yet. There is no legal bar on unfreezing the accounts, he said.
Revenue board officials said that the board was positively considering the issue of unfreezing the bank accounts.
But they cannot make any decision without a political decision of the government, they said.
A few days ago, the board sent details of the accounts to the financial ministry of finance complying with its order, they said.
In 2007, the central intelligence cell of the revenue board froze bank accounts of the both Khaleda and the Awami League president, Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister.
The board later unfroze bank accounts of Hasina after she ha so requested in writing. (Read more on New Age)

MERS kills a Bangladeshi in SaudiArabia

A Bangladeshi expatriate woman, aged about 40, died from the MERS coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, according to a report published in Arab News on Sunday.
The identity of the deceased could not be known immediately.
The newspaper reported that the Saudi health ministry on Saturday announced seven new deaths from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, taking the death toll to 94.
Referring to a statement, the report said that 24 new cases of MERS were detected in the Kingdom, bringing the total to 323 since the virus first emerged there in September 2012.
Among the five who died were two elderly Palestinians and a Bangladeshi woman in her 40s, the statement said. The two other victims were Saudis. (Read more on New Age)

N’ganj councillor, 4 othersabducted

A group of armed people passing themselves off as lawmen abducted panel mayor of Narayanganj, three of his associates and their driver just after had he come out of court in the district on Sunday.
Witnesses and the police said that the group had abducted the panel mayor Nazrul Islam, also the Ward 2 councillor, three of his associate and the driver of the car they were in about 2:30pm. The group also took away the car.
The superintendent of police, Syed Nurul Islam, brushed aside the allegations that law enforcers had been involved.
ATM Habibur Rahman, director of legal and media wing of the Rapid Action Battalion, also set aside allegations of the battalion’s involvement in the abduction. He said that they were trying to rescue the abducted people.
The police at night said that they had found the car left abandoned without the registration plate at Hotapara in Gazipur.
As the news spread, his supporters took to the streets and blocked the Dhaka–Narayanganj Highway at Signboard. They rallied there by starting fire with tyres.
Witnesses said that the abductors in two microbuses stopped the car carrying Nazrul Islam and his people in front of Shibu Market and dragged him into a microbus at gun point.
Nazrul’s wife Selina Islam alleged that people of Ward 4 coucnillor Noor Hossain had been behind the abduction. Selina said that her husband had been staying in Dhaka for a month after rivalry developed with Nur.
Nazrul was going back to Dhaka in his car with his three associates Tajul, Swapan and Liton.
Local people said that Nazrul, a former activist of local AL lawmaker Shamim Osman, was accused in 12 cases, including four related to murder.
After being elected ward councillor, Nazrul left Shamim’s side and had become close to the city unit Awami League convener Anwar Hossain.
Nazrul had longstanding enmity with Noor Hossain over garment waste trade and other financial matters.
No case was lodged till 7:30pm. The Fatulla police officer-in-charge, Akter Hossain, said that the filing of a case was under way.
A senior lawyer of Narayanganj, meanwhile, also went missing on Sunday. Shakhawat Hossain, president of the district bar association, told New Age that a senior member of the association, Chandan Kumar Sarkar, had gone missing about the same time.
Law and order in Narayanganj worsened alarmingly in recent months after the 10th national elections as incidents of murder, abduction and recovery of bodies increased. (Read more on New Age)

Teacher sent to jail on rapecharge

A high school teacher alleged to have raped a girl student was sent tot jail after he had been captured by a mob, beaten up, handed over to the polic and produced in court in Chittagong.
Local people captured Russell Kabir, 40, a teacher at Chattagram Tap Bidyut Uchcha Vidyalaya at Raujan in Chittagong, from Pahartoli near the school on allegations levelled by many of his students, witnesses said.
They beat him up, shaved portion of the head and paraded him, with a garland a shoes around his neck, down the roads in the locality.
The locals then handed Russell, a native of Jhalakati, over to the police. The police seized his laptops which had clips of his being intimate with his students.
They said that Russell would force girl students to have sex with him in his house where he runs a coaching centre, take video and use the video to blackmail the girls.
He joined the school in 2009. His wife is also a teacher of the school.
The Raujan police officer-in-charge, Pradip Kumar Das, said that Russell during interrogation had admitted to raping his girl students. A case was filed against him under the Repression on Women and Children (Prevention) Act.
He said that Russell’s computer had been seized as evidence of his misdeeds.
The chief engineer at the Chittagong Thermal Power Plant, Swapan Kanti Chakrabarty, suspended Russell from the job.
Viqarunnisa Noon School and College teacher Parimal Jaydhar was arrested on charge of raping his student in 2011. The case is still pending in court. (Read more on New Age)

Guchchhagram teams visit Myanmar, Sri Lanka inMay

Two land ministry teams, one led by the land minister and the other by the state minister for land, will visit Myanmar and Sri Lanka in May to gather knowledge for a project the tenure of which will expire in a month after the visits.
The visits have been planned under the Guchchhagram, or cluster village, project that began in January 2009 and would expire in June.
The team led by the minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif, having 13 land ministry officials will visit Myanmar in May 1–11 and the team led by the state minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury, having 12 land officials, will visit Sri Lanka in May 20–30.
A project official told New Age that the project officials already had three foreign visits but there had been no reflection of the ‘so-called experience’ gathered from the visits on the project work.
He said that there was no need for any foreign visits for the project under which permanent shelters would be built for the homeless and the landless on government land and the local concept and technology were enough for the job.
Approached for comments, the national director of the project, Siraj Uddin Ahamed, told New Age that they had an allocation of about Tk 3 crore for the total project. Of the amount, Tk 1.87 crore had been set aside for four foreign visits.
‘We have already had visits to the Philippines, India, Cambodia, Thailand and China. The visits next month, costing about Tk 75 lakh, will be the last,’ he said.
As for outcome of the last foreign visits just a month before the project tenure expires, Siraj said that experience and knowledge gathered from visits to Myanmar and Sri Lanka would be used if the project was extended or another similar project was taken up.
He, however, stressed the need for strong coordination among the ministries concerned in applying experience and knowledge gathered from such visits.
‘In the Philippines, we found that different ministries work together to give all sorts of facilities to the villages set up for the landless and the homeless. But we are yet to apply such knowledge to our project,’ the director said.
The minister Shamsur Rahman told New Age in the past week that members of the two teams during their visits would gather knowledge about how Myanmar and Sri Lanka were implementing rehabilitation programmes for climate victims and the landless. (Read more on New Age)

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