Nation this week
The Cyber Security Bill 2023 was passed in Parliament, succeeding the widely condemned Digital Security Act 2018. While offences under as many as 14 sections were kept non-bailable in the DSA, the new legislation reduces that to four. Apart from that, not much will in fact be changing, as activists and experts such as the UN's special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan, have been apprehending. While the indefensibly long pre-trial detentions we continue to witness in the cases of individuals like Khadijatul Kubra, a college freshman jailed without charges under DSA for 13 months now.
It means the ambiguous and far-too-general language used to describe offences, including some that shouldn't be offences in the first place, such as questioning state formation narratives or criticism of important historical figures, are here to stay. Just like DSA, the CSA too was passed with no discernible stakeholder consultation or input, even though the law minister till the end continued to insist otherwise.
Having eased slightly in July, inflation spiked again in August, rising 23 basis points to 9.92 percent, and more worryingly this time propelled by food inflation, which hit a 12-year-high - the brunt of which would be borne by the poor and lower-income households, since a greater proportion of their incomes are spent on food. non-food or core inflation, which excludes both food and fuel costs, at the national level dropped by 1.52 percentage points to 7.95 percent in August.
Economists have held the country's dollar crisis resulting in import controls as a key reason behind the upward trend in inflation in recent months, even as prices are headed downwards in the global market. Price manipulation of some essentials at the retail level, as witnessed in the cases of eggs, potatoes, and onions in recent months, also played its part. On a month-on-month basis, food inflation soared by 6.51 percent in August - much faster than the 0.44 percent increase recorded in July.
The Election Commission has asked the Cabinet Division to take action against Jamalpur deputy commissioner Md Imran Ahmed for violating the law by seeking votes in favour of the ruling Awami League in the upcoming election. The EC sent a letter to this effect to the cabinet secretary after verification of the facts in this regard. The letter mentioned that DCs usually perform election duties as returning officers and also perform important duties in maintaining law and order during elections as district magistrates.
As such the EC finds it 'reasonable' to withdraw Imran Ahmed and also to prevent him from holding any electoral duties in the upcoming election to maintain public confidence in the electoral process, said an EC press release. The letter also mentioned that it was necessary to warn all DCs to refrain from such behaviour. Administrative officials must behave impartially during national parliament elections as per the constitution and rules.
The Detective Branch (DB) of police decided to arrest eight individuals after initially bringing them in for questioning in connection with the theft of gold weighing 55kg - with a market value of at least Tk 45 crore - from the warehouse attached to Customs House at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Four assistant revenue officers of Customs and four sepoys entrusted with security of the site have been arrested in connection with the incident, said Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police of DB-Uttara Division Badiuzzaman Zillu.
Customs House already decided to fire the four AROs, identified as Shahidul Islam, 36, Saidul Islam Shahed, 33, Akram Sheikh, 36, and Masum Rana, 33. About 94 bhoris of gold (less than 9 grams) were recovered based on information provided by the arrestees. According to the case statement, 4389 DM bars with a total weight of 47.49 kgs were stolen by breaking the lockers of the gold cupboard.
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