The flood situation in Sirajganj has worsened. Photo: Prothom AloThe flood situation in Sirajganj has worsened following a rise in the Jamuna water level on Wednesday morning, reports UNB.“The Jamuna River was flowing 146 centimetres above the danger level at Sirajganj point at 6:00am,” said executive engineer of Water Development Board (WDB) in Sirajganj Syed Hasan Imam.Fresh areas were inundated as water level of the Jamuna River had risen by 19 centimetres in the last 24 hours, he added.Low-lying areas of Sadar, Kajipur, Belkuchi, Chouhali and Shahjadpur upazilas remained submerged by Jamuna water since Tuesday.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, Japan’s foreign minister Taro KonoBangladesh wants multilateral initiatives, not bilateral ones, to solve the Rohingya crisis although China has long been insisting that Dhaka should resolve the issue with bilaterally.While putting emphasis on international intervention, Dhaka will continue bilateral discussions with Naypyidaw at the same time.The foreign ministers of four countries and delegates of the European Union (EU) are arriving in Bangladesh to discuss the Rohingya issue.Thousands of Rohingyas fled the persecution carried out by Myanmarese security forces in Rakhine state into Bangladesh since 25 August this year and Bangladesh is aware of the consequences if the international community fails to mount pressure on Myanmar, the issue of repatriation will remain unresolved.A foreign ministry official told Prothom Alo, Bangladesh had no option but to resolve the repatriation of Rohingyas with the help of international community.The government would have to remain firm in this strategy, he added. Bangladesh would convey this message to China’s foreign minister Wang Yi who arrived in Dhaka Saturday.The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) placed a proposal before the United Nation’s third committee on Thursday. Bangladesh will express its disappointment that China voted against this proposal, added the official.Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi came to Dhaka on Saturday to discuss the Rohingya crisis. He would meet Bangladesh’s foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali on Saturday morning and the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in the evening at Ganabhaban.German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, Swedish foreign minister Margot WallströmJapan’s foreign minister Taro Kono also arrives in Dhaka on Saturday. Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, and senior EU representatives will arrive in Bangladesh on Sunday. They will join the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Naypyidaw after the visit. The delegates will discuss about the Rohingya crisis on the sidelines of the meeting.A group of US representatives is also scheduled to visit Cox’s Bazar on Saturday to observe the situation there.Foreign minister Mahmood Ali will take the foreign ministers of Germany, Sweden, and Japan and EU representative Federica Mogherini to the Rohingya camps on Sunday.They will meet the prime minister on their return from Cox’s Bazar. China’s foreign minister will, however, not join them on the Cox’s Bazar trip.This is the first time in the recent past that delegates of five countries and organisations have visited Bangladesh within a span of two days. Bangladesh is placing importance on this visit after the OIC proposal was passed with a landslide of votes. On Thursday in the UN, Germany, Sweden, Pakistan and EU countries voted in favour of the OIC proposal. China voted against the proposal while Japan and India abstained.During the visits of the foreign delegations, Bangladesh will discuss its expectations and its stance regarding the Rohingya issue.China’s standDiplomats of Bangladesh in New York told Prothom Alo, UN’s social, humanitarian and cultural forum, the third committee, arranged a vote on Rohingya crisis where China voted against the proposal.Senior officials of Bangladesh foreign ministry said they would discuss the possibility of China’s president Xi Jinping visiting Dhaka any time soon.Prior to the visit of the Chinese foreign minister, special envoy of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Sun Guoxiang, visited Bangladesh in April and October this year.He offered to mediate between Bangladesh and Myanmar to resolve Rohingya crisis.Chairman of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and former ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad told BBC on Friday, “It is not that China is unconcerned about the Rohingya crisis. It is just that their thinking may be different. So far, two statements have been approved in UN’s Security Council unanimously. We have differences. But we are eager to work with China.”*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat.
A woman and a bus driver were killed and at least 10 people injured in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck on Dhaka-Khulna highway in Gopalganj’s Sadar upazila early Monday, reports UNB.The deceased were Mala Begum, 35, wife of Sobhan, a resident of Morelganj upazila in Bagerhat and the bus driver Sheikh Shahon, 48, son of Sheikh Kabir, a resident of Bogail village in Bhanga upazila of Faridpur district.The accident took place around 1:30am when the Khulna-bound ‘Banaful Paribahan’ bus collided with the electric wire-laden truck, leaving the duo dead on the spot and ten other bus passengers injured, said police sub-inspector Shawkat Hossain.The injured were admitted to Gopalganj General Hospital.
The official residence of the Dhaka University vice chancellor was vandalised during a demonstration by quota protesters early Monday. Prothom Alo File PhotoFour cases were filed with Shahbagh police station in the capital on Tuesday night over clashes on Dhaka University campus and vandalism in the official residence of the DU VC during a demonstration by youths seeking reform of quota system in the public service.Police said a large number of unnamed students have been accused in the cases.Of the cases, two were filed by two sub-inspectors of Shahbagh police station, the third one by an inspector of special branch (SB) of police and Dhaka University’s chief security officer Kamrul Ahsan filed the fourth case.Kamrul Ahsan told Prothom Alo that over 100 unknown miscreants were made accused in the case over “an attempt to kill the vice chancellor” and destruction of properties worth about Tk 15 million.He said the miscreants burned two vehicles to ashes and vandalised two more.SB inspector Humayun Kabir filed a case against 30-40 unnamed persons for hindering police from discharging their duties and setting fire to a motorcycle in the Doyel Chattar area.Shahbagh police station sub-inspectors Bhajan Kumar Biswas and Rabiul Islam filed two cases against ‘a large number’ of unnamed students for hindering police from discharging their duties.Amid demonstrations at Shahbagh and its adjacent areas early Monday seeking reform of the quota system, some unknown attackers entered the VC’s residence breaking open its main gate and ransacked several rooms and furniture.
Fighters of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitaries sit in a heavily-armed vehicle near defensive positions near the frontline village of Ayn al-Hisan, on the outskirts of Tal Afar west of Mosul. Photo: AFPIraqi forces launched an offensive on jihadists defending Mosul’s west bank Sunday, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city.“Our forces are beginning the liberation of the citizens from the terror of Daesh,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a short televised speech, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.“We announce the start of a new phase in the operation. We are coming, Nineveh, to liberate the western side of Mosul,” he said, referring to the province of which Mosul is the capital.Federal police and interior ministry forces were expected to start the new phase in the offensive by moving on Mosul airport, which is on the southern edge of the city, west of the Tigris River.The jihadists have put up stiff resistance to defend Mosul, their last major stronghold in Iraq and the place where their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” in 2014.After shaping operations around Mosul, it took Iraq’s most seasoned forces-the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) — more than two months to clear the eastern side of Mosul.After a pause in the operation launched on October 17, federal forces now face what was always billed as the toughest nut to crack: Mosul’s west bank, home to the narrow streets of the Old City.“West Mosul had the potential certainly of being more difficult, with house-to-house fighting on a larger and more bloody scale,” said Patrick Skinner, from the Soufan Group intelligence consultancy.The streets around the historical centre, which includes the mosque in which Baghdadi made his only public appearance in June 2014, will be impassable for many military vehicles and force government fighters to take on IS in perilous dismounted warfare.Prior to the offensive that saw IS seize Mosul and much of Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland nearly three years ago, the east bank was more ethnically diverse than the west, where analysts believe the jihadists could enjoy more support.Tougher resistance“IS resistance could be greater in this area and it will be harder, but all the more important, to completely clear the networks from Mosul after its recapture,” said Emily Anagnostos, Iraq analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.While the federal forces’ attrition is said to be high, IS’s had been undoubtedly higher and commanders have said the jihadists may no longer have the resources to defend east Mosul effectively.Recent incidents in liberated east point to the difficulty of ensuring remnants of IS have not blended in with the civilian population in a huge city which most residents did not flee ahead of the government offensive.Aid organisations had feared an exodus of unprecedented proportions before the start of the Mosul operation but half a million-a significant majority-of residents stayed home.Their continued presence prevented both sides from resorting to deadlier weaponry, which may have slowed down the battle but averted a potentially much more serious humanitarian emergency in the middle of winter as well as more extensive material damage to the city.“Mosul is going better than we expected, but there are serious dangers ahead,” Lise Grande, UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, told AFP.Residents of west Mosul have reported very difficult living conditions and warned that they were already low on food, with weeks of fighting expected to lie ahead.IS fighters and Mosul residents remained able to move across both sides of the city during much of the fighting in the east but all bridges across the Tigris have now been dropped and the jihadists in the west are all but besieged.IS has used civilians as human shields as part of its defence tactics and killed residents attempting to flee, making it both difficult and dangerous for the population to escape.While specialised units may attempt to throw pontoon bridges across the river to attack from the east, the main initial assault of the upcoming phase in the Mosul is expected to come from the south on the city’s airport.Army, police, interior ministry and special forces have been gearing up for the push on Mosul’s southern front, with a large concentration of fighters based out of Hammam al-Alil.
Authorities are investigating the suspected hate crime shooting of a Sikh man at his home near Seattle, media reported Saturday, just days after an engineer from India was fatally shot in Kansas.The 39-year-old Sikh was working on his car in his driveway in Kent, Washington just south of Seattle, when a man walked up late Friday wearing a mask and holding a gun.The Seattle Times newspaper reported that the partially-masked gunman, after exchanging words with the victim, said “Go back to your own country” before pulling the trigger, shooting him in the arm.Authorities are investigating the shooting as a suspected hate crime, according to the Seattle Times, which did not provide the nationality of the victim.The daily reported that police are continuing to search for the gunman.Jasmit Singh, a leader of the Sikh community near Seattle, told The Seattle Times that the victim has been released from the hospital.”He is just very shaken up, both him and his family,” Singh said.”We’re all kind of at a loss in terms of what’s going on right now, this is just bringing it home. The climate of hate that has been created doesn’t distinguish between anyone.”The incident follows a shooting at a Kansas bar last month that killed 32-year-old engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, causing shockwaves felt around the country.A second Indian engineer, Alok Madasani, was injured in the Kansas shooting carried out by a white gunman whom witnesses said screamed racial slurs and told his victims to “get out of my country” before opening fire.The Sikh Coalition, a New York-based civil rights group, asked local and federal authorities in a statement Saturday to investigate the latest shooting as a hate crime.
deathA sub-registrar was hacked and strangled to death by unidentified miscreants at his house in Babor Alo Gate area of Kushtia on Monday night, reports UNB.The deceased was Nur Mohammad Shah, 55, from Kurigram district. He used to live on the second floor of a multi-storey building in the area on a rental basis.Hearing sounds of running footsteps of several people from the second floor around 11:00pm, owners and other residents of the building came out from their flats, said Nasir Uddin, officer-in-charge of Kushtia model police station.They went to Nur’s flat and found him in critical condition with his hands and legs tied up with locally made towels.On information, police rushed there and took the victim to Kushtia General Hospital where the physicians declared him dead.Meanwhile, SM Tanvir Arafat, superintend of Kushtia police visited the spot.Locals said that Nur used to take bribes from people who came to his office for land-related issues, adding that he might have been killed over the issue.Taking of huge amount of money as bribe by the officials and staffs of Kushtia Sadar Sub-registry office is an open secret, they added.
Afghan security personnel gather at the site of an ongoing attack on a television station in Kabul on Tuesday. AFPGunmen stormed a television station in Kabul Tuesday and many staff were still in the building, an employee told AFP, describing the attack as ongoing.”I saw three attackers on security cameras entering the TV station building. They first shot the guard and then entered the building. They started throwing grenades and firing,” said Shamshad TV reporter Faisal Zaland, who escaped through a back door.Shamshad TV, a Pashto language station that broadcasts nationwide, was transmitting a holding image instead of its normal programming.Zaland told AFP that security forces were in the area of the Shamshad compound in the Afghan capital “trying to bring down the attackers”.”Many of my colleagues are still in the building,” he added.Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied the militant group was involved in the attack in a Twitter post.The interior ministry told AFP it was investigating the incident but had no further details.Kabul has been rocked by a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks as the Taliban and Islamic State insurgents step up offensives against security installations and mosques.Last Tuesday a suicide bomber, believed to have been as young as 12, struck Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic quarter and killed at least five people, showing that militants can still hit the heart of the city despite tighter security.Security in Kabul has been ramped up since a May 31 truck bomb went off on the edge of the so-called “Green Zone”, killing around 150 people and wounding 400 others.Special truck scanners, barriers and permanent and mobile checkpoints have been rolled out across the city.The last major assault in Kabul was on October 21 when a suicide attacker hit a busload of Afghan army trainees, killing 15.On October 20 a suicide bomber pretending to be a worshipper blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque in the city during evening prayers, killing 56 and wounding 55.Earlier this month Kabul police stopped a lorry carrying 2,700 kilograms (nearly 6,000 pounds) of explosives hidden under boxes of tomatoes, averting a potentially deadly blast.