Issuing a nine-point directive to bring down air pollution level in Dhaka, the High Court summoned the director general of the Department of Environment to appear before it on February 2 to explain why this problem cannot be contained. The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader issued the order following a writ filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh. The bench also ordered the authorities concerned to submit a progress report on the compliance of the directives before it on March 1.

The nine-point directive includes ensuring the use of covers on trucks or other vehicles that transport sand or soil in capital Dhaka. At places where construction work is going on, contractors should cover the work to prevent the spread of dust, it said. As per its previous order, the HC ordered the authorities concerned to sprinkle water on streets that were left out.

Awami League candidate Moslem Uddin Ahmed was unofficially declared elected in the Chattogram-8 by-election. Returning Officer Md Hasanuzzaman announced the unofficial results hours after voting closed. He said the voter turnout in the election was only 23 percent. Moslem Uddin bagged 87,246 votes while his nearest rival Abu Sufian of BNP polled 17,935.

Earlier, voting in the by-polls was held amid allegations of various irregularities, including polling centre capture by Awami League activists. The BNP contestant also demanded suspension of the by-polls. At a conference, Sufian alleged that activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) drove voters out of polling stations after taking their fingerprints and captured 120 polling centres out of 170. He further alleged that the BCL activists beat up and stabbed some BNP followers. "Over 400-500 BCL and Jubo League men were seen standing in queues to demonstrate that the election is being held smoothly," alleged Dr Shahadat Hossain, president of Chattogram city BNP.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the Future Sustainability Summit in Abu Dhabi, where she declared Bangladesh is already on track to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), similar to its "remarkable success" in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She also said Bangladesh was closely engaged with negotiations to develop the SDGs at the United Nations. "We consider it (adopting SDGs) a historic decision taken by all countries for the people of the world."

Later at a so-called 'Envoy Summit of Bangladesh ambassadors in Middle Eastern countries, the PM urged them to work diligently to strengthen ties with their host countries, exploring new markets for Bangladesh products there and attracting investment into the country. At the same time, she also asked the envoys to act in line with demands of the host countries.

It would seem Robi Axiata, the country's second-biggest mobile carrier, has decided to comply with a court order over telecom regulator BTRC's audit claim, even though it has been disputing the claim for years now. It was learnt that a sum of Tk 27.60 crore, as the first of five equal, monthly instalments - precisely as the High Court directed, with the first deadline set for January 31 - was paid to the BTRC.

On January 5, the High Court directed Robi to pay the BTRC a sum of Tk 138 crore as a deposit (around 15 percent of the total claim against it of Tk 867.23 crore) on the overall amount while the case made its way through the legal system towards a final resolution, and efforts continued to negotiate a settlement outside the outside the courts.

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