Nation this week
Personal information of the country's smart National Identity Card holders is now available in a Telegram channel. A Telegram bot provides people's names, gender, parents' names, phone numbers, addresses, photos and other details when a 10-digit NID number is entered. The country's NID server has information of about 12 crore voters, of whom around 5.5 crore have smart NID cards. In June, TechCrunch reported that personal information of about 5 million Bangladeshi nationals had been leaked from a government website.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the state minister for ICT, then said the leak happened through a breach in the server of the Office of the Registrar General. ICT experts recommended that the EC keep round-the-clock surveillance on the organisations that avail services from the NID server. Ashraf Hussain, system manager at the NID wing of the Election Commission, said the information was leaked through one of the 174 organisations that have access to the NID server. The identity of the individual or group operating the Telegram channel remains unknown.
Bangladesh officially received the first batch of uranium for its Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, that will make it the 33rd nuclear power-producing country of the world. The project's Russian contractor, Rosatom, handed over the radioactive fuel to the RNPP authority at a formal "Graduation Ceremony", joined virtually by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from Gono Bhaban, and Russian President Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin. The consignment of uranium arrived in Dhaka from Russia through a special air cargo on September 28, after which it was transported to the site of the plant by road under heavy security.
Once the nuclear fuel is loaded into the power plant's reactors, power can be produced for one year. After that, the fuel will have to be reloaded into the reactor. The Ministry of Science and Technology recently said that the first unit of the plant may come into operation in July 2024. However delays to installation of transmission lines may prevent the power from being added to the national grid before 2025.
A former deputy director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) died in police custody in Chattogram. Police claimed that the deceased, Sayed Md Shahidullah, 65, a resident of Baddarhat Ek Kilometre area, was arrested following an arrest warrant issued by a court. The OC of Chandgaon Police Station said at the police station, Shahidullah complained of chest pain and fell ill. Police informed his family members and called an ambulance to take him to the hospital, where he was declared dead. The OC could not give any detail about the case in which Shahidullah was arrested.
Two assistant sub-inspectors of Chandgaon Police Station were later withdrawn to police lines in connection with the death of Shahidullah. They were the ones who arrested Shahidullah, who had a bypass surgery around seven to eight years ago. But the officers who arrested him did not let him take the medicine needed for his heart condition, family members alleged.
Internet freedom in Bangladesh declined during the period spanning from June 2022 to May 2023, said US-based think tank Freedom House. In a report titled 'Freedom on the Net 2023, the think tank marked internet freedom in Bangladesh as "partly free" with a declining overall score of 41 out of 100 and painted a concerning picture of internet freedom here. Freedom House made the ratings under three categories - Free, Partly Free and Not Free. The index grades score between 100-70 as free, 69-40 as partly free and 39 and below as not free in using the Internet.
It was noted in the latest report that online activists and journalists faced increasing levels of physical violence in Bangladesh during the period, while supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) encountered an ongoing crackdown. The report mentioned the frequent throttling of internet and communications services just ahead of BNP rallies.
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