People from the low-income groups in urban areas are struggling to have three meals a day, consume quality food and maintain their daily protein intake due to the economic crisis induced by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of them have plunged into ruinous amounts of debt after borrowing overwhelmingly from informal sources to face the crisis, Brac University's Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) has found in a study. "Covid-19 -- Livelihood Crisis, Social Cohesion Challenges and Mitigation Options: An Empirical Study", involved a team of researchers applying mixed research methodology -- quantitative research complemented by qualitative tools -- for the study.

A survey among 1,056 respondents belonging to three groups -- 425 RMG workers, 425 non-RMG workers and 206 migrant returnees -- was conducted in November-December last year for the study. The research team also conducted qualitative research through key informant interviews, focus group discussions and others. It reached the respondents in areas under the jurisdictions of the two city corporations in the capital and in Savar. The respondents also included migrant returnees living in Dhaka's Nawabganj upazila, and Manikganj and Madaripur districts.

Speakers at a webinar jointly organised by Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) and its partner organisations demanded a separate land commission for "ethnic people" living on the plainland. MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam presided over the programme. She said "indigenous people are being evicted from their land in different parts of the country. Land grabbers are being indulged in various ways and to stop this, everyone should be more vocal against them."

Bangladesh Indigenous Forum president Sanjeeb Drong presented the keynote paper in the webinar where he said the Awami League had in fact included promised in 2008 to form a land commission for the plains land "indigenous people". The land commission would be formed with special provisions to protect the traditional rights of the indigenous peoples of the plains, lands, their lands, reservoirs and forest areas, he said.

Fishing in all the rivers and canals in the Sundarbans has been banned for two months from yesterday due to the fish breeding season. Confirming this, East Sundarbans Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Mohammad Belayet Hossain said the ban will end at midnight on August 31. He said the Sundarbans Forest Department entered an agreement in 2019 as per the recommendations of the Integrated Resource Management Plans (IRMP) to protect fishery resources in the Sundarbans.

As part of the IRMP, fishing in all rivers and canals of Sundarbans will remain suspended from July 1 to 31 August every year. Last year also, fishing in the Sundarbans was banned for these two months. The official said that if fishing in the Sundarbans is stopped for these two months, all the fish in the rivers and canals of the forest will proliferate, and that would play a positive role in sustaining the forest's rich biodiversity.

Banks in Bangladesh posted a hefty operating profit in the first half of 2021 despite the business slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, data of 20-odd lenders showed. The lower interest rate on deposits and the moderate lending rate helped banks register the higher operating profit in the January-June period, bankers said. Lenders also managed a good profit from their investment in the capital market as the bourses performed well during the period.

The foreign exchange business also made a turnaround, and banks received good commissions and fees from the sharp rise in exports and imports. A number of officials of the Bangladesh Bank, however, said that some banks might have shown their incomes from credits even if they did not get any instalment on their outstanding loans in the first half of the year. Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited made the highest, a whopping Tk 1,020 crore. Dutch-Bangla Bank's figure at Tk 504 crore, was up an impressive 21 percent year-on-year.

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