Nov 14 Morning: WB loan, T-20 final, Dengue, Banks and Chonpara drug trade
Good morning. If you're traveling on buses from Mirpur, you might be relieved to know that the much-awaited e-ticketing service was launched earlier this week. Here are five other stories to start your day up-to-date.
P.S. It's World Diabetes Day today. The theme this year is to increase the overall education of the disease and encourage early diagnosis.
1. World Bank Loan
Now that the IMF loan got the green light, the government is seeking loans at lower interest rates from the World Bank — revealed during the Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal's meeting with Martin Raiser, the WB's vice-president for the South Asia region. Bangladesh is already the largest recipient of funding from the International Development Association, which is the World Bank Group's ongoing concessional lending arm for the world's 74 poorest countries. Bangladesh hopes to get an additional $500 million this fiscal year, and another $500 million in the next two, according to the Finance Ministry. The WB put forth 12 conditions — in the fiscal and economic sector — of which the government is yet to fulfill any. The funds will be disbursed once Bangladesh starts implementing the suggested reforms, the WB delegation said.
2. T-20 final recap
The tournament spanning 45 games over the last month has now come to an end, crowning England as champions. It was a nervy final, with English bowlers restricting Pakistan to a tight 137/8. Chasing a low total, England initially faltered as Pakistan's star fast bowler Shaheen Afridi bowled out Alex Hales in the first over. Shaheen Afridi was forced to abort his third over, after an awkward landing on his right knee while catching to dismiss Harry Brook. It was Ben Stokes, who led the second innings. With an unbeaten half-century, Stokes hitting the last ball, the English cricket team became the first dual white-ball champions, holding both the 50 and 20-over titles. Sam Curran was named the player of the match (3/12) and the player of the tournament (12 wickets in six matches). The bad news is still ongoing for Pakistan though, as experts fear that Shaheen Afridi's injury from the match may take months to recover.
With 3 deaths yesterday, the total number of lives claimed by dengue is now 202 people. This is the highest ever recorded single-year death toll caused by the mosquito-borne disease. People between the age of 20-40, especially women, have been most affected, according to the Health Minister Zahid Maleque. A programme was held yesterday in the nation's capital by the Health Ministry to introduce new dengue guidelines. "Dengue patients are dying within three days of infection. Late hospitalisation is one of the causes for the loss of life," the Minister added. To safeguard yourself, it's best to get tested for dengue as soon as you feel any symptoms such as a fever, and seek treatment. Meanwhile, some prevention measures you can take are: wearing loose clothing; steer clear from drains and any kind of stagnant water; avoid areas with plants, bushes in parks; sleep with a moshari and so on. Experts have previously blamed the lack of timely governance to curb the massive outbreak.
One of the conditions of Bangladesh's $4.5 billion loan from IMF — which just got approved — is bringing the banking sector's bad loans down, and introducing an asset management company to dispose of those soured loans. That's not going too well as of yet; experts blame corruption. The defaulted loans in banks reached another high: Tk 134, 396 Crore, at the end of the third quarter this year. According to economist Zahin Hussain, this increase just indicates that measures are yet to be taken. Husain also dismissed the banks' excuses of an unfavorable business environment, stating that, "there is forbearance for borrowers to repay loans." In many cases, banks gave loans to influential borrowers, he added. "Some banks are not following rules," said Salehuddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank.
5. Chonpara drug trade
After Buet student Fardin Noor Parash's tragic murder, allegations surfaced that he might have been killed in Chanpara of Naryanganj; the area — which has emerged as a major crime den — has, as such, come under spotlight. The Daily Star visited at least four well-known drug hotspots in the slum yesterday and found it to be eerily quiet. The slums have now come under the radar from law enforcement agencies and since then, drug trade has cooled down. Locals said crimes had proliferated in the area in the last decade but that " neither police nor local leaders took any steps to stop the illegal trade." They also said a committee led by Bazlur Rashid, chairman of Kayetpara Union Parishad, was formed to prevent drug dealing in the slum. But the chairman soon began backing the illegal trade in exchange for money, claimed locals. Read more about the story here.