Zyma Islam

Data Protection Act: Everyone dealing with citizens’ data must register

The government will maintain a publicly available register of all organisations and persons collecting and processing data, and the purpose for which data is being processed.

1w ago

Deaths won’t stop as justice a mirage

Over the past decade, there has not been a single conviction in any major fire, and in most cases, the affected establishments went back to business as usual the minute media attention shifted.

1w ago

Life lost amid irregularities

The captain of a Biman flight was napping in the crew rest area, leaving the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300ER technically unmanned, when a passenger had a heart attack

2w ago

Biman paying for hiring unqualified Boeing 777 pilots

In February last year, Biman recruited a batch of contractual pilots to fly its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, claiming that it needed pilots immediately due to a shortage.

3w ago

Dollar crunch raises spectre of load-shedding

Private power plants that use furnace oil risk facing severe shortage of fuel and this may result in power cuts during the hottest months of this year.

3w ago

Accused in DSA Case: Teen spends 8 months in solitary confinement

On October 17, 2021, an entire fishing village in Rangpur’s Pirganj upazila was set ablaze allegedly because a Hindu teen hurt the religious sentiments of the locals through a derogatory social media post.

Biman’s 7 Domestic Flights Last Year: Pilots’ blunder, cover-up put 500 lives at risk

Did you take any of these seven Biman flights on February 1 and February 2 last year?

Rohingyas accuse APBn of abuse

A 36-year-old Rohingya refugee activist was preparing a list of refugees allegedly abused by Bangladesh’s Armed Police Battalion (APBn). In consequence, he faced arrest, arbitrary detention and torture, he claimed.

Cases Under DSA: Almost all accused kept hanging

Only two percent of the people accused under the Digital Security Act saw their cases come to a close with the court handing either a conviction, an acquittal or the dismissal of the case.

Biman recruitment test: High officials linked to question leak

On 21 October 2022, Biman Bangladesh was to hold a recruitment exam for 10 posts for electricians, mechanics, welders, painters, operators and tailors. Around two hours before the exam, the recruitment process was suspended -- the question paper had been leaked.

Unchecked infections: When hospitals turn deadly

Sheikh Abdul Alam, 96, was admitted to a private hospital on December 20, 2021, with a broken hip from a fall.

Gas price hike: Source taxes add to plight of consumers

The Consumers Association of Bangladesh took the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission to court to make them review their decision to hike gas prices and the High Court on Monday asked BERC why it was not doing so.

Stakeholders’ consultation mostly ignored in final draft of social media, OTT regulation

Even though Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had invited feedback on the draft of its new social media regulation, the finalised version shows that little or no heed was paid to the major stakeholders.

BTRC draft rules on OTT: Govt given indemnity for its actions

The final draft of BTRC’s regulations for digital, social media, and OTT platforms allows the government to order individuals to take down content, empowers it to order social media companies to block content, and grants it indemnity for its actions under the law.

21 Dhaka neighbourhoods: Power outages every other hour

People living in the capital’s Shyampur, Nandalalpur, Kajla or Matuail experienced load-shedding every alternate hour yesterday. 

Pvt power plants on heavy fuel: Standoff over unpaid bills hurts consumers

A standoff over unpaid bills between the government and independent power plants that run on heavy fuel oil is hurting people when they are enduring the worst power crisis in a decade.

Load-shedding worsens sharply

Power outages during the three-day weekend were so frequent that they prompted the state minister for power to speak about the extent of the problem yesterday.

Man “picked up by Rab,” shown arrested after 17 days

A man, Nurul Afsar Hawladar, who was picked up from Uttara on September 22 allegedly by Rab, was shown arrested in Cox's Bazar yesterday (October 9, 2022).

Load-shedding situation: Reality contradicts minister’s claims

Even though the countrywide power cuts are statistically more frequent at the moment compared to last month, State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid announced that load-shedding has decreased.

No trace of man taken away 14 days ago

Nurul Afsar Hawladar, a 40-year-old marketing official at a real estate company, was picked up from Uttara by men claiming to be from Rab on September 22.

Hate Crimes, DSA: Twin terrors for the minorities

On one hand, there were at least 22 incidents of Hindu religious sites being attacked this year. On the other, there were at least seven incidents in which members of the minority community were sued or arrested under the Digital Security Act or other laws for "hurting religious sentiments".

Extreme heat: $6b loss a year in Dhaka’s labour productivity

Dhaka is losing $6 billion worth of labour productivity each year due to heat stress from extreme temperatures, said a study published yesterday.

Presumed dead in Thai jungle: 2 photos and hope rekindled

Hearing the news of the mass graves discovered in Thailand in 2015, family members of three men who had left Bangladesh two years ago thought they were among those buried.

Digital security act: Sued at 17, JnU student in jail

Sued as an adult when she was actually 17 in 2020, a Jagannath University student has been languishing in jail under the Digital Security Act for almost a month.

Enforced disappearances: UN group records 5 more cases

Five new incidents of enforced disappearance in Bangladesh were reported to the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances in the last one year.

Capacity payments for power plants: One third goes to three firms

Thirty-five percent of all capacity payments the government made to independent power producers (IPPs) over the last three years went to two private companies and a joint venture.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances 2022: Where do they disappear to?

“How are our loved ones? Are they eating well? Are they being tortured? Are they… alive?”

Where do the ‘disappeared’ disappear to?

While their families search every alleyway, survivors say that they lived right around the corner in the capital city. 

Press council act: Amendments go against views of stakeholders

While the Bangladesh Press Council has proposed an amendment to the Press Council Act to impose stricter fines on journalists, the council’s records show the move is contrary to the sentiments of the journalists in its board.

Digital security act: Special cell’s nod must for filing case

No case can be filed under the Digital Security Act without the express approval of a special cell headed by the divisional commissioner, the ICT ministry proposed yesterday.

Towards a breaking point?

The burden of the arbitrary, overnight leap in fuel prices will be borne by the people, and the low-income group and the middle class will feel it in their bones.

Power sector external debt: Repayment may pose a challenge

The repayment of foreign loans in the power sector may worsen the country’s debt-servicing burden as the government will have to pay the lenders Tk 197,677.27 crore in the 30 years from 2024-25 fiscal.

No clear remedy for a pervasive ill

The Cabinet Committee on Law and Order at the home ministry recently suggested that the legal age determining who is a “child” be lowered.

Floods in northeast: Private relief efforts outpace govt’s

Around 3:00am last Wednesday, one family was seen hard at work making 400 bags of relief to be taken for distribution the next morning.

Flood damages: Farmers face hunger after loss of crops

When the floods came this year, it was not just the rice in the paddy fields that were washed away, but also those stored at homesteads -- leaving many in a state of food insecurity.

Time to rebuild

Laki village of Tawakkul union in Sylhet’s Gowainghat upazila straddles a massive haor, silhouetting the emerald mountains of Cherrapunji.

Relief distribution in a coordinated way

All relief -- government or non-government -- is to be distributed in a coordinated way by committees formed in upazilas and unions of the Sylhet division.

Inaccessible, in distress

Thousands of people in 93 unions -- one-third of the total 336 in Sylhet division -- suffer immensely as no humanitarian aid could reach them as yet.

Cox's Bazar: Shrimp hatchery wastes invade the sea

It is the beach holiday you have been waiting for. You have your swimming gear ready, and the waves crashing upon the Kolatoli beach in Cox’s Bazar are calling out.

Middle class: A slur is all they get

The new budget provides nothing for the uncle next-door who has spent his life pinching pennies in a rented flat, nothing for the millennial slogging away 60 hours a week and still wondering how to pay for their second child’s school fees, nothing for the mother hesitating to buy beef for a special day.

'Enforced disappearances' a term used to malign govt: Bangladesh to UN Working Group

The government of Bangladesh has written to the United Nations arguing that it is “unlawful to arbitrarily consider any missing [person’s] case as enforced disappearance”.

Illegal healthcare facilities: DGHS inundated with licence applications

The health directorate is seeing a barrage of applications from healthcare facilities for authorisation following the countrywide drive against unauthorised healthcare organisations.

A nightmare that won’t stop at rape

A victim of an alleged rape by a police officer has taken shelter in a government safehouse after the suspect, now on bail, allegedly threatened her with consequences for filing the case.

Illegal health facilities: One of them even served embassies

Located in the capital’s upscale neighbourhood of Baridhara, Wahab Medical Practice has been making medical assessments of people travelling to western countries, says its website.

a2i set to enter digital innovations sector as agency, tech companies worry

The government’s a2i programme is set to become a full-fledged agency, entering the software and digital innovations industry as a government-subsidised player, but creating uncertainty for local tech companies.

Three more Bangladeshis in Pandora Papers

Three more names were disclosed in the final batch of Pandora Papers data, taking the tally of Bangladeshi nationals to have been found to hold shell companies in tax havens in the leaked documents by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to nine.

4 to die for killing Humayun Azad

Four members of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were sentenced to death yesterday for killing Prof Humayun Azad 18 years ago.

I forgive my students, will return to classroom: Hriday Mondal

“I will go back to the classroom and continue teaching my students. Forgiving them for their mistakes and helping them differentiate between right and wrong is my job.”

February 1, 2022
February 1, 2022

‘Shootout’ justice: The first, at long last

This is the first time in the country any law enforcer, let alone five, has been brought to book by a court for staging a “shootout”.

January 27, 2022
January 27, 2022

Proposed EC bill doesn’t ensure one’s impartiality

Dr Badiul Alam Majumder, secretary of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (SHUJAN), discusses how the new Election Commission bill undercuts the ultimate exercise of democracy, in a conversation with Zyma Islam of The Daily Star.

January 16, 2022
January 16, 2022

Leahy law poses new challenge to Dhaka

For a second time in a month, Dhaka has sought more time to notify the US whether it would consent to the Leahy law, which was invoked at the beginning of the new year.

January 14, 2022
January 14, 2022

Forced disappearance: Coerced by cops

With the heat turned up on human rights violations in the country, police have re-established contact with families of enforced-disappearance victims.

December 31, 2021
December 31, 2021

Luminaries we lost this year

While the pandemic ravaged the country, the deaths of institutions who succumbed to other causes, hit no less heavy. 

December 31, 2021
December 31, 2021

Icons Covid took away in 2021

The pandemic purged the country of some of its brightest stars, for the second year in a row.

December 22, 2021
December 22, 2021

Shadow market thrives on streaming services

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Disney+, perhaps even a bit of HBO Max -- one must have them all to be a regular everyday netizen.

December 12, 2021
December 12, 2021

Rab in for reckoning

Rab will neither be allowed to own properties in the US nor engage in transactions with anyone in the US because of the sanctions.

December 5, 2021
December 5, 2021

icddr,b's 61 years of glorious service: From cholera to Covid

The birth of icddr,b almost coincided with the seventh cholera pandemic that according to the World Health Organisation began in South Asia in 1961.

December 2, 2021
December 2, 2021

Justice for Human Trafficking: A privilege now gets in the way

When migrant workers fell victim to labour trafficking and filed cases with the police, the law enforcers prosecuted or arrested the recruiting agents responsible for sending the workers abroad.