Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance collaboration in protecting the environment, wildlife and combating climate change. The decision came when Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury held a significant bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia's State Minister for Environment Dr Osama Ibrahim Faqeeha on the sidelines of the ongoing UN Environment Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

Recognising the mutual commitment to environmental protection, both the nations agreed to enhance cooperation by signing the MoU. The agreement aims to bolster collaboration in key areas such as environmental protection, wildlife conservation, combating climate change and pollution control, according to a message received here. During the meeting, State Minister Faqeeha extended a formal invitation to Bangladesh Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury to attend the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) slated for December 2024. This invitation underscores the growing collaboration between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia in addressing environmental challenges on a global scale.

The Bangladesh Bank received about $588 million from 11 banks under its new currency swap arrangement, which began on February 15. Eleven banks received about Tk6,468 crore in total by depositing the dollar amount, mostly for a 30-day tenure. They can reclaim their respective dollar amounts after repaying the taka to the central bank and settling the interest rates with the BB.

Therefore, the country's foreign exchange reserves, according to the International Monetary Fund's BPM6, increased to $20.5 billion on February 25, from $19.93 billion on February 14, BB officials said. On February 15, the BB approved currency swap arrangement between the central bank and the commercial banks. With the new swap arrangement, commercial banks allowed exchange of the taka for the dollar, or vice versa, with the Bangladesh Bank. The central bank said that under this arrangement, a minimum of $5 million or its equivalent in Taka could be swapped.

Another sexual harassment complaint was filed against Prof. Naadir Junaid of Mass Communication and Journalism Department of Dhaka University, who is currently on a three-month forced leave following the first official complaint filed against him. A former student of another university in the capital filed the complaint with proctor office this morning, DU Proctor Prof. Md. Maksudur Rahman confirmed saying, "Previously, I received the complaint by e-mail and then received a physical copy this morning."

The student alleged the DU prof of sexual harassment and prolonged psychological abuse in the letter. The written complaint reads, "Naadir Junaid was our guest faculty and as a class representative I had to keep contact with him for academic purposes. But he used to call me in between 10 pm-12 am and tried to continue the calls for hours even though I was very uncomfortable." She also alleged that the teacher used to ask her personal questions about her female classmates.

The claim settlement rate of life and non-life insurance companies in the country increased by 4 percent year-on-year in 2023, said Mohammad Jainul Bari, chairman of the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA). Claim settlement rates have increased as the regulator has passed a strict directive on insurance companies to focus on claims settlement to improve the image of the insurance sector, he said. Bari made this comment at a press conference organised by the IDRA at its Motijheel office in Dhaka to inform of celebrations marking National Insurance Day which is scheduled to be celebrated on March 1.

At present there are 35 life insurance and 46 non-life insurance companies active in the country. Of them, 49 are listed with the stock market. Currently, there are 17.11 million people who have availed insurance. Corporate governance and regulatory guidelines have been issued to make the country's insurance system up-to-date, said Bari.

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