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    British Council to open today

    News Desk:All offices of British Council in Bangladesh were declared to open on the 26thSeptember and the functions of all offices will resume from today morning after remaining closed for 2 months.
    The British Council officials confirmed the matter at press briefing and an official notice through their website.
    All types of official tasks were temporarily stopped for a few days for construction but the offices were declared to be closed on the 27th July this year because of the panic of IS militants attack. This is because the students of English medium schools were suffering horribly as British Council runs those schools.
    The students and guardians got relieved hearing the news.
    – See more at: http://www.bd24live.com/article/13850/index.html#sthash.D9iObsum.dpuf

    4 female ‘JMB activists’ held

    Rapid Action Battalion claims to have arrested four suspected female members of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in different areas of the capital and Gazipur early yesterday.
    All of the four are from the female unit of the banned militant outfit formed under the guidance of JMB’s southern region chief Mahmudul Hasan alias Hasan, claimed Khandker Lutful Kabir, commanding officer of Rab-4, at a press briefing at its headquarters in Mirpur.
    They were allegedly spreading extremist ideologies among other females in different areas in the name of teaching Arabic.
    “Their current objective was to strengthen the female unit and collect funds for terror activities,” he said while replying to a query.
    The arrestees are Aklima Rahman Moni, Khadija Parveen Meghla, Ishrat Jahan Mou — all fourth-year students of Manarat International University (MIU) in the capital — and Istishna Afroz Oishee, an intern doctor at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
    The elite force came to know about the existence of the female unit after it arrested the JMB leader Mahmudul in Gazipur area on July 21, said Kabir.
    Based on information gleaned from him, a Rab-4 team kept a close watch on Aklima for days, and finally arrested her from her home in Signboard area of the district around 2:00am yesterday.
    Oishee was arrested from her home in Moghbazar, and Meghla and Mou from theirs in separate areas of Mirpur later, he added.
    Rab claims to have recovered a huge number of jihadi books, documents, video clips and other write-ups from their homes, laptops and mobile phones.
    These were put on display before the media at yesterday’s briefing.
    The Rab-4 chief claimed that Aklima had been “involved” in militant activities for several years. She became “active” recently after she was given the responsibility to form the female unit of the JMB, he claimed.
    Oishee was “inspired” by a “foreign friend” to get involved in militant activities four years ago. The other two were “radicalised” around seven months ago, he added.
    Although Rab claimed that Aklima and Oishee used to take the vital decisions of the female JMB unit, the crime buster could not say anything exactly about their positions or the structure of the unit immediately.
    Kabir also claimed that during their primary interrogations, the arrestees told Rab officials that they supported the terror attacks and all the secret killings carried out in Bangladesh in recent years.
    They think themselves the “ideological followers” of the so-called Islamic State. They believe the only “punishment” for those who are progressive and secular is death, the Rab official claimed.
    “They also believe that the death should be awful so that it sends panic among other people.”
    Replying to a query whether the arrested students of the MIU were propagating extremist views among other students at private university, Kabir said their investigation was at an “initial” stage.
    “We will give our topmost priority to the issue during our investigation as we had a bitter experience in case of North South University,” he said, adding that none of the culprits would be spared.
    Rab officials said they would try to find out whether the female JMB unit was formed to carry arms from one place to another as “it was noticed in the past that different militant organisations used females to carry arms and ammunition before their operations.”
    On July 24, police arrested four women in Sirajganj who they say were taking preparation to carry out a “massive attack” in the district.

    Mohammed Rahman and Anjem Choudary convicted of supporting ISIS

    Mohammad Mijanur Rahman and Anjem Choudhary, who swore allegiance to ISIS and encouraged people to travel to Syria, have been convicted of supporting Islamic State.
    Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, of North Circular Road, Palmers Green, faces up to ten years behind bars..
    He was found guilty alongside Anjem Choudhary, 49, of Hampton Road, Ilford.
    Choudary and his co-defendant, Mohammed Rahman, 33, told their supporters to obey Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Isis leader, who is also known as a caliph, and travel to Syria to support Isis or “the caliphate”, the court heard.
    They were convicted in July but details of the trial, including the verdict, could not be reported until now.
    Choudary and Rahman face up to 10 years in jail for inviting support for a proscribed organisation. They will be sentenced on 6 September at the Old Bailey..
    Choudary and Rahman were arrested by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command in September 2014.
    Commander Dean Haydon, Head of the MPS Counter Terrorism Command said: “These men have stayed just within the law for many years, but there is no one within the counter terrorism world that has any doubts of the influence that they have had, the hate they have spread and the people that they have encouraged to join terrorist organisations.
    “Over and over again we have seen people on trial for the most serious offences who have attended lectures or speeches given by these men.
    “The oath of allegiance was a turning point for the police – at last we had the evidence that they had stepped over the line and we could prove they supported ISIS.
    “During the course of the investigation 20 years worth of material was considered, with over 333 electronic devices containing 12.1 terabytes of storage data assessed and evidence identified to support the prosecution case at court.
    “Our well established international contacts ensured that we were able to obtain key evidence from the Indonesian authorities to prove that Choudary and Rahman were key in the publication of their oath of allegiance.”
    It can now also be revealed that Choudary was encouraged to support Isis by a notorious British Isis fighter who fled to Syria while on police bail.
    The court heard that shortly after Isis was proscribed as a terror group Choudary was in contact with an individual named as Subject A. It can now be revealed Subject A was Siddartha Dhar – known on social media as Abu Rumaysah – who was arrested alongside Choudary before he fled to Syria to fight with Isis while on police bail.
    Dhar encouraged Choudary to express support for Isis on social media. Following on from Dhar’s encouragement, both defendants made their position on the newly declared caliphate clear in the “oath of allegiance”.
    Choudary and Rahman will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on September 6.

    Narayanganj locals beat suspected robber to death

    A suspected robber has been lynched in Narayanganj.

    The local people in the Arhaihazar Upazila thrashed the man to death in the early hours of Monday.

    The incident comes close on the heels of three suspected robbers being lynched by a mob in the district’s Rupganj Upazila on Saturday.

    Police said Monday’s incident occurred around 1:30am near the Bagha bridge.

    “A group of 7 to 8 robbers had waylaid a motorbike rider on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway. Locals gathered after the victim screamed for help and caught one of the men, while the others managed to flee,” Arhaihazar police station OC Shakhawat Hossain said, quoting locals.

    Police rescued the man – who is yet to be identified – and took him to the local hospital, where doctors declared him dead, the officer said.

    In December last year, eight people had been beaten to death at Arhaihazar Upazila while they were robbing a warehouse.

    More 1.50-lakh yaba tablets seized in Ctg

    Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) members seized more 1.50-lakh pieces of yaba tablets from Anwara upazila of Chittagong district. The elite force conducted a drive following the information provided by an arrestee Amir Hossain and seized the haul around 3:00pm Sunday. However, RAB seized 1.50-lakh pieces of yaba tablets and detained Amir early this morning. RAB-7 commander Lieutenant Colonel Miftah Uddin Ahmed told that following the information by arrestee Amir, they conducted a drive at Mohammad Ullah Para area of Anwara upazila and seized more 1.50-lakh pieces of yaba tablets from a hole.

    BSF constable acquitted again in Felani revision trial

    A special court set up by India’s Border Security Force has reportedly upheld its previous verdict that acquitted BSF Constable Amiya Ghosh of the charge of killing Bangladeshi girl Felani Khatun at the Cooch Behar border.

    BSF General Security Forces court passed the verdict after conducting hearings of the revision trial, BBC Bangla reports quoting several source in the BSF.

    However, the verdict needs the approval of BSF director general.

    Felani’s family can challenge the verdict in the Indian court.

    In 2013, the same court found BSF’s 181 Battalion Constable Amiya Ghosh, the prime accused, not guilty because of “inconclusive and insufficient” evidence against him.

    Felani, a 15-year-old girl, was shot dead by BSF while she was returning to her home in Bangladesh. As she tried to climb over the barbed-wire fencing along the Anantapur border in Kurigram on January 7, 2011, her clothes got entangled in the wire and the BSF fired at her, hearing her screams.

    Her body was left dangling on the barbed wire for nearly five hours and she was reportedly alive for at least four hours after being shot.

    The photograph of Felani’s bullet-ridden body hanging from the barbed wire was published in the local and international media, following which there was an outpouring of demand for justice.

    Tiger knock out England

    England were knocked out of the World Cup by a spirited Tiger who grabbed a quarterfinal spot following a dramatic 15-run victory in a tight Pool A match in Adelaide on Monday.
    Mahmudullah scored 103 and brother-in-law Mushfiqur Rahim made 89 as the Tigers recovered from eight for two to post a challenging 275 for seven after being sent in to bat in overcast conditions.
    England, needing a win to stay afloat after winning just one of their previous four Pool A matches, were bowled out for 260 as seamer Rubel Hossain claimed four wickets and wicket-keeper Rahim held four catches
    Ian Bell made 63 but England slipped to 163 for six before Jos Buttler (65 off 52 balls) and Chris Woakes (42 not out) briefly revived their hoped with a 75-run stand for the seventh wicket.
    But the dismissals of Buttler and Chris Jordan off successive balls in the 46th over turned the match Bangladesh’s way.
    “It was pretty poor, to be knocked out of the World Cup is unbelievably disappointing,” said England captain Eoin Morgan, whose side will bow out having failed to beat a Test nation at the tournament with their only win thus far against Scotland.
    “I’m gutted, we’ve struggled and fallen away since we arrived here. We wanted to get to the quarter-finals and from there fight through three games.”
    ENGLAND: MM Ali, IR Bell, AD Hales, JE Root, EJG Morgan (capt), JWA Taylor, JC Buttler (wk), CR Woakes, CJ Jordan, SCJ Broad, JM Anderson
    BANGLADESH: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Arafat Sunny, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed

    Businesses seek HC restrictions on hartal, blockade

    Four leading business bodies today filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking restrictions on hartal and blockade in the country in an attempt to save business from financial loss.

    Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Textiles Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association jointly submitted the petition.

    They also prayed to the High Court seeking its directives upon the government to extend the duration for loan payment to 12 years as their business activities are greatly hampered due to the present violent situation amidst the hartal and blockade. The business organisations usually repay their loan in three to four years.

    The business organisations urged the court to ask the government for compensating as they suffered immense loss due to the ongoing hartal and blockade.

    The HC bench of Justice Kazi Reza-Ul Haque and Justice Abu Taher Md Saifur Rahman started hearing the petition today. Later, it fixed tomorrow for further hearing.

    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told parliament on Wednesday that the country had incurred a loss of over Tk 1, 20,000 crore in the first 52 days of the BNP-Jamaat’s blockade.

    Subhan gets death penalty for war crimes

    The International Tribunal-2 (ICT-2) on Wednesday awarded Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdus Subhan death penalty for his crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.
    A three-member bench headed by ICT-2 Chairman Justice Obaidul Hasan passed the order on Wednesday. The other two tribunal members are–Justice Md Mujibur Rahman Mia and Justice Shahinur Islam.
    He was found guilty in six charges out of nine.

    Earlier in the morning, the Jamaat leader has been brought to the tribunal around 8:50am with high security.

    Later, the tribunal started reading out the summary of 165-page verdict around 11:15am.

    He was a nayeb-e-ameer of Jamaat and subsequently the Vice-President of ‘Peace Committee’ in Pabna during the 1971 war.

    On September 20, 2013, Subhan was arrested from Tangail in a case of looting.

    The tribunal on December 31, 2013, framed charges against Maulana Sobhan on nine counts of crimes against humanity, including genocide, during the Liberation War under sections 3(2) and 4(1) (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
    – See more at: http://mtnews24.com/details/top_news/890#sthash.dtHYKg1g.dpuf

    BNPs oust-government movement

    Media reports indicate that BNP chief Khaleda Zia is now preparing the roadmap for an anti-government movement to be launched by the last week of December, targeting January 5, 2015, the first anniversary of the election boycotted by the BNP-led Alliance. Khaleda Zia has a plan to organize a rally in Dhaka on January 5 and across the country on the day to protest against what it called ‘undemocratic’ and ‘illegal’ government. Khaleda Zia will call ‘hartal’ and other agitational programmes on that day to demand fresh polls under a caretaker administration.

    She held midnight parleys with a group of serving and retired bureaucrats, presumably those who were made Officer on Special Duty on political considerations during her regime, seeking their cooperation in ousting the government. She urged her party leaders and workers to mobilize the people and wage an irresistible movement to unseat the incumbent government.

    BNP in collusion with Jamaat had tried its best to disrupt the national poll on January 5, 2014 by unleashing violence and killing people all over the country. But, despite resorting to violent means, their plan to thwart polling on that day failed miserably. The elections were held on the day; although there was low turn out of voters in some areas due to wide spread violence and killings. Awami League (AL) won the election and formed the government for second consecutive term.

    Some Western countries and organizations, however, questioned credibility of the poll. This encouraged BNP to demand a fresh poll under supervision of a caretaker government.

    The decision to do away with the caretaker government was taken through the 15th Constitution Amendment in mid 2011 following the Supreme Court verdict that declared the 13th Constitution Amendment, incorporating the provision of Caretaker Government to oversee parliamentary elections, illegal.

    AL will be observing January 5, 2015 as ‘Victory Day of Democracy’. Terming January 5 as the day for protection of democracy, senior AL leaders rightly said that if election had not taken place on that day, democracy in the country would have been imperiled and fallen in to a deep crisis.

    Refuting Khaleda Zia’s demand for fresh election, Sheikh Hasina has ruled out the possibility of mid-term poll in Bangladesh. People of the country have given their mandate to her government to rule the country for another five year term through the January 5 election this year. Since then nothing went wrong to warrant mid-term election. Hasina made it abundantly clear that the next elections would be held in 2019 when it is due, not before it.

    After assuming office following the election, Hasina has proved her mettle. Her popularity and public acceptance as Prime Minister continue to make upward swing for her role in taking the country forward, ensuring socio economic development amid political unrest, trying war crimes and curbing violence and militancy. World leaders have praised her for playing a major role in attaining economic growth amid global recession, gaining millennium development goals, reducing poverty and curbing militancy.

    She has shown great courage and acumen to build a liberal, modern and progressive Muslim society which has few examples in the world. She has taken on the fundamentalists and the network of terrorist and insurgent groups and brought peace not only to her country but also to the border with India and the sub region. During her rule Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in education, health, agriculture and rural development.

    Ever since its formation in 1949, the AL has remained the most credible vanguard of secular politics in Bangladesh. The party, despite all its inadequacies and shortcomings, has contributed to making Bangladesh a relatively liberal Muslim majority State with reasonably acceptable democratic credentials.

    The AL commands the widest support base in the country, even though in the major power structures of the State like the armed forces, media and business, its penetration has so far remained limited. Legacy of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman confers a unique symbolic identity to the party which is credited with the very creation of Bangladesh and laying of foundation for the Bengali nationalism.

    However, for the most part of independent history of Bangladesh the AL has faced violent challenges from the so-called Islamic nationalist forces. These forces, represented by BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami, do not believe in the concept of democracy and wish to capture State power by unleashing violence, vandalism and killings in the name of religion.

    The AL Government is viewed by these forces as an enemy of the ‘two nation’ theory propounded by Pakistan. Therefore, to these so-called Islamic nationalist forces, it is an anathema. These forces are known to be seeking help from the mafia and radical Islamic groups to let loose destabilizing forces in order to unseat the Government.

    Hasina has, however, turned a deaf ear to Khaleda’s demand for fresh poll and focused on development related issues. She has also taken effective steps to curb terrorism in the name of religion. The people of the country clearly disapproved the corrupt practices and covert support extended to Islamic fundamentalist forces by the last BNP regime and they are certainly not much enthused about political appeals in the name of religion and Islamic nationalism.

    Hasina seems determined to change confrontational political culture of the country, stamp out terror and seek closer and friendly ties with all countries in the region. Compared to the previous BNP-led government which virtually patronized all the radical and pro-Pakistan forces and was even engaged in engineering a grenade attack on a rally of Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka in 2004, it was a huge relief for the people who are happy to watch Hasina continuing with her efforts to make the country a middle-income one by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.

    After assuming office for the second consecutive term in 2014, Hasina visited China and Japan and she has been offered $ 11 billion as financial assistance from the Asian super powers to materialize her government’s plan for development.

    The AL government is confident of its achievements earned since it came to power. It strengthened bilateral ties with China, Japan, Russia and won the maritime dispute with India. The western countries have also backtracked from their earlier stance. Recent statement of Nisha Desai Biswal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena and British High Commissioner Robert Gibson prove that the western countries have changed their earlier stance with regard to Bangladesh. Desai, at a programme in the US, recently told reporters that her country was eager to see healthy relations between India and Bangladesh in combating terrorism. She also added that the US would keep its efforts on for Bangladesh’s economic progress.

    Hasina’s acceptance at home and abroad for her role in taking the country forward, ensuring socio economic development amid political unrest, trying war criminals and curbing violence and militancy remains an eye sore for BNP that seeks to unseat the Sheikh Hasina government at any cost.

    The present overall situation in Bangladesh, although not an ideal one, is certainly much better than what it used to be during the Khaleda Zia regime (2001-2006). Terrorists are not openly carrying out grenade attack on the opposition rallies killing innocent people; mainstream opposition leaders are not killed by grenades or gunned down. Suicide bombers who appeared openly on the streets demanding introduction of “Allah’s rule” are no longer visible. Whatever political harassment or incidents are happening in isolation may also be the creation of a particular vested quarter which is trying to malign the government and destabilize it.

    It is an open secret that Khaleda Zia and her two fugitive sons are billionaires. They are known to have siphoned off huge ill-gotten money in different countries. Anti Corruption Commission has revealed Khaleda Zia’s role in promoting corruption. People of Bangladesh can not be deceived or befooled simply by calling the AL government ‘illegal’ and ‘undemocratic’.
    – See more at: http://www.dhakatimes24.com/2015/01/04/49050/BNPs-oust-government-movement#sthash.KoJugRyO.dpuf