Nation this week
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the solution of the Palestine crisis depends on the united efforts of the Muslim Ummah. The prime minister said this while the envoys of the OIC member states assigned in Dhaka met her at her official residence Ganabhaban. Ambassador of Palestine Yousef S. Y. Ramadan led the delegation. "If Muslim Ummah works unitedly, it is possible to solve the Palestine crisis," she said.
The prime minister assured that Bangladesh stands by the Palestinians and would continue to do so following the policy initiated by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said that the OIC member countries discussed the issue of Gaza situation in the wake of the escalation of the military action and humanitarian catastrophe there. The prime minister also announced a one-day state mourning on Saturday (Oct. 21) commemorating the deaths of Palestinians in Israeli attacks.
The government is all set to introduce a new mobile phone surveillance system ahead of upcoming elections, enabling the police and intelligence agencies to access the precise location as well as other confidential information of a mobile phone user. The system would cost nearly Tk 2 billion to be installed by the mobile operators. A surveillance system is still in place, but it does not provide the precise location of a mobile phone user. Under the current system, it is possible to identify the area where a mobile user is located, but the precise location remains untracked.
The new system, however, will provide precise location of the mobile phone, allowing authorities to determine even the specific building a person is in, as well as to track the movement of a large group through artificial intelligence at a time. It will preserve "geo-location" data of mobile phone users for six months, helping the authorities to get a precise picture of the users movement during the period.
A Dhaka court issued summons, asking two officials of Royal Canadian Mounted Police to appear before it on October 30 as witnesses in the Niko graft case. The two officials are Kelvin Duggan and Lloyd Schoepp, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said. Meanwhile, defence for BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia completed cross-examination of ACC Deputy Director Muhammad Mahbubul Alam, also the case's complainant.
Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman of the Special Judge's Court-9 passed the order after the ACC submitted an application seeking order for issuing summons in this regard. The judge asked the ACC to send the summons to their addresses through the Central Authority (CA). On September 17, the judge allowed the ACC to produce an official of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and two officials of Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the graft case. The order came after a hearing from the prosecution and defence on an application submitted by ACC on September 12.
The country's banks wrote off Tk 7,319 crore in bad loans in the financial year 2022-23 to bring down their defaulted loans and clean up their balance sheets. Bankers said that poor recovery of the written off loans raised the amount of such loans. According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, the banks' total write-offs increased to Tk 67,721 crore as of June 30, 2023 while the figure was Tk 60,402.42 crore on June 30, 2022 and Tk 56,889.87 crore on June 30, 2021.
Writing off any bad loan was first permitted in Bangladesh in 2003. Since then, the banking sector has so far recovered a total of Tk 17,435 crore in bad loans they had earlier written off. The figure was Tk 17, 042 crore at the end of June 2022, which means that the recovery increased merely Tk 393 crore against additional Tk 7, 319 crore of written off loans in the span of a year. After the recovery, the outstanding write-off amount stood at Tk 50,286 crore as of June 30, 2023.
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