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Bangabandhu Tunnel Nears Completion: Final Touches Underway for Inauguration

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Chattogram’s highly anticipated infrastructure marvel, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel, is on the verge of completion with 98 percent of its construction work finished. The project director, Md Harunur Rashid Chowdhury, revealed that the remaining two percent will be swiftly completed as workers and engineers are working tirelessly round the clock. The grand inauguration is expected to be graced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in September. The tunnel, a crucial element in transforming Chattogram into “one city with two towns,” runs beneath the Karnaphuli River and will be open to vehicular traffic from September onwards.

The tunnel, boasting multiple lanes, will directly link the Chattogram Port to Anwara upazila, creating a seamless connection between Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar. The twin tubes, constructed 11 meters apart, ensure convenient passage for heavy vehicles. The impressive 3.40-kilometer-long tunnel is complemented by a 5.35-kilometer-long approach road and a 740-meter bridge, connecting the bustling city, port, and the western side of the river with its industrializing eastern side and Anwara upazila.

The tunnel’s significance lies in its role in the Asian Highway and Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox’sBazar Highway, considerably reducing the distance by 40 kilometers and allowing vehicles to cruise at 80 kilometers per hour. With a total cost of Tk 10,374 crore, the project is jointly funded by the governments of Bangladesh and China, with the China Communications Construction Company Ltd serving as the contractor. The Exim Bank of China provides a loan of Tk 5,913 crore at a nominal two percent interest, while the Bangladesh government funds the remaining portion.

Business leaders anticipate the tunnel to be a game-changer for the southeastern region of Bangladesh, solving connectivity issues and fostering economic growth. As the project nears its completion date, excitement grows for the transformation it will bring to Chattogram and the greater region. The tunnel’s inauguration is eagerly awaited by the nation, as it represents a testament to Bangladesh’s commitment to enhancing infrastructure and facilitating smoother transportation networks for the benefit of its citizens.

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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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