Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh hold first political consultation talks

Special Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh hold first political consultation talks
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Saudi delegates led by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meet Bangladeshi officials for political consultation talks in Dhaka on March 16, 2022. (Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Special Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh hold first political consultation talks
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Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan shakes hands with his Bangladeshi counterpart, A.K. Abdul Momen, during talks in Dhaka on March 16, 2022. (Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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Updated 16 March 2022

Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh hold first political consultation talks

Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh hold first political consultation talks
  • Dhaka vows support for potential Saudi investors in Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh requests to join Saudi Arabia’s green initiatives

DHAKA: Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh on Wednesday held their first ever political consultation talks during Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s visit to Dhaka.

The prince flew into the Bangladeshi capital on Tuesday afternoon and was received by his counterpart A.K. Abdul Momen.

On Wednesday, he met the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and led the Saudi delegation in talks with Bangladeshi officials at Dhaka’s Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel.

“This is a very historic event because this is the first time Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have had a high-level political consultation,” Momen said in a joint press conference with Prince Faisal after the meeting.

“We discussed solid cooperation,” he added. “In different international forums we will support each other.” 




Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka on March 16, 2022. (Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Prince Faisal said they had an “excellent round of political consultation.”

He added: “We discussed many areas, and I think the most important thing to say is that we are fully aligned in our vision for the future. We believe very much in working together to contribute to the security and stability of our respective regions.”

The prince pointed out that with 2.5 million Bangladeshi expats living and working in the Kingdom, and contributing to its development, the two countries had already been working closely together.

“There are Saudi companies already present here in Bangladesh with several billion dollars’ worth of direct investment. And we are committed to building on this strong foundation to a much, much broader partnership and much broader relationship,” he said.

Momen pledged Dhaka’s support for Saudi entities interested in investing in the country, which was preparing more than 100 special economic zones for potential investors.

“We will provide all support to the Saudi investors if they want to invest in our economic zones. Already 20 Saudi companies have shown interest in this regard,” he said.

According to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, most of the planned Saudi investment projects were in the public sector and related to oil refineries, gas transmission, fertilizer production, aviation, port management, construction, and hospitality.

Bangladesh has also requested to join Saudi Arabia’s green initiatives announced last year to reduce carbon emissions and combat pollution and land degradation by planting billions of trees.

“Saudi Arabia has taken a great initiative for making green the whole of the Middle East,” Momen added. “We requested for partnership.”

Under the green initiative, Saudi Arabia aims to plant 10 billion trees in the Kingdom and 40 billion in neighboring countries, in what would be the largest reforestation program in the world.


Man charged with new woman’s killing on streets of London

Updated 8 sec ago

Man charged with new woman’s killing on streets of London

Man charged with new woman’s killing on streets of London
LONDON: A man was remanded in custody Wednesday after appearing in a London court charged with the murder and attempted rape of a woman who had been walking home alone in east London.
It was the latest in a string of similar incidents that have heightened concern over the safety of women and girls on the British capital’s streets.
Jordan McSweeney, 29, is charged with the murder of 35-year-old Zara Aleena, who was attacked after a night out in Ilford in the early hours of Sunday.
McSweeney, who is also charged with attempted rape and robbery, spoke only to confirm his name and details during a brief hearing at the Thames Magistrates’ Court.
In a statement, Aleena’s family mourned her death and called for an end to violence against women. They highlighted the killings of other women who were targeted by strangers in London and elsewhere.
The family expressed sympathy to the families of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa and others who were killed in recent months and whose deaths prompted widespread protests calling for more protection for women and girls.
The family said Aleena, a law graduate who was training to become a lawyer, “walked everywhere” and “believed that a woman should be able to walk home.”
“Sadly, Zara is not the only one who has had her life taken at the hands of a stranger. We all know women should be safe on our streets. She was in the heart of her community, 10 minutes from home,” their statement said.
Police said Aleena suffered serious head injuries, confirmed in a post-mortem examination.
McSweeney was denied bail and remanded in custody until he is due to appear at London’s Central Criminal Court on Jul. 27.
A march remembering Aleena is planned in Ilford on Saturday.

Japan’s Kishida backs Sweden’s NATO bid

Japan’s Kishida backs Sweden’s NATO bid
Updated 5 min 24 sec ago

Japan’s Kishida backs Sweden’s NATO bid

Japan’s Kishida backs Sweden’s NATO bid
  • Japan hopes to strengthen its relations with Sweden further as partners sharing basic values, Kishida added.

MADRID: Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio on Wednesday expressed support for Sweden’s bid to join NATO in a meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, on Wednesday.
“We support (Sweden’s) historic decision. We also express our respect for its efforts,” Kishida told Andersson.
NATO, which opened a two-day summit in Madrid on Wednesday, is expected to grant membership to Sweden and Finland after Turkey switched to support their participation.
Kishida said that Japan and Sweden will hold the presidency of the Group of Seven major powers and the European Union, respectively, next year.
Japan hopes to strengthen its relations with Sweden further as partners sharing basic values, Kishida added.
Andersson expressed gratitude for Japan’s strong action against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.


Russian court lets opposition figure’s jail term stand

Russian court lets opposition figure’s jail term stand
Updated 29 June 2022

Russian court lets opposition figure’s jail term stand

Russian court lets opposition figure’s jail term stand
  • The decision by the Moscow City Court came one day after Ilya Yashin was sentenced

MOSCOW: A court in Moscow on Wednesday rejected a prominent Russian opposition figure’s appeal of the 15-day jail sentence he received on charges of failing to obey police.
The decision by the Moscow City Court, the capital’s highest municipal judicial body, came one day after Ilya Yashin was sentenced.
Yashin, who has publicly criticized Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, was detained late Monday in a Moscow park. Police said he grabbed an officer by his uniform and insulted police, which Yashin denied.
In May, Yashin was ordered to pay 90,000 rubles ($1700) on charges of discrediting the Russian military.
Russia has cracked down on critics of its “special military operation” in Ukraine, A well-known dissident, Vladimir Kara-Murza, was arrested in April and remains jailed while awaiting trial on charges of spreading false information about the military. The offense carries a potential sentence of up to 15 years.


NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Madrid summit statement says

NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Madrid summit statement says
Updated 29 June 2022

NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Madrid summit statement says

NATO invites Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, Madrid summit statement says
  • The alliance also agreed on a new strategic concept

MADRID: NATO has invited Sweden and Finland to become members of the military alliance, a commununique published by the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday said.
“The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them (the allies) safer, NATO stronger and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure,” the communique said, adding that the alliance also agreed a new strategic concept.
The communique described Russia as the “most significant and direct threat to the allies’ security,” a reaction to the massively deteriorated relationship to Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.
The alliance pledged further help to Kyiv and agreed a package of support aimed at modernizing the country’s defense sector.
At the same time, NATO decided to significantly strengthen its own deterrence and defense.
“Allies have committed to deploy additional robust in-place combat-ready forces on our eastern flank, to be scaled up from the existing battlegroups to brigade-size units, where and when required underpinned by credible available reinforcements, prepositioned equipment, and enhanced command and control,” the communique said.
In the communique, the alliance described China as a challenge to NATO’s interests, security and values, and as a country that is seeking to undermine the rules-based international order.


EU proposes ban on flavored heated tobacco products

EU proposes ban on flavored heated tobacco products
Updated 29 June 2022

EU proposes ban on flavored heated tobacco products

EU proposes ban on flavored heated tobacco products
  • A recent commission study showed a 10% increase in sales of heated tobacco products in more than five member nations
  • The ban would cover devices using heated tobacco to produce emissions containing nicotine inhaled by users

BRUSSELS: The European Union’s executive branch on Wednesday proposed a ban on the sale of flavored heated tobacco products as part of its plan to fight cancer.
The European Commission said its proposal comes in response to a significant increase in the volume of such products sold across the 27-nation bloc.
A recent commission study showed a 10 percent increase in sales of heated tobacco products in more than five member nations, while heated tobacco products exceeded 2.5 percent of total sales of tobacco products overall across the region.
The ban would cover devices using heated tobacco to produce emissions containing nicotine inhaled by users. E-cigarettes may contain nicotine, but not tobacco. With traditional cigarettes, users inhale smoke from burning tobacco.
“With nine out of 10 lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives,” said Stella Kyriakides, the commissioner for health and food safety.
According to EU figures, cancer is the second cause of death in the bloc of 450 million residents. There are about 1.3 million cancer deaths and 3.5 million new cases annually in the EU.
An estimated 40 percent of EU citizens will face cancer at some point in their lives, with the annual economic impact estimated at around 100 billion euros ($120 billion).
The European Commission previously said it wanted to ensure that less than 5 percent of the EU population uses tobacco by 2040.
The proposed ban now goes to member nations and European Parliament lawmakers for review.