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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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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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Tarique, 14 other convicts in grenade attack case are fugitives: PM Sheikh Hasina

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told Parliament that 15 convicts in the August 21 grenade attack case, including BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, have been absconding.

“Out of the 49 convicts, 34 had been arrested. Fifteen convicts including Tarique Rahman alias Tarqiue Zia are currently fugitives,” she said.

The PM said this while replying to a question from Awami League lawmaker Farida Yasmin (Women Seat-35) during the question-answer session.

Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury tabled the question-answer session at the beginning of the day’s sitting of the Parliament, which started around 4pm.

The premier said a total of 49 accused were sentenced in the trial of the grenade attack case as the judge of Dhaka’s Speedy Trial Tribunal No-1 passed the judgment on October 10, 2018.

“Among the convicts, 19 were sentenced to death, while 19 others to life imprisonment and the rest 11 ones to various jail terms,” she added.

She said Interpol issued red notices against accused Maulana Tajuddin, Harris Chowdhury, and Ratul Ahmed Babu alias Ratul Babu who are absconding abroad. Efforts are on to arrest the convicted fugitives.

Two cases — one under the penal code and another under Explosives Substances law-– were lodged over the barbaric grenade attack on an anti-terrorism rally arranged by Awami League in the capital’s Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004.

Hasina, then opposition leader, survived the gruesome attack, but it left 24 people dead and over 500 injured.

In reply to a question from ruling party lawmaker Anwar Hossain Khan (Laxmipur-1), the prime minister said the government had designed a project to prevent the loss of lives due to lightning in the 15 lightning-prone districts.

The proposed project for the installation of some 6,793 lightning rods/lightning protection canopies has been sent to the Planning Commission, she said.

Responding to a question from AL lawmaker Md Mainul Hossain Khan (Dhaka-14), Sheikh Hasina said an initiative has been taken to establish a state-of-the-art national emergency operation centre on one acre of land in the capital’s Tejgaon area with the cooperation of China, aiming to deal with earthquakes and other mega-disasters.

The implementation work will begin by formulating a project for this building that can withstand an 8-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale, she said.

Answering a question from independent lawmaker Abdullah Nahid Niger (Gaibandha-1), the PM said the tribunals set up after 2009 to try crimes against humanity and war criminals have so far disposed of 56 cases and 153 accused were sentenced to death or different jail terms.

He said the present government has relentlessly been working to establish the rule of law by guaranteeing fair trials to reduce the suffering of justice seekers. The government is committed to ensuring justice based on equality for all, irrespective of the rich and poor, and establishing justice in the society by making visible development in the judiciary, she said

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Met Forecasts Rain, Thundershowers, and Persistent Heat Wave

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rain

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) has forecasted light to moderate rainfall or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty winds and moderately heavy to heavy falls across various regions of the country over the next 24 hours, starting from 9 am today.

According to the BMD bulletin released this morning, rain or thundershowers are expected in most places in Rangpur, Mymensingh, Chattogram, and Sylhet divisions. A few places in Dhaka division, and one or two locations in Rajshahi, Khulna, and Barisal divisions, will also experience such weather, with heavier falls likely in Rangpur, Mymensingh, Chattogram, and Sylhet divisions.

Additionally, the ongoing mild heat wave affecting the districts of Tangail, Faridpur, Rajshahi, Pabna, Jashore, Chuadanga, and Kushtia is expected to persist. Day temperatures may see a slight decrease in the northern regions, while remaining nearly unchanged elsewhere in the country. Night temperatures are likely to stay consistent nationwide.

On Wednesday, the highest temperature recorded was 38.0 degrees Celsius in Rajshahi, and the lowest was 22.9 degrees Celsius in Thakurgaon. The rainfall measured in the past 24 hours, ending at 6 am today, was highest in Panchagarh, with 102 mm recorded.

In Dhaka, the sun is set to rise at 5:11 am tomorrow and set at 6:47 pm today.

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