Bangladesh says reports about plot to kill PM are ‘baseless’

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed speaks with a reporter during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, U.S. September 18, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 September 2017
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Bangladesh says reports about plot to kill PM are ‘baseless’

DHAKA, Bangladesh: The office of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikha Hasina on Sunday denied as “completely baseless” some media reports of a plot by her bodyguards to kill her last month.
However a senior minister said separately there had been an assassination conspiracy, without giving details.
The prime minister’s office issued a statement condemning the allegations carried in some news outlets as “completely baseless, misleading and motivated.”
Deputy press secretary Mohammad Ashraful Alam said the rumors of an assassination attempt on August 24 by officers of Hasina’s special security force were fabricated and damaging to the country.
Bangladesh’s state-run news agency issued an advisory Saturday asking subscribers not to use an earlier story apparently referring to the reports. Some other outlets published details of an alleged plot involving the bodyguards and an Islamist group.
Obaidul Quader, an influential minister and deputy leader of the ruling Awami League party, told reporters Sunday there had been a conspiracy between local and foreign groups to assassinate the prime minister but offered no details.
Hasina, seen as a moderate in religious affairs in the mainly Muslim nation, was targeted by an Islamist extremist group in 2004 when leader of the opposition. She survived a grenade attack at a political rally which killed 22 people.
Since coming to power, she has cracked down on religious extremists.
Rumours of another assassination attempt come as Hasina rallies international support at the United Nations in New York over the Rohingya refugee crisis unfolding on Bangladesh’s border.
The UN said Sunday that 436,000 Rohingya fleeing ethnic violence in Myanmar had arrived in Bangladesh in the past month.


Thai boys rescued from cave mourn diver who died

Updated 36 min 15 sec ago
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Thai boys rescued from cave mourn diver who died

  • The health ministry said the overall condition for the players and coach was normal
  • Saman was widely hailed as a hero but the boys, aged 11 to 16, were only told about his death on Saturday

CHIANG RAI, Thailand: The 12 boys and their coach rescued from a Thai cave mourned the death of an ex-Navy SEAL who died while taking part in the mission, the health ministry said Sunday.
The “Wild Boars” football team are recovering in hospital following 18 days spent inside the Tham Luang cave after entering on June 23 and getting trapped by monsoon floodwaters.
Doctors say they are in good health following a successful three-day operation which ended July 10 when teams of Thai Navy SEALs and international cave diving experts hauled the last five members of the team to safety.
But the lead-up to the final phase of the mission was met with tragedy when volunteer and former Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan died on July 6 while installing oxygen tanks along the twisting passageways of the cave.
Saman was widely hailed as a hero but the boys, aged 11 to 16, were only told about his death on Saturday after a medical team said they were strong enough mentally to handle the news, though many wept after hearing it.
“All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lt. Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him,” Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary at the health ministry, said in the statement.
Photos released show the youngsters crowded around a sketch of Saman scrawling messages on it and bowing their heads in commemoration.
“They also thanked him and promised to be good boys,” the statement said.
Tributes from Thailand and around the world have poured in for Saman, a triathlete and diver who retired from the military in 2006 and worked at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport before volunteering to help with the rescue in northern Thailand.
Specialists who took part in the risky mission to bring the Wild Boars home have expressed shock and surprise that they were able to pull it off, with some fearing that there could have been more casualties.
The unprecedented and daring final push to bring the boys out saw them sedated and carried through waterlogged and partially dry corridors with the help of military stretchers and nearly 100 divers.
Health officials have conveyed a largely positive picture of the boys’ recovery. All are expected to leave hospital on Thursday.
The health ministry said the overall condition for the players and coach was normal, though many are still on a course of antibiotics.
Despite the positive assessments so far experts have said they would all need to be monitored closely for signs of psychological distress that could take months to manifest.
They spent nine days in the dark, dank cave before being located by two British divers.
The boys — and their parents — have been advised to spend time with friends and family and not to give media interviews as that could trigger post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
But the interest in their story is unlikely to evaporate overnight, as Hollywood producers are already jockeying to make a film version of the saga.