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Monday, 20 May, 2024

Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant honours WWII heroes with memorial garden

Couple jailed for life for killing child domestic help in Dhaka

A Dhaka court has sentenced a couple to life in prison for killing their child domestic aide in Kamalapur more than 18 years ago. Judge Md Iqbal Hossain of Dhaka's Special Judge’s Court-5 delivered the verdict in the presence of the convicts and sent them to jail on Tuesday. Nazrul Islam and his wife Rabeya Akhter, both railway workers, were found guilty and fined Tk 20,000 each. They will serve an additional six months if they fail to pay the fines. According to the case details, Shilpi Begum, 11, worked at Nazrul's home on Kabi Jasim Uddin Road in North Kamalapur. On Feb 22, 2006, her mother received a phone call informing her that Shilpi had been badly injured and was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Upon receiving the news, she rushed to the hospital and discovered that her daughter had sustained serious injuries. Talking to the people around, she learned that Nazrul and his wife had assaulted Shilpi with iron rods and sticks within a locked room. This was not the first incident; they had beaten her multiple times before. Shilpi died three days later while receiving treatment. Her father, Sirajul Islam, then filed a case with Motijheel Police Station. Sub-Inspector Gazi Mohammad Ibrahim of the police station submitted the charge sheet against the accused on Apr 30 of that year. The court framed charges against the accused on Apr 26 of the following year and heard from six out of 22 witnesses during the trial. "The plaintiff claimed during his testimony that his daughter died after falling from the roof," Public Prosecutor Shawkat Alam said. “However, this testimony was deemed unreliable. The defendants tried to exploit the plaintiff's poverty by offering money to settle the murder case out of court. Circumstantial evidence wasexamined,” he said. He said that there was a single witness present at home during the incident, but her testimony could not be obtained. “I had requested the court to summon key individuals related to the case for testimony, but the request was denied."

Gaza death toll: how many Palestinians has Israel's campaign killed?

Palestinian health authorities say Israel's ground and air campaign in Gaza has killed more than 35,000 people, mostly civilians, and driven most of the enclave's 2.3 million people from their homes. The war began on Oct 7 when Hamas militants stormed across the border into Israeli communities. Israel says the militants killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and dragged 253 into captivity in Gaza. This explainer examines how the Palestinian death toll is calculated, how reliable it is, the breakdown of civilians and fighters killed and what each side says. HOW DO GAZA HEALTH AUTHORITIES CALCULATE THE DEATH TOLL? In the first months of the war, death tolls were calculated entirely from counting bodies that arrived in hospitals and data included names and identity numbers for most of those killed. As the conflict ground on, and fewer hospitals and morgues continued to operate, the authorities adopted other methods too. A May 7 Health Ministry report gave an overall toll of 34,844. It said 21,058 of those deaths were counted from bodies that hospitals reported arriving at morgues. Another 3,715 were deaths reported online by family members who had to input information including identity numbers. It listed the remaining 10,071 deaths as having "incomplete data".Omar Hussein Ali, head of the ministry's emergency operations centre in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said these were bodies that had arrived at hospitals or medical centres without personal data such as identity numbers or full names. IS THE GAZA DEATH TOLL COMPREHENSIVE? The numbers "do not necessarily reflect all victims due to the fact that many victims are still missing under the rubble", the Palestinian Health Ministry says. In May it estimated that some 10,000 bodies were uncounted in this way. The U.N. human rights office and the Humanitarian Research Lab at the Yale School of Public Health have also said during the conflict that the true figures are likely higher than those published. HOW CREDIBLE IS THE GAZA DEATH TOLL? Pre-war Gaza had robust population statistics and better health information systems than in most Middle East countries, public health experts told said. A spokesperson for the World Health Organisation said the ministry has "good capacity in data collection/analysis and its previous reporting has been considered credible". The United Nations regularly cites the ministry's death toll figures, while naming the ministry as the source. Early in the conflict, after US President Joe Biden cast doubt on casualty figures, the health ministry published a detailed list of the 7,028 deaths that had been registered by that point. Academics looking at details of listed casualties said in a peer-reviewed article in the Lancet medical journal in November that it was implausible that the patterns shown in the list could be the result of fabrication. However, there are specific questions over the inclusion of 471 people said to have been killed in an Oct. 17 blast at al-Ahli al-Arab hospital in Gaza City. An unclassified US intelligence report estimated that death toll "at the low end of the 100 to 300 spectrum". DOES HAMAS CONTROL THE FIGURES? While Hamas has run Gaza since 2007, the enclave's Health Ministry also answers to the overall Palestinian Authority ministry in Ramallah in the West Bank. Gaza's Hamas-run government has paid the salaries of all those hired in public departments since 2007, including in the Health Ministry. The Palestinian Authority still pays the salaries of those hired before then. The extent of Hamas control in Gaza now is difficult to assess with Israeli forces occupying most of the territory, including around locations of major hospitals that provide casualty figures, and with fighting ongoing. WHAT DOES ISRAEL SAY? Israeli officials have said the figures are suspect because of Hamas' control over government in Gaza. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oren Mamorstein said the numbers were manipulated and "do not reflect the reality on the ground". However, Israel's military has also accepted in briefings that the overall Gaza casualty numbers are broadly reliable. Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said 14,000 Hamas fighters and 16,000 Palestinian civilians had been killed in the war. HOW MANY CIVILIANS HAVE BEEN KILLED? The Health Ministry figures do not differentiate between civilians and Hamas combatants, who do not wear formal uniform or carry separate identification. Israel periodically provides estimates of how many Hamas fighters it believes have been killed. The most recent was Netanyahu's estimate of 14,000. Israeli security officials say such estimates are reached through a combination of counting bodies on the battlefield, intercepts of Hamas communications and intelligence assessments of personnel in targets that were destroyed. Hamas has said Israeli estimates for its losses are exaggerated but has not said how many of its fighters have been killed. The Palestinian Health Ministry says more than 70% of the dead are women and children under 18. For most of the conflict its figures showed children as representing slightly over 40% of all those killed. However, conditions in hospitals compiling figures have worsened amid the fighting and many of those killed may not be identifiable due to their injuries. In May the ministry updated its breakdown of the fatalities to be based only on the 24,686 bodies it said had been fully identified, and not on the more-than 10,000 bodies it said have not yet been identified. When it made this change, the numbers appeared significantly less, prompting Israel to raise further questions over the figures.

None can isolate me from people: PM

Prime Minister and Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina on Thursday told the parliament that none can isolate her from the people as they have confidence and trust that she has been working for their welfare. "You can't isolate me from the people. My strength is the people and I move ahead with their strength. The people have trust and confidence in me that I am working for them. So, the confidence and trust of the people in me is my only belongings. So, I don't care anyone as long as the countrymen are with me," she said. She was delivering the valedictory speech in the second session of the 12th Jatiya Sangsad (JS) with Speaker Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair. Sheikh Hasina said that she is well aware that her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated on August 15, 1975 as assassins failed to isolate him from the people. The vested quarters, she said, had conducted massive propaganda against Father of the Nation despite the fact that he had given every foundation of running the state including enactment of the Constitution for the welfare of the country and its people. "After being failed to separate him (Bangabandhu) from the people, they killed him. Attempts were also made time and again on my life," she said. The leaders and workers of the Awami League saved her even sacrificing their lives, she said. The premier said she will work for the country and its people ignoring all such attacks on her life. Sheikh Hasina, also President of the Awami League, said they have been working for betterment the countrymen. "The countrymen are reaping benefits of the development works done by us. What can we do, if you try to make every work questionable?" she posed a question. The premier said questions had been raised about necessity of constructing rail track on the Padma Bridge and metro rail in Dhaka. She, however, said the people who are enjoying the facilities can tell better about their necessity. Per hour around 60,000 people can travel from Uttara to Motijheel in the city by metro rail, she said. The premier urged those who are on hot pursuit to criticize every work of the government to change their mindsets. "Recognise what we have done for development of the country," she said. .Sheikh Hasina castigated them who are now talking about the power outage saying that the Khaleda Zia's government had shot dead people in Kansat being failed to give power. "We can now generate over 16,000MW power which was only 1,600MW during the BNP's regime," she said. About enactment of a special law, the premier said her government enacted the law as they wanted to quick generation of power and opened it to the private sector. "New law is essential to open power generation to the private sector. We want quick generation of the power as the government can't do it alone. We have to give it to the private sector. Employment generation will not be increased if it is not given to private sector," she observed. About capacity charge in case of setting up power plants, Sheikh Hasina posed the question, "Is there any country which did agreement of building power plants without capacity charge?" "Show me one country which did agreement without capacity charge," she said. The premier said none was given clemency, adding that her government had realised 10,000 US dollar per day from Summit Group, which had first built power plant in private sector in Khulna, as they did not complete work of a power plant in due time. "It should bear in mind, we will not give mercy to anyone. There is no section of giving clemency in the law," she said. Sheikh Hasina said the BNP men are now shouting about democracy and the voting rights despite the fact that their leader military dictator Ziaur Rahman had destroyed the country's democracy and balloting system. Zia had introduced the culture of vote rigging through farcical yes/no vote and presidential election and killed several thousand military personnel in so called trial after coming to power illegally. Ershad and Khaleda Zia continued the legacy of Ziaur Rahman, she continued. The prime minister said the BNP has boycotted the elections as they knew it very well that they will face defeat as the people of the country are yet to forget their misrule. She also reminded all that BNP led alliance only got 30 seats in the 2008 general election while the Awami League bagged 233 seats. None could raise any question about the fairness of the election, she added. Sheikh Hasina also said the BNP and its like minded government didn't do anything for the people in 29 years while the Awami League had done massive development of the country in the last 15 years. Instead of working for the welfare of the country and its people, the BNP had created an elite group in Bangladesh by plundering public money, she observed. From 2001-06, the BNP government had introduced the culture of terrorism, militancy and corruption, she said. Zia, the premier said, had introduced the culture of loan default which was continued by Ershad and Khaleda Zia. Her government had been working to come out from its purview, he pointed out.
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