BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and standing committee member Mirza Abbas have to wait till next week when the Appellate Division will hear a government appeal against their bail and decide on their release from jail. The two BNP leaders have remained in jail since December 9, a day before the party's mass rally in Dhaka. Appellate Division chamber judge Jahangir Hossain asked the lawyers for Fakhrul and Abbas not to submit the High Court order of granting bail to the two top BNP leaders to Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court to enable their release from jail.

The chamber judge fixed Sunday for hearing the government appeal by a full bench of the Appellate Division. The government made an appeal to the Appellate Division seeking a stay on the bail order. The appeal was listed for hearing by the chamber judge on the same day. Attorney general AM Amin Uddin prayed for revoking the High Court order that granted Fakhrul and Abbas bail for six months on Tuesday (Jan.3).

Bangladesh Bank increased the exchange rate against the US dollar by Tk1 to Tk100. Earlier, the central bank had fixed the exchange rate of US dollar at Tk 99 on December 5. It says that the price of the dollar has been increased in line with the market price. Central bank spokesperson Masbaul Haque told UNB that the dollar price has been increased to match the market price and it is part of their 'regular initiative'.

Since the beginning of this fiscal year in July, the central bank has so far injected nearly $7.50 billion into the market. Meanwhile earlier in the week the Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers Association and the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh set the US dollar exchange rate for export proceeds at Tk 102. The exchange rate for inward remittances has been kept unchanged at Tk 107. The country's foreign exchange reserves fell to $32.7 billion (including encumbered reserves) with the payment of import bills worth $1.12 billion through the Asian Clearing Union.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said Bangladesh will start importing 750MW of electricity from Adani Power's thermal power plant from mid-March. Nasrul Hamid was on a site visit to the plant in Godda district of India's Jharkhand state. Half the plant will be commissioned on March 26 this year, after commercial operation was rescheduled several times.

A 106-km dedicated transmission line from Godda to Chapainawabganj's Rohanpur being constructed by the Adani group was connected to the national grid of Bangladesh with two substations in Rohanpur and Bogura. The cost of per unit (kWh) electricity will be Tk 17 to start with, said the state minister, due to the dedicated transmission line and thew current price of coal on the international market. "We are talking with Adani for another solar project which would also be transmitted through the line," Hamid added.

Awami League candidate Mahmud Hasan Ripon unofficially won the by-election to Gaibandha-5. Ripon won the election by defeating Jatiya Party-backed candidate AHM Golam Shaheed Ranju with a margin of 33,533 votes. The winning candidate bagged a total of 78,285 votes with the boat symbol while Ranju got 44,752 votes with the plough symbol. The other candidates of the by-election were Bikalpa Dhara candidate Advocate Jahangir Alam and independent candidate Syed Mahbubur Rahman.

The election was monitored from Dhaka through a total of 1,242 CCTV cameras while it ended with only a 35 percent turnout. The constituency consists of Saghata and Phulchhari upazilas. On October 12 last year, the Election Commission (EC) suspended the by-election due to "rampant irregularities" on the election day and later the commission fixed January 4 for holding the polls. It fell vacant following the death of lawmaker and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Fazle Rabbi Miah last July.

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