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Unrest in RMG sector, Workers-Police Clash, Road Blocked in Dhaka

Unrest in RMG sector, Workers-Police Clash, Road Blocked in Dhaka

Bangladesh is witnessing frequent unrest in the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) sector with workers blocking the road and resorting to strike to press for the release of their salaries and other issues.

In Sonargaon upazila of Narayanganj near Dhaka workers of an RMG factory clashed with police today. Officer In charge of the Sonargaon police station said that the agitating workers hurled brickbats injuring 10 policemen.

Workers claimed that more than 20 protestors were injured in the clash when police charged batons and fired tear shells to disperse the protesters who had blocked the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway today around noon time.

Workers were protesting against alleged lay off, late payment of salary and denial of maternity leave.

In another incident, RMG workers blocked a road in the Mirpur area of Dhaka for many hours today alleging that the factory has not paid them salaries for the last four months. The blockade caused heavy traffic jam in the adjoining areas.

In January 2019, thousands of garment workers had staged protests for increased minimum wages.

Bangladesh has witnessed sporadic incidents of RMG sector workers protesting for wages, arrears and against retrenchment in recent months.

Bangladesh has the world’s second-largest garment industry, behind China. It contributes almost 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

RMG sector exports in the fiscal year ending June 2019 was  $34 billion. About 78% of the yearly foreign exchange earnings of the country comes from this sector.

Britain may need second Brexit referendum: Cameron

Britain may need second Brexit referendum: Cameron

Former UK PM David Cameron says a no-deal Brexit would be “a bad outcome”, Britain may need a second Brexit referendum.

Former British prime minister, who took the decision in 2016 to hold a referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union, said another vote may be needed to resolve the Brexit impasse.

Britain has been mired ever since in complex divorce talks with the EU. The country, first under Theresa May and since July under British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was one of the leading campaigners for Leave in the 2016 vote, remains deeply divided on the issue.

British Prime Minister Johnson said Britain must now leave the EU on Oct. 31 whether or not he reaches an exit deal. But parliament passed a law last week over his objections ordering him to seek an extension if he fails to reach an agreement with the bloc.

Johnson said on Friday there was the rough shape of a deal to be done over Brexit, but Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar played down the prospects, saying the gap between Britain and the EU remained “very wide”.

Parliament deals British PM Brexit blow before suspension

Parliament deals British PM Brexit blow before suspension

London,  (AFP) British MPs rejected a second attempt by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday to call an early election to break the Brexit deadlock, in a final show of defiance before he controversially suspends parliament.

After a tumultuous few days that exposed Johnson’s weakness in the face of hostile lawmakers, the House of Commons again refused to grant a snap poll that might have bolstered his position.

MPs had earlier also voted to demand the government publish confidential documents about Britain’s readiness to leave the EU on October 31 without a divorce deal.

Johnson took office in July promising to deliver on the 2016 referendum vote for Brexit, even if that means leaving without exit terms agreed with Brussels. But many MPs reject a “no deal” divorce and in the past few days have rushed through a law that would force Johnson to delay Brexit if he failed to strike a deal.

Addressing a rowdy chamber late into Monday night, the prime minister told MPs: “I will not ask for another delay.”

But having lost his parliamentary majority after a swathe of his own Conservative MPs rebelled over the law, he is running out of options.

The last chance to get a deal to avoid a Brexit delay is at an EU summit starting on October 17. Some commentators have said Johnson may be forced to resign if he does not want to delay.

In a further sign of the political turmoil, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who has championed the rights of MPs to challenge government, announced he was stepping down.

Britons voted by 52 per cent to leave the EU in 2016, but after three years of political wrangling, parliament still cannot decide how to implement that decision.

Johnson says he wants to revise the deal agreed by his predecessor, Theresa May, which MPs rejected, but says this requires keeping open the option of walking away. His wafer-thin majority in the Commons disappeared last week, however, when he expelled 21 of his own Conservative MPs for voting with Labour on the “no deal” legislation.

The bill — which became law on Monday — would force Johnson to delay Brexit to January or even later if he cannot get a deal with Brussels, or persuade MPs to back no deal.

Johnson told Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: “If you really want to delay Brexit… then vote for an election and let the people decide.”

But he needed support of two-thirds of MPs, and as last Thursday, opposition leaders refused, arguing that “no deal” should come off the table first.

Bercow, accused by eurosceptics of being biased against Brexit, warned the government that it could not now ignore parliament as he announced that he will step down by October 31.

“We degrade this parliament at our peril,” he warned lawmakers, to a sustained standing ovation from largely opposition MPs.

During an emergency debate, MPs later voted to demand the government publish all documents relating to Operation Yellowhammer, which prepares for “no deal”. They also asked for communications, including WhatsApp messages and private emails, from advisers relating to Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks.

He says so-called prorogation is a routine move to allow his premiership to launch a new legislative programme, but MPs see it as an attempt to silence them and believe the documents will prove this.

A government spokesman said the level of information required was “disproportionate and unprecedented”, and it could simply ignores the non-binding motion.

But the vote exposes the lack of trust between MPs and the government, which saw Corbyn call yet another emergency debate on Monday about the importance of ministers upholding the law.

Johnson had earlier visited Dublin for talks with his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar, a key player in the search for a Brexit deal.

MPs rejected the current agreement three times earlier this year, in large part because of its provisions to keep open the border between British Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

Johnson wants to scrap the so-called “backstop” plan, which would keep Britain aligned to EU trade rules long after Brexit, to avoid any checks at the frontier. But the EU accuses him of offering no alternative.

“Common ground was established in some areas although significant gaps remain,” the two leaders said in a joint statement following an hour of talks.

Death toll from hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas reaches 30 people

Death toll from hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas reaches 30 people

Thirty people have been killed by devastating Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, the country’s Prime Minister, Hubert Minnis, said.

“I’ve just spoken to the commissioner of police just one hour ago. And our death toll at this present time is 30,” Minnis said on Thursday, adding that the death toll was expected to increase.

Hubert Minnis also said that despite the fact that the hurricane made landfall only in a small part of the island nation, Dorian had caused “generational devastation.”

Another government official told the outlet that at least 80 people had been rescued and evacuated the Abaco Islands, targeted by the storm.

The hurricane reached the Bahamas over the weekend and has been devastating the north of the island nation for two days.

According to the International Red Cross, the storm could have inflicted damage or destroyed some 13,000 homes, which is around 45 percent of all properties on the Abacos and Grand Bahama.

Bangladesh asks telecom operators to stop mobile service for Rohingyas

Bangladesh asks telecom operators to stop mobile service for Rohingyas

Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has directed mobile phone operators to halt sale of SIM cards to Rohingyas and ensure that mobile phone use by them is stopped.

The directive was issued after Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar asked Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to take immediate steps to stop mobile phone services at Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

The ban on sale of mobile SIM cards to Rohingya refugees was first imposed in September 2017.

The phone operators have also been asked to inform the BTRC within next seven working days the measures taken in this regard.

The BTRC also reiterated the directive issued in October last year asking all mobile operators to restrict their networks in the Bangladesh-Myanmar border areas as well as block networks in and around Rohingya camps.

Following the directive, the mobile operators are reported to have weakened their networks in the border areas including Cox Bazar and Bandarban.

The notice was issued following allegations that the telecom operators were providing SIM cards to Rohingyas defying government ban.

Bangladesh government had imposed a ban on sale of mobile SIM cards to Rohingyas in September 2017 citing security reasons.

Government had proposed to set up phone booths in the Rohingya camps to meet their communication requirements. However the sale of SIM cards to Rohingya refugees continued illegally.

Tens of thousands flood Hong Kong park for latest rally

Tens of thousands flood Hong Kong park for latest rally

Heavy rain fell on tens of thousands of umbrella-toting protesters on Sunday as they marched from a packed park and filled a major road in Hong Kong, where mass pro-democracy demonstrations have become a regular weekend activity this summer.

Organizers said they hoped the assembly would be peaceful, which would make for a rare calm weekend in a months-long movement that has been marked by violent clashes with police.

While police had granted approval for the rally, they didn’t approve an accompanying march.

Demonstrators nevertheless fanned out and filled the streets, as there was not enough space at the designated assembly area.

Public transit trains did not stop at stations near the assembly because of overcrowding.