Inflation jumped to a seven-month high of 9.33 percent in March, as food prices rose and the adjustment of oil, gas, and electricity prices took hold. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the official rate of inflation calculated by the Bureau of Statistics, rose 55 basis points from the 8.78 percent reported in February. It was just behind the 10-year high of 9.52 percent seen in August last year. Planning Minister MA Mannan shared the inflation figures after the weekly meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council.

There was good news on the remittance front though, as Bangladesh received more than $2 billion in inward remittances in March, the first time in seven months. It means total inward remittances for the first nine months of the fiscal stood at $16.01 billion at the end of March, slightly higher (4.8%) than the corresponding figure from the last fiscal, when it was $15.29 billion, but still down on the government's annualised target.

The Election Commission took a decision not to use Electronic Voting Machines in the next parliamentary election. While welcoming the decision, the main opposition led by the BNP, who have been dead-set against the use of the machines, continued to insist the more significant issue for them has to do with the poll-time government. They have vowed not to take part in any elections under the incumbents.

Nonetheless the decision is a major deviation from the EC's work plan for the next polls. It had planned to use EVMs in up to 150 constituencies. But after a meeting of the commissioners this week, EC Secretary Jahangir Alam revealed the decision. He said that a lack of funding by the government to buy new machines and refurbish the old ones was a reason behind the decision. So now paper ballots and transparent ballot boxes will be used in all 300 constituencies.

The Dhaka to Bhanga rail line via the Padma Bridge will be ready for train operation by August, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan revealed, after Bangladesh Railways operated the first ever train on the newly constructed route through the bridge this week "This is a historic day for Bangladesh because we have reached the Mawa station after crossing Padma Bridge from Bhanga on a train," he told reporters.

Having inspected the work-in-progress and being briefed by the project officials, he said he was aiming to have the prime minister inaugurate the railbridge, which is expected to be a game-changer for the economy. The Tk-39,247-crore Padma Bridge Rail Link Project is an important part of the vision surrounding the Padma Bridge, the nation's flagship development project. Once the entire 169km-long rail line with its 20 stations is opened to the public, the distance from Dhaka to Jashore would decrease by 200km, and the travel time would be halved - from about 10 hours to five.

The High Court directed the cabinet secretary to form a high-powered committee, including the chief judicial magistrate of Naogaon and a judicial officer nominated by the district judge, to investigate the detention of Sultana Jasmine, her death in custody of RAB, and other relevant issues arising from the case. The HC also ordered that the RAB-5 officers who were involved in picking up Sultana be withdrawn and attached to headquarters for the sake of a transparent investigation. The committee has been ordered to submit its report before the court in 60 days.

The bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Muhammad Mahbub Ul Islam also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why Sultana's detention by a patrol team of RAB-6 on March 22, even before a case was filed, should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional. Sultana, an employee of a union-level land office in Naogaon, died at the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital on March 24.

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