National Security Council under process: Iftekhar
The process of establishing a National Security Council is underway but the timeframe of its formation is yet to be decided, Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said. “So far, I know that there were discussions over it and now the process is going on. But I cannot tell you exactly when it will be established,” he told the journalists after the launching ceremony of “Promoting good governance: key reform challenges facing Bangladesh”. The foreign adviser spoke as the chief guest at the function organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) in association with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the BEI auditorium in the capital. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said it would require a national consensus to establish the National Security Council. The government will figure out the national consensus through the ongoing debates on the formation of the Council, he said responding to a query on the mechanism of having national consensus over the issue. -The Daily Star, August 13.
Govt may ban private coaching by teachers
The government is considering imposing a ban on private coaching or tutoring by school and college teachers. The decision is aimed at fostering a sound teaching atmosphere in educational institutions and access of equally affordable education for all students. “We hope that the decision, banning private coaching and tutoring by teachers, will be taken by this week. It will be applicable for both government and non-government teachers,” Education Secretary M Mamtazul Islam told The Daily Star. Following the directive of Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, top officials of different education authorities including Ministry of Education, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) and secondary and higher secondary education boards held several meetings during the last week and discussed the issue. Chief Adviser Fakhruddin directed education ministry to take effective measures for stopping private coaching and tutoring by the teachers as the practice distracts them from performing their duties effectively at their jobs and thus affects their quality of teaching. -The Daily Star, August 13.
Laid-off, labourers try their hands at crime
At the dead end of night two workers of Crescent Jute Mills Ltd (CJML) went out of home to “earn” something for their family starving for the last couple of days. Tiptoeing to nearby railway tracks, they started to remove small iron plates. But a neighbour saw and identified them when they ran off in sheer shame. Next morning the shabby labourers met the neighbour begging him not to tell anybody their story. But he could not hold himself back telling the story to the reporter only to make it clear that under circumstances a labourer may turn into a petty criminal. He fears some may become professional criminals if the situation does not improve. This is not the picture of only two labourers. Though their crime seems light in its type, it is taking place at several places in the area almost every night. In the morning the light crimes become talk of the jobless people at tea stalls where many others happen to find a way of income. There are thousands others like the two CJML workers retrenched from the four state-owned jute mills including recently closed Peoples Jute Mills Ltd (PJML) who had been remained unpaid for seven months. -Prothom Alo, August 14.
EC hopes govt will lift or relax ban on politics
The Election Commission (EC hopes the ban on indoor politics will be withdrawn or relaxed this month allowing it to hold dialogue on electoral reforms with political parties from next month according to its roadmap. The EC is already preparing for talks with the parties to implement the roadmap it announced on July 15. A source close to the EC said, “The Election Commission believes the government will create a scope for holding talks with the parties either by lifting the ban on indoor politics or relaxing it.” “There are seventeen days to September. Wait and see,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda said as reporters drew his attention to Awami League acting president's remark that his party would not take part in any dialogue with the EC until the ban on indoor politics is lifted. Huda recently said the EC finalised the polls plans in consultation with the chief adviser. The election commissioner explained some provisions of the electoral rolls ordinance 2007. -The Daily Star, August 14.
No room for confusion over polls by Dec 2008
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhrudding Ahmed said there is no room for confusion over holding the parliamentary elections by December 2008. He said the caretaker government has been carrying out relentless efforts since assuming office seven months ago to arrange a free, fair and acceptable general election. He hoped that the Election Commission (EC) would be able to accomplish the task by preparing the voter list according to its roadmap for holding the election in time. Inaugurating the voter listing work with photos and national ID cards, CA urged the citizens to go to registration centers to become voters and cast their votes to make the country's democratic future stronger. Terming the beginning of the voter list preparation work a milestone in the forward march of the country's democratic process, he said a flawless voter list is a prerequisite to holding a fair, neutral and acceptable election. He said the important role being played by army and armed forces in voter listing will be written in golden letters in the nation's history of democracy. -Unb, Dhaka, August 15.
Voter list, NID scheme to cost Tk 580cr
The Election Commission (EC) has readied a Tk 580 crore project for preparing the electoral roll with photographs along with national identity (NID) cards. The project, launched this year and to be completed in 2010, still needs the approval of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) -- the highest government body that examines, appraises and gives final approval to all development projects and programmes of the country, sources in the EC Secretariat said. Besides, the EC Secretariat is making preparations to sign agreements with different donor agencies for financial assistance in the project titled “Preparation of Electoral Rolls with Photographs and Facilitating the Issuance of National Identity Card”, added the sources. “We are hopeful to complete the process of signing agreements with the donors this month,” said Aminul Islam Bhuiyan, secretary to the Economic Relations Division (ERD) that initiated the move to collect foreign funds for the project, while talking to The Daily Star. -The Daily Star, August 15.
SC rejects govt plea for stay on Hasina's bail
The Supreme Court rejected government prayers for staying the High Court's (HC) August 7 interim orders granting bail to Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina in an extortion case filed by businessman Noor Ali, and staying operation of the Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) order to Hasina for submitting her wealth statement. The six-member full bench of Appellate Division of the SC headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Ruhul Amin turned down government pleas for stay in the two cases and directed it to file by today regular appeals against the HC orders. The SC also fixed hearing on those. The SC extended its stay order on Hasina's bail in this case. Meanwhile, the SC also rejected a government prayer for staying the HC's bail order for detained businessman Abdul Awal Mintoo. Like in Hasina's case, the SC directed the government to file a regular appeal with it in this regard today and also fixed for hearing on it. -The Daily Star, August 15.
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