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US defunds UNFPA for the third year– on wrong assumptions

By Thalif Deen UN, Jul 17 2019 (IPS) – The Trump administration, in its continued hostility towards the United Nations– and as part of its policy aimed at undermining multilateral institutions and international commitments– has withheld its annual contributions to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) – for the third consecutive year. The three- year annual cuts, which began in 2017, ... Read More »

Facebook and friends threaten to libralise the world

By Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram Sydney and Kuala Lumpur, Jul 16 2019 (IPS) – On 17 June, a Facebook white paper proposed a new global digital currency it plans to launch in the first half of 2020. The Libra will be managed by a ‘not for profit’ Swiss-based Facebook-led consortium of ‘for-profit corporations’, with Uber, eBay, Lyft, Mastercard ... Read More »

Green Climate Fund agrees on ways to decide sans consensus

Songdo, 11 July (Indrajit Bose) — The Board of the UNFCCC’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) adopted a key decision on how the Board will make decisions in the event consensus could not be reached at its 23rd meeting in Songdo, South Korea from 6-8 July. In what several Board members termed as a “historic” decision, the Board adopted the decision ... Read More »

Progress of financial inclusion in BD exciting: Queen Maxima

It can accelerate progress, empower women, she says Dhaka, July 10 – UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) Queen Maxima on Wednesday said financial inclusion can empower women and accelerate Bangladesh’s progress and noted significant progress made so far in the country. “Financial inclusion has increased from 31 percent in 2014 to 50 percent in 2017 ... Read More »

Queen Maxima in Dhaka to promote financial services access

Dhaka, July 9 (UNB) – UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA) Queen Maxima arrived here on Tuesday evening to promote people’s access to financial services in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is currently developing a national strategy to improve people’s access to financial services. In Bangladesh, only 36 percent of women have bank accounts, compared to 65 percent of ... Read More »

Liberalism and developing countries

By Leila Yasmine Khan and Daud Khan AMSTERDAM/ROME, Jun 24, 2019 (IPS) – As China rapidly replaces Europe and the USA as the key player in developing countries, the Western press is full of articles about the dangers of dealing with the Chinese. China, it is said, is not liberal and not democratic and hence is not a trustworthy partner ... Read More »

Trump administration’s 50bn ‘economic peace plan’ for ME

The US is busy pushing a $50 billion economic peace plan for the Middle East which aims to “empower” and “unlock the vast potential of the Palestinian people”. Yet the 40-page document says nothing about why Palestinians are disempowered today. – HRW Opening the West Bank and Gaza The plan will reduce constraints on Palestinian economic growth by Opening the ... Read More »

White House unveils $50 billion Palestinian economic plan

Washington, Jun 23 (AP/UNB)  — The Trump administration on Saturday unveiled a $50 billion Palestinian investment and infrastructure proposal intended to be the economic engine to power its much-anticipated but still unreleased “deal of the century” Middle East peace plan. The scheme, which calls for a mix of public and private financing and intends to create at least a million ... Read More »

300 top loan defaulters fail to repay Tk 509bn: Minister

Dhaka, Jun 22 – Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Saturday placed in Parliament the list of 300 top loan defaulters of the country involving Tk 50,942 crore (Tk 509bn). The Finance Minister made the disclosure while responding to a tabled written question from ruling party MP Israfil Alam. He said these loan defaulters took loans from all banks and ... Read More »

11 infrastructure projects involving Tk 80bn okayed at Ecnec

Dhaka, Jun 18 (UNB) – The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved 11 projects involving an overall outlay of Tk 8,053 crore. The approval came from the Ecnec meeting held at NEC conference room here with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan ... Read More »

Global FDI flows fall for third consecutive year

Geneva, 13 Jun (Kanaga Raja) – Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows fell by 13 percent in 2018 to $1.3 trillion, the third consecutive year of a decline in FDI, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said. In its World Investment Report 2019, UNCTAD said that the decline was mainly due to large-scale repatriations of accumulated ... Read More »

BD allocates Taka 1bn to settle riverbank erosion victims

Dhaka, June 13 – A total of Tk 100 crore has been allocated in the proposed budget for 2019-20 fiscal years to facilitate rehabilitation of the people affected by river erosion. Besides, steps have been taken for managing water resource, land use, and mitigating effects of the environment and climate change by re-excavating small rivers, canals and wetlands in 64 ... Read More »

Society: Financialisation destroys social solidarity

By Michael Lim Mah Hui and Jomo Kwame Sundaram Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Jun 4 2019 (IPS) – Finance has not stopped at dominating the real economy. The tentacles of finance have reached into significant, if not most parts of society. Gerald Davis characterises modern society, where finance is dominant, as a ‘portfolio society’, in which aspects of social life ... Read More »

World military spending at 3-decade high, biggest spender US

By Countercurrents TeamThe past year has been immensely successful for the war industry. The US is leading the charge, while some of its NATO allies are also buffing their war budgets citing the Russian threat despite Moscow decreasing its military spending. The driving force behind this increase is the growing appetite of the US military-industrial complex rather than real threats, ... Read More »

Dhaka signs US$ 2.5bn ODA deal with Tokyo

Tokyo, May 29 (UNB) – Bangladesh and Japan on Wednesday signed their 40th ODA deal involving US$ 2.5 billion for implementing four projects to bolster ties between the two countries. Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Monowar Ahmed and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi signed the ODA deal on behalf of their respective sides. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ... Read More »

Dhaka to sign US$ 2.5bn ODA deal during PM’s Tokyo visit

Dhaka, May 26 (UNB) – Bangladesh and Japan will sign their 40th ODA deal involving US$ 2.5 billion during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Japan visit on May 28-30 for implementing five projects as her visit is expected to bolster ties between the two countries. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen came up with the information while briefing media at his ... Read More »

UK welfare cuts mean families go hungry: HRW

Government Policy Failings Exacerbate Food Poverty, Violate Right to Food London – Government cuts to welfare over the past decade have resulted in tens of thousands of poor families in England left without enough food to eat, a clear breach of the government’s duty to ensure adequate food, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 115-page report, ... Read More »

Aid to education falls slightly in 2017

In 2017, aid to education totaled US$ 13.2 billion, down 2% or US$288 million compared to 2016. The figures, released by the Global Education Monitoring Report, published by UNESCO, show the levels of aid to education continue to stagnate, growing by only 1% per year on average since 2009. Much of the cut to total aid to education can be ... Read More »

BD govt sets higher revenue collection goal for next FY

Dhaka, May 10 – The revenue collection target for the 2019-20 fiscal has been set at Tk 3.97 lakh crore to reduce dependency on foreign aid and grants. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has been tasked with collecting Tk 3,41,700 crore while non-NBR sector will contribute Tk 17,000 crore and non-tax sector Tk 37,500 crore. “The government will increase ... Read More »

Instability in BD media to be over soon: Info Minister says

Dhaka, May 9 (UNB) – Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Thursday said the instability in the media, especially in TV channels, over the insecurity of journalists’ jobs will be over soon as the government is taking various steps in this regard. “Since the Prime Minister has given me the charge of this [information] ministry, I have been working for ... Read More »

Deep clean: How ‘blue finance’ can save our oceans

The world’s oceans are running out of breath. In the past 50 years, we have lost nearly half our coral reefs and mangrove forests and the size of marine populations has halved. A third of global fish stocks are already depleted. If trends continue, it is estimated that there will be no stocks left for commercial fishing by 2048 in ... Read More »

BD President asks doctors to reduce consultation fees

Dhaka, Apr 29 (UNB) – President Abdul Hamid on Monday urged specialist physicians to serve patients more sincerely and take an initiative to reduce their consultation fees as these are beyond common people’s capacity. “You (doctors) are engaged in a profession which is highly respectable as well as important. I’ll request you to be more sincere while serving patients. Specialist ... Read More »

Arab League pledges $100M a month to Palestinian Authority

Cairo, Apr 22 (AP/UNB) — The Arab League has pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority to make up for funds withheld by Israel because of payments made to the families of Palestinian attackers and prisoners. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab League in Cairo on Sunday as part of a diplomatic effort to rebuff the Trump ... Read More »

Impact of high debt levels on LDCs ‘can’t be overstated’: UN

The impact of high levels of debt on development efforts “cannot be overstated”, the head of the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) told a Ministerial Breakfast Meeting on least development countries (LDCs) on Saturday. “While debt financing remains an important source for achieving positive development outcomes in LDCs, the recent trends are a cause for concern” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner ... Read More »

2500 schools colleges to get govt monthly pay order from May

Dhaka, April 10 – Education minister Dr Dipu Moni yesterday said at least 2,500 non-government educational institutions across the country are going to enjoy the monthly pay order (MPO) facilities from next month. The minister said they have screened approximately 2,500 non-government educational institutions out of nearly 6,000 through the digital process and now they have decided to announce MPO ... Read More »

Ershad donates all his assets to a trust

Dhaka, Apr 7 (UNB) – A day after nominating his younger brother as his party successor, ailing Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad on Sunday donated his all assets to a trust. “Our chairman has donated his all movable and immovable assets to a trust,” Jatiya Party presidium member SM Faisal Chisti told UNB on Sunday evening. He said a five-member ... Read More »

Dr Kamal slams govt for ‘making economy bankrupt’ with loans

Dhaka, Mar 28 – Jatiya Oikyafront Convener Dr Kamal Hossain on Thursday alleged that the government is making the Bangladesh economy bankrupt by imposing a huge burden of loans on people in the name of develop projects. “The government is carrying out a campaign that the country is witnessing outstanding development but our economists analysing various statistics are saying that ... Read More »

World Bank financializing development

KUALA LUMPUR and SYDNEY, Mar 26 2019 (IPS) – The World Bank has successfully legitimized the notion that private finance is the solution to pressing development and welfare concerns, including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Agenda 2030. A recent McKinsey report estimates that the world needs to invest about US$3.3 trillion, or 3.8 per cent of world output yearly, in economic ... Read More »

PM opens digital financial service ‘Nagad’

Dhaka, Mar 26 (UNB) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday inaugurated Bangladesh Post Office’s digital financial service, ‘Nagad’, to meet the growing demand of mobile banking among people. At her official residence Ganobhaban in the afternoon, she also released a commemorative postage stamp of Tk 10, a first-day cover of Tk 10 and a data card of Tk 5, marking ... Read More »