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Staff Correspondent

Dr Hasan Mahmud also attended the National Day reception hosted by the ambassador at Hotel Hilton as special guest and met the ministers, high dignitaries and a cross section of Bangladeshi people living in the UAE.

At a reception organised by Bangabandhu Parishad in the UAE, Mahmud urged the Bangladeshi community members to work for the country and help establish Bangladeshi expatriates in the UAE as a disciplined and law-abiding community.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) assured Bangladesh of not retrenching Bangladeshi workers and sending them back, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said yesterday after his visit to the gulf nation last week.

The workers who have completed their job contracts are returning from the UAE. So, there is nothing to worry, said Faruk who held official talks with UAE Foreign Trade Minister Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi in Abu Dhabi last week.

Meanwhile, a total of 102 Bangladeshi workers returned from abroad on special travel passes yesterday. Of them, 56 returned from the UAE while 35 from Malaysia, nine from Kuwait and two from Saudi Arabia.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Hasan Mahmud yesterday requested the UAE government to retain the Bangladeshi workers and extend their job contracts, says a foreign ministry press release.

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After attending an international dialogue on migration in Geneva, Mahmud is now visiting the UAE where there around 9 lakh Bangladeshi workers, the second largest labour market after Saudi Arabia.

The government is making such efforts as Bangladeshi workers abroad are being axed following the global economic recession. Already, increased numbers of Bangladeshis have returned home from Malaysia, Singapore, UAE and Saudi Arabia that creates an uncertainty over overseas job market of Bangladesh.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and Expatriates' Welfare Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain are also visiting Malaysia. Dipu Moni held talks with some high-ranking ministers of Malaysia, while Mosharraf is scheduled to meet its home and human resources minister to talk on the labour issue.

Dr Hasan Mahmud during his meeting with the UAE Labour Minister Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash discussed the ways to best address the challenges of the ongoing economic meltdown, including easing the procedure of changing residency visa and online access for visa verification to avoid visa forgery.

Bangladeshi workers are often deported from Dubai Airport because of visa forgery that causes losses to both the workers and the manpower business.

“Such visa forgery is possible because there is no scope to verify genuineness of the visas issued by the UAE. It can be verified through online system like other countries to check forgery,” said an official.

During the meeting, Saqr Ghobash said protection of workers must start from the country of origin as those workers should not arrive in the UAE saddled with debts, Gulf News from Dubai reported yesterday.

Dr Hasan Mahmud also met his counterpart Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash at UAE foreign affairs ministry and discussed the bilateral matters, including trade, investment and Bangladeshi labours working in the Gulf country.

The state minister requested for more UAE investment in Bangladesh in energy, refinery and other areas of infrastructure.

Ports on alert over Bay changes

Fri, Jun 1st, 2012 8:23 pm BdST

Chittagong, Jun 1 (bdnews24) The maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Mongla have been advised to show cautionary signal 3 as a deep convection is taking place over north Bay of Bengal.

Bangladesh Meteological Department made the weather forecast on its website on Friday.

Forecast officer of Patenga office of the Department Sheikh Harunur Rashid told, "Deep convection is taking place over the north Bay and its adjacent areas. It may cause squally weather in the coastal areas."

All fishing boats and trawlers over north bay and deep sea have been advised to navigate carefully, the forecast added.

Heat wave that swept throug the country over the last few days moved away from Chiitagong as it began to rain incessantly from early Friday, already causing water-logging in different areas including Muradpur, Sholoshohor 2 gate of the city.

Patenga weather office recorded 109.4mm of rain in the last 24 hours ending 3pm Friday.

The rain is forecast to continue pouring down for the next few days.

Shahara 'sorry' for assaults on journalists

Fri, Jun 1st, 2012 3:29 pm BdST

Dhaka, Jun 1 - Home Minister Shahara Khatun has said 'sorry' for the recent incidents of assaults and police torture on journalists but continued defending law-enforcing agencies over alleged extra-judicial killings.

"I express my sorrow about the incidents of repression on journalists recently," she said at "Meet the Press" programme in Dhaka on Friday.

The programme was organised at Dhaka Reporters' Unity in the morning.

Attacks on journalists rose when they were waging movements on the street to press for justice for the killing of journo duo Sagar Sarwar and Meherun Runi.

When asked whether the Minister believed the incidents are isolated ones, Shahara replied, "All of the 1.41 lakh members of police are not good. It is very normal that some of them will be bad."

"As it was the case in the past, action would be taken against members of police once they are found involved in any unethical activities," she added.

"None would be spared. Even none of my relatives would be spared if they were involved in any illegal activities," she continued in her trademark tough-talking.

Three photojournalists of the Daily Prothom Alo came under police attack last week when they were covering a demonstration at Mohila Polytechnic Institute in the capital on May 26. Three other journalists came under police attack last week at Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate`s Court when they were collecting information on a reported abuse of a girl by policemen.

Later, two other journalists and an office assistant of internet newspaper were stabbed by criminals. Journalists across the country have been falling victim to attacks long before assaults on their colleagues in Dhaka.

Regarding the attacks of journalists, State Minister for Home Shamsul Hoque Tuku last Tuesday suggested that many untoward incidents could be avoided if journalists stay at a safe distance from the law enforcers during violence.

When reporters asked the Home Minister what her deputy meant by the statement, Shahara altogether denied that Tuku had made such statement.

He denied saying anything like this. "If you have a question to ask even after that, please ask him," said Shahara as she continued to claim improvement in law and order situation. "The government is putting highest importance on improving the law and order situation. Militancy, extortion, and extremism have been curbed," she added.

"We had your cooperation when we were in the opposition. We want it even now. You please correct our flaws," she added.

She skirted a direct answer when asked whether the government had plans to give impunity to those involved in extra-judicial killings, secret murders and disappearance at the fag end of its tenure.

"Do you want that criminals do not get caught?" she shot back.

Defending the law-enforcing agencies over alleged extra-legal killings, she said, "Their duty is to capture criminals. If criminals shot at them, what are the law-enforcing agencies are supposed to do, you say that? They have to shot back in self-defence."

It is alleged that incidents of 'crossfire' and 'shootout' are stage-managed by Rapid Action Battalion and police to execute extra-legal killings where the victims are brought to the scene beforehand.

Regarding the allegation, Shahara said, "If any such case happens, ask them to contact me directly."

Asked about the disappearance of BNP leader M Ilias Ali and others, she said, "Investigation is going on."

Active participation of citizens in politics a must

Wed, May 30th, 2012 7:50 pm BdST

Dhaka, May 30 Former caretaker government advisor Akbar Ali Khan has underscored the need for active participation of the citizens in politics to resolve the ongoing 'political crisis'.

"It appears to me that a mass revolution at the grassroots level as well as active participation of the citizens in the political activities is essential to resolve the ongoing political crisis," said he said at a function on Wednesday.

Gorbo Bangladesh, a non-political social organisation, organised the programme titled 'Dr Muzaffer's Struggle Against Corruption' at the Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh (IDEM) at Kakrail in the city.

The former Secretary further added that the citizens did not need to be involved with the political parties; instead, their political thoughts and spirits can save Bangladesh from such confrontational stance.

"No political party can oppose the voice of the masses," he said.

About Prof Muzaffer Ahmad, Akbar said that he had never wanted that only the politicians pursued politics.

"He wanted political consciousness among the citizens. He had advised the citizens always to remain alert and raise their voice."

Eminent economist and civil rights activist Prof Muzaffer Ahmad died of old age complications at the capital's LabAid Hospital on May 22 at the age of 79.

The former director of Dhaka University's Institute of Business Administration, Prof Muzaffer was awarded Ekushey Padak, Bangladesh's highest Civilian award, in 2008.

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