Bangladesh returns ‘lost’ Myanmar soldier

Bangladeshi security forces detained Myanmar soldier Aung Bo Bo Thein on January 24 near the southern town of Naikhongchhari after he strayed across the border into a jungle. (AFP)
Updated 03 March 2019
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Bangladesh returns ‘lost’ Myanmar soldier

  • Ties between Bangladesh and Myanmar have soured since about 740,000 Rohingya Muslims fled the Buddhist-majority country
  • Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement in November 2017 for the repatriation of the Rohingya

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh: Bangladesh forces handed back on Sunday a Myanmar soldier more than two months after he strayed across the border into a jungle in the Muslim-majority nation, a senior official said.
Aung Bo Bo Thein, 30, was detained by Bangladeshi security forces on January 24 near the southern town of Naikhongchhari, Brig. Gen. Sajedur Rahman said.
“He crossed the border and was found in a jungle. Today we have handed him over to Myanmar border police through a flag meeting,” said Rahman, border guard regional commander.
Ties between Bangladesh and Myanmar have soured since about 740,000 Rohingya Muslims fled the Buddhist-majority country in 2017 following a military clampdown in restive Rakhine state.
Dhaka had already been hosting another 300,000 Rohingya who took refuge in squalid camps in Bangladesh’s southeastern Cox’s Bazar district after previous bouts of violence.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement in November 2017 for the repatriation of the Rohingya, but the persecuted Muslim minority has refused to go back unless they are granted citizenship and other rights.
This week Bangladesh told the UN Security Council that it will no longer be able to take in refugees from Myanmar.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told a Council meeting that the crisis over the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya sheltering in his country had gone from “bad to worse” and urged the council to take “decisive” action.
Rahman said Rohingya arrivals from Myanmar have almost stopped, with none arriving in the past few weeks.
Bangladesh in recent months has stepped up security near the border to curb smuggling of Yaba — a popular methamphetamine pill — across the border from Myanmar, he said.
Myanmar’s Ambassador Hau Do Suan insisted his government was taking steps and appealed for patience.


India’s beleaguered Jet Airways founder held at airport

Updated 38 sec ago
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India’s beleaguered Jet Airways founder held at airport

MUMBAI: Indian Immigration authorities on Saturday stopped former Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal and his wife from traveling to London, an official said, months after the debt-laden company grounded its fleet.
Goyal was taken into custody at Mumbai’s international airport along with his wife Anita after authorities recalled the Dubai bound Emirates flight as it headed to the runway for take-off, a spokesperson for the immigration department said in a statement to AFP.
Officials gave no explanation for the couple’s travel ban but media reports said they were allowed to leave the airport later.
Goyal is not under investigation but a number of high-profile businessmen have fled India over their alleged involvement in financial crimes, causing a massive public outcry.
The 69-year-old stepped down from the company’s chairmanship and board in March following a debt restructuring pact with lenders as it reeled under a loan of $1.2 billion.
Anita also stepped down from the board.
Once India’s top airline, Jet halted its operations after a consortium of lenders declined to pay emergency cash as it failed to find a buyer for a 75 percent stake in the carrier in April.
The consortium led by State Bank of India, India’s biggest state-owned bank, took control of Jet in March, pledging to give $218 million in “immediate funding support” as part of a rescue plan.
But the lenders refused dole-out cash to the beleaguered airline that has failed to pay employees’ salaries since January, forcing hundreds on to the streets as some 20,000 staff face losing their jobs.
Bad investments, competition from several low-cost carriers, high oil prices and a weak rupee have led to Jet’s current financial predicament. Mismanagement has also plagued the airline.
Analysts trace the start of Jet’s financial problems to its 2006 purchase of Air Sahara for $500 million in cash.
Goyal, a travel-agent-turned entrepreneur, launched Jet in 1992 after the Indian government passed a series of reforms designed to make the economy more market-driven.
The Mumbai-based carrier quickly gained a reputation for introducing new initiatives — Jet was the first Indian airline to offer a frequent flyer program and in-flight entertainment.
But it began to take a battering from new, well-run budget airlines including IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet, which were founded between 2005 and 2006.
Another low-cost carrier, Kingfisher Airlines closed in 2012 after it failed to repay loans worth millions of dollars to state-owned banks. Its owner Vijay Mallya fled India in 2016 and is currently fighting an extradition case in London court against his deportation for facing financial fraud trial.