Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique urged to keep the judiciary free of political influence, at a farewell reception held on the last working day of his tenure as the 23rd Chief Justice of Bangladesh on Thursday (Aug. 31). The chief justice said the judiciary is the protector of the fundamental rights of the people. It is also the protector of the constitution, he said. Therefore, judges have to be brave and just. If the judiciary fails or deviates from the impartial application of the law, the state and citizens are bound to suffer, said the chief justice.

Independence of the judiciary is essential for the development of true participatory democracy, preservation of the rule of law, ensuring the rights of weaker sections of society, and establishing social justice, he added. "It is the responsibility of judges, lawyers and every responsible citizen of the state to protect the judiciary from social, economic and political influences," the chief justice added. His successor has not yet been named.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has asked banks to send account details of former Bangladesh Bank deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury, his spouse and daughter as part of an investigation into the allegation of a tax evasion case against the three. The banks were directed to provide detailed information of bank accounts, loans, fixed deposit and investment in savings certificates and records of transactions by September 7 this year. The step comes after the ACC formed a three-member team to probe into the alleged tax dodging by the former central banker and his family members.

Earlier in July 2021, the National Board of Revenue directed banks to freeze bank accounts of the former deputy governor of central bank and his spouse Suparna Sur Chowdhury on suspicion of tax evasion. Prior to the freezing of bank accounts, the NBR had sought detailed information on all types of accounts and transactions of Chowdhury, and former Bangladesh Bank executive director Md Shah Alam, in connection with the scams perpetrated by PK Haldar.

The World Bank approved a $200 million loan to help improve primary healthcare services and prevent mosquito-borne diseases like dengue in Bangladesh. The loan, which was approved yesterday, will help improve primary healthcare services for treatment, prevention and referral for common illnesses, and medical waste management in Dhaka North and South City corporations, Chattogram City Corporation, and Savar and Tarabo municipalities.

Under the funding, a project titled "Urban Health, Nutrition and Population Project" will establish a network of primary health centres offering a broad range of health, nutrition, and population services along with a direct referral system with secondary and tertiary-level facilities. Meanwhile, a total of 17 more deaths were reported from dengue in 24 hours till Thursday morning, raising the fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease to 593 in the first 8 months of the year. The total caseload for the year stood at 123,808 for the year.

Amidst gradual fall in the country's foreign exchange reserves, banks hiked dollar purchase rate to Tk 109.5 as part of an effort to come to a unified rate for forex. Banks will sell the greenback at Tk 110 to the importers, according to a meeting between the Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers Association (Bafeda) and the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB). Banks officially offered remitters Tk 109 for every dollar and Tk 108.5 for each dollar to the exporters as per the previous decision of Bafeda and ABB.

Banks sold the greenback to the importers to settle import payments at Tk 109.5 each. As per the latest decision, the interbank exchange rate will be Tk 110 for every dollar. In its monetary policy for July-December period of 2023, the Bangladesh Bank said it is committed to implementing a unified and market-driven single exchange rate considering prevailing market conditions.

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