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More than two million Muslims begin hajj pilgrimage

Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Aug 9, 2019 – More than two million Muslims begin the annual hajj on Friday as the Saudi hosts seek to deter politicisation of the pilgrimage against a backdrop of simmering Gulf tensions. The hajj, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, is one of Islam’s five pillars and must be undertaken by all rich Muslims with ... Read More »

Int’l Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples today

Dhaka, Aug 9 (UNB)- Members of ethnic groups around the globe are observing the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on Friday with the theme ‘Indigenous Languages’. On December 23, 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided in its resolution 49/214 that the day shall be observed on August 9 every year. This year’s aim is to highlight the ... Read More »

On brutality of violence against women

By Farhana Haque Rahman and Raghav Gaiha Horrific violence against women is unabated and rising in South Asia. Rome and New Delhi, Aug 6 2019 (IPS) – On a cold night in December 2012, a ghastly crime was committed in New Delhi which stunned the world. Six men dragged helpless Nirbhaya-a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern- to the back of the ... Read More »

Biman’s outgoing Hajj flights conclude operations

Dhaka, Aug 05 – The hajj flights run by Biman Bangladesh Airlines concluded on Monday operating all 189 flights while the last Hajj flights of Saudi Arabian Airlines will fly on Tuesday with rest of the pilgrims. On the last day of Hajj flight, the Saudi Airlines will carry around 1,100 pilgrims by operating three flights. Read More »

From child refugee to a president

The little girl who fled from war-torn Latvia spent more than 50 years in exile – but soon after returning she became president. Not only that, Vaira Vike-Freiberga became the first female head of a former Soviet bloc state. “My parents never let me forget that I am Latvian,” she told the BBC. The Baltic state was invaded by Nazi ... Read More »

Sacrificial animals being brought to capital’s markets before Eid

Dhaka, Aug 4 (UNB) – Cattle markets in the city are getting prepared ahead of Eid-ul-Azha in full swing as traders bring a huge number of sacrificial animals from across the country to the capital for sales. Visiting different cattle markets in the city, the UNB correspondent found that structures for keeping the cattle are being prepared in the makeshift ... Read More »

San Francisco airport bans sale of plastic bottles

San Francisco International Airport is banning the sale of single-use plastic bottles and will require fliers to buy refillable bottles if they’re not already carrying their own, US media reported on Friday. The new rule comes into effect on August 20, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, and is part of a five-year plan to lower landfill waste, net carbon emissions ... Read More »

Eid-ul-Azha on Aug 12

Dhaka, Aug 2 (UNB) – Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest religious festival of Muslims, will be celebrated across the country on August 12 as the new moon of the Arabic month of Zilhaj was sighted in Bangladesh sky on Friday. State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah made the announcement after a meeting of the National Moon Sighting Committee at ... Read More »

Indonesia returns containers of waste to France, Hong Kong

Indonesia has returned seven shipping containers of illegally imported waste to France and Hong Kong, an official said Tuesday, marking the latest move by a Southeast Asian nation to send back rubbish to their wealthy places of origin. The containers were loaded with a combination of garbage, plastic waste and hazardous materials in violation of import rules, according to customs ... Read More »

Historic 124-year-old Central Texas church burns to ground

Westphalia, Jul 30 (AP/UNB) — A historic rural Roman Catholic church that had served its surrounding Central Texas farming community for more than a century has burned to the ground. Photos posted on the Austin Catholic diocesan Facebook page show the Church of the Visitation in Westphalia fully involved in flames Monday morning, being reduced to nothing more than ashes. ... Read More »

Poland needs to save water

With his two fishing rods planted firmly on the bank of the Vistula river, 85-year-old Tadeusz Norberciak peers at rocks exposed on the dry riverbed, a telling sign of Poland’s looming water crisis. “I can’t remember water levels being as low as what we’ve seen in recent years, it’s tragic”, says the pensioner, sporting a fisherman’s vest and cap for ... Read More »

Europe’s record-setting heatwave to spike even higher

A dangerously intense heatwave across much of Europe is to spike even higher today after already breaking records in several countries, impacting rail traffic and sending people in search of shade and water. Paris was expected to see the mercury soar to as much as 41 or 42 degrees Celsius, breaking a 70-year-plus record of 40.4C (104.7 Fahrenheit) and turning ... Read More »

Iceland honours first glacier lost to climate change

Iceland is planning to mark the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change which threatens some 400 others on the subarctic island. On August 18, a plaque will be unveiled to Okjokull — which translates to “OK glacier” — in the west of Iceland, local researchers and their peers at Rice University in the United States, who ... Read More »

7 entrepreneurs win Colors Platinum Business Women Awards

Dhaka, July 21 (UNB) – Seven successful women in business received ‘Colors Platinum Business Women Awards 2019’ at a function in a city hotel on Saturday evening. State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak attended the award-giving ceremony which was also attended by High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das, General Manager of Intercontinental Dhaka Marc Reissinger and ... Read More »

US marks 50 years after Apollo 11’s ‘giant leap’ on moon

Cape Canaveral, Jul 21 (AP/UNB) — A moonstruck nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s “giant leap” by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin at parties, races, ball games and concerts Saturday, toasting with Tang and gobbling MoonPies. At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Aldrin showed Vice President Mike Pence the launch pad where he flew to the moon in 1969. ... Read More »

Asian entertainment industries grappling with #MeToo issues

Dhaka, July 18 (UNB) – When Wu Ke-xi was looking for a frightening plotline for her latest film, she didn’t need to look further than her own industry, reports The Indian Express. The Taiwanese actress and screenwriter’s latest movie, Nina Wu, is the story of an actress who, in pursuit of a role that will lead to stardom, is abused ... Read More »

ICC convicts Warlord Bosco Ntaganda for sexual slavery

Warlord Bosco Ntaganda becomes the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery by the International Criminal Court. Women and girls conscripted into his army were forced into sexual servitude amongst multiple horrific crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo including using child soldiers, rape and murder. Read More »

Girls outshine boys in HSC examinations

Dhaka, July 17 – The girls are outshining the boys in pass rates in the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations over the last several years which are good but lower pass rate of the boys should not be a good sign, experts said on Wednesday. Read More »

Apollo 11 astronaut returns to launch pad 50 years later

Cape Canaveral, July 17 (AP/UNB) — Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins returned Tuesday to the exact spot where he flew to the moon 50 years ago with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Collins had the spotlight to himself this time — Armstrong has been gone for seven years and Aldrin canceled. Collins said he wished his two moonwalking colleagues could ... Read More »

Some reef islands resilient to climate change

The Pacific’s low-lying reef islands are likely to change shape in response to climate change, rather than simply sinking beneath rising seas and becoming uninhabitable as previously assumed, new research has found. Atoll nations such as Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati lie only a few metres above sea level and are considered the world’s most vulnerable to global warming, with fears ... Read More »

Shanghai leads battle against China’s rising mountain of trash

Nie Feng used to toss his rubbish outside his Shanghai flat without a thought while rushing to work, but saving China from a garbage crisis now requires him to consult a complex diagram each morning. On July 1, Shanghai launched China’s most ambitious garbage separation and recycling programme ever, as the country confronts a rising tide of trash created by ... Read More »

Let’s talk about sex – and why power matters

By Dr Natalia Kanem UN, Jul 11 2019 (IPS) – Every year on World Population Day (July 11), UNFPA receives queries from journalists about the total number of people around the world. Numbers are indeed important because they help governments develop policies that respond to evolving needs for services such as education and health. Read More »

Earliest modern human skull found outside Africa

Researchers have found the earliest example of our species (modern humans) outside Africa. A skull unearthed in Greece has been dated to 210,000 years ago, at a time when Europe was occupied by the Neanderthals. The sensational discovery adds to evidence of an earlier migration of people from Africa that left no trace in the DNA of people alive today. ... Read More »

Rape incidents surge for lack of law enforcement: BNP

Dhaka, July 12 (UNB) – BNP standing committee member Selima Rahman on Friday alleged that rape and other crimes have marked a sharp rise in the country for lack of enforcement of law since the government is regulating the judiciary. “The incidents of rape have turned acute as the government has completely shattered the judiciary. From a child to an ... Read More »

The sex scandal at the heart of the Afghan government

By Yogita LimayeBBC News, Kabul Afghanistan has been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment at the highest levels of government. Officials deny wrongdoing but a BBC investigation has heard from women who describe a culture of abuse. In a house near the foot of the dusty mountains that surround Kabul, I meet a former government employee. She asks to remain ... Read More »