The Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) seized 8.3 kilograms of cocaine, the largest such consignment seized in the country's history, from the capital's Shahjalal International Airport on Wednesday (Jan. 24). The contraband was being carried by a Malawian woman, Nomthendajo Tawera Soko, 35, who came to Bangladesh from Ethiopia via Doha, on a Qatar Airways flight. Bangladesh was being used as a transit route for the contraband, said Director (Operations) of DNC Tanvir Momtaz at a press briefing.

Momtaz said the DNC had earlier received information that the consignment of cocaine would arrive in Dhaka via an African national on a Qatar Airways flight. Bangladesh was to be used as a transit point for domestic and foreign members of an international cocaine smuggling syndicate. A team of APBN and DNC stayed at the boarding bridge area of Terminal 8 of the airport. They noticed Soko lingering at the visa-on-arrival desk. When she was stopped and interrogated, she admitted carrying the cocaine.

A member of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) died after being shot by India's Border Security Force along the Dhanyokhola-Jelepara border in Jashore's Benapole upazila early Tuesday (Jan. 23). Mohammad Raisuddin, 35, from Chapainawabganj was posted at the BGB-49 Battalion in Jashore, said a media release signed by Lt Col Md Jamil, commander of Battalion 49. A BGB team challenged a gang of cattle smugglers as they were reentering Bangladesh, adjacent to Jelepara post area under the Benapole upazila, at dawn on Monday.

At one stage of their hide-and-seek with the authorities, the smugglers went back inside Indian territory, according to an official handout, adding that Raisuddin got separated from his patrol team amid dense fog. A commander level bilateral flag meeting was held between the BGB and the BSF.

Bangladesh Bank unveiled the monetary policy for the second half of the current fiscal year, meeting expectations of continuing to maintain a higher interest rate to bring down inflation, which has been at an elevated level for the last two years. As such, it hiked the policy rate, or repo rate, twice to 7.75 percent to increase the cost of money. In June, the central bank hiked the policy rate to 6.5 percent, which came into effect from July. As part of the move, the BB also introduced Six Months Moving Average Rate of Treasury bills (SMART), lifting the 9 percent lending rate cap.

Since then, the interest rate has been rising as the market sees a reduction in excess liquidity. The policy comes at a time when the economy faces growing pressure owing to escalated inflation and the persisting foreign exchange crisis, with the Red Sea crisis adding fresh headache.

At least 671 leaders and activists of the Jatiyo Party's Dhaka metropolitan unit have resigned, citing grievances against party Chairman GM Quader and General Secretary Mujibul Haque Chunnu. The JaPa leaders announced the mass resignation in a press conference at the Press Club on Thursday. In a written statement, Jatiyo Party Vice Chairman Md Jahangir Alam Pathan said, "We, the loyalists of party founder HM Ershad, do not want to witness the destruction of Jatiyo Party under the leadership of GM Quader."

Speaking at the briefing, the party leaders said speaking the truth in the party was discouraged, and those who do so face expulsion. Mentioning that they chose to part ways, the JaPa leaders said they aimed to rebuild the foundation of the party.JaPa fielded candidates for 265 seats in the election and won only 11 despite a seat-sharing agreement with the AL for 26 seats. The party had 22 seats in the 11th Parliament.

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