Nation this week
Cyclone Hamoon made landfall in the Chittagong and Cox's Bazar coastal districts in the early hours of Wednesday morning (Oct. 25), with wind speeds of up to 104 kilometres (65 miles) per hour. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department BMD initially predicted that the cyclone would make landfall through Bhola between the Barishal and Chattogram coasts. However, the cyclone changed its direction by moving northeastward.
The cyclone hit the coast about 24 hours after coming into existence, with its pace of movement exceeding 20km per hour at one point along its journey. In its short lifespan, the cyclone intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm for a brief time and then again weakened before hitting land. But it also meant there was very little advance warning or preparation around Hamoon, and at least three people perished following its landfall in Cox's Bazar district, where inhabitants experienced serious communication disruption, preventing access to real-time information, particularly in rural areas and refugees' camps.
A devastating train collision in Kishoreganj's Bhairab that killed at least 17 people and injured scores on Monday (Oct. 23) when Egarosindhur Express, a passenger train, collided with a freight train at Bhairab station. The Dhaka-bound Egarosindhur Express had just departed from the station, switching tracks to enter a different line. Before the entire train could complete its transition to the new line, another container train entered the same line and collided with the rear of the passenger train, causing several compartments to derail.
The freight train's driver, in grave violation of the signal, attempted to enter the station without waiting for clearance, according to the station master of Bhairab Station. Railway authorities took immediate action by suspending the driver, assistant driver, and guard of the container train. Four separate investigative committees have been established over the matter. The devastating impact crushed and derailed three bogies of the Egarosindhur Express.
Raids and arrests of opposition leaders and activists in old and fresh cases have continued ahead of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party's grand rally on October 28. At least 200 opposition political activists were arrested in the past four days, including the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leader and the party spokesman, Matiur Rahman Akanda. BNP claimed that around 1,200 of their party's leaders and activists were arrested centring the rally this week, including 330 on Thursday (Oct. 26). BNP plans to hold the rally in front of the party office in Nayapaltan.
No programmes have been determined, or disclosed so far by BNP policymakers concerning the next steps to be announced from the grand rally. If the government uses its party men and the law enforcement agencies to unleash violence and create chaos, then BNP will take up counter programmes. In such circumstances, hartal, blockades and other hard-hitting programmes may be taken up.
Bangladesh will purchase liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Excelerate Gas Marketing Ltd, a subsidiary of Excelerate Energy, under a 15-year contract from 2026. The cabinet committee on purchase approved the draft sales and purchase agreement with the US giant, which has a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in Moheshkhali, that will be expanded in capacity. The unit is now able to re-gasify 500 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd). After the expansion, it will supply 600 mmcfd.
Excelerate will deliver around 0.85 million tonnes of LNG per year in 2026 and 2027 and it will go up to 1 million tonnes annually from 2028 to 2040. The purchase committee gave its nod to the pricing formula, which will be based on 13.35 percent of the Brent crude oil price on the day plus $0.30 per million British thermal unit. Brent crude price was around $88 per barrel yesterday, meaning per MMbtu of LNG will cost $12 as per contract.
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