The High Commission of Bangladesh in Canada celebrated the 52nd Independence and National Day Reception 2023 with great enthusiasm, festivity, and patriotic spirit at Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Rideau Street, Ottawa, Canada on 2 May 2023. Following the invitation of this Mission, the Hon’ble Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Canada attended the event as the Chief Guest on behalf of the Government of Canada. The event was also attended by more than 150 guests, including, Federal Members of Parliament, Senators, and Heads of diplomatic missions based in Ottawa. Besides, leading community members and expatriate Bangladeshis in Canada were also present at the celebration. The program commenced with the playing of the national anthems of Bangladesh followed by Canada. All the invited guests paid tribute when the National anthems of both the countries were played. After this, H.E. Dr. Khalilur Rahman, the High Commissioner delivered his speech on this special occasion. In his remarks, he greeted the invited guests and paid tribute to the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the three million martyrs who sacrificed their lives, as well as the two hundred thousand women who lost their honour during the war of liberation in 1971. H.E. the High Commissioner said, “Ever since the diplomatic relations were established in 1972, the bilateral relations between the two countries have transformed into a robust partnership and Canada has its due share of Bangladesh’s impressive economic and social development, especially under the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’. High Commissioner said that the brutal assassination of the Father of Nation along with his 18 family members, including children and women on 15 August 1975, took Bangladesh down a path of fundamentalism and terrorism and it is only when the current Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina came back to power, that Bangladesh regained its path of democracy, secularism, stability, peace, and prosperity. Date: 02 May 2023 High Commissioner also highlighted the need for meaningful dialogue with our partners, including Canada, for the deportation of convicted killers, perpetrators of genocide, and the flagrant violators of human rights. He urged our friends to make caution and to be not misled by misinformation and fabricated social media propaganda that contribute to violent extremism and radicalization in Bangladesh. He sought continuing support and partnership with our global partners, including Canada, to keep Bangladesh on the path of secularism. It is important for the global community to strengthen the hands of secular forces in Bangladesh. Hon’ble Robert Oliphant emphasized that the bilateral relationship between Canada and Bangladesh is incredibly important for Canada, as it evolved primarily from Canada’s support during our war of liberation and subsequent recognition of Bangladesh. He highly lauded the successful graduation of Bangladesh from LDC category in 2026 and the ongoing development of Bangladesh under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He also expressed gratitude to Bangladesh for hosting 1.3 million Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN) and vowed to work together for their safe, sustainable, and dignified repatriation to their homeland in Myanmar by ensuring accountability and justice through international mechanisms, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Lastly, he expressed his felicitation and congratulations on the 52nd anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and national day and concluded his speech. It is to be mentioned here that a documentary on Bangabandhu and Bangladesh was screened during the event. Finally, a lunch was hosted in honor of the invited guests. The celebration of Independence and National Day was organized on 2 May 2023 instead of 26 March 2023 due to the holy month of Ramadan. A few still photographs of the event are attached herewith for necessary media coverage.
A study examining tobacco industry (TI) interference in the formulation and implementation of graphic health warnings (GHWs) was recently (24 April) published in the international peer-reviewed journal Tobacco Control of the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) group. The study, titled, “Tobacco industry interference to undermine the development and implementation of graphic health warnings in Bangladesh” identified a wide range of strategies the TI employed following the 2013 amendment of the tobacco control law that made GHWs obligatory on the upper 50% of both sides of all tobacco packs. The paper was co-authored by Professor Anna B Gilmore, Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath; Dr. Britta K. Matthes, Research Associate in the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath; and four tobacco control advocates from PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), a Bangladesh-based anti-tobacco research and advocacy organization: ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA, Md Hasan Shahriar, Head of Programs, Md Shahedul Alam, Head of Advocacy, Md Mehedi Hasan, Media Manger of Tobacco Control Program. The driving factor behind industry interference in GHWs, as the study finds, was the intention to delay the implementation by prolonging transition period and to weaken GHWs by shifting them from the upper 50% of tobacco packs to the less effective lower 50% area. The Bangladesh Cigarette Manufacturers’ Association (BCMA) was found to be the most active industry actor interfering in the process. Among the tobacco companies, British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) was most active and the only company that acted alone to thwart GHW implementation. Through high-level access to and close communication with key government agencies, the industry managed to insert the government’s apex revenue body in the process and put pressure on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the lead ministry of the legislation. The draft guidelines, first published on 30 October 2013, gave tobacco companies six months to start printing GHWs on the upper 50% of both sides of all tobacco packs. However, through continuous interference, the industry managed to delay the process by around two years. GHWs came into force no sooner than 19 March 2016 and were printed in the lower 50% of tobacco packs, as the industry intended. The study highlights the importance of continuous TI monitoring to identify and counter its moves to undermine public health measures. It also urges the government of Bangladesh to adopt WHO FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines and to make their implementation a policy priority. The study was published at a time when Bangladesh is in the process of amending its tobacco control law, Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) (Amendment) Act 2013. The draft amendment, which, among other issues, proposes to increase GHWs to 90% of tobacco packs, has already become a target of major TI interference. One of the authors of the study, ABM Zubair, Executive Director, PROGGA, urges the government to take notes of the findings and remain alert to TI interference to thwart the process, “The government must learn from the experience of introducing GHWs for the first time in Bangladesh following the 2013 Amendment. Similar types of industry arguments and interferences are being used to thwart the current amendment process. Our policymakers need to prioritize public health above all and should not allow themselves to get misled by tobacco industry’s ill tactics.” The study is based on media articles published between 1 March 2013 and 31 November 2017, and 11 industry, government, and court documents available in the public domain. The paper can be found here: https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2023/04/24/tc-2022-057538
- Celebration of 103rd Birth Anniversary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and National Children’s Day- 2023
Bangladesh High Commission, Ottawa, Canada celebrated the 103rd Birth Anniversary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the National Children’s Day on 17th March 2023 with a festivity and great enthusiasm. The celebration of the day was divided into two parts, i.e., one was in the morning and the other one was in the afternoon. The programme started by hoisting the national flag at 10.00 am at Bangladesh House. H.E., the High Commissioner hoisted the National Flag when all the officers and officials of the High Commission were present. The National Anthem was played as the background music during the flag hoisting. A special prayer was offered for the eternal salvation of Bangabandhu, his family members and all the martyrs of the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. The second part of the program began at 04.30 pm at the premise of the Bangladesh High Commission, Ottawa by placing floral wreath on the portrait of Bangabandhu. H.E., the High Commissioner along with the invited guests and officials placed the floral wreath on the portrait. After that, the messages of the Honorable President, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Hon’ble Foreign Minister, and Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs were read out. Two children spoke at the event. H.E., the High Commissioner Dr. Khalilur Rahman, in his speech, humbly remembered the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and all the martyrs. He said that Bangladesh became independent under the leadership of Bangabandhu. Appreciating the speeches of the two children, H.E., the High Commissioner requested all parents to inspire their children to participate in this kind of programmes. Citing the recent violence activities against Ahmedia Community (Kadiani) by miscreants in Bangladesh, H.E., the High Commissioner informed that stern action has been taken against those involved. Under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh will be a developed country by 2041 and all the conspiracies by some quarter against the country will be futile, he added. He again informed that Ministers, MPs, and the high officials of the Canadian Government Dated: 17th March 2023 were intimated about the stern action taken by the Bangladesh Government against the miscreants. After this speech, H.E., the High Commissioner announced the name of the winners who participated in the painting and essay-writing competition. A small cultural programme was staged by the children. Afterwards, special gift was given to all the children. At the end of the ceremony, H.E., the High Commissioner cut the cake along with the children and the guests. Some still photographs of this celebration are also attached herewith.
To curb tobacco-related deaths and other losses, the government must finalize the draft amendment at the earliest possible time. Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) demands this today (18 January 2022, Wednesday) during a meeting that took place at BMA Bhaban of the capital. The Alliance of media personnel also urged the policymakers not to succumb to the disinformation campaign of the tobacco industry, aimed at derailing the amendment initiative. It was informed during the event that as a party to WHO FCTC, Bangladesh is committed to protect the tobacco control policies and other public health measures from the vested commercial and other interests of tobacco industry. The FCTC Article 5.3, in particular, recommends governments to remain free from tobacco industry interference while formulating and implementing tobacco control law and related policies. The latest amendment proposal contains a number of global best practices including eliminating Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs), banning the display of tobacco products, outlawing so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of tobacco companies, banning the sale of loose sticks, and also banning e-cigarettes and other vaping products, increasing the area allotted for graphic health warning (GHW) to 90 percent from existing 50 percent. The event was attended by 43 ATMA members. ATMA co-convener Mizan Chowdhury and PROGGA’s head of programs Hasan Shahriar shared organizational activities and highlighted future course of actions. Senior Journalist Sukanta Gupta Alak, Shankar Maitra, Director, Channel-S, Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) Bangladesh, Mortuza Haider Liton, Convener, ATMA, and ABM Zubair, Member-Secretary of ATMA attended the special discussion session.
‘Knowledgevale’ started its operation at Banani as a co-working place for young entrepreneurs, students, freelancers and startup companies. The inauguration of the organization was announced today on Sunday (January 15) at 54Kemal Ataturk Avenue (3rdFloor), Banani, Dhaka. Knowledgevale Director Mr. Akib Arafat Khan inaugurated it. While inaugurating the ‘Knowledgevale’ Akib Arafat Khan said that Bangladesh is a country of infinite potential. The youth of this country are incredibly talented and hardworking. But there is no environment for young entrepreneurs in this country. Young entrepreneurs with innovative mindsets have to face many obstacles. Knowledgevale was founded for these young entrepreneurs and freelancers. From this organization, young entrepreneurs will be able to expand their business without any worries. He also said that many young people cannot start a small business due to lake of an office. Knowledgevale will not only provide them office space, but will also provide them all the logistic support they need to expand their business. Daffodil Family CEO Mohammad Nuruzzaman said to his speech that the journey of Daffodil family started with the focus on information and technology. Now is the age of information technology. Knowledgevale will sponsor the initiatives that the youth will take in the field of information technology. Knowledgevale aims to take knowledge-based initiatives forward to innovative young entrepreneurs as well. Mr. Munir Hasan, Founder, Chakri Khujbo Na, Debo, (চাকরি খুঁজবনা, দেব) Mr. Iqbal Bahar Zahid, Founder & President, Nijer BolarMoto Ekti Golpo, Daffodil Family CEO Mr. Mohammad Nuruzzaman and Prof. Dr. Mohammad Masum Iqbal, Dean, FBE of Daffodil International University were present at the inauguration ceremony. Note that Knowledgevale is an organization that provides co-workspaces for young entrepreneurs, students, freelancers and startups. There are modern design offices, free internet, meeting rooms, car parking, membership facilities and much more. Details can be found at https://knowledgevale.com/ . Caption: Akib Arafat Khan, Director, of ‘Knowledgevale’ is inaugurating its operation cutting ribbon at Banani (54 Kemal Atatturk Avenue) in the capital, Daffodil Family CEO Md. Nuruzzaman, Munir Hasan, Founder, Chakri Khujbo Na, Debo, (চাকরি খুঁজব না, দেব), Iqbal Bahar Zahid, Founder & President, NijerBolar Moto Ekti Golpo, Daffodil Family CEO Mohammad Nuruzzaman and Prof. Dr. Md. Masum Iqbal, Dean, FBE of Daffodil International University and other high officials were present during inauguration.
Padma Bank Limited will provide loans at 4 percent interest to increase production in the agricultural sector as well as ensuring food security for the country. This loan will be given under the fund titled “5000 crore refinancing scheme for agriculture sector to ensure food security of the country” formed by Bangladesh Bank. Recently, Padma Bank has signed a participation agreement with Bangladesh Bank to disburse the loans on easy terms. Director of the Agriculture Credit Division of the central bank, Abul Kalam Azad, and Faisal Ahsan Chowdhury, Managing Director (Current Charge) of Padma Bank, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations in the presence of Governor Abdur Rauf Talukdar in the Jahangir Alam Conference Hall of Bangladesh Bank’s head office. Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank AKM Sajedur Rahman Khan and Executive Director of the Agricultural Credit Department Md. Anwarul Islam, and senior officials of both organizations, were present on the occasion. Farmers can take out loans for paddy cultivation, fisheries, vegetables, fruit, and flower cultivation, poultry production, and dairy production under the livestock sector. Padma Bank will disburse this loan at the farmer’s level.
S M Rezaul Karim, Minister of Fisheries and Livestock of Bangladesh, said, the initiative to amend tobacco control law is a timely one. His ministry stands beside the Health Ministry full support. The minister said this today (11 January) during a meeting with a delegation from PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) and Anti-tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) at his official residence at Baily Road. During the meeting, PROGGA and ATMA informed that currently the prevalence of tobacco use stands at 35.3 percent (37.8 million) of the adult population (15 y/o and above). Tobacco-related deaths and diseases cost the economy dearly since the financial toll is much higher than the revenue generated from tobacco sector. Realizing the extent of tobacco’s devastation, the Honorable Prime Minister voiced her commitment to build a tobacco-free country by 2040 and accordingly provided the directive to bring time-fitting changes to the tobacco control law. Following the clear directive from the HPM, the Health Ministry took the initiative to amend the law. Some of the proposals included in the draft amendment are eliminating Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) in all public places and public transports, banning the display of tobacco products, banning so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs of tobacco companies, banning the sale of loose tobacco products, banning the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and other vaping products and increasing the area allotted for graphic health warning (GHW) to 90 percent from existing 50 percent. The discussants of the event included Md. Mostafizur Rahman, Lead Policy Advisor, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Senior Journalist Sukanta Gupta Alak, Shankar Maitra, Director (News and Current Affairs), Channel-S, Mortuza Haider Liton, Convener, ATMA and Md. Hasan Shahriar, Program Head, PROGGA.
Padma Bank and The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Documents Verification System (DVS). Under this MoU, the bank will get the opportunity to verify the updated audit report and audited financial statements submitted by the loan applicant. Besides, there is also an opportunity to verify the authenticity of audited financial reports of various organizations through DVS. This memorandum of understanding was signed on January 1, 2023, at the ICAB Council Hall, CA Bhaban Dhaka. The bank’s Managing Director and CEO, Tarek Reaz Khan and ICAB’s Chief Executive Officer, Shubhashish Bose, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organization. During the signing event, Tarek Reaz Khan congratulated the newly appointed President of ICAB, Md. Moniruzzaman FCA, with flowers. Wishing everyone a happy new year, Tarek Reaz Khan said in his speech that people who default on loans or evade taxes not only put the organization in danger but also lead the entire nation towards destruction. Therefore, by using the DVS system, it is possible to keep society, the country, and the nation from crisis by working with transparency. He also added that if we can establish good corporate governance by using modern technology, then, Inshallah, it is possible to avoid unwanted chaos in the financial sector. He thanked the ICAB officials for bringing DVS technology. The agreement signing ceremony was also attended by Padma Bank SEVP, CHRO, and CCO M Ahsan Ullah Khan, SEVP and CFO Badal Kumar Nath FCA, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) Vice President Md. Yasin Miah FCA, MBM Lutful Hadee FCA, Md. Johirul Islam FCA, Council Member Mohammed Forkan Uddin FCA, COO Mahbub Ahmed Siddique FCA, Head of IT Mohammad Deloar Hossain, IT Department, ICAB all Divisional Head and other senior officials of the two organization.
The Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) of the ICT Division of Bangladesh is going to organize a Job Fair for the employment of specially-abled persons or persons with disabilities. Meanwhile, the submission of the resume/CV of the job candidates who are willing to participate in the fair has been started. The Job fair will be organized at the office building of the NGO Affairs Bureau in Agargaon, Dhaka on Saturday, January 7, 2023. Interested job seekers, specially-abled persons or disabled job candidates can submit CV or resume through the link: https://emporia.bcc.gov.bd/jobportal/job-fair . So far, about 400 CVs have been submitted. Among them, those who have IT skills will be selected. It is mentioned that since 2011 ICT training for the disabled has been started free of cost through BCC. The Job Fairs are being organized since 2015 with the participation of jobseekers and employers for the employment of disabled persons who have received ICT training. So far, about 800 ICT-skilled persons with disabilities have been employed at previous Job Fairs till now, said Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) Manager (Systems) and Coordinator of Job Fair 2023 Md. Golam Rabbani. ICT-based organizations belonging to different trade bodies or associations are participating in this fair. Notable among these are Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), Bangladesh Association of Contact Center and Outsourcing (BACCO), Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS), Cyber Cafe Owners Association of Bangladesh (CCOAB), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Internet Service Providers of Bangladesh (ISPAB), Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) and Cyber Cafe Owners Association of Bangladesh (CCOAB) are member ICT-based organizations. This time, the organizing authority hopes that it will be possible to provide jobs to more than a hundred persons with disabilities through this fair. The organization named Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID) is supporting as the partner of the fair.
Padma Bank Limited inaugurated the Uttara-6 Sub-Branch to make financial transactions easier for Uttara residents. It will be operated under the Uttara Branch. All types of banking services, including opening of bank accounts, cash deposits and withdrawals, check book and pay order issue, clearing checks and pay order deposits, deposit and loan facilities, real-time online banking facilities and utility bill deposits, are available in this Sub-Branch. Padma Bank Managing Director and CEO Tarek Reaz Khan formally inaugurated the Sub- Branch in Uttara on Tuesday. At this time, he thanked all customers for being with Padma Bank. He said customers are the motivation of Padma Bank. The Padma Bank family is committed to providing modern, technology-based services as per their needs. He also said that Padma Bank will bring many more attractive new products and services in near future. He requested customers to banking with confidence in any branch, sub-branch, or agent banking outlet of Padma Bank when seeking banking services. Padma Bank’s EVP, CAMLCO & Head of Operation Syed Towhid Hossain along with senior officials of various departments and local dignitaries, social workers, and people of various classes and professions, were also present at the event. The programme ended with “Dua and Milad Mahfil”. The fourth generation of Padma Bank Limited, under the main ownership of Government owned Sonali, Janata, Agrani, Rupali Bank, and ICB, has been providing banking services to customers through 59 branches, 5 sub-branches, and 7 agent banking outlets across the country. Uttara 6 No Sector Sub-Branch Address: House: 01, Road: 16, Sector: 06, Uttara, Dhaka.