Nation this week
The Covid-19 vaccine for 45 million (4.5 crore) Bangladeshis, close to a quarter of the population, will be brought into the country by May-June next year. Cabinet Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam said this after a cabinet meeting this week. He said 30 million doses (three crore) of the coronavirus vaccine will be available for 15 million (1.5 crore) people by the end of January or beginning of February. More vaccines will come later, the cabinet secretary said.
Various information about the Covid-19 vaccine was presented in an unscheduled discussion at the end of the cabinet meeting, he said, adding that the training for vaccination has already started in the country. The cabinet meeting was held virtually with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. In the meeting, the cabinet approved a draft law to establish an agricultural university in Kurigram.
The Ministry of Information (MoI) formed a 15-member committee with an Additional Secretary (Broadcast) of the ministry as chair, to formulate a policy guideline regarding the contents and advertisements shown on social media sites and OTT (over-the-top i.e. streamed over the internet) platforms. The other members of the committee include the Director General of Bangladesh Television (BTV), the Director General of Bangladesh Betar, the Director General of Department of Films and Publications, the Managing Director of Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC) and representatives from Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL), ICT Division and the Posts and Telecommunications Division.
The stated purpose of the committee, that also includes some representatives of production studios and media associations, will be to look into the broadcast aspects of content on social media and the OTT platform. However, the committee does not include any representative from any social media or OTT platforms, local or international.
Responding to allegations raised in a letter to the president from a group of eminent citizens against its members, the Election Commission came out and rejected these as "baseless and motivated". Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda came up with the reaction days after 42 distinguished citizens urged the president to form a Supreme Judicial Council to investigate the allegations of corruption and other misconduct against the EC.
Addressing a press conference at his office, Nurul Huda said the allegation of spending Tk 2 crore for delivering speeches has been brought over baseless information. The CEC also rejected the allegation over recruiting staffers, saying the recruitment process was fair and impartial. Coming to the allegations of irregularities in buying and using the electronic voting machines, the CEC said there was no scope for corruption there as the commissioners were not even involved in any financial transaction in purchasing the EVMs. The accusations were supplemented with relevant documents enclosed with the letter.
Nineteen public universities announced the minimum requirement for appearing in the admission test and question patterns for what officials said would be the first-ever uniform admission test. The universities agreed earlier this month to hold the test titled "Central Admission Test" aimed at relieving the admission seekers from having to travel to different universities in different parts of the country every admission season
Vice chancellors of the 19 universities at a meeting decided that there will be three parts to the test - science, humanities and business studies - based on the Higher Secondary Certificate exams syllabus. The test will be held at all the 19 universities and students who passed HSC-level exams this year and 2019 with a certain GPA will be eligible to participate in the test - anyone with a GPA below 3 in either exam will not be eligible. However, Dhaka University, BUET, and Rajshahi, Jahangirnagar and Chattogram Universities opted out of the system.
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