Nation this week
The Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) decided against a hike in power tariffs that would've seen bulk rates raised by nearly 66 percent, that over time would surely be passed onto consumers at the retail level. Therefore, the wholesale price of electricity remains unchanged. The BERC announced this in an online meeting on Thursday. Earlier, the Power Development Board proposed to raise the price by some 66 percent.
The BERC had heard the PDB's proposal to hike the price around five months ago. However, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) and business representatives from various sectors strongly opposed the proposal. The price of electricity has increased by 118 percent at wholesale level and by 90 percent at the consumer level since 2012. According to the Power Division, they had carried out around 2000MW to 2200MW loadshedding on average every day till August. The situation improved a bit in September comparatively, but has spiked again this month. Now around 2500MW to 3000MW load shedding is being carried out daily on average.
The Bureau of Statistics (BBS) finally released the official inflation figure for the month of August, confirming it rose to record levels. Monthly inflation data is usually released, as the name suggests, every month for the previous month. But September came and went with no update from BBS in this regard, leading some economists to speculate the government was trying to hide something. This week they finally released it, together with September's, which had become due.
The report said the inflation rate in August reached 9.52 percent, the highest in a generation. But it eased slightly in September, coming down to 9.1 percent. The number for July, at 7.48 percent, had already been the highest in 9 years. The nature of the delay adds further fuel to speculation that had been rife about the government choosing to sit on data when it may go against their own narrative - making the eventual release of the data look even worse than it is.
Bangladesh voted in favour of a UN resolution seen as anti-Russia titled 'The Territorial Integrity of Ukraine: Defending the Principles of the UN Charter' at the UN General Assembly's 11th Emergency Special Session on the Ukraine Crisis in New York. Bangladesh along with 142 other countries voted in favour of the resolution, according to state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam at a media briefing at the foreign ministry in Dhaka.
"We did so because we strongly believe that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter regarding respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and peaceful settlement of all disputes must be complied universally for everyone, everywhere under all circumstances, without any exception," a Foreign Ministry statement said referring to Bangladesh's explanation that was made at the UN. Bangladesh also believes that sovereignty and territorial integrity of any country within its internationally recognised borders should be respected, said the statement.
Eight dengue patients died in 24 hours till Thursday morning, raising this year's death toll from the mosquito-borne disease in Bangladesh to 83. It was the highest death toll from dengue in a single day this year. Three of the deaths were reported from Dhaka division and the remaining five from Chittagong. The highest number of dengue cases has been detected in Cox's Bazar during the current season, said Ahmedul Kabir, additional director general (administration) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS),
This is the first time that such a high proportion of cases has occurred outside the capital, where the vector-borne disease was largely confined since becoming endemic in Bangladesh in the early 2000s. The first cases outside Dhaka were only reported in 2019, which saw the worst outbreak of dengue on record till now in the country, officially killing 179 people.
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