DHAKA, 22 May 2022, (TON): Bangladesh has called for increased investments and targeted technology support from developed countries, while promoting global solidarity to keep critical food delivery infrastructure out of harm's way during conflicts.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam made the call at the UN Security Council Open Debate on "Conflict and Food Security".
He underscored the importance of enhancing productivity and ensuring effective food storage and distribution systems.
DHAKA, 22 May 2022, (TON): Federal Bureau of Investigation will help the Anti-Corruption Commission in bringing back the money laundered to USA and Canada.
FBI officials said this at a three-day-long training on "Protecting Public Integrity: Investigating and Prosecuting Complex Corruption Cases" organised by the US Embassy to increase skill of the ACC investigators in dealing with money laundering.
An ACC official who participated in the training programme, told media "they told us that ACC can form joint investigation team with the FBI in dealing with the complex graft cases."
He said "in such case, FBI will help recover and freeze money laundered to USA and Canada illegally or via hundi and send related documents to ACC.”
He added "upon the Mutual Legal Assistance Request, they will help ACC from there and send the information quickly.”
DHAKA, 22 May 2022, (TON): The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi arrived here for a five-day visit.
An UNHCR press release said “he will meet with representatives of the Government of Bangladesh to discuss the ongoing response for Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char.”
Grandi will also highlight the need for sustained international support when meeting with key donors and partners who support the humanitarian response in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char.
During his visit to the camps in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char, Grandi will meet with Rohingya refugees to discuss their needs, challenges and hopes for the future.
He is accompanied on his visit by Indrika Ratwatte and Senior Advisor to the High Commissioner Herve de Villeroche.
By TON Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has been defaulted on its debt as the country failed with its worst financial crisis in more than 7 decades. It happened after a 30-day grace period to pay off $78m (£63m) of unpaid debt interest payments expired on Wednesday and the country was now in an "anticipatory default".
The defaults happen when governments are incapable to meet their balance expenses to creditors. It certainly harms a country's reputation badly, making it borrow the money it needs on international markets, which further damages its currency and economy.
Sri Lanka is now in default its position is very clear until it becomes able to restructure debts. Until there is a debt restructuring in Sri Lanka it cannot repay. Sri Lanka is seeking to restructure debts of more than $50bn it owes to foreign creditors, to make it more manageable to repay.
The country's economy has been hit hard by the plague, increasing energy charges, and majority tax cuts. A prolonged scarcity of foreign currency and rising inflation and a severe shortage of medicines, fuel, and other essentials.
In recent weeks, there have been large violent, protests against President and his family due to the increasing crunch. The country has even now started talks with the International Monetary Fund over a bailout and desires to rearrange its debt contracts with creditors. The government has said previously that it needs as much as $4bn this year.
The central bank governor also warned that Sri Lanka's already very high rate of inflation was likely to rise further. Inflation obviously is around 30%. It will go even higher headline inflation will go upward in the upcoming months.
There won't be a hunger crisis. He was speaking after Sri Lanka's central bank held its two key interest rates steady following a seven percentage point rise at its last meeting. The country's main lending rate remained at 14.5%, while the deposit rate was kept at 13.5%
Previously, the world's main credit ranking agencies cautioned that Sri Lanka was about to default due to its debts. S&P Global Ratings made a similar announcement and said that a failure to pay is now a "fundamental certainty".
Last week, President elder brother resigned as prime minister after government supporters clashed with protesters. Nine people died and more than 300 were wounded in the violence. The family of brothers has dominated for years.
The ex-prime minister became famous among the majority Sinhalese in 2009 when his government defeated Tamil separatist rebels after years of acrimonious and bloody civil war. His brother who was defense minister at the time is now president.
On Friday, Sri Lanka's new prime minister told that the economic crisis was "going to get worse before it gets better. In his first interview since taking office, he also pledged to ensure families would get three meals a day.
Alluring the world for more financial help the new prime minister said that there won't be a famine crisis. Sri Lanka is an island nation off southern India: It won independence from British rule in 1948. Three ethnic groups - Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim - make up 99% of the country's 22m population.
Sri Lanka descended inescapably into default as the grace period on two unpaid foreign bonds ended the latest blow to a country rattled by economic pain and social unrest.
The island nation has been officially declared in default as it fails to make an interest payment to bondholders on Wednesday when the 30-day grace period for missed coupons on dollar bonds ended which marked its first default since its independence.
Now an economic crisis has led to fury on the streets and the rising price has meant food, medication and fuel are dearths. There are regular power failures and ordinary people have taken to the streets in anger with many blaming the president family and their government for the gory situation.
Bangladesh and India share the fifth-longest land border in the world. It spans around 4096 km with India surrounding the major part of Bangladesh. Owing to its length and various vulnerable points, both countries experience the issue of illegal migrants and the drug trade. It is a major irritant between both States.
Although borders are usually porous in nature and allow people and goods to be transported between states. But a porous land border increases the risk of illegal migration and smuggling of people and commodities. Such is the case with India and Bangladesh. Both states have their respective grievances toward each other. India blames Bangladesh for sending intruders into the country, while Bangladesh criticizes the Indian border security force (BSF) for indiscriminately killing the people.
The Bangladesh government criticizes BSF for allowing cattle smuggling across the border, and the smuggling of illegal weapons and drugs from India to Bangladesh. While at the same time they shoot the people who mistakenly wander into Indian territory. BSF shoots indiscriminately, without taking into account that not all of the intruders are illegal migrants. Some of them belong to the villages along the India-Bangladesh border.
According to Human Rights Watch, Indian BSF killed almost 1165 Bangladeshi people from 2000 to 2019. Vikram Kumar Duraiswami, the Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh expressed his discontent over the acts of BSF saying that they are ordered not to open fire on unarmed people. India maintains the narrative that BSF killed all those people in self-defense. In reality, their 'Shoot at Sight' policy allows them to kill whoever crosses the border illegally.
The issue of the porous border is more alarming around the Siliguri corridor. The North-East states of India such as Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, and West Bengal are more vulnerable since they surround Bangladesh. Tripura’s border with Bangladesh is so porous that the Indian forces used to go into the territory of Bangladesh and train Hindu insurgents during the Bangladesh Liberation war. The same forces are now targeting Bangladeshi nationals for crossing the border. The issue is that some people truly accidentally stray into these territories, and it is not possible to erect border fencing in these areas owing to their mountainous landscape.
Indian forces had been carrying out such Human Rights violations with the indiscriminate killings until recently. The porous border situation became less violent as India launched project BOLD-QIT in 2018. Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique (BOLD-QIT) was launched under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) of India. Through this project, BSF installed surveillance cameras along the border and established control rooms nearby to enable quick paramilitary action. With the project coming into force, the Indian BSF can thwart the possibility of illegal crossing, whether deliberate or not.
As a gesture of goodwill, India handed over 577 intruders who had been in custody since 2018, to the Bangladesh Border Guards (BBG) in 2021. Part of the reason was the over-flooding of Indian prisons with Bangladeshi nationals. BSF sent the people back to Bangladesh to prevent overcrowding in its prisons. Again on 1st May 2022, four Bangladeshi fishermen were arrested who strayed into the Indian side by mistake. Their fate is to be decided yet. But, between January 2021 and March 2022, India sent back almost 185 innocent Bangladeshi trespassers instead of killing them on Indian soil.
Bangladeshi grievances are not limited to BSF's killings. It is more about what they are allowing to happen across the border. Trafficking syndicates are operating on both sides and cooperating across the border. Innocent women are trafficked from Bangladesh and forced to work in Indian brothels, yet the BSF cannot stop that. The illegal narcotics trade, for which India blames Bangladesh and vice versa, has also been possible because of BSF's negligence. Even the arms from India have been smuggled to Bangladesh illegally, which is an even more alarming situation.
The issue is highly volatile for India-Bangladesh relations and a major irritant. Bangladesh shares much of its land border with India. It needs to have a better Border security framework of its own to restrict the flow of narcotics and arms to its territory. Although India is to be blamed for massive killings alongside the border, it is Bangladesh's negligence as well. It has to stop the illegal movement of its nationals into India.
Since border fencing is not an option for such a long border, Bangladesh can launch a project similar to BOLD-QIT to minimize the issue significantly. This problem will always be looming over both the states unless they devise a joint mechanism of patrolling on their respective sides. Issues like these can be resolved on the table instead of on the battlefield. For that, India has to keep its BSF in check for carrying out search acts of violence against innocent people and Bangladesh needs to be more vigilant.
TBILISI, 21 May 2022, (TON): Georgian First Deputy Defense Minister Lela Chikovani and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Laura Cooper signed a 10-year framework agreement on defense cooperation between the countries in Tbilisi.
This was reported in the press service of the Georgian Defense Ministry.
The press service quoted Chikovani “today, a framework agreement was drawn up, which for a period of 10 years or even more will help increase the defense capability of the Georgian Defense Forces and will ensure the conduct of a containment policy.”
The Deputy Minister noted that the completed document is a continuation of the “Initiative to Strengthen Defense and Deterrence Measures for Georgia.”
A delegation from the US Department of Defense takes part in Tbilisi in bilateral consultations in the field of defense.
WASHINGTON, 21 May 2022, (TON): Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Colombian Minister of National Defense Diego Molano and reaffirmed the importance of the strong defense relationship between our two countries.
Austin congratulated Colombia on its recent designation by President Biden as a Major Non-NATO Ally and praised Colombia’s progress as a NATO Global Partner.
The leaders discussed their shared interest in deepening cooperation on strategic issues including countering illegal armed groups, cooperation on cyber, managing climate change and other transboundary threats and protection of human rights, including accountability for human rights abuses.
The two leaders also discussed the forthcoming Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas to be held in July.
GENEVA, 21 May 2022, (TON): UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will visit China May 23-28 and is also expected to travel to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The High Commissioner’s Office said in a statement “United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet begins a six-day official mission to China on Monday at the invitation of the Chinese government.”
This is the first visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to China since 2005.
BISHKEK, 21 May 2022, (TON): Saudi Arabia has sent 25 tons of dates to Kyrgyzstan as a gift.
The dates were delivered by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center at an event attended by Saudi Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Ibrahim bin Radi Al-Radi and other officials.
Recently, KSrelief also delivered 50 tons of dates to the Maldives.
Maldivian Islamic Minister Dr. Ahmed Zahir Ali thanked the Saudi government for the gift, noting that it reflected the close ties between the two countries.
The gifts are part of the humanitarian aid programs provided by the Saudi government to a number of countries, with the aim of benefitting vulnerable families in different regions of the world.
WASHINGTON, 21 May 2022, (TON): Human Rights Watch said “US military forces redeploying to Somalia must make civilian protection a priority.”
US President Joe Biden signed an order reversing a Trump administration decision to remove nearly all 700 American troops from the East African state and redeploy them as part of a joint operation with the Somali government to tackle Al-Shabab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda.
Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at HRW said “US officials should be very clear on how forces will avoid harming Somali civilians during military operations.”
They will need to work closely with the Somali and African Union authorities to avoid repeating past laws of war violations and promptly and appropriately respond to civilian loss.
HRW said “past American operations in Somalia had not only resulted in loss of life and Somali property, but that the US had neither recognized these losses nor provided redress.”