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Hundreds of shops gutted in market fire in Bangladesh
  + stars: | 2023-09-14 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
DHAKA, Sept 14 (Reuters) - A huge fire gutted several hundreds shops at a market in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, but there were no casualties as the blaze swept through the area in the early hours of Thursday, before stores opened. It took six hours for military forces and firefighters to contain the blaze, which spread quickly in the Mohammadpur market due to the large amount of flammable items such as cooking oil and plastics, officials said. Fire service official Shahjahan Sikder said there were no casualties in the fire, which was likely caused by an electric short circuit. [1/5]Firefighters work after a fire broke out at the Mohammadpur Krishi Market in, Dhaka, Bangladesh September 14, 2023, in this picture obtained from social media. In April, a fire in a shopping complex in Dhaka injured several firefighters and burned down some 5,000 stores.
Persons: Shahjahan Sikder, Ruma Paul, Miral Organizations: Firefighters, REUTERS Acquire, Thomson Locations: DHAKA, Dhaka, Bangladesh
DHAKA, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Bangladesh is grappling with a record deadly outbreak of dengue fever, with hospitals struggling to make space for patients as the disease spreads rapidly in the densely-populated country. Hospitals, especially in capital Dhaka, are struggling to find space for the large number of patients suffering high fever, joint pain and vomiting, health officials said. There is no vaccine or drug that specifically treats dengue, which is common in South Asia during the June-to-September monsoon season, when the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the deadly virus thrives in stagnant water. This year's deaths already top the previous record of 281 from last year, with the number of people infected just behind the 62,423 cases of 2022. "This is the reason why we saw such a high number of dengue cases in July.
Persons: Zahid Maleque, Kabirul Bashar, Yasir Arafat, Ruma Paul, Tom Hogue Organizations: Reuters, Jahangirnagar University, Thomson Locations: DHAKA, Bangladesh, Dhaka, South Asia, Asia
DHAKA, July 29 (Reuters) - Bangladesh police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at stone-throwing opposition party supporters blocking major roads in the capital Dhaka on Saturday to demand the prime minister’s resignation. The main opposition party, in disarray since its leader Khaleda Zia was jailed in 2018 on graft charges, has held bigger protest rallies in recent months, including one on Friday, drawing tens of thousands of supporters amid anger over the cost of living. They were only trying to ease the traffic flow,” said Faruq Ahmed, a spokesman for the Dhaka Metropolitan Police. [1/5]Supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) attack armed vehicles of police at Shonir Akhra area, during their sit-in rallies on the main entry points of the capital Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 29, 2023. Concern flared after accusations of vote-rigging and suppressing the opposition marred elections in 2014 and 2018.
Persons: Khaleda Zia, Sheikh Hasina, , Faruq Ahmed, , Mohammad Ponir Hossain, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Hasina, jailing, Ruma Paul, Giles Elgood Organizations: Bangladesh, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, BNP, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Police, REUTERS, Reuters, Thomson Locations: DHAKA, Dhaka, Shonir, Bangladesh, United States
REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir HossainDHAKA, July 28 (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of supporters of Bangladesh’s main opposition party rallied in the capital on Friday to demand Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s resignation and call for general elections to be held under a caretaker government. This can only be achieved through a free and fair election, which is not possible under the current regime," senior BNP leader Abdul Moyeen Khan told Reuters. BNP supporters joined the rally in Dhaka from different parts of the country amid allegations of obstructions by police. The opposition and rights groups have criticised the government for cracking down on anti-government protests. Concern flared after accusations of vote-rigging and the targeting of the political opposition marred national elections in 2014 and 2018.
Persons: Mohammad Ponir Hossain, Sheikh Hasina’s, Khaleda Zia, Hasina, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Sana Ullah, Mirza Abbas, Khaleda, Sheikh Hasina, Ruma Paul, Hugh Lawson Organizations: Bangladesh Nationalist Party, BNP, Bangladesh Awami League, REUTERS, Reuters, Hasina’s Awami League, Thomson Locations: Naya Palton, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Mohammad Ponir Hossain DHAKA, Chittagong, United States
DHAKA, July 25 (Reuters) - S&P Global Ratings on Tuesday lowered Bangladesh's long-term rating outlook to negative from stable, citing risks the country's external liquidity position could deteriorate in the next year while foreign exchange reserves remain under pressure. "Lower generation of current account receipts than we expect, a higher overall current account deficit than we forecast, or a failure to materially boost foreign exchange reserves would indicate downward pressure on the rating," S&P said. "This would cause either more uncertainty and more costs to weigh the growing risks of uncertainty in repayment," he said. Moazzem said measures were needed particularly in subsidy management and energy imports, which are the main weaknesses in the foreign exchange reserve situation. "The government needs to take bold actions in these regards including substituting importing energy by exploring gas and substituting energy import for power, agriculture by solar based and other renewable energy measures," he added.
Persons: Khondaker Golam, Moazzem, Ruma Paul, Juby Babu, Jacqueline Wong, Lincoln, Jamie Freed Organizations: International Monetary Fund, Thomson Locations: DHAKA, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bengaluru
Four dead as boat sinks in Bangladesh's Buriganga river
  + stars: | 2023-07-16 | by ( )   time to read: 1 min
July 16 (Reuters) - At least four people died after a boat carrying 20 people sank in Bangladesh's Buriganga river near the capital Dhaka on Sunday, a fire service official said. Most of the passengers were believed to have swum ashore as the water bus sank close to the bank, according to fire service official Anwarul Islam. Four bodies have been recovered and the rescue operation is ongoing, police official Sahabuddin Kabir told Reuters. Hundreds of onlookers gathered at the site as rescuers in multiple boats scanned the river with flashlights, according to a Reuters witness. Reporting by Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Writing by Shubhendu Deshmukh; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Emelia Sithole-MatariseOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Persons: Sahabuddin Kabir, Ruma Paul, Shubhendu Deshmukh, Andrew Cawthorne, Emelia Organizations: Reuters, Thomson Locations: Bangladesh's Buriganga, Dhaka
Ali's comments came after sources said the airline was close to a deal to buy 10 Airbus A350 widebody planes, marking its first order with the French planemaker. It was not clear whether the deal would be finalised in time for the Paris Airshow, which opens on Monday. "Every country has both Airbus and Boeing in their fleet. We didn't have an Airbus in our fleet," Ali said, as the airline looks to break its reliance on the U.S. planemaker that typically dominates widebody orders. The 51-year-old airline has a fleet of more than 20 mostly Boeing planes, over half of which are widebodies, and some Dash-8 turboprops.
Persons: Mahbub Ali, Ali's, Biman, Ali, Ruma Paul, Tim Hepher, Aditi Shah, Christopher Cushing, Jamie Freed Organizations: Bangladesh Airlines, Airbus, Boeing, country's, Reuters, Paris Airshow, Thomson Locations: DHAKA, PARIS, Britain, Malaysia, Thailand, Canada, Dhaka, Paris
SINGAPORE, June 7 (Reuters) - Bangladesh is facing its worst electricity crisis since 2013, a Reuters analysis of government data shows, due to erratic weather and difficulty paying for fuel imports amid declining forex reserves and value of its currency. Bangladesh, the world's second-largest garments exporter behind China supplying global retailers including Walmart, H&M and Zara, has been forced to cut power for 114 days in the first five months of 2023, a Reuters analysis of power grid data showed. Supply was short of demand by as much as 25% early on Monday, the data showed. Over 40% of the 7.5 GW of power plants running on diesel and fuel oil could not operate because they lacked fuel, according to the operator. Power imports by the energy hungry nation, which has very little renewable capacity, held steady at less than 10% of total supply, the data showed.
Persons: Bangladesh Taka, Ruma Paul, Matthew Chye Organizations: Walmart, Reuters Graphics Reuters, Power, Power Grid Co, Reuters Graphics, Oil, Reuters, Bangladesh, U.S ., Thomson Locations: SINGAPORE, Bangladesh, China, Zara
DHAKA, May 22 (Reuters) - Bangladesh is struggling to pay for imported fuel because of a dollar shortage, letters reviewed by Reuters show, with the state petroleum company owing more than $300 million as it faces an "alarming decrease in fuel reserves". Heavily reliant on energy imports, Bangladesh is grappling with power cuts resulting from a fuel shortage that have badly hurt its exports-oriented garments industry. BPC imports 500,000 tonnes of refined oil and 100,000 tonnes of crude oil every month. The April letter said several fuel suppliers had either sent fewer cargoes than scheduled or threatened to halt supplies. Others in South Asia, such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan, have also sought or received IMF funds this year.
DHAKA, May 18 (Reuters) - Apparel makers in Bangladesh are considering rare bulk exports by air to Europe and the United States, as they race to meet deadlines and avoid cancellations after a cyclone delayed shipments, caused power cuts and disrupted production. Bangladesh, the world's second-largest garment exporter, has already been hit by weakening global demand, with exports falling in both March and April. Another garment owner who supplies H&M said some of his shipments had been delayed. Power cuts in the last two months, first due to a scorching heatwave, and then the cyclone, have put more stress on apparel companies. "Now there are also chances of missing orders for the next season, as we are struggling to provide samples on time due to the regular power cuts," Ehsan said.
Millions of Bangladeshi citizens have been hit by frequent power cuts in recent months, as erratic weather patterns and high global energy prices have made fuel supply to power plants unreliable. "We are experiencing power cuts every other hour and there is hardly any gas to cook. Zainul Abdin Farroque, a senior leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, accused the government of not doing enough to ensure reliable power supply despite hiking tariffs. Power supply was about 17% short of demand on Monday while the deficit was more than 14% on Sunday, data from Bangladesh's grid operator showed. Bangladesh's other floating LNG unit, the Moheshkhali LNG terminal, will resume operations "in the next few days", Petrobangla Chairman Zanendra Nath Sarker told Reuters.
But many more could suffer as the storm moves inland from the Bay of Bengal, the United Nations Satellite Centre has warned. "People at risk are in the process of being transferred to safe shelters and we are also arranging relief packages," said Farah Kabir of ActionAid Bangladesh. Most refugees live in makeshift dwellings in the densely packed camps after having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017. "We have arranged for meals in co-operation with local residents but if this becomes long-term, there will be more problems." About 6 million people are already in need of humanitarian assistance and 1.2 million are displaced in Rakhine and the northwest, OCHA says.
DHAKA, May 13 (Reuters) - A powerful storm packing winds of up to 175 kph (109 mph) barrelled towards the coasts of eastern Bangladesh and Myanmar on Saturday, threatening around a million Rohingya refugees and others living in low-lying areas. Thousands of people in both countries have already fled to safer areas ahead of the storm. Cyclone Mocha is likely to intensify further and make landfall on Sunday between Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said in a bulletin. Cox's Bazar, a southeastern border district, is where more than a million Rohingya refugees live, most of them having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017. At least 10,000 have left their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine state for safer areas, local media reported.
DHAKA, May 6 (Reuters) - Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh said on Saturday they would not return to Myanmar to "be confined in camps" after making their first return visit as part of efforts to encourage their voluntary repatriation. Nearly a million Rohingya Muslims live in squalid camps in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox's Bazar. Myanmar is offering Rohingya national verification cards (NVC), which Rohingya refugees regard as inadequate. A Myanmar delegation, however, visited the camps in March to verify a few hundred returnees for a pilot repatriation project. “UNHCR maintains that dialogue with the Rohingya refugees is a must to make an informed decision,” the agency said in a statement.
Rohingya say they won't return to Myanmar to be stuck in camps
  + stars: | 2023-05-06 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
DHAKA, May 6 (Reuters) - Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh said on Saturday they would not return to Myanmar to "be confined in camps" after making a visit to the country as part of efforts to encourage their voluntary repatriation. Myanmar is offering Rohingya national verification cards (NVC), which Rohingya refugees regard as inadequate. “Myanmar is our birthplace and we are citizens of Myanmar and will go back with citizenship,” said refugee Abu Sufian, 35. Bangladeshi officials have made several trips to Myanmar as part of efforts to get repatriation going, but this was the first by Rohingya refugees since 2017. A Myanmar delegation, however, visited the camps in March to verify a few hundred returnees for a pilot repatriation project.
DHAKA, April 20 (Reuters) - Bangladesh is being forced to cut power to millions of people as a relentless heatwave has led to a surge in demand for power resulting in massive electricity supply shortfalls. Greater use of irrigation pumps by farmers and an increase in commercial activity due to preparations for festivities for the end of the holy month of Ramadan have contributed to increased power demand, officials say. Power shortages have been most severe at night, government data showed. The average maximum temperature in Dhaka was 6.5% higher during the seven days ended on Tuesday, compared with the week before, government data showed. Overall electricity supply fell short of demand by 6.2% over the seven days to Tuesday, government data showed, as demand surged nearly 15% compared with the preceding seven days.
"These workers are at high risk of forced labour and severe destitution," said independent labour activist Andy Hall, whose team has been in contact with the migrant workers. The International Labour Organisation ranks deception, along with debt bondage stemming from the large recruitment fee, and passport seizure among its indicators of 'forced labour'. Two of Sivakumar's aides were arrested by anti-graft authorities this month over an investigation into recruitment of foreign workers. Malaysia has faced accusations of forced labour in manufacturing and palm oil production over the years, including some by the United States, which banned imports from several of its firms for such practices. A Bangladeshi official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters there were a "few hundred" of its citizens stuck in Malaysia without jobs.
Bangladesh to pay Russia in yuan for nuclear plant
  + stars: | 2023-04-17 | by ( Ruma Paul | )   time to read: +1 min
April 17 (Reuters) - Bangladesh and Russia have agreed to use yuan to settle payment for a nuclear plant Moscow is building in the South Asian country, a Bangladesh government official said on Monday. Bangladesh is constructing the first of two nuclear power plants in collaboration with Russia's state-owned atomic company Rosatom in a $12.65 billion project, 90% of which is financed through a Russian loan repayable within 28 years, with a 10-year grace period. "Russia wanted us to make payment in rouble but that's not possible for us. So we have agreed to pay in Chinese yuan," Uttam Kumar Karmaker, a senior official in the Bangladesh Economic Relations Division, told Reuters. Reporting by Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Editing by Alex RichardsonOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
NEW DELHI, April 11 Reuters) - Japan has proposed developing an industrial hub in Bangladesh with supply chains to the landlocked northeastern states of India, and to Nepal and Bhutan beyond by developing a port and transport in the region, officials said on Tuesday. It comes after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's visit to India last month in which he touted the idea of a new industrial hub for the Bay of Bengal and northeast India that could bolster development in the impoverished region of 300 million people. "It can be a win-win plan for India and Bangladesh," Hiroshi Suzuki, Japan's ambassador to India, said on Tuesday, citing the industrial hub proposal at a meeting of Indian, Bangladeshi and Japanese officials in Agartala, the Tripura state capital. He said the deep seaport was likely to become operational by 2027 and would be a key to building an industrial hub connecting the Bangladeshui capital Dhaka to landlocked areas of India. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will visit Japan from April 25-28 at Kishida's invitation, a government statement said.
[1/4] Firefighters try to douse a fire that broke out in a clothing market in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 4, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir HossainDHAKA, April 4 (Reuters) - Firefighters and army personnel were working on Tuesday to douse a massive fire that raged through a shopping complex with 3,000 shops in Bangladesh's capital of Dhaka, fire officials said. Fire service official Rashid Bin Khalid told Reuters 50 fire units were working to douse the fire, the cause of which was not known immediately. Smoke engulfed the area and flames were seen rising from the complex, hampering rescue efforts, a fire official said. Reporting by Ruma Paul; Writing by by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Krishna N. Das and Lincoln Feast.
At least 19 killed in bus accident in Bangladesh
  + stars: | 2023-03-19 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
DHAKA, March 19 (Reuters) - A speeding bus veered off a major expressway in central Bangladesh and plunged into a ditch, killing at least 19 people and injured dozens, police said. The death toll could rise further as some of the injured passengers are in critical condition, said Anowar Hossain, police official of Shibchar, where the crash occurred. The bus, carrying more than 40 passengers, fell about 9 metres (30 feet) into a roadside ditch after breaking through the railing of the newly-built Padma river bridge expressway, Hossain said. The driver, who was killed, appeared to have lost control of the vehicle after the tyre of the bus burst, he said, adding that the cause of the accident was under investigation. Road accidents are common in Bangladesh, often blamed on reckless driving, old vehicles and poor safety rules, and killing thousands each year.
DHAKA, March 15 (Reuters) - A Myanmar delegation is visiting Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh this week to verify a few hundred potential returnees for a pilot repatriation project, though a Bangladeshi official said it was unclear when they would be going home. Nearly one million Rohingya Muslim refugees are living in camps in the border district of Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, most having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017. "The international community are playing ping pong with the Rohingya," Tun Khin, president of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, told Reuters. "Rohingya refugees face an impossible choice. Stay in terrible conditions in refugee camps where rations are being cut, or return to their home country where genocidal policies continue.
Explosion kills 15 in crowded market in Bangladesh capital
  + stars: | 2023-03-07 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
[1/5] Firefighters and rescue workers are seen on the site of an explosion in a multi storey building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 7, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir HossainDHAKA, March 7 (Reuters) - At least 15 people were killed and several others injured in an explosion in a crowded market area in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on Tuesday, a local fire service official said. A bus standing on the opposite side of the building was also damaged in the blast," fire service official Dinomoni Sharma said. It follows the death of three people in an explosion in Dhaka on SundayOn Sunday, three were killed in a suspected gas explosion in Dhaka. On Saturday, seven people were killed and several injured when a fire broke out following an explosion at an oxygen plant in southeastern Bangladesh.
DHAKA, March 5 (Reuters) - A "major" fire that broke out at a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh on Sunday, destroying several homes, is now under control, police officials told Reuters, adding that there were no casualties. The blaze hit Camp 11 in Cox's Bazar, a border district where more than a million Rohingya refugees live, with most having fled a military-led crackdown in Myanmar in 2017, Rafiqul Islam, additional police superintendent at Cox's Bazar told Reuters. Faruque Ahmed, a local police official, said the cause of the fire was not clear. The refugee camps in Cox's Bazar in southeastern Bangladesh are prone to such blazes. While the fire in 2022 only damaged homes, the massive blaze in 2021 killed at least 15 refugees and destroyed over 10,000 homes.
At least six killed in blast at oxygen plant in Bangladesh
  + stars: | 2023-03-04 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
DHAKA, March 4 (Reuters) - At least six people were killed and several injured on Saturday when a fire broke out following an explosion at an oxygen plant in southeastern Bangladesh, officials said. The death toll could rise as a rescue operation was ongoing at the plant at Sitakunda, 40 km (25 miles) from the southeastern port city of Chittagong, they added. It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, a fire service official said. “Six bodies were recovered from the site," local government official Shahadat Hossain told Reuters, adding a rescue operation was continuing. A massive fire at a container depot in the area killed 50 people and injured nearly 200 in June last year.
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