Merchandise exports posted a 16.06 percent year-on-year fall to hit $4.07 billion in May this year, according to data released by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The May shipment is 23.75 percent below the monthly export target of $5.33 billion, according to the data. Exports in the July-May period grew slightly, as it rose 2.01 percent year-on-year to $51.54 billion. Until April of the current fiscal year, exports grew 3.93 percent year-on-year.

In the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, the shipment of garments, which contributes more than 84 percent in the national export in a year, grew only 2.86 percent year-on-year to $43.85 billion, the EPB data also showed. Export data comes a couple of days after the remittance inflow showed a robust growth in May as the country's migrant workers sent more money home ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, which will be celebrated in the middle of June.

Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed can travel anywhere in the world as there is no travel ban against him, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud said. "Neither any court or the Anti-Corruption Commission issued any ban on his travel abroad," he said during a briefing at his ministry after returning home following a visit to Antigua and New York recently.

Benazir, his wife, and their three daughters left Dhaka on a Singapore Airlines flight on the night of May 4, said several officers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies on the condition of anonymity. The ACC on May 28 has summoned the former police chief to appear before it on June 6 on corruption allegations. The graft watchdog also asked Benazir's wife Jissan Mirza and two of their daughters to appear before it on June 9 for questioning over graft allegations. The summon was issued after a court ordered the authorities concerned to confiscate properties of Benazir and his family members.

The decision on whether to begin the trial of Dr. Muhammad Yunus and 14 others in a case over embezzling Tk 25.22 crore of the Grameen Telecom Workers' welfare fund, will be announced on June 12. After a hearing regarding the formation of charges against the defendants, Judge Syed Arafat Hossain of Dhaka's Special Judge Court-4 set this date on Sunday (2 June). Dr. Yunus's lawyer Abdullah Al Mamun confirmed the development.

The United States said it is closely monitoring the developments in the case against Dr Yunus. "We will continue to encourage the Bangladeshi government to ensure a fair and transparent legal process for Dr. Yunus as the appeals process continues," said Mathew Miller, spokesperson for the US Department of State, during a regular briefing on June 4. Miller expressed concerns that these cases might represent a "misuse" of Bangladesh's labour laws to "harass and intimidate" Dr. Yunus.

Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury said the Bangladesh government has set ambitious goals to expand the country's tree cover from 22.37% to 25% and forest coverage from 14.1% to 16% by 2030. The government has adopted the National Action Program for Combating Desertification, Land Degradation, and Drought for 2015-2024, aligning with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 15 and the decisions of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP-13, he said. A national roadmap for addressing land degradation from 2021 to 2041 has also been developed.

Extensive tree planting efforts are underway to conserve forests, biodiversity, and wildlife. From 2009-10 to 2022-23, about 217,402 hectares of block plantations and 30,252 km of strip gardens were established, with over 112 million seedlings distributed and planted, he added. During the current monsoon season, the government plans to plant 83.33 million seedlings across the country.

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