Nation this week
The Election Commission postponed publishing the gazette notification of the results of the Brahmanbaria-2 and Lakshmipur-3 by-elections held this week, and launched an inquiry into allegations of irregularities in polling. "At present, the commission is diligently scrutinising allegations of irregularities, rigging, and reported stamping of the boat symbol," EC Secretary Md Jahangir Alam told the media on Tuesday.
hile the returning officers have already declared the results, a video went viral on social media, depicting an individual publicly stamping the boat symbol at a Lakshmipur polling centre. The video has raised concerns about potential electoral irregularities. In response to these concerns, the Election Commission has directed the deputy commissioners (DCs), superintendents of police (SPs), and election officers in the respective districts to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident and verify the facts. They have also been asked to thoroughly examine the statements of all polling officers, law enforcement personnel, and other individuals present during the events.
In a letter dated October 31, the finance division directed the Planning Commission to suspend the Tk 11,669 crore block allocation from the annual development programme. Although the Planning Ministry has passed several new projects ahead of the polls, it will not be able to make funds available for the projects due to the government's fresh austerity stance to rein in inflation. There was a Tk 10,244 crore block allocation in this year's ADP budget for new local-funded projects and another Tk 1,425 crore block allocation for development assistance for special purposes. Those allocations will be suspended until further notice
At an event of the Economic Reporters' Forum this week, Finance Secretary Khairuzzaman Majumder said they are taking a host of measures to reduce government expenditure. The measures included suspending the decision to purchase 261 sports utility vehicles for deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers ahead of the polls, said Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder at the event.
Excelerate Energy, a US-based US company, signed a 15-year Sales and Purchase Agreement with state-owned Petrobangla to supply LNG to Bangladesh. Under the SPA, Petrobangla has agreed to purchase 0.85 to 1.0 million tonnes per annum of LNG from Excelerate for a term of 15 years beginning January 2026. Excelerate will deliver 0.85 MTPA of LNG in 2026 and 2027 and 1 MTPA from 2028 to 2040.
Addressing a signing ceremony at a hotel in the city on Wednesday prime minister's energy advisor Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury called upon the US companies to raise their voice against the culprits burning vehicles and people to obstruct democracy. Excelerate first opened the Bangladesh market to LNG in 2018 with the development of its integrated Moheshkhali LNG floating storage and regasification unit terminal. In the years since, the company deployed a second FSRU terminal to the Bay of Bengal and has utilised its infrastructure position to win spot LNG cargoes sales into Bangladesh.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk has urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to release ailing BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for urgent medical treatment abroad. "I appeal to your government to consider her [Khaleda] release to enable her to receive the urgent and specialised medical care that she requires outside of the country," the UN rights chief said in a letter dated November 1, to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Turk said allowing this would be seen as "an important step towards political dialogue and reconciliation". Khaleda Zia has been suffering from various ailments, including liver cirrhosis, arthritis, diabetes, kidney, lung, heart, and eye problems. Since her conditional release in 2020, the 78-year-old former prime minister has been receiving treatment at Evercare Hospital in the capital under the supervision of a medical board. The UN rights chief also asked the government "to prevent any arbitrary detention including detentions that could be perceived as politically motivated or might impact the environment for fair and credible elections".
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