Momen says BD’s growing economy entices US to maintain good relations
Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday (17 January) said the United States wants to maintain good relations with Bangladesh and noted that Bangladesh is “becoming a big economy”.
Momen said US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu came to Bangladesh to “help improve the relationship” between the duo countries.
“We had a very good discussion. We had a very positive and constructive discussion. They are very happy with us. We are also very happy,” he told to the reporters, adding that President Biden wants to improve relations with Bangladesh in the next 50 years.
Momen said they are also happy with Ambassador Peter Haas because he is an expert on economic issues. “We are on a higher economic trajectory. Our main focus is on economic development. He (Peter) can help us.”
Responding to a question on RAB, he said the elite force is now more mature and things have changed with accountability in place.
Momen said Bangladesh is a leader in the world in terms of stopping extremists and terrorists. “We are very successful. There are no terrorism activities.”
He said Bangladesh and the US follow the same values and Bangladesh welcomes any constructive suggestion.
US Embassy spokesperson Jeff Ridenour on Tuesday said Assistant Secretary Lu praised the Bangladesh government for the “dramatic reduction” last year in the number of allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances by the RAB.
During his meetings in Dhaka, Assistant Secretary Lu, however, did not indicate a time frame for the removal of RAB sanctions, he said.
Momen said both sides acknowledged the weaknesses during the discussions.
“We, Americans, have our own problems with democracy, but I am proud that our two countries can talk about these issues openly. We will also welcome support for improving our democracy,” Lu said.
Historic Six-Point Day being observed today
Today, Bangladesh solemnly observes the historic Six-Point Day, which holds significant importance in the nation’s struggle for autonomy.
Back in 1966, the Bengalis of the then East Pakistan rallied behind Awami League’s call for a day-long shutdown, demanding specific rights and freedoms. The prominent leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had presented these demands several months prior, aiming to challenge the oppressive rule of the then Pakistani government and their mistreatment of the Bengali population.
In response to Awami League’s call, the people of East Pakistan passionately joined the Six-Point Movement and wholeheartedly participated in a province-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal (shutdown). Unfortunately, the law enforcement authorities resorted to violence, firing upon demonstrators in Dhaka and Narayanganj. Tragically, at least 10 lives were lost as a result of these brutal actions, further fueling the intensity of the movement.
The Six-Point Movement focused on six crucial demands, with the aim of establishing a federal structure of government in alignment with the spirit of the Lahore Resolution of 1940. One of the key demands was the formation of a parliament elected through universal adult franchise, granting genuine representation to the people. Additionally, it advocated for the central government’s jurisdiction to be limited to defense and foreign affairs, while entrusting all other matters to the federating units of the state of Pakistan.
The movement also proposed the adoption of two freely convertible currencies or the establishment of two separate reserve banks for the two regions of Pakistan. This suggestion aimed to address economic disparities and ensure financial stability for both wings of the nation. Furthermore, it emphasized the decentralization of power, calling for the federating units to possess the authority for taxation and revenue collection. Lastly, the movement advocated for separate foreign exchange reserves for East and West Pakistan, safeguarding the economic interests of both regions.
By commemorating the Six-Point Day, Bangladesh pays tribute to the indomitable spirit of its people who fought valiantly for autonomy, ultimately paving the way for the birth of an independent nation.
Air Pollution in Dhaka Ranks as the 4th Worst Globally This Morning
Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, experienced a concerning level of air pollution this morning, as indicated by an air quality index (AQI) score of 139 recorded at 9:10 am on June 6, 2023.
This ranking placed Dhaka as the 4th city with the most polluted air globally. Topping the list were Johannesburg in South Africa, Doha in Qatar, and Jakarta in Indonesia, with AQI scores of 166, 153, and 152, respectively.
When the AQI value falls between 101 and 150, the air quality is deemed “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” If it ranges from 151 to 200, it is classified as “unhealthy.” A reading between 201 and 300 indicates “very unhealthy” conditions, while a value exceeding 301 is considered “hazardous,” posing severe health risks to residents.
In Bangladesh, the AQI calculation incorporates five criteria pollutants, including particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and Ozone. Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues, and it consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide.
The elevated air pollution levels in Dhaka serve as a reminder of the urgent need to address this persistent problem. Efforts to mitigate pollution and improve air quality are crucial to safeguarding the health and well-being of the city’s residents.
Bangladesh Rakes in $4.85 Billion from May Exports
Bangladesh’s May exports reached $4.85 billion (51 thousand 895 crore taka), marking a significant increase of 26.61 percent compared to the previous year.
This positive growth comes as welcome news amidst concerns over foreign exchange reserves. In April, there was a decline in exports by 16.5 percent to $3.96 billion, raising worries about the export sector. However, May witnessed a substantial increase of $890 million in exports, as reported by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
The EPB’s data revealed that during the first 11 months of the current fiscal year 2022-23 (July-May), Bangladesh exported goods worth $50.52 billion, showing a growth rate of 7.11 percent compared to the same period in the previous financial year when exports amounted to $47.17 billion. The export growth can be attributed to sectors such as leather and leather products, non-leather footwear, plastic products, and ready-made garments.
Although ready-made garments remained the leading export item, with exports worth $42.63 billion during the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, other sectors experienced growth as well. Leather and leather products, the second highest export item, saw a substantial growth rate of 42 percent, amounting to $1.12 billion. Home textile products ranked third with exports worth $1.02 billion, despite experiencing a decline of 30 percent.
However, certain sectors faced challenges, as exports of jute and jute products, home textiles, frozen food, agro-processed food, and engineering products declined during this period. Overall, the positive growth in exports during May contributes significantly to Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves and offers optimism for the country’s economic outlook.
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