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PM Sheikh Hasina Stresses Crucial Role of Democracy in Allowing AL Members in Elections

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized that allowing her party members to participate in the recent national election as independent candidates was crucial to preserving the country’s democracy. During her opening remarks at the extended meeting of Awami League at Ganabhaban, the official residence, she stated that restricting the election only to AL members would have tainted its integrity and posed a threat to the nation’s democratic principles.

Highlighting the significance of the election in maintaining the country’s status as a developing nation, the Prime Minister underscored the need to uphold the promises outlined in the election manifesto. She emphasized that these promises play a pivotal role in shaping the annual budget formulations.

As the head of the ruling Awami League, Hasina announced the opening of the upcoming upazila elections to all party members, aiming for inclusivity and broader participation. She expressed the intention to evaluate the party’s efforts for the common people during its 15-year tenure in power, identifying those who fell short. This evaluation, she mentioned, would reveal the individuals genuinely accepted by the people.

In a stern warning against potential confrontation during the upcoming local government elections, Hasina unequivocally opposed such incidents. She asserted that strict measures would be taken against individuals responsible for any form of confrontation, regardless of their affiliations.

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Feb Records $2.16bn Highest Remittance Inflow in 8 Months

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Expatriate Bangladeshis contributed a record-high of US$2.16 billion in remittances during February, marking the highest figure in the past eight months.

This substantial increase of 38.46% compared to the same month last year, as reported by Bangladesh Bank, comes as a significant boost to the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Notably, June 2023 had witnessed a slightly higher remittance inflow at $2.19 billion.

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Foreign Minister to Address OIC Meeting on Israeli Aggression

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Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud, currently in Turkey, is scheduled to participate in an extraordinary meeting of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) Council of Foreign Ministers in Jeddah on March 5. The meeting aims to address the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. The OIC will host the meeting at its General Secretariat headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Following his participation in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey from March 1 to 3, Foreign Minister Hasan will travel to Jeddah to attend the OIC meeting. During the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, Hasan emphasized the urgent need for a collective effort to end the ongoing genocide in Gaza and hold Israel accountable for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha is expected to address the opening session of the meeting. A preparatory senior officials meeting (SOM) will precede the meeting to discuss and adopt the draft agenda and work program and consider the draft resolution before submitting it to the Council of Foreign Ministers the following day.

In November of the previous year, Saudi Arabia hosted an extraordinary joint Arab and Islamic Summit in Riyadh, jointly organized by the OIC and the League of Arab States. The conference adopted several decisions, including assigning a committee of Foreign Ministers to tour world capitals and international organizations to halt Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

As part of its ongoing efforts to stop Israeli aggression, the OIC held an open-ended executive committee extraordinary meeting at the foreign minister level in October of the previous year.

In an interview with TRT World, Minister Hasan highlighted the lack of sufficient global action to halt the violence and atrocities in Gaza. He emphasized that the situation in Gaza constitutes crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

Representing Bangladesh at the Forum in Turkey, Hasan underscored the potential of the global community to play a pivotal role in addressing these atrocities. The Antalya Diplomacy Forum, initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, concluded on March 3, convening heads of state, government officials, diplomats, business leaders, academics, and representatives from various sectors to discuss “Advancing Diplomacy in Times of Turmoil,” the theme for this year.

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BERC Announces Slight Increase in LPG Rates

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In a recent update from the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC), the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has been raised by Tk0.66, reaching a new rate of Tk123.52 per kg, up from the previous Tk122.86. This adjustment, effective from 6 pm on Sunday, signals a slight uptick in household and commercial expenses.

The BERC, during a press briefing on March 3, provided details on the price adjustment, stating that the cost for a standard 12 kg LPG cylinder will now be Tk1,482, inclusive of VAT, marking an increase from the previous Tk1,474. This adjustment follows a rational scale across various LPG cylinder sizes, ranging from 5.5 kg to 45 kg, aiming to ensure a proportional price revision across different consumer segments.

Additionally, the price for “auto gas,” the LPG variant used in motor vehicles, has also been revised to Tk68.05 per litre, including VAT, a slight increase from Tk67.68. This adjustment reflects the broader impact of LPG price changes on transportation and related costs.

It is noteworthy that LPG prices offered by the state-owned LP Gas Company will remain unchanged. This exception is attributed to its local production and the company’s minimal market share, which is less than 5%.

The decision to adjust LPG prices is a response to the escalating costs in the international market, particularly linked to the rise in the Saudi CP (contract price), a benchmark influencing local operators importing LPG primarily from the Middle East.

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