5 Top stories to know today
December 10 is over finally, but another fiery day awaits us apparently. The BNP has announced mass nation-wide protests on December 24, the day Awami League will also hold its 22nd council in Suhrawardy Uddan. At least we have the World Cup to distract us till the 18th. Here's everything else to get you up-to speed.
1. PM Sheikh Hasina is the 42nd most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes
In the Forbes' 2022 list of Most Powerful Women in the World, PM Sheikh Hasina ranked 42nd this year, and the second most powerful South Asian woman, after Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister of India, who ranked 36.
The list was determined by four main metrics: money, media, impact and spheres of influence. For political leaders, Forbes weighed gross domestic products and populations; for corporate leaders, revenues and employee counts; and media mentions and reach of all. Read the description of PM's ranking here
2. BNP's Nayapaltan office reopens while Fakhrul and Abbas seek bail
After Wednesday's clash between the police and BNP, law enforcers locked away the main office of the opposition at Nayapaltan. Today, all the barricades and barbed-wire fences on both sides of the road from Fakirapool to the Nightingale intersection were removed. BNP's acting office secretary Emran Saleh Prince, along with several lawyers, entered the office around 1:00pm, and witnessed money looted, chairs and tables all vandalised. Read more
Ahead of the rally yesterday, BNP's general secretary Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Mirza Abbas were sent to jail charges of provoking party members to launch an attack on police in Nayapaltan area. They're currently seeking bail.
3. Opening LCs: BB to relax margins for Ramadan essential items
Opening LCs has been a tough task for the business sector after the central bank fixed the opening margin rate at 75% to limit imports to save the depleting reserves of foreign currency. The Bangladesh Bank today directed all commercial banks to lower the LC margin for eight food items in order to keep the prices at a tolerable level during the upcoming month of Ramadan. The eight essentials are edible oil, sugar, chickpeas, pulses, beans, onions, dates and spices.
4. Five out of seven BNP seats in Parliament now empty. EC to act on by-polls
The Election Commission will take steps to hold by-elections when it receives the gazette notification declaring the seven parliamentary seats vacant following the resignation of BNP MPs. Today, 5 BNP lawmakers resigned from Jatiya Parishad, submitting their letters to the Speaker. The other two who haven't formally resigned are expected to follow suit soon. 7 of the BNP MPs in Parliament all announced their resignations yesterday in Gopalbagh, in line with their party's stance of no-confidence in the current government.
Information minister Hasan Mahmud criticised the move as the opposition's intention to uproot democracy in the nation. Yesterday, AL General Secretary Quader said Parliament won't be "paralysed" without the BNP members. He also said, "BNP will have to regret making such a decision." In 2018, BNP won only seven out of the total 350 seats in the country's 11th parliament, which has 50 reserved seats for women.
5. World Cup Semi-final teams: Argentina, Croatia, Morocco and France
It's a historic World Cup, a roller-coaster to say the least. We could have the exact same final and outcome as the last World Cup, or new history completely. Safe to say, it's not possible to predict anymore at this point. As you enjoy the last ride, here's the fixture:
Messi's Argentina will play Modric's Croatia on December 14th, Wednesday at 1:00am. Defending champions France will take on unbreakable Morocco on Thursday, December 15th at 1:00am. (We still wonder if Harry Kane and Ronaldo are crying). The winner of the semi-finals will face each other in the final on December 18th, at 9PM.
Morocco made history yesterday as the first African and Arab nation in the semi-finals. Croatia or Morocco will be the first new world champions since Spain in 2010 if they win. On the other hand, FIFA unveiled Al Hilm, the official ball for the semi-finals and final. Al Hilm, which translates as "The Dream" in Arabic, follows on from the Official Match Ball of the group stages, Al Rihla, or "The Journey."