Nation this week
A Satkhira court sentenced former BNP lawmaker Habibul Islam Habib and two others to 10 years' imprisonment in a case filed over the attack on a motorcade of the then-opposition leader and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Satkhira in 2002. The court also sentenced 47 others to different jail terms in the case. Chief Judicial Magistrate Humayun Kabir delivered the verdict while 34 accused, out of 50, were present in the dock. Sixteen others accused of the case, including former councillor Abdul Kader Bacchu, are absconding.
The accused include Kalaroa's former mayor Akhtarul Islam, Satkhira Bar Association's former general secretary Advocate Abdus Sattar, Advocate of Supreme Court Abdus Samad, three former UP chairmen -- Ashraf Hossain, Rakibul Islam and Rabiul Islam -- and other activists of BNP. On August 30, 2002, Hasina, the then opposition chief, was returning to Magura after visiting a freedom fighter's wife in Satkhira when her convoy was attacked in Kalaroa upazila of the district.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party expressed concern over an Al Jazeera report on Bangladesh and demanded an acceptable and reliable explanation from the government. Qatar-based Al Jazeera on February 1 aired the report where they accused the Bangladesh Army chief General Aziz Ahmed of providing illegal support to his brothers to establish and run business abroad with the approval of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed, in a press statement, said that the report titled, 'All the Prime Minister's Men,' had left the general people in Bangladesh embarrassed and worried.
BNP expressed deep concern in keeping with the reactions among the mass people, Rizvi said in the statement. The government without giving explanations to each of the allegations has tried to negate it by protesting it through political statements and this has further deepened the worries of the people, said the statement.
The implementation of a Tk 5,000-crore special refinance scheme for the country's agricultural sector has reached 67 percent in eight-and-a-half months of its launch. The package was launched on April 13 with a view to containing the COVID-induced economic impact on the country's rural economy. Initially, the implementation deadline was set at September 30, 2020. Later, the deadline was extended to December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021 in two phases due mainly to banks' failure to implement the scheme on time.
The latest Bangladesh Bank data showed that banks have so far disbursed Tk 3,350.68 crore to farmers through the banking channel. Under the implementation of the package, 43 scheduled banks have so far disbursed loans to 1,43,747 farmers. As of December 2020, the banks received 1,48,564 applications for loans from the scheme. Of the applications, the central bank has approved 1,47,250 applications.
Around 150,000 people around the country have registered to receive the Covid-19 vaccine so far, according to the health minister. This number was the latest until Thursday morning (February 4), Zahid Maleque said at an event marking the World Cancer Day in Dhaka. "The registration process saw slow progress at the beginning, but it gained momentum recently," he said. People who are eligible and willing to be vaccinated in the first phase must enrol themselves into the vaccination program by completing registration by February 5.
The Directorate General of Health Services says that no one will be able to receive the vaccine without registration. The countrywide inoculation campaign will begin from Sunday, as part of the government's move against the pandemic that has killed over 8,000 people around Bangladesh so far.
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