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PM Sheikh Hasina Appeals for Peace Amid Ongoing Conflicts

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made a heartfelt plea to global leaders, emphasizing the urgent need to halt conflicts, stating that women and children are the most severely affected by wars. Regardless of her role as a female politician and prime minister, she appealed to world leaders to put an end to armed conflicts and the arms race, stressing the devastating impact of war on women and children.

Addressing an assembly of women entrepreneurs and leaders from women’s organizations affiliated with the ruling Awami League, Prime Minister Hasina highlighted the ongoing global conflicts, including the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israeli attack on Palestine. She made these comments following the inauguration of the Joyeeta Tower in Dhaka’s Dhanmondi area.

Prime Minister Hasina shared her personal experience, having been a captive of the Pakistan army during the War of Liberation in 1971 along with her mother and siblings. She stressed the immense suffering endured by women and children during wars and reflected on her own time in captivity while pregnant, facing uncertainty about basic necessities like food and shelter.

Among the attendees at the event was Sheikh Rehana, the younger daughter of Bangladesh’s founding leader, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Several key figures, including State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira, and parliamentary committee chairman Meher Afroz Chumki, were also present.

The Joyeeta Tower, a 12-story building constructed at a cost of Taka 168 crore, was inaugurated earlier in the day by Prime Minister Hasina. The tower is designed to empower women economically and includes facilities like the Jamdani Gallery and Joyeeta Marketplace.

In her remarks, Prime Minister Hasina expressed the government’s commitment to women’s financial empowerment and cited her father, Bangabandhu, who believed that economic independence was crucial for women’s empowerment. She highlighted her government’s measures, such as reserving posts for women in local councils and changing the identity of children to include both parents’ names.

Prime Minister Hasina noted that her father had introduced women to the judiciary and police and emphasized that the country could not progress while leaving half the population at home. She also recognized women’s achievements in various fields, mentioning Rawshan Ara, the first woman superintendent of police.

Hasina encouraged women to secure their positions through education, skill, and hard work, rather than relying on the mercy of others. She expressed her satisfaction with women’s increasing presence in various facets of society, urging them to cultivate their land in response to global economic challenges.

The prime minister praised her government’s efforts in transforming Bangladesh into a developing and digitally advanced nation and urged women to actively participate in these endeavors. She also called on the public to remain vigilant against any hindrances to ongoing development, pointing out the past challenges posed by militancy, terrorism, and corruption.

Finally, Hasina’s vision for Bangladesh is to achieve developed, prosperous, and smart status by 2041, and she urged citizens to support her party in the upcoming general election to sustain the country’s progress and development.

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Container rate surge enters longest stretch since the pandemic

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Container export

The spot rate for shipping goods in containers to Europe from Asia rose for a ninth straight week, the longest stretch of rising prices since the pandemic disrupted global supply chains in 2021.

The rate for a 40-foot container to Genoa, Italy, from China hit $7,029 over the past week, the highest level since September 2022, according to the Drewry World Container Index released Thursday. The cost to Rotterdam increased to $6,867. Both rates have essentially doubled since April.

For the busy trade route from Shanghai to Los Angeles, the rate rose for a seventh straight week, to $6,441.

While not all freight is moving at such elevated prices, the spot market for containers reflects the supply of available space on ships and the demand from importers. That balance has tightened during the past six months as vessels avoid the Red Sea, where Houthi rebels have attacked commercial traffic, including a bulk commodity carrier that sunk earlier this week.

Most container lines are taking the longer route around southern Africa, creating disruptions similar to those two or three years ago. Ryan Petersen, founder and chief executive officer of Flexport Inc., said “we’re right back almost to where we were during the peak Covid situation.” He’s seeing spot rates even higher than the numbers Drewry just reported.

“Right now, if you want to ship a container from China to here in the UK it will cost you about $10,000 unless you have a contract,” Petersen said during a Bloomberg Television interview in London on Thursday. “And by the way, most of those contracts that were signed at lower prices are not being honoured and they’re adding surcharges to them.”

Petersen said it’s hard to predict how long shipping prices will keep climbing, noting that carriers spent some of their record-high profits made during the pandemic on new vessels that are entering service through 2026, which should help ease the latest capacity crunch.

But he also said uncertainty about delivery reliability later this year is worrying some companies and motivating them to order now rather than wait. Among the threats is a dockworker strike at ports along the US East and Gulf coasts, which Petersen said might send container rates above their pandemic highs if cargo bound for those gateways is significantly disrupted.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Urges UAE Investors to Tap into Bangladesh’s Special Economic Zones

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PM Sheikh Hasina Urges UAE Investors to Tap into Bangladesh's Special Economic Zones

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on United Arab Emirates (UAE) investors to invest in Bangladesh’s special economic zones. The request was made during a meeting with UAE Ambassador Abdulla Ali Abdulla Khaseif Alhmoudi at her official residence, Ganabhaban, this morning.

According to the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, Md Nayeemul Islam Khan, the UAE ambassador assured the prime minister that his country would issue visas for Bangladeshi workers, ensuring they have jobs waiting for them in the UAE. The envoy emphasized the importance of preventing illegal migration from Bangladesh, a concern both countries agreed to address more diligently.

The UAE ambassador also mentioned that several UAE ministers are planning to visit Bangladesh soon to explore new avenues for strengthening bilateral relations. “We already have a very extensive and deep tie, but we are eager to take it to a new height,” Alhmoudi stated.

Alhmoudi highlighted that approximately 20,000 Bangladeshis travel to the UAE each month, with the UAE embassy issuing around 1,000 visas daily—500 directly and 500 through agents. He extended an invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit the UAE, noting that UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum are eagerly waiting to welcome her.

In response to Sheikh Hasina’s appeal for UAE investment in Bangladesh’s special economic zones, Alhmoudi said that the visiting UAE ministers would discuss the matter further. The envoy also sought cooperation from the prime minister to expedite UAE investments in Bangladesh, including in the container terminal sector. Sheikh Hasina assured him that her government is accelerating processes across all sectors.

Additionally, Alhmoudi mentioned that a UAE company is in the final stages of negotiating prices to provide an Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) to Bangladesh’s civil aviation sector. The prime minister delegated the task to PMO Secretary Mohammad Salahuddin.

For security reasons, the US, EU member states, and other countries now require detailed passenger information from airlines before travel, known as Advance Passenger Information (API).

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Bata Shoe Reveals Impressive EPS Surge in Q1

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Bata Shoe

One of the listed companies, Bata Shoe Bangladesh Limited discloses its financial reports for the first quarter, (January – March 24).

The company’s earnings per share (EPS) was Tk 13.42 paisa in Q1 of the current financial year (January – March 24). EPS was Tk 9.96 (restated) paisa during the same period last year. As of March 31, 2024, at the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, the company’s net asset value (NAV) per share stood at Tk 251.35.

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