Friday, December 8, 2023

Room still there for compromise

Blake says about Yunus’ removal after meeting PM; Muhith says Yunus could be a fellow at GB
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake yesterday said “there is still room for compromise” in resolving the issue arising from the removal of Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus as the Managing Director of Grameen Bank he founded.
“Such a compromise will also allow us to continue very good progress that we made in our bilateral relations,” Blake told journalists after an hour-long meeting with Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes at the Foreign Office.
Blake, on a four-day visit to Bangladesh, met with the foreign secretary after a call-on with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier in the day.
“I had a very good, productive and constructive meeting with Prime Minister Hasina,” Blake said in reply to a question. “We discussed a wide range of issues on our bilateral agenda. We also discussed Dr Yunus and I expressed our hope that a compromise will be found that will ensure the integrity and independence of the Grameen Bank.”
Blake said, “I will leave it to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her team to describe their position. I hope a successful resolution can be found.”
A US Embassy press statement issued after Blake’s meeting with Hasina said, “They discussed a full range of bilateral and multilateral issues, including counter-terrorism, economic development, regional and global security, and civil society.”
It said, “They reiterated their respect for Dr Muhammad Yunus and expressed hope, shared by the US Congress and the public at large, that an agreement could be achieved and that nothing would be done that might damage the effectiveness and integrity of Grameen Bank.”
Sir James Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank, also attended Blake-Hasina meeting, the statement said. Wolfensohn is in Dhaka to discuss microfinance in the region, it said.
According to Prime Minister’s Office sources, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi, Ambassador at Large M Ziauddin, Principal Secretary to the PM MA Karim, Secretary to the PM Mollah Waheeduzzaman and US Ambassador in Dhaka James F Moriarty were also present during Blake’s meeting with the prime minister.
Asked if Prof Yunus issue came up in the talks, PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said, “no comment.”
On Saturday, Blake met with Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia. After the meeting, he told journalists Washington expressed concern about the way the removal of Yunus has been handled. He hoped Yunus issue would be resolved amicably and said he and Khaleda held the same view.
Early this month Bangladesh Bank dismissed 70-year-old Yunus as Managing Director of Grameen Bank saying he was holding the post illegally beyond his 60-year retirement age. Yunus challenged the removal in the High Court, which upheld the central bank order.
Yunus then filed an appeal against the HC ruling with the Supreme Court. After a hearing on March 15, the full-bench of the highest court deferred the hearing by two weeks.
Yunus’ removal sparked criticisms at home and abroad. The US said it was “troubled” by this, and called for an honourable treatment of Yunus.
In his media briefing yesterday evening, Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes said Blake shared with him some thoughts to settle Prof Yunus issue.
Quayes did not provide details, but said he would share those with the finance ministry which he said is the competent authority to deal with the issue.
He however said he told the US official that the matter is now pending with the Supreme Court, and it is difficult to comment further.
Quayes said the government has nothing to do anything about it now.
The foreign secretary termed Bangladesh-US bilateral relations matured partnership with convergence of values and engagements. “Our relationship is at the advanced stage,” he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Yunus can stay with Grameen as an emeritus fellow, not as a managing director or chairman.
“Acknowledging his contribution, the government wants to honour him. He can stay as an emeritus fellow at the bank,” the minister said.
Muhith spoke after a meeting with Blake at the Economic Relations Division.
Muhith said the proposal to Dr Yunus asking him to stay aside as the managing director during a government probe into the microfinance bank’s activities is still ‘on the table’. “He can accept the proposal if he wants.”
On the meeting with Blake, Muhith said the US wants a respectful solution to the Yunus issue.
“He (Blake) wanted to know whether any solution can be reached before the Supreme Court gives its verdict on an appeal by Dr Yunus.”
“I told him that the settlement of the issue is not in the hands of the government. Yunus has filed the appeal and he has to withdraw it before any agreement can be reached,” the minister said.
Muhith said the US is anxious about the process of removal of Yunus as he is a person respected across the world. The US also expressed that the process of excluding Yunus was not decent.
“We also said the process of removal was not decent, but it would never have happened if he had resigned,” he said.
The minister ruled out the possibility of appointing Yunus as Grameen chairman — a solution proposed by the Nobel laureate himself to ensure a smooth handover of leadership to the next managing director.
“Yunus must leave the post of managing director. A committee has been formed to look into the issue of Grameen Bank. It will also look into the restructuring of the bank. We will have to wait until the committee submits its report,” Muhith said

Related News

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more

Sultana Kamal new chairperson of TIB trustee board

News Desk : Eminent human rights activist Advocate Sultana Kamal has been elected as the chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB). She takes over the position from Prof Perween Hasan, the Bangladesh chapter of Berlin-based global anti-graft watchdog said in a press release on Wednesday (4 October). The decision ... Read more

Hanging body of SUST student recovered from room

News Desk : The hanging body of a student of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology was recovered from his room of a student dormitory adjacent to the main entrance of the university at Akhalia in Sylhet city. The deceased is Arif Mia, a second-year social science student of the university and also a ... Read more