Nation this week
The government, in an executive order on Tuesday (Feb. 28), increased the average retail electricity price by 5 per cent, dealing yet another blow to consumers still trying to cope with the impacts of the previous round of price hikes barely a month ago. This was the third time since January that the power price was hiked - always by 5 per cent -through an executive order after the government assumed the role of fixing power prices bypassing public hearings by amending the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission Act.
Outraged by these frequent electricity price hikes, consumer rights bodies accused the government of exploiting and robbing people to make up for its flawed power and energy policy that was benefiting vested groups. A gazette notification published in the afternoon said that the new retail prices, announced for all 23 consumer categories, would be effective from March. The average price of each unit of electricity rose to Tk 8.25 from Tk 7.86 with the latest hike.
The High Court asked the Islamic University authority to expel five leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League for their involvement in the recent ragging, torturing, and humiliation of a resident student. The court further asked the vice-chancellor and registrar of the university to immediately remove Deshratna Sheikh Hasina Hall provost Shamsul Alam and two house tutors, Moumita Akhter and Ishrat Jahan, for their alleged negligence that led to the ill-treatment of the victim.
The court also asked the five students-Sanjida Chowdhury Ontora, vice-president of the university unit BCL, and her four followers, Halima Akhtar Urmi, Ishrat Jahan Mim, Tabassum Islam, and Maobiya Jahan-not to enter the Islamic University campus and take part in any academic activities. Except for Ontora, all are fellow students of the 2020-21 academic session and residents of Deshratna Sheikh Hasina Hall, where the fresher was subjected to torture and humiliation by the BCL women on the night of February 12.
The government published the revised results of primary school scholarship exams a day after suspending lists of successful candidates due to technical errors. The Directorate of Primary Education said in a notice with the revised results on Wednesday night (Mar. 1) that the results needed a revision due to the technical errors. The directorate also apologised for the "unintended" errors as the primary and mass education ministry faced widespread criticism over "negligence".
As many as 82,383 students will get the scholarships, including 33,000 in the talent pool. Hours after publishing the results on Tuesday, State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Md Zakir Hossen said the full results could not be published and some technical errors were found. The ministry and the directorate have formed committees to investigate the errors. The committee formed by the ministry was asked to submit its recommendations within three working days from Wednesday.
Bangladesh is among the top five countries where authorities have shut down the internet last year as "weapons of control", according to a global digital rights watchdog. A report released yesterday by digital rights watchdog Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition said authorities in Bangladesh have shut down the internet six times in 2022. It said the shutdowns were ordered during the BNP's protest rallies. Globally, authorities last year shut down the internet at least 187 times in 35 countries - the highest number ever in a single year, the report said.
India leads the global list with 84 shutdowns, 49 of them recorded in Indian-administered Kashmir. Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia last year, holds the second spot with 22 shutdowns, while Iran is placed at the third spot with 18 shutdowns. Myanmar is in the fourth spot with 7 shutdowns. Bangladesh holds the 5th spot with 6 shutdowns, the report added.
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