Nation this week
A total of 110 countries put forward some 301 recommendations, including on elections, for Bangladesh at the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review of the human rights situation in the country. The recommendations were adopted in the UPR's draft report. Bangladesh Ambassador and Permanent Representative in Geneva M Sufiur Rahman thanked all the countries, including 12 countries who sent advanced questions and helped the process.
The US recommended Bangladesh protect the ability of its citizens to vote and choose their government by ensuring free and fair elections held in a peaceful manner. The UK recommended measures to guarantee a safe and transparent environment for civil society, human rights defenders and the media, ensuring that they can exercise their right to freedom of expression and assembly without fear of repercussions. UN experts said it was an opportunity for Bangladesh not only to reiterate its commitment to human rights, but to take urgent, concrete action to end attacks on human rights defenders and journalists.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court upheld a High Court order that granted bail to Jagannath University student Khadijatul Kubra in two cases under the Digital Security Act. As a result, now there is no legal barrier for Khadija, who has been in prison since September 2022, to walk out of jail. A six-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Obaidul Hassan passed the order after hearing a petition filed against the stay order of the chamber judge.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua and advocate BM Illias Kochi stood for the accused and assistant attorney general Saiful Alam represented the state. In October 2020, police filed two cases against Khadija and retired Major Delowar Hossain at the Kalabagan and New Market Police Stations for 'spreading anti-government propaganda and harming Bangladesh's reputation.' The allegations in the two cases filed a week apart, were similar. Police arrested Khadija on September 17, 2022. She has been imprisoned since then.
A new gas reserve has been found in an abandoned well under the Sylhet Gas Field Limited at Golapganj upazila of the district. The reserve was found at Kailastila Well No 2, according to Sylhet Gas Field Limited (SGFL) officials. Confirming the matter, Engineer Abdul Jalil Pramanik, general manager (operations) of Sylhet Gas Fields Limited, told reporters that it will take another week to go into gas production from this well.
"We are expecting to extract 7 million cubic feet of gas per day from the layer," the SGFL official said. According to SGFL sources, gas extraction from Well 2 of Golapganj upazila under Sylhet GasField Limited had stopped long ago. The new gas reserve was discovered for the first time since the re-drilling started on July 27. Meanwhile, 70 barrels of condensate can be produced daily from the byproducts obtained from this well along with gas, according to SGFL.
The number of deaths from dengue crossed 1500 for the year, on the same day (Nov. 15) that health authorities reported the highest number of fatalities in a single day from the disease - providing further evidence that dengue is now a year-round menace. Eight more deaths were reported on Thursday (Nov. 16), raising the fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease in Bangladesh to 1,528 this year. On the same day, 1429 more patients were hospitalised with the viral fever, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
So far, DGHS has recorded 298,094 dengue cases this year. The case fatality rate is 0.51, far higher than it has ever been before, and the highest in the world this year. Prior to this year, in over two decades since dengue became endemic in Bangladesh, the country had recorded a total of 243,744 dengue hospitalisations and 814 deaths.
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