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Awami League Unveils ‘Smart Bangladesh’ Vision in Election Manifesto

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Awami League (AL), presented the party’s election manifesto, focusing on the vision of “Smart Bangladesh.”

The announcement took place at the AL manifesto program held on December 27, 2023, at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital. Sheikh Hasina emphasized the party’s commitment to building a modern, technology-oriented nation, outlining key priorities, including a Universal Health System and a balanced approach to import and export trade.

Addressing the gathering, Sheikh Hasina reflected on AL’s past achievements, mentioning the successful implementation of Vision 2021 outlined in the 2008 election manifesto. She underscored the importance of balanced import and export trade to ensure stability in foreign exchange supply, advocating for stringent measures to recover defaulted loans.

The Prime Minister highlighted the significance of policy interest rates in controlling money supply and inflation, expressing the party’s commitment to extending credit for self-employment opportunities for trained youth. Sheikh Hasina unveiled the pillars of “Smart Bangladesh” – Smart Citizens, Smart Government, Smart Economy, and Smart Society – essential for global competition in the fourth industrial revolution era.

In a bid to eradicate hunger and poverty, Sheikh Hasina pledged to transform Bangladesh into a smart, developed country by 2041. The healthcare sector’s modernization featured prominently in the manifesto, with plans for a Universal Health System, digital healthcare initiatives, and the establishment of international-standard specialized hospitals.

The manifesto emphasized advancements in basic health and family welfare services, continuation of free primary healthcare and medicine distribution through community clinics, and the introduction of health IDs for every citizen. Sheikh Hasina also announced support for the country’s Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) industry, controlled antibiotic use, and improved mental health and autism healthcare facilities.

AL’s manifesto aligns with Sheikh Hasina’s goals of achieving a developed nation status by 2041, building on the long-term action plans outlined in previous election manifestos. AL’s commitment to perfecting democracy and overcoming challenges was echoed by General Secretary Obaidul Quader, who highlighted Sheikh Hasina’s inspirational leadership and the party’s resilience in the face of conspiracies and terrorism.

In the upcoming election, AL’s manifesto will prioritize 11 key issues, including commodity price stability, youth education and employment, Smart Bangladesh initiatives, integrated agriculture systems, affordable healthcare, financial sector efficiency, universal pension, law enforcement accountability, and combating communalism, terrorism, and militancy.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Calls for Unity Against Genocide in Gaza

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the Muslim community to unite against the genocide in Gaza being perpetrated by Israel.

“This genocide in Gaza is unacceptable. We must all stand united against it,” she stated.

The Prime Minister made these remarks during a courtesy call from Egyptian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Omar Mohie Eldin Ahmed Fahmy, at her office.

Advocacy for Peace and Welfare
PM’s Deputy Press Secretary, KM Shakhawat Moon, briefed journalists after the meeting. Moon reported that the Prime Minister reiterated Bangladesh’s firm stance against the ongoing war. She appealed for reallocating funds used for arms production and warfare towards the welfare of humanity, particularly focusing on women and children.

“It is far more effective to redirect the funds from arms production and wars towards the betterment of mankind,” she emphasized.

Sheikh Hasina noted that she consistently voices her opposition to the genocide in Gaza in every forum she attends.

Strengthening Bilateral Relations with Egypt
The Prime Minister also highlighted the untapped potential in the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Egypt, which have not progressed as expected. She mentioned that the total trade volume between the two countries was USD 180.6 million (Export USD 30.1 million and Import USD 150.5 million) in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

She suggested that collaboration in agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, tourism, and education could be mutually beneficial.

Egyptian Ambassador’s Response
Ambassador Fahmy echoed the Prime Minister’s sentiments, stating that the Muslim Ummah needs to be more united against the genocide in Palestine. He praised the socioeconomic development of Bangladesh under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, stating, “A leader like you is needed not only in Bangladesh but also across the world.”

Fahmy also mentioned that the Grand Imam of Egypt, whose rank is equivalent to that of a Prime Minister in Egypt’s constitution, wishes to visit Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina responded positively, expressing Bangladesh’s eagerness to welcome him.

Expanding Trade and Friendship
The Egyptian ambassador expressed interest in increasing trade and business between the two countries. He also commended Bangladesh’s friendly relations with all nations and reminisced about the friendship between the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and former Egyptian Prime Minister Anwar Sadaat.

PM’s Ambassador-at-Large Mohammad Ziauddin and Principal Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah were among those present at the meeting.

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Met: Light to Moderate Rain with Gusty Winds Expected

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Light to moderate rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty winds are expected in several regions, with heavier downpours likely in northern, central, and northeastern divisions.

“Light to moderate rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty wind is likely to occur at many places over Rangpur, Mymensingh, and Sylhet divisions and at one or two places over Rajshahi, Dhaka, Khulna, Barishal, and Chattogram divisions with moderately heavy to heavy falls at places over Rangpur, Mymensingh, and Sylhet divisions,” stated a Met Office forecast.

The axis of the monsoon trough stretches from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal to Assam, crossing northern Bangladesh. One associated trough extends to the North Bay.

The monsoon is currently fairly active over Bangladesh and moderate over the North Bay, according to the meteorological release valid for the next 24 hours starting from 9 am today.

On Saturday, the maximum temperature in the country was recorded at 36.0 degrees Celsius in Rajshahi, while the minimum temperature today was 24.8 degrees Celsius in Bandarban.

The highest rainfall in the last 24 hours up to 6 am today was recorded at 51 millimeters in Mongla.

Day and night temperatures may rise slightly across the country.

In the capital, the sun will set at 6:49 PM today and rise at 5:20 AM tomorrow.

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PM Sheikh Hasina to Address Media on China Visit Tomorrow

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hold a media briefing tomorrow (14 July) to discuss her recent visit to China, according to a statement from her press wing.

“The press conference will take place at the prime minister’s official residence, Gono Bhaban, at 4pm,” the release stated.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina embarked on an official visit to China on Monday (8 July) at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Qiang and returned on Thursday (11 July).

During her stay in Beijing from 8-10 July, she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and held bilateral talks with her Chinese counterpart Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People.

Following the delegation-level discussions on Wednesday morning, Bangladesh and China signed and renewed 21 cooperation documents, primarily Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), aimed at strengthening development and economic ties between the two nations.

Additionally, both countries announced seven key outcomes, including the completion of a joint feasibility study on a Bangladesh-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

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