Nation this week
Bangladesh has conveyed to Myanmar the concerns the Rohingyas have over their repatriation plan to the Rakhine State, that the two countries are currently working on under the aegis of China. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Seheli Sabrin said Myanmar authorities have been communicated over the concerns raised following the first-ever "go and see" visit to Maungdaw of Rakhine by a team of 20 Rohingyas on May 5, ostensibly to go and have a look for themselves. Afterwards some of them came back and told the media that they have doubts about the Myanmar government's intentions.
They also said they were unclear about how their long-term security can be anchored without a path to citizenship in Myanmar, something that is still not on the table. They also expressed doubts about getting back their properties in the villages they used to inhabit, which they left in Rakhine facing a brutal clean up operation of the Myanmar military in 2017.
The government withdrew additional security given to the ambassadors and high commissioners of India, China, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the US and UK, saying that the security situation in the country is "very satisfactory" and that there is a shortage of police personnel. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said if any embassy wants it, it can avail itself of such services by paying for it.The foreign minister also said that police have already informed the embassies concerned of the government's decision and also offered the additional security as a paid service. He added that no diplomat will be given additional security with the taxpayers' money. Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq said the envoys who have been availing police escorts when they move around will be looked after by Ansar members instead of police personnel. DMP also said that adequate police remained deployed in the capital's diplomatic quarter to ensure the security of foreign diplomats.
The nomination papers of four mayoral candidates for the Barishal City Corporation (BCC) election, all independent candidates, were declared invalid after the verification process by the Election Commission, returning officer Humayun Kabir disclosed. It leaves six mayoral candidates,four party candidates - from the Awami League, Jatiya Party, Islami Andolan Bangladesh, and Zaker Party - and two independent candidates standing in the race. The independent candidates whose nominations were declared invalid are: Lutful Kabir, Syed Ishaq Mohammad Abul Khair, Asaduzzaman and Nesaruddin. At least two of them were considered ruling party 'rebels'.
The EC also declared as invalid the nominations of four, out of seven aspiring candidates for the mayor's post in the Khulna City Corporation (KCC) elections. Returning officer Md Alauddin's announcement meant only Awami League-backed candidate Talukdar Abdul Khalek, Islami Andolon- backed Abdul Auwal and Jatiya Party's Shafiqul Islam would be on the ballot come June 12. The others' nominations were cancelled as they provided wrong information, or failed to submit documents such as tax returns, the returning officer said.
Bangladesh Bank downsized the Export Development Fund, which allows authorised dealers of banks to borrow US dollars from the country's foreign exchange reserve, against foreign currency loans to export-oriented companies for input procurements, to $4.77 billion from $7 billion, to be compliant with the International Monetary Fund's conditions regarding calculation of forex reserves, in which Bangladesh has been defying international standards. Central bank officials even said that the size of EDF loans would be further downsized to just $2 billion by September.
The country's foreign exchange reserve, including 'encumbered' items such as the EDF, which has existed since 1988 but only allowed to balloon out after Mostafa 'Lotus' Kamal took over from late A.M.A Muhith, dropped to $29.8 billion on May 8. This is from $46 billion in December 2021. Excluding the EDF, as one simply should from reserve calculation, means the figure has more than halved in just 18 months.
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