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18th East Asia Summit: President Shahabuddin Highlights Urgency of Rohingya Crisis

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18th East Asia Summit: President Shahabuddin Highlights Urgency of Rohingya Crisis

President Mohammed Shahabuddin issued a compelling call to action on Thursday (September 7), urging the global community to swiftly address the Rohingya crisis and initiate a secure, voluntary, and sustainable repatriation process. He underscored the potential risks to the entire region due to the shortage of humanitarian support.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 18th East Asia Summit at Jakarta Convention Centre, the President emphasized the collective responsibility of the international community in finding a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis within Myanmar, the root of the issue. Delays in repatriation efforts and the humanitarian shortfall, he warned, pose significant regional threats.

President Shahabuddin acknowledged the humanitarian role played by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who provided shelter to 1.2 million Rohingya refugees on compassionate grounds. Despite seven years of crisis, no viable solution has emerged, and Bangladesh’s resources have been stretched to their limits.

Highlighting Bangladesh’s desire to strengthen its ties with ASEAN, the President expressed a keen interest in becoming ASEAN’s Sectoral Dialogue Partner. He identified numerous sectors, such as trade, investment, transnational security, and climate change, where collaboration between ASEAN and Bangladesh could yield mutual benefits, including economic cooperation, enhanced access to regional markets, and strengthened regional integration.

The President also noted that becoming a Sectoral Dialogue Partner would facilitate cultural exchanges and cooperation on security matters, ultimately advancing Bangladesh’s relations with ASEAN.

President Shahabuddin recognized the importance of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) as a vital regional forum for shared values and cooperation. He highlighted IORA’s potential for cooperation in six priority areas and two cross-cutting issues, particularly in leveraging emerging connectivity options. The President welcomed the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ASEAN and IORA as a significant mechanism for fostering mutually beneficial cooperation.

Additionally, he praised Bangladesh’s contributions to the development of the IORA Outlook on the Indo-Pacific during its Chairship and emphasized that IORA’s involvement in the Indo-Pacific region would promote fair, equitable, and sustainable trade and investment environments, thereby enhancing economic growth and resilience in regional and global value chains.

The East Asia Summit (EAS) serves as an annual regional forum where leaders from East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Oceanian nations gather. Initially comprising 16 countries, it expanded to 18 countries, including Russia and the United States, in 2011. The EAS was inaugurated in 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, under the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism.

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Fire in Mangaf Workers’ Accommodation Claims 41 Lives

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mangaf kuwait fire

A devastating fire broke out early Wednesday in a building housing workers in Mangaf, southern Kuwait, resulting in the deaths of at least 41 people, according to Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah.

During his visit to the site, Sheikh Fahad, who also oversees the interior and defense ministries, criticized real estate owners for their violations and greed, attributing these factors to the tragic incident.

“Unfortunately, the greed of real estate owners is what leads to these matters,” Sheikh Fahad stated.

The blaze was reported to authorities at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), according to Major General Eid Rashed Hamad.

“The building was used to house a large number of workers. Dozens were rescued, but sadly, many succumbed to smoke inhalation,” a senior police commander informed state television.

He further emphasized the longstanding warnings against overcrowding in worker accommodations, though he did not specify the workers’ occupations or nationalities.

The fire has been contained, and authorities are currently investigating its cause, officials said.

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Baltimore shipping lane fully reopens after bridge collapse

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The Baltimore shipping lane blocked for more than two months after a cargo ship collided with a major bridge in
March, sending it crashing into the water, fully reopened on Monday, authorities said.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, along with Navy salvage divers, restored the channel to its original dimensions by removing about 50,000 tons of debris from the Patapsco River, a statement from the Key Bridge Response Unified Command said.

The riverbed was certified as safe for transit on Monday.

“We are proud of the unified efforts that fully reopened the Federal Channel to port operations,” said Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The partnerships that endured through this response made this pivotal mission successful.”

On March 26, the Singapore-flagged M/V Dali lost power and plowed into a support column of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse and killing six road workers who had been filling potholes overnight.

The 106,000-ton ship had been headed for Sri Lanka at the time of the accident.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the incident along with the FBI, has said the ship had two electricity blackouts in the moments before the disaster.

The Dali was refloated last month and towed back into port.

The port of Baltimore is one of America’s busiest ports and a key hub for the auto industry, handling almost 850,000 autos and light trucks last year — more than any other US port, according to state figures.

The full reopening of the shipping channel will allow for two-way traffic, Monday’s statement said.

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PM Sheikh Hasina and Modi Exchange Pleasantries at Swearing-In

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Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, exchanged pleasantries following Modi’s swearing-in ceremony this evening.

Foreign leaders, including the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, took turns approaching the podium to congratulate Modi on taking his oath as the Indian Premier for a third consecutive term.

Clad in light purple, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stepped forward to greet Modi, who extended his hand to her. They exchanged a warm handshake and brief pleasantries, inquiring about each other’s well-being.

Modi then escorted Prime Minister Hasina to the banquet hall, guiding her to the dinner hosted by President Smt. Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Prime Minister Hasina, accompanied by her daughter Saima Wazed, entered the Rashtrapati Bhavan as the third foreign leader to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

Top leaders from Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius, and Seychelles were also present at the swearing-in event, which saw a record attendance of over 8,000 dignitaries.

Prime Minister Hasina arrived in New Delhi on Saturday to participate in the ceremony. She is scheduled to depart for Dhaka tomorrow afternoon.

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