A woman and her son died of electrocution at Keua Bakultala in Sreepur upazila of Gazipur district on Thursday.The deceased are Selina Akter, 35, wife of a certain Anwar Hossain and her son Selim Hossain, 15, driver of a battery-run auto-rickshaw, reports UNB.Selim came in contact with a live electric wire while charging his battery-run auto-rickshaw at his house in the morning and electrocuted. Selina also electrocuted while trying to save her son.Later, they were taken to Sreepur upazila health complex where the doctors declared both of them dead, said Abu Raihan, a physician of the hospital.
Photo: AFPUS and Afghan troops killed the leader of the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate in an April raid, US military officials confirmed on Sunday.The raid in Nangarhar province targeted the leader, Abdul Hasib, US-Forces Afghanistan said.His group is affiliated with IS in Iraq and Syria, and the US military calls it Islamic State-Khorasan, or ISIS-K.US-Forces Afghanistan said earlier that if confirmed, the death of the Hasib and his associates would “significantly degrade ISIS-K operations in Afghanistan and help reach our goal of destroying them in 2017.”The compound was located near the tunnel complex where the US military on April 13 unleashed the “Mother Of All Bombs” — a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast device that the Pentagon said was the biggest non-nuclear weapon it had ever used in combat.Afghanistan’s government meanwhile confirmed Hasib’s death on April 27th.”He had ordered the attack on 400 bed hospital in Kabul that resulted in the death and injuries of a number of our countrymen, women. The Afghan government is committed to continuing its operations against Daesh and other terrorist groups until they are annihilated,” it said in a statement, using another name for the IS group.The Pentagon estimates about 1,000 IS fighters remain in Afghanistan.The jihadists established a foothold there in early 2015 and their numbers now are about half what they were at their peak, US military data show.The Pentagon will ask the White House next week to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan to break a deadlocked fight with the Taliban, a senior official said Thursday.After a steady downsizing of US troop numbers since 2011, US military commanders say they need to strengthen the numbers on the ground to better support Afghan forces and help retake territory lost to the Taliban.The Pentagon will ask for 3,000 to 5,000 more soldiers, mainly to be assigned to advise and train Afghan military and police, according to US media.US troops in Afghanistan number about 8,400 today, and there are another 5,000 from NATO allies, also now in an advisory capacity.But that is a far cry from the US presence of more than 100,000 six years ago, and the Afghan military has struggled to fill the void amid an unrelenting Taliban insurgency.
Qatar said Saturday a series of demands made by several Arab states to lift a crippling blockade were designed to be spurned and clearly aimed at infringing its sovereignty.”This list of demands is made to be rejected,” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said, referring to 13 demands placed on Doha by Saudi Arabia and its allies as the price for lifting an almost month-long “blockade” on Qatar.Qatar said it had received the demands on June 22 with just 10 days to meet them, which would mean they would have until Sunday to comply. However, the deadline has not been confirmed.”Everyone is aware that these demands are meant to infringe the sovereignty of the state of Qatar,” Al-Thani said at a press conference in Rome after meeting his Italian counterpart.Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced earlier this month the suspension of all ties to Qatar. They accused it of state support for extremist groups and denounced its political proximity to Shiite Iran.Qatar denies the allegations.Saudia Arabia closed the airspace to Qatari carriers and blocked the emirate’s only land border, a vital route for its food imports.Qatar has said the effects are more devastating than the Berlin Wall.Riyadh’s demands include ending Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the closure of Al-Jazeera television, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate.The United Arab Emirates has warned Qatar should take the demands seriously or face “divorce” from its Gulf neighbours.Turkey and Iraq have backed Qatar in the crisis.Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said the government was ready “to contribute to any initiative aimed primarily at restoring dialogue and easing tensions between those involved.”Rome also pleaded for the five countries “to refrain from any further action that could aggravate the situation”.Kuwait is the official arbitrator for seeking a settlement, though the United States is also attempting to mediate.Washington has cautioned that some of the demands would be difficult for Qatar to accept, asking the Saudis for a clear list of grievances that are “reasonable and actionable”.
Photographers stage demonstration on Tuesday seeking unconditional release of arrested photographer Shahidul Alam. Photo: UNBSome 50 local photographers on Tuesday demanded unconditional release of internationally renowned photographer Shahidul Alam.The demand was made from a protest rally held at the foot of Raju Memorial Sculpture of Dhaka University (DU) in the afternoon, reports UNB.Speaking on the occasion, noted photographer Nasir Ali Mamun said Shahidul Alam has a great contribution to reaching out the Bangladeshi photography to the international arena.”From this protest rally, we’re demanding his unconditional release and we hope he will get bail soon,” he added.Another photographer Yusuf Tusher said if Shahidul Alam was not released unconditionally, the entire photography society of Bangladesh would be affected.Shahidul Alam, 63, was detained by plainclothes policemen from his residence in city’s Dhanmondi area on 5 August for his Facebook posts on the student protest erupted after the death two college students in a road accident and shipping minister Shajahan Khan’s comment regarding the accident.Since then, the internationally renowned photographer has been in jail.
Former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi greets his lawyers and people from behind bars at a court wearing the red uniform of a prisoner sentenced to death, during his court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, June 21, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File PhotoAn Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced ousted president Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood to 25 years in prison in a final ruling over a case accusing him of spying for Qatar, judicial sources said.Mursi, democratically elected after Egypt’s 2011 revolution, was overthrown in mid-2013 by then-general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the president, following mass protests against his rule. He was immediately arrested.Egypt’s Court of Cassation reduced Mursi’s sentence in the Qatar case to 25 years in its final ruling, from an original 40 years.Mursi is already serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted for the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012.Since toppling Mursi, Sisi has clamped down on dissent. Mass trials have been held for thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, and hundreds have received death sentences or lengthy prison terms.In 2014, Egypt charged Mursi and nine others with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar. Egypt’s relations with Doha were already troubled by Qatar’s backing of Mursi.Egypt is one of four Arab nations in a Saudi-led bloc that cut relations with the Gulf state on 5 June, accusing it of backing militant groups and cooperating with their arch-foe Iran, allegations Doha denies.
Faced with an adverse situation, especially following arrests of its leaders and workers, main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is trying to go with the tide ahead of the elections, banking on its new coalition of Jatiya Oikya Front.With its chairperson Khaleda Zia jailed after being convicted in two cases, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said she will be able to contest the polls, no matter what the ruling Awami League leaders say.“Khaleda Zia is still qualified to participate in the election and there is no doubt about it,” he told newsmen at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.The AL camp has repeatedly said Khaleda Zia will not be able to take part in the coming elections, in view of her conviction.The BNP leaders are now interviewing the party’s nomination seekers, a process in which acting BNP chairman Tarique Rahman joined through skype from London.The AL leaders raised objection to it while the election commission said it has nothing to do with BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman’s joining interview of their party candidates through videoconferencing.“As Tarique Rahman joined the BNP nomination board through videoconferencing from abroad, the electoral code of conduct is not applicable for him and the EC has nothing to do with it,” news agency UNB quoted election commission secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed as saying.BNP sold nomination papers between 12 November and 14 November at its Naya Paltan central office where huge number of BNP activists and leaders gathered, sending a positive message to its supporters.BNP joined the Jatiya Oiya Front led by Gano Forum president Kamal Hossain and decided to join the national election to be held on 30 December.Ten retired defence officers on Monday formally joined Kamal Hossain-led Gano Forum at a programme at Kamal Hossain’s Motijheel chamber in the afternoon ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections.“We’ll work together for the country and restoration of democracy and people’s voting rights”, UNB quoted Gano Forum executive president and lawyer Subrata Chowdhury as saying.Earlier, Reza Kibria, son of slain finance minister and Awami League leader Shah AMS Kibria, joined the Jatiya Oikya Front.He on Sunday submitted the Gano Forum nomination form to the party chief on Sunday to contest the next general election as a party candidate under the banner of Jatiya Oikya Front.The Jatiya Oikya Front on various occasions placed a seven-point demand to ensure a free and fair election.The demands include installation of a neutral interim government, dissolution of parliament, reconstitution of the election commission, release of all the political prisoners including BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, deployment of the army personnel and cancellation of the move to use EVM for holding the next polls in a fair manner.The Oikya Front held dialogues twice with the prime minister Sheikh Hasina at her official Ganabhaban residence, and demanded the election under a neutral government. Although the prime minister did not accept the demand, but she assured the Oikya Front of holding a free and fair election.The election commission is committed to holding a free and fair election. The chief election commissioner and other commissioners repeatedly pledged that they would do everything to hold a fair election.Civil society platform Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) on Monday urged the election commission to exercise its full authority to hold the election in a free and fair manner.
Mark ZuckerbergFacebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said late Tuesday that the leading social network and other internet firms are in an arms race to defend democracy.Zuckerberg’s Washington Post op-ed came on the eve of hearings during which lawmakers are expected to grill top executives from Facebook and Twitter.Google’s potential participation is unclear.The hearings come with online firms facing intense scrutiny for allowing the propagation of misinformation and hate speech, and amid allegations of political bias from the president and his allies.“Companies such as Facebook face sophisticated, well-funded adversaries who are getting smarter over time, too,” Zuckerberg said in an op-ed piece outlining progress being made on the front by the leading social network.“It’s an arms race, and it will take the combined forces of the US private and public sectors to protect America’s democracy from outside interference.”After days of vitriol from President Donald Trump, big Silicon Valley firms face lawmakers with a chance to burnish their image—or face a fresh bashing.Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were set to appear at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday.Lawmakers were seeking a top executive from Google or its parent Alphabet, but it remained unclear if the search giant would be represented.Sources familiar with the matter said Google offered chief legal officer Kent Walker, who the company said is most knowledgeable on foreign interference, but that senators had asked for the participation of CEO Sundar Pichai or Alphabet CEO Larry Page.Dorsey testifies later in the day at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on online “transparency and accountability.”The tech giants are likely to face a cool reception at best from members of Congress, said Roslyn Layton, an American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar specializing in telecom and internet issues.“The Democrats are upset about the spread of misinformation in the 2016 election, and the Republicans over the perception of bias,” Layton said.“They are equally angry, but for different reasons.”Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a University of Pennsylvania professor and author of an upcoming book on Russia’s role in election hacking, said the hearings could give the companies a platform to explain how they operate.“Hearings are an opportunity as well as a liability,” she said.“These companies have put in place fixes (on foreign manipulation) but they have done it incrementally, and they have not communicated that to a national audience.”
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina introduces Bhutanese prime minister Lotay Tshering (L) with cabinet members at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka on 12 April. Photo: PIDBhutanese prime minister Lotay Tshering arrived at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) to hold bilateral talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, reports UNB.The meeting is aimed at increasing cooperation in trade, inland waterways, health and agriculture sectors between the two neighbouring countries.On his arrival at the PMO at 10:00am, Sheikh Hasina received the Bhutanese prime minister at the Tiger Gate and then both leaders moved to the meeting room.Both the leaders sat in tete-a-tete and then will sit for the bilateral meeting.Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the Bangladesh side while Lotay Tshering the Bhutan side.After the meeting, a number of bilateral instruments are expected to be signed by the two sides.The bilateral instruments are—cooperation on inland waterways for cargo transportation, cooperation in health and agriculture sectors and cooperation between the public administration training centres of the two countries for exchange of faculty members as well as training and capacity building.Both the prime ministers will witness the signing ceremony.After the meeting, Lotay Tshering will sign the visitors book. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will see him off.Earlier, Bhutanese prime minister Lotay Tshering arrived in Dhaka on Friday morning on a four-day official visit at the invitation of prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
Map of Nigeria locating attacks in Shinkafi district, Zamfara State. Photo: AFPGunmen have killed 34 people in Nigeria’s northern Zamfara state where criminal gangs have been terrorising remote villages, police said Sunday.Armed bandits on motorcycles stormed into neighbouring Tungar Kafau and Gidan Wawa villages in Shinkafi district late Friday and shot dead 34 people, state police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said in a statement.”Normalcy has been restored in Tungar Kafau and Gidan Wawa… following attack by armed bandits… where 34 people were killed,” Shehu said.He said the victims of the attacks were buried on Saturday, adding police were on the trail of the killers.Local residents put the death toll higher, at 35.The bandits were said to have opened fire on farmers on their fields outside the villages and also pursued those who fled.”The bandits killed 35 people in the attacks,” said Lawwali Madattai, a resident.Rural communities in Zamfara state have for years been terrorised by criminal gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle, kidnapping for ransom and burning homes after looting food supplies.The bandits are known to hide in camps in Rugu forest which straddles Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states from where they launch attacks on communities in the area.Last week, at least 40 people were killed and dozens injured in raids in eight remote villages in Niger state.