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Govt Endorses Saima Wazed for WHO Regional Director

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In a significant move, the government has put forth the name of Saima Wazed, granddaughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a renowned expert in autism, as its nominee for the position of Regional Director for the South-East Asia Region (SEARO) at the World Health Organization (WHO).

The selection of the Regional Director will involve a voting process, with participation from the eleven WHO SEARO member states, which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.

Notably, the Nepalese government has also nominated a candidate for the same post, intensifying the competition.

Saima Wazed’s impressive track record encompasses multiple achievements, such as drafting three international resolutions that found approval and adoption by member countries of both the United Nations and WHO.

Currently, she is on the verge of completing her doctoral studies in Organizational Leadership at Barry University in the United States. Since 2019, she has served as an advisor to the Director-General of WHO on Mental Health and Autism and has been a member of WHO’s expert advisory panel on Mental Health since 2014.

Her professional background includes being a licensed school psychologist, with more than three years of experience in the public school systems of Orange County and Duval County in Florida, USA.

In August 2023, Saima Wazed assumed the role of an associate fellow at the Global Health Program at Chatham House, where she has been actively involved since 2022 as a commissioner at the Commission for Universal Health.

She has also made substantial contributions in the field of climate vulnerability as the Thematic Ambassador for Vulnerability for the Climate Vulnerable Forum since 2020. Additionally, from 2017 to 2019, she held the position of WHO SEARO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Autism.

Within Bangladesh, she plays a pivotal role as the Chief Advisor for the National Mental Health Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and has chaired the National Advisory Committee on Autism and NDDs since 2012.

Saima Wazed’s academic and training commitments span across various institutions, including her role as Adjunct Faculty at Barry University in the USA, Visiting Faculty at Dhaka University, Visiting Specialist at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital, and Visiting Faculty at the National Institute of Mental Health in Dhaka.

Her influence extends globally, with invitations to speak at prestigious conferences and events around the world. These include engagements at the UN General Assembly in the USA, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda, the World Assembly of Women in Japan, COP26 and 27 in Scotland and Egypt respectively, UNESCO’s High-Level Roundtable in Sri Lanka, the Global Child Nutrition Forum in Cambodia, the World Economic Forum in India, the World Congress of Psychiatry in Portugal, and many others.

Recognizing her exceptional contributions, Saima Wazed has received several international awards, including the Excellence in Public Health citation by WHO SEARO, the Distinguished Alumni Award by Barry University in the USA, the International Champion Award by Shema Kolainu in the USA, and acknowledgment by Columbia University as an Innovative (Women) Leader in Global Mental Health.

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Met Predicts Continued Heat Wave Across the Country

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The Bangladesh Meteorological Department has forecasted that the current mild to moderate heat wave will persist in several regions of the country over the next 24 hours, starting from 9 AM today.

The weather bulletin issued this morning indicates that the heat wave is affecting the districts of Dhaka, Tangail, Faridpur, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Narayanganj, Rajshahi, Pabna, Chapainawabganj, Cumilla, Chandpur, Khagrachhari, Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira, Jashore, Chuadanga, Kushtia, Magura, Barishal, Patuakhali, and Bhola. This condition is expected to continue.

“Daytime temperatures may see a slight drop, while nighttime temperatures are likely to remain relatively unchanged. The high moisture content will likely maintain the current level of discomfort,” the bulletin noted.

The forecast also includes the possibility of light to moderate rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary gusty winds in various parts of the country. Specifically, rain is expected in many areas of the Rangpur, Mymensingh, and Sylhet divisions; in some areas of the Dhaka and Chattogram divisions; and in isolated locations in the Rajshahi, Khulna, and Barisal divisions. Moderately heavy to heavy rainfall is anticipated in parts of the Rangpur, Mymensingh, and Sylhet divisions.

On Tuesday, the highest temperature recorded in the country was 38.3 degrees Celsius in Bandarban, while the lowest temperature today was 23.5 degrees Celsius, also in Bandarban. Sylhet experienced significant rainfall over the last 24 hours, measuring 131mm as of 6 AM today.

In the capital, sunset is expected at 6:47 PM today, and sunrise is forecasted for 5:11 AM tomorrow.

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Time to Act on Climate & Water Challenges: Enviroment Minister

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Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury has called for a shift from rhetoric to tangible actions in addressing water, climate change, and cryosphere preservation.

“Words, rhetoric, and pledges must transform into delivery and action on water, climate, and the cryosphere,” said Chowdhury during the plenary session of the 3rd High-Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development.’

The conference, held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Tuesday, served as a crucial gathering for global leaders and stakeholders to discuss pressing issues related to water and climate. Chowdhury emphasized the urgency of these challenges, stressing the need for global solidarity, political ownership, and decisive leadership to implement the necessary changes.

“Achieving our shared goals and ensuring a sustainable future requires global solidarity, political ownership, and leadership,” the minister stated.

The 3rd High-Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’ is a key platform for countries to collaborate on sustainable water management and climate action.

Chowdhury reiterated Bangladesh’s dedication to global initiatives and highlighted the critical role of collective action in addressing environmental challenges.

His call to action underscores the importance of moving beyond promises and taking concrete steps to safeguard our planet’s water resources and climate for future generations.

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PM Sheikh Hasina Distributes 18,566 Houses to Homeless Families Ahead of Eid-ul-Azha

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Hasina PM Sheikh PM to Declare 12 More Districts Landless, Homeless-Free This Wednesday

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has distributed 18,566 houses to homeless and landless families across the country under the Ashrayan-2 project, just five days before Eid-ul-Azha. The distribution ceremony took place on Tuesday, with the Prime Minister inaugurating the process via videoconference from her official residence, Ganabhaban. The event connected to Kaliganj upazila of Lalmonirhat, Eidgaon upazila of Cox’s Bazar, and Char Fashion upazila of Bhola.

During the ceremony, the Prime Minister also declared 70 additional upazilas, including all upazilas from 26 districts, free from landlessness and homelessness. This brings the total number of landless and homeless-free districts to 58 and the number of upazilas to 464 nationwide.

Under the government’s flagship housing initiative, the Ashrayan-2 Project aims to ensure housing for all. On this occasion, 1,282 houses were distributed in Lalmonirhat, 261 in Cox’s Bazar, and 1,234 in Bhola districts.

This initiative builds on previous distributions where the Prime Minister handed over 63,999 houses in the first phase, 53,330 in the second phase, 59,133 in the third phase, and 39,365 in the fourth phase of the Ashrayan-2 Project.

Each beneficiary family receives a semi-pucca house on two decimals of land, with ownership jointly granted to both husband and wife. Each house includes two bedrooms, a kitchen, a toilet, and a veranda.

The rehabilitation program for homeless people was originally introduced by the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in 1972. Prime Minister Hasina revived the effort with the Ashrayan project in 1997, aiming to provide homes and land ownership to the homeless and landless.

Since the project’s inception, a total of 771,301 families have been rehabilitated, benefiting approximately 3,856,505 individuals. Across all programs, 4,340,000 people from 867,904 families have received homes, including 2,910,265 people from 582,053 families under the Ashrayan Project.

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