March 28, 2017
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The nation celebrated the 47th Independence and National Day this week with a fresh vow to root out militancy from the country and build a happy, prosperous Sonar Bangla free from poverty. On the occasion, Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in Savar in the morning. A good number of global leaders offered massages to the Bangladesh Premier, extolling her role in transforming the future of this country.
Bangladeshis are happier than Indians and Sri Lankans, according to World Happiness Report 2017 released last week coinciding with the United Nations' International Day of Happiness. Bangladesh has been ranked 110th among 155 countries surveyed for the report while Sri Lanka and India came in at 120 and 122. The World Happiness Report measures "subjective well-being" -- how happy the people are, and why. It also takes into account GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.
Bangladesh pulled off a historic four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second Test in Colombo, ending the twp match series in a draw. HPM Sheikh Hasina phoned the team to congratulate them as hundreds of fans marched through the capital Dhaka, waving flags and chanting in celebration. With his team chasing a victory target of 191, teenager Mehedi Hasan hit the winning run after an anxious half-hour in the final session of the fifth day -- getting Bangladesh across the line in 57.5 overs.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
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Envisaged and implemented by HPM Sheikh Hasina, the One House One Firm project has brought in fruition among as many as 13 million people families since it was launched in 2009. another 36 lakh families would be incorporated under the project in next three months as the project was underway. Under the scheme a total of 40,527 cooperative societies have already been formed with every society has been constituted with 60 persons -- 40 females and 20 male.
A fresh initiative has been taken up by the government to extract minerals and mineral particles from the sands of Cox's Bazar beach and the Brahmaputra river, for which there is a big demand abroad. For that end, a project will be taken up, which has already been approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council. A study by the mineralogy division of the Institute of Mining, Mineralogy and Metallurgy (IMMM) found that the sands of the Brahmaputra river contain magnetite and ilmenite that have iron and titanium.
The government is embarking on the largest health sector programme, worth USD 14 billion to be spent over the next five years, with special focus on diseases like cancer, heart ailments, diabetes, and improvements to health governance. A surprising 84% of the fourth programme's money would come from the government's own budget while development partners, including the World Bank, would pay for the rest. The Health Sector Programme (HSP) 2017-2022 includes a new approach to local planning in which hospitals would maintain records to generate data that would be used for better decision-making.
TRADE AND INVESTMENT
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Bangladesh has overtaken China to become the largest denim supplier to the European Union -- a development that would give confidence to the country's garment sector as it looks to hit $50 billion in exports by 2021. In the January-June period of 2016, Bangladesh exported €567.97 million worth of denim products to the 28-nation bloc -- enough to secure a 21.18% market share, the highest. It exported $186.30 million worth of denim products to the US, registering a 12.03% market share, eclipsed only by China and Mexico.
Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) has designed a Tk 568 crore plan to establish a composite jute textile plant to make fabrics, particularly denim. The denim fabrics will be made by mixing jute and cotton to meet the rising demand, both at the domestic and global markets. BJMC, which accounted for one-fifth of total production of jute goods of 9.63 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2015-16, has also taken an initiative to set up new production units to make more diversified products including viscose.
International and Regional Cooperation
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Bangladesh and Russia have approved a draft of agreement on spent fuel management for Rooppur nuclear power plant recently. Both the countries have agreed to prepare the final documents for formal signing of the much-talked deal soon. A Russian delegation comprising Nikolay Spassky, deputy CEO of State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM and Alexey Ferapontov, deputy head of the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service of Russia (Rostekhnadzor) came to discuss various issues related to Rooppur NPP construction with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh and Indian army jointly launched a 14-day cross-country cycling expedition. The contingent from Bangladesh Army had crossed over to India on 19 March through Akhaura land port to join the event which began with their visit to several historical places of Bangladesh's 1971 Liberation War at Agartala including "Maitree Udyan" (Friendship park) at Chottakola, adjacent to the border. During its journey the expedition will cover a number of historical battle sites where major battles were fought jointly by the Indian and Bangladesh armies in 1971. Some members of the joint team came from the units that had taken part in these battles.
DIGITAL BANGLADESH
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Bangladesh has become a part of South Asian Satellite signing a deal with India, the launching country of the satellite. The South Asian Satellite will have 12 transponders and Bangladesh would be able to use one of them for free. But Bangladesh will have to set up an earth station in the country with its own funding for the use. The benefits associated with participation in the project include tele-education, tele-medicine and inter-government networks, emergency communication for disaster situation, television broadcast and direct-to-home (DTH) television services.
The government has planned to bring the country's all unions under high-speed internet connectivity by 2018. Now about 6 million people are getting digital services through 5,272 union digital centers in all over the country. This development stands as a shining testament to the government's promise to transform the future of Bangladesh into a digitally advanced one.
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