Premier foreign player participation to enhance Bangladesh Premier League

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The Bangladesh Premier League is all set to begin from January 5 and people from across the globe are expected to tune in. This comes after the seven teams participating in the tournament have displayed the weight of their wallets and roped in some mammoths of international cricket.
Reigning champions Rangpur Riders will feature Chris Gayle (West Indies), AB de Villiers (South Africa), and Alex hales (England). Other names include Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik from Pakistan with West Indians Sunil Narine, Carlos Brathwaite, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Sheldon Cottrell, and Evin Lewis.
Talking about the long list of players, Australian players David Warner and Steve Smith will mark their return on the pitch after one year, following the ball tampering scandal. While the former will play for Sylhet Sixers, latter will feature in Comilla Victorians. The two teams will play against each other on Sunday. This edition of BPL also features the return of Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful after a five-year suspension.
David Warner said, “You look at the names in some of the other teams. They are not just here to watch me. I am just excited to be here and be a part of it. At the moment, the BPL is starting against the BBL, at home. After this you have the Pakistan Super League and Indian Premier League. Most players tell me that this is definitely up there with the best.”
The past editions of BPL have showcased a level of competition from its Australian counterpart, The Big Bash League (BBL), and 2019 is no different. Afghan superstar Rashid Khan, New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum, and England’s Josh Butler have elected play BBL instead of BPL. However, Warner’s dressing room will feature AB de Villiers and Sandeep Lamichhane, a Nepalese spinner. Both cricketers have preferred to play the Bangladeshi league.
Reiterating the money involved, salary limit for foreign players is fixed at $200,000. However, most of them have negotiated non draft individual deals, which has no limit. Though winning prize money is $240,000, commercial avenues are expected to yield good returns to every team.
The tournament starts on January 5, 2019 and will have 42 matches in total. Top four teams will qualify for the semis and the final game of this year’s BPL will be held on February 8, 2019. The dates will allow Australian players to return home, if needed for next series practice.

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Bangladesh-Bhutan to sign SOP for trade promotion

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In an attempt to strengthen bilateral trade and daily commercial movement of vehicles, Bangladesh is going to sign a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) with Bhutan. Sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that the opinion of multiple ministries and their divisions was taken into consideration before finalizing on the SOP.
As reported by The Independent, a senior official said that the Royal Government of Bhutan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a draft SOP to its Bangladeshi counterpart for approval. He said, “After receiving the draft SOP, the ministry of foreign affairs sent it to different ministries and divisions for seeking their opinion.”
The official added, “The draft SOP would be signed as per the memorandum of understanding on use of inland waterways for transportation of bilateral trade and transit cargoes between Bangladesh and Bhutan that was signed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Thimphu last year.”
The transportation routes mentioned in the draft SOP include three distinctive ones: Mongla-Kawkhali-Barishal-Chandpur-Mawa, Aricha-Sirajganj-Chilmari-Daikhawa, and Chattogram-Chandpur-Mawa-Aricha-Sirajganj-Chilmari-Saikhawa. The document also includes a possible use of water, rail and road transport, subject to convenience. In order to divide the route load, sea ports like Narayanganj Port etc., will also be used.
According to the SOP, Bangladesh will decide on the fees and charges associated with the use of river port facilities and coastal ports aligned with domestic and international laws. This comes after the draft SOP’s primary objective of enhancing cross country commerce and trade, ensuring efficiency, credibility, accuracy, and transparency.
Samdrup Jongkhar, Gelegphug, Sarpang, Phuentshoking and Samtse in Bhutan and Monglahat, Noonkhawa, Daikhwa, Nakugaon, Haluaghat, Banglabandha, Burimari, Tamabil, Narayanganj, Gobrakurakoraitoli, Mongla seaport and Chattoagram seaport in Bangladesh will be the respective entry and exit points for cargo vessel’s crew members, as mentioned in the draft SOP.
The draft further emphasized that all the crew members on cargo vessels need to carry certain documents for hassle free entry in the contracting countries. This includes an authority reviewed permit with the individual’s photograph, passport/visa or employment certificate, and identity cards issued by concerned authorities of Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Audio leak grills BNP leader on his alleged ISI connection

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Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader and retired army Major Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain is facing sedition charges as an audio leak has surfaced, featuring his alleged ties with Pakistan’s ISI. The audio leak suggests that the BNP leader is planning to sabotage the 2018 General elections, which are set be help on December 30.
The leak is available on YouTube, and is being scrutinized by the common people and the authorities for authenticity. Major Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain says that the leak is fake, but Mohammad Ali Sumon, the chairman of Daudkandi Upazila Parishad, has filed a case against the BNP leader.
In the case, Mohammad Ali Sumon alleges that Mosharraf Hossain is in contact with Mehmood, a Dubai-based ISI operative. Ali has urged the police to take necessary actions and find out more about Hossain’s Pakistani connection.
The police, however, will need approval from the home ministry to proceed. Daudkandi police chief Alamgir Hossain said that they are preparing to send the case to top brass.
Mosharraf Hossain will be contesting the 2018 elections as a BNP candidate for the seats of Comilla-1 and 2. Mohammad Ali Sumon, on the other hand, is the son of Subid Ali Bhuiyan, the Awami League candidate from Comilla-1.
Awami League leaders have long been complaining that the leaders from BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami were ‘hatching a plot’ with the Pakistan intelligence agency. Now they have found the audio clip as evidence.
In the audio, ‘Mosharraf Hossain’ is purportedly saying, “You know we’re really in crisis. I have several cases. And with excuse of one case my passport is seized. I cannot go out of the country. This is my position.”
In another part of the audio file, the man thought to be Mosharraf Hossain is saying, “I am still what you think. But practical connection or communication is impossible for me. To come out, I know that would be fruitful.” He adds, “What I want to mean is I will meet your man here so you can get the message. But now what I like to request you that from your side if you can cooperate with China, that will be useful before the election.”
Television channels are featuring this news round the clock as BNP is thought to be a nationalist party that values the country’s independence fiercely. The shocking revelation will immensely affect BNP in the upcoming elections.

World Bank approves development operation for Bangladesh job sector

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On Thursday, The World Bank approved a $250 million development policy operation in an attempt to help the Bangladeshi government increase the number, quality, and pay scale of jobs. This comes after the disproportionate nature of the country’s economic growth and corresponding employment generation.
Qimiao Fan, Director of World Bank Country for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal said, “Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in accelerating growth and reducing poverty, but the rate of job creation has not kept up with economic growth. Creating more and better jobs is a prerequisite for the country to achieve its vision of upper-middle income status.”
According to The World Bank, the objective of Programmatic Jobs Development Policy Credit is to help Bangladesh establish a stronger policy and institutional structure. This would act instrumental in overcoming the predominant hurdles and consequently, generate better quality jobs for youth and women.
“This will require the economy to create jobs for the 2.2 million youths entering the labor force each year, while attracting more women into the labor market. This program supports reforms to stimulate trade and private sector investment, strengthen social protection for workers and help the vulnerable population access jobs,” added Fan.
The program is expected to target multiple age groups of employment sector in an individual manner. For instance, enhancement of childcare services would promote the essence of participation from mothers while simultaneously encouraging other women. Similarly, skill development and work protection will be the primary targets of the program. The expected ways to achieve this include improvements in labor law, ease of doing business, pensions, and trade facilities.
Thomas Farole, World Bank Lead Economist and Task Team Leader commented, ““This program seeks to increase investments in labor-intensive activities, improve the quality of jobs, strengthen resilience to shocks, and ensure that women, youth, and migrants access job opportunities.”
According to the World Bank, Bangladesh’s IDA program is the largest with $12.2 billion. The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) has to be paid within 30 years, including a half-decade grace.

Japan’s investment prospect in Bangladesh

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On Tuesday, Bangladesh ambassador to Japan Rabab Fatima spoke about the investment and business opportunities in Bangladesh. She highlighted the future prospects to investors and businesspersons of Nagoya while addressing a seminar held at Nagoya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI). Nagoya, apart from being the fourth largest city of the country, is the automobile hub of Japan.
The seminar was organized by the Bangladesh embassy in Tokyo with the objective of increasing awareness among the entrepreneurs of Nagoya regarding the ease of doing business environment of Bangladesh. The event registered more than 80 business representatives of Nagoya as it was organized in collaboration with Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Nagoya Chamber of Commerce, and Nagoya City Office.
Ambassador Fatima highlighted the overall as well as individual growth of Bangladeshi sectors in the last decade and thanked Japan for its support towards the development of Bangladesh. She also shed light on the role and contribution of women in the industrial development along with other factors as the country’s efforts to achieve Vision 2021 and to become a developed country by 2041. Takashi Kawamura, Mayor of Nagoya City welcomed the participants and guests at the seminar supported by Japan-Bangladesh Committee for Commercial and Economic Co-operation (JBCCEC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
Talking about Japan’s involvement in the event, Masumi Okamoto, the representative of JICA explained the company’s projects in Bangladesh and described the current economic conditions. While Tsutomu Hashimoto of Sumitomo Corporation described the company’s business experience in Bangladesh, senior vice president of Bangladesh Honda Pvt Ltd (BHL), Kazuya Hashi elaborated the company’s expansion process in the country. Furthermore, the opportunities, risks, and facilities associated with doing business in Banlgadesh were explained with the help of a presentation given by the representative of JETRO, Dhaka, Taiki Koga.
A short documentary on Bangladesh’s economic advancement was screened during the fifth development and investment seminar organized by the Bangladesh embassy in this year.

Final result of 11th parliamentary elections from Dhaka-1 constituency

Salman F Rahman was spontaneously elected in the 11th parliamentary elections yesterday from Dhaka-1 constituency. He polled 3,04,797 votes from 178 centres while his nearest rival Salma Islam garnered just 38,017 votes from this constituency. Salman F Rahman and Salma Islam are widely considered the main candidates in the election from this constituency. Salma Islam has since withdrawn herself from the election. Salman F Rahman contested the election with the Awami League (AL) symbol of the ‘nouka’ (or ‘boat’), while Salma Islam contested on the ‘motor vehicle’ symbol. After the election, Salman F Rahman said: “The election was fair and neutral in every centre of the country. In Dohar-Nawabganj, the situation was the same.”

Before the election, 23 people were arrested from the area under this constituency for allegedly distributing money to influence voters and instigate violence. Salman F Rahman is a top businessperson who owns the Beximco Group. Salma Islam, a presidium member of the Jatiya Party (JP), is the wife of another top businessman, Nurul Islam Babul of Jamuna Group.

As a local voter of the area said, “Salman F Rahman is a man who can change the fate of the people of Dohar-Nawabganj. We believe he will pay special attention to the people of his constituency.” It is the first berth in Parliament for Salman F Rahman, the private sector adviser to AL chief and outgoing prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

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Bangladesh ups its fashion game with fashion show

Bangladesh is globally renowned for its Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector. Not just the fashion and style, the industry contributes nearly 80% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In December, a fashion show on the 1st floor of Jamuna Future Park celebrated the opening of Rise’s fourth store. Rise is a famous Bangladeshi brand that deals in apparels.
The one-hour event was divided into two parts. While the first featured models wearing traditional inspired long skirts and Punjabi outfits, models in casual wears like denim and t-shirts stole the second half of the show.
Faheem Mosharraf, the 33-year old Chief Executive of Rise said, “ We take streetwear inspirations [from] all over, adding Bangladeshi traditions, Bangladeshi culture, Bangladeshi nationalism, and we integrate [them] into fashion.” Rise sells T-shirts that invigorate the nationalistic spirit among the youth on a level similar to that of their elders. The casuals feature English slogans like “Unity,” “Equality,” “Home is Dhaka” and “Dhaka made me.”
Faheem’s desire to minimize, and remove, the dependency on foreign labels excited him to contribute in every department- materials, design, production, and retail. Bangladeshi apparel sector registered 18.6% rise and corresponding earnings worth $14.18 billion in the July-November period of 2018. With his contributions, it will not be an understatement to say that Faheem Mosharraf is the quintessential example of the industry’s growth

US ambassador Earl R Miller wants to see more economic engagement with Bangladesh

The US ambassador to Bangladesh, Earl R Miller, has said that the USA will prioritize economic engagement as Bangladesh is now a major market with more than 170 million people. He quotes, “I hope to see more American companies engaging in Bangladesh and more Bangladeshi companies engaging in the United States.”
Ambassador Miller made this statement in front of several reporters at a regular luncheon meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham). The event was moderated by AmCham president Nurul Islam.
The ambassador to Bangladesh pointed out the success of US companies and US businesses in Bangladesh. He said, “We can do so much better. So, I look to work with the people of Bangladesh and the government of Bangladesh to bring in more trade delegations, more trade missions and more CEOs.”
He further added, “I’m very encouraged by the first meeting I had with the quality of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh with the quality of the American companies those already here. I want to double this number and triple this number.” Ambassador closed his statement with an enthusiastic ‘Joy Bangla’.
The United States of America has become a primary export destination for the South Asian country. Their two-way trade is valued at more than $7.47 billion per annum. The US envoy expressed his proudness on this arrangement. Currently, the trade is tipped more on Bangladesh’s side, as $6 billion were made last year in favor of Bangladesh.
The trade is predicted to boost even more in the future, keeping in mind that the US exports to Bangladesh were fueled by 100 percent year-on-year increases. The ambassador will remove unnecessary red tape and burdensome procedures that bring about corruption and hinder the trade between the US and Bangladesh.
Ambassador Earl R Miller acknowledged Bangladesh’s long strides in the international market. However, he raised the issue of scarce labor rights, which when resolved, will bring Bangladesh closer to economic prosperity.

Faridpur lights up with 2,000 solar lanterns

Hazarbighar Char Island in Faridpur lit up with 2,000 solar lanterns under the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s “Guiding Light” global campaign. According to the press release issued by the Prize, Zayed Sustainability Prize logo was revealed by the 20 x 20 meter light installation post sunset.
Approximately 1,847 people consisting of students, fisherman, shopkeepers, vulnerable women and children, and local community health center workers will receive the lanterns. It primarily targets the families that have minimal or deprived of the on-grid power access.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize is the UAE’s global award that appreciates creative and inspiring solutions for sustainability. The award was introduced after the humanitarian legacy of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE’s founding father. While Guiding Light campaign began in Bahrain on December 5, the next day was followed with an event in Bolivia.
Barua, a globally renowned businessman with a veteran’s experience in sustainable solutions, won the inaugural prize. Barua’s ultimate objective is to transform Bangladesh into a solar nation. In addition, he has been an international advocate for solar technology implementation as an attempt to bring a positive change in the lives of people that live in off-grid areas. As of now, 66 winners have received the prize.
The campaign will end with a final event in Abu Dhabi on January 9, 2019.

Renowned Bangladeshi swimmer Kshitindra Baisya calls retirement

Kshitindra Baisya, a 67-year old swimmer has announced his retirement as he hopes inspire younger generations with the mystical and relaxing aura of the country’s waters. He told AFP, “I didn’t have much idea about the beauty of this country until I swam dozens of its rivers.” Born in 1952, eh is not just an open water swimmer, but also the member of the 24-hour club.
He taught himself swimming at the age of 18 and once he started, there was no looking back. What started out as a rejuvenating activity transformed into passion and motivated him to swim long stretches within four years. At the age of 22, he completed an open water swim in Jagannath Hall Pond at Dhaka University that lasted for 93 hours and 11 minutes.
Though he had registered a 108 hour 5 minute swim in the aforementioned pond in 1976, he received recognition in 1978 when he swam 74 km of India’s Bhagirathi River. Despite of multiple records in pool, he prefers to swim in channels that connect to the Bay of Bengal, nearly 700. His winning mantra includes yoga, regular basic exercises, diets filled with bananas and dates and his special swimming technique of breaststroke with head above water.
Apart from numerous such milestones to his name, there was one swim that he had not conquered: he Bhugai, Kangsha and Maghra rivers in Bangladesh’s north. Previously, in 2017 and November 2018, he had tried to complete the swim marathon, but couldn’t. However, on September 5, he completed the 185km stretch in 61 hours without any break.
Fighting sleep, fatigue, and polluted water, Baisya swam for two successive days and nights. He said, “It was a difficult task as the water was almost stagnant due to a lack of monsoon rains. On top of that, parts of these rivers were polluted, with garbage floating around.” As he accomplished one of the most memorable feats of his life, he knew it was time to retire.
Currently, he has shifted his focus on teaching swimming to young kids. Considering the fact that more than 150 million people live by the sea, it is imperative to stay ready for any possible threat. On a note of determination, passion, and love for the country’s waters, he said, “I truly hope young swimmers will be motivated by watching what I do at this age.”