Nation this week
Bangladeshi national AKM Sufiul Anam, who was abducted along with four other locals in Abyan of war-torn Yemen in February 2022 while working for the UN, returned home on through mediation forged by the National Security Intelligence. "I thought we could never return and they would kill us," Sufiul told reporters on arrival at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport flanked by NSI officials. NSI director Brigadier General Md Imrul Mabud said that his rescue needed no single penny as it was done with the help of 'friendly countries' and 'brotherly agencies'.
A press release issued by the PMO informed that Anam met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with his family at Ganabhaban on Thursday (Aug. 10) and expressed his gratitude. Anam served in the Bangladesh Army from 1977 to 2005, after which he joined the UN, and at the time of his capture was working as a Field Security Coordination Officer (Head) of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security in Aden.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs agreed in principle to two proposals from Petrobangla, the state hydrocarbons agency, to sign long-term deals with two private sector companies for importing liquefied natural gas. The companies are Excelerate Energy Bangladesh Ltd, a subsidiary of US-based Excelerate Energy, and Summit Oil and Shipping Co Ltd, part of the Summit Group. The meeting presided over by Finance Minister Mustafa Kamal agreed to sign 15-year contracts with the companies, according to an additional secretary of the cabinet division.
The companies will start supplying LNG from 2026, with Petrobangla planning to augment supplies to the tune of 1-1.5 million tonnes of the primary fuel per annum as a result. At present, the country produces 1,338 mmcfd gas from local level while importing around 607 mmcfd, according to Petrobangla's daily gas production update released on August 3. It has been estimated that the daily demand for gas is around 4,000mmcfd.
The controversial Digital Security Act is set to be replaced by the Cyber Security Act, a draft of which was released by the ICT Ministry this week, ostensibly to solicit public opinion on the bill as proposed for two weeks. Law Minister Anisul Huq told a press conference that they would welcome people's opinions before sending it to the legislative and parliamentary affairs division for vetting, although there was no mention of this when he announced the move earlier in the week.
Huq claimed the CSA would not be misused (as was DSA) and refuted claims that it was merely old wine in a new bottle. He explained eight of the 14 sections were made bailable and hinted that bailable sections might be increased. All but two of the sections (33 and 57) of the DSA have been retained in the bill with some changes. It drops the provision of jail term for defamation, and instead incorporates a provision of fine up to Tk 25 lakh.
Twelve more deaths were reported from dengue on Thursday, raising the number of fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease in Bangladesh to 364 this year. Some 2,959 more patients were hospitalised with the viral fever in the preceding 24 hours, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Of them, 1,097 were admitted to hospitals in Dhaka and 1,862 outside the capital -- indicating a worsening situation across the country.
DGHS statistics suggest that August is shaping up to become the deadliest month for the outbreak this year, i.e. ever, as the country has already witnessed over 100 deaths from dengue this month. Also during the same period, some 23,237 cases have been reported across the country. July has been the deadliest month for the dengue outbreak with 204 fatalities and 43,854 cases reported across the country. A total of 9,790 dengue patients, including 4,460 in the capital, are now receiving treatment at hospitals across the country.
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