World Bank loan, T-20 final, dengue fever, banks and drug trafficking Chonpara


Hello. If you are traveling by bus from Mirpur, you might be relieved to learn that the long-awaited e-ticketing service was launched earlier this week. Here are five more stories to start your day-to-day.

PS It’s World Diabetes Day today. This year’s theme is to increase overall disease education and encourage early diagnosis.

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1. World Bank loan

Now that the IMF loan has been given the green light, the government is seeking loans at lower interest rates from the World Bank – revealed during the meeting of Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal with Martin Raiser, Vice President of the World Bank for the South Asia region. Bangladesh is already the largest recipient of funding from the International Development Association, which is the World Bank Group’s concessional lending arm for the world’s 74 poorest countries. Bangladesh hopes to raise an additional $500 million this fiscal year and another $500 million in the next two, according to the finance ministry. The WB has set 12 conditions – in the fiscal and economic sector – none of which the government has yet fulfilled. The funds will be disbursed once Bangladesh starts implementing the suggested reforms, the World Bank delegation said.

2. Final recap of the T-20

The tournament spanning 45 games over the past month is now complete, crowning England as champions. It was a nervous final, with England bowlers limiting Pakistan to a tight 137/8. Chasing a low total, England initially faltered when Pakistani fast bowler Shaheen Afridi knocked out Alex Hales in the first round. Shaheen Afridi was forced to give up his third, after an awkward landing on his right knee while catching to dismiss Harry Brook. Ben Stokes led the second race. With half a century unbeaten, Stokes hitting the last ball, the England cricket team became the first double white ball champions, holding both the 50 and 20+ titles. Sam Curran was named Player of the Match (3/12) and Player of the Tournament (12 wickets in six matches). The bad news is still rolling in for Pakistan as pundits fear Shaheen Afridi’s injury in the game could take months to recover.

3. Dengue Fever

With 3 deaths yesterday, the total number of lives claimed by dengue fever is now 202 people. This is the highest single-year death toll ever caused by the mosquito-borne disease. People between the ages of 20 and 40, especially women, have been hit the hardest, according to Health Minister Zahid Maleque. A program was held yesterday in the nation’s capital by the Department of Health to introduce new dengue fever guidelines. “Dengue fever patients die within three days of infection. Late hospitalization is one of the causes of death,” the minister added. To protect yourself, it is best to get tested for dengue as soon as you experience symptoms such as fever and seek treatment. In the meantime, some preventative measures you can take are: wearing loose clothing; avoid sewers and any type of standing water; avoid areas with plants, bushes in parks; sleeping with a moshari and so on. Experts have previously blamed the lack of timely governance for curbing the massive outbreak.

4. Banks

One of the conditions of the $4.5 billion IMF loan to Bangladesh – which has just been approved – is to reduce bad debts in the banking sector and introduce an asset management company to get rid of those troubled loans. It’s not going too well at the moment; experts blame corruption. Defaulted loans in banks reached a new high of Tk 134 billion at the end of the third quarter of this year. According to economist Zahin Hussain, this increase simply indicates that measures still need to be taken. Husain also dismissed banks’ excuses of an unfavorable business environment, saying “borrowers are refraining from repaying their loans.” In many cases, banks have extended loans to influential borrowers, he added. “Some banks don’t follow the rules,” said Salehuddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank.

5. Chonpara drug trafficking

After the tragic murder of Buet student Fardin Noor Parash, allegations surfaced that he may have been killed at Chanpara of Naryanganj; the area – which has become a major crime den – has, as such, been in the spotlight. The Daily Star visited at least four well-known drug hotspots in the slum yesterday and found it eerily quiet. The slums have now slipped under the radar of law enforcement and since then the drug trade has cooled off. Residents said crime had proliferated in the area over the past decade, but “neither the police nor local leaders took action to stop the illegal trade.” They also said that a committee headed by Bazlur Rashid, chairman of Kayetpara Union Parishad, was formed to prevent drug trafficking in the slum. But the president soon began supporting the illegal trade in exchange for cash, locals claimed. Learn more about the story here.

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