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Foreign Minister Calls for Peace Amid Gaza Crisis

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Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud emphasized Bangladesh’s stance on the Iran-Israel tension, calling for all countries to play a role in deescalating the situation and halting the violence in Gaza.

“We hope that all the countries that are supposed to play a role will immediately take effective measures to resolve the Iran-Israel tension and stop the indiscriminate killing of people in Gaza,” he stated.

Dr. Hasan Mahmud made these remarks in response to a reporter’s question after a meeting with Antigua and Barbuda’s Foreign Minister Chet Greene at the state guest house Padma this evening.

“We are never for war, we are for peace,” Hasan emphasized.

Regarding the rescue of the kidnapped Bangladeshi ship MV Abdullah, the foreign minister credited the government’s and concerned parties’ concerted efforts for the safe rescue of the hostages and the ship.

“Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel Saturday evening, after pledging retaliation for a strike on its consular building in Syria that killed seven Revolutionary Guards members, two of them generals.”

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Dhaka Wasa to Raise Water Prices by 10% from July 1

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Wasa

The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) has announced a 10% increase in water prices effective from July 1.

According to the new pricing structure, the residential rate per unit (1,000 liters) will rise to Tk16.7, up from Tk15.18, while the commercial rate will increase to Tk46.2, up from Tk42.

A notification issued on Wednesday (May 30) stated, “Dhaka Wasa’s respected customers are hereby informed that the prices were adjusted due to inflation according to section 22 of the Wasa Act 1996.”

The notification further mentioned, “This decision will also apply to unmetered holdings, deep tube wells, buildings under construction, and all types of (water and sewage) charges, including minimum bills. The notification is published as per section 23 of the Wasa Act 1996.”

In July 2022, Wasa had raised water prices by 5%, with the new rates becoming effective from September 1.

“According to the law, Wasa can raise water tariffs by 5% every year to adjust with inflation, and Wasa hiked the price as per the law,” said Dip Azad, a member of the Dhaka Wasa board.

Section 22 of the Dhaka Wasa Act-1996 permits the authorities to increase water tariffs by a maximum of five percent each fiscal year upon the board’s approval.

In 2017, water prices were Tk10 per unit for residential consumers and Tk32 for commercial users. Wasa implemented a five percent price hike for three consecutive years starting from 2017. In 2020, residential water prices saw a 25% increase following government approval.

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Heavy Rainfall and Cyclone Remal Wreak Havoc on Dhaka

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Monsoon rainfall

The capital city and surrounding areas are bracing for heavy rainfall, with at least 200 millimeters expected today, according to Meteorologist Mostofa Kamal Palash, a PhD researcher on meteorology and climate at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

“Dhaka recorded approximately 157 mm of rain on 27 May and is likely to see even more on 28 May, potentially exceeding 200 mm. The rainfall is likely to continue through 29 May,” Palash told The Business Standard. He added that American and European weather models indicate the heaviest rainfall between 12 pm and 2 pm on 28 May.

Climatologist Rashed Chowdhury highlighted a significant change in Cyclone Remal’s behavior, noting its unusually slow movement over Bangladesh. “This is probably the first time we are witnessing such a slow-moving cyclone in Bangladesh. It is expected to take around 40 hours to pass over the country. This slow movement introduces a new element to the nature of cyclones in Bangladesh—slow-paced cyclones accompanied by persistent heavy rains,” he said.

The heavy rains and squally winds, with speeds reaching up to 100 mph, have severely disrupted the country’s electricity system. The power distribution network has been significantly affected by Cyclone Remal. Electricity supply was suspended in many areas to prevent further damage, while in other regions, power outages were caused by fallen trees.

Most rural electricity board customers in districts such as Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Pirojpur, Bhola, Patuakhali, and Barishal are currently without power. Areas like Feni and Cox’s Bazar have only partial electricity supply. Residents in these areas have been without power for periods ranging from 10 to 36 hours, depending on the area.

Cyclone Remal has left more than half of the country’s electricity consumers without power. Power generation has decreased to 3,751 MW due to reduced demand. Electricity distribution companies have incurred an estimated financial loss of Tk98 crore due to the cyclone. Since Sunday (26 May), electricity supply to over 2.69 crore people in 65 out of 80 rural electricity board areas (Palli Bidyut Samiti – PBS) has been disrupted. By last evening (27 May), some 3.21 lakh out of 4.70 lakh total connections had been restored. However, approximately 2.66 crore people remain without power.

In the 30 cyclone-prone PBS areas, 2,717 electric poles, 2,353 transformers, 53,425 power meters, and 71,729 spans (wires) have reportedly been damaged.

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Heavy Rain, Severe Cyclonic Storm “REMAL” to Impact Southern Bangladesh

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REMAL rain

Light to moderate rain or thundershowers, accompanied by temporary gusty or squally wind, are expected in most parts of Bangladesh, according to the latest forecast from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). The forecast predicts heavy to very heavy rainfall in the southern regions of the country.

“Light to moderate rain or thunder showers accompanied by temporary gusty or squally wind are likely to occur at most places over Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram, and Sylhet divisions, with heavy to very heavy falls at places over the southern part of the country,” stated the Met office in its 24-hour forecast starting from 9 am today.

The deep depression over the West-central Bay has intensified into Cyclonic Storm “REMAL” and further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm over the Northwest Bay and adjoining areas. As of 6 am today, it was moving northwards and is expected to cross the Sagar Island (West Bengal) – Khepupara coast near Mongla by this evening or midnight on May 26, 2024.

Due to the peripheral effects of the severe cyclone, coastal regions of Bangladesh have already begun experiencing rain with gusty winds.

The Met office also noted that a mild to moderate heatwave is sweeping over Dhaka, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram, and Sylhet divisions, but it may abate soon. Daytime temperatures are expected to drop by 1-3°C, while nighttime temperatures may decrease slightly across the country.

On Saturday, the highest temperature recorded was 41.7°C in Chuadanga, and the lowest was 23.6°C in Bandarban. The maximum rainfall recorded in the last 24 hours up to 6 am today was 42 millimeters at Hatiya.

In the capital, the sun will set today at 6:40 pm and rise tomorrow at 5:12 am.

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