Bangladesh celebrated its 41st Independence Day and National Day; Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck is on five days visit to Bangladesh to attend the 41st Independence and National Day; IMF presents its report on Bangladesh economy; Bangladesh
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  • Bangladesh observed its 41st Independence and National Day on March 26, 2011.1 Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck was on a five day visit to Bangladesh to attend the celebration of the 41st anniversary of Bangladesh independence at the invitation of President Zillur Rahman.2 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with Bhutanese King Wangchuck on March 25, 2011 and discussed regional cooperation with regards to generation of electricity and management of water of common rivers for mutual benefit. Two leaders also discussed a new project for generating hydro-power through joint collaboration between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India.3 Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dipu Moni also called on Bhutanese King at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka on March 25, 2011.4

    Reports noted that an IMF mission after a discussion on $1 billion credit concluded its ten day visit to Bangladesh and presented their observations to the government of Bangladesh in a report. The IMF has said the macroeconomic and financial pressure on Bangladesh economy has intensified since December 2010. The IMF has noted that it has recommended some steps including a hike in petroleum prices to reduce subsidy burden. The IMF also criticised Bangladesh Bank's intervention in exchange rate and said the Bangladesh Bank had violated an article of the IMF agreement. However the IMF suggested in its report that the monetary policy should be further tightened to slow credit growth and reduce inflation pressures with increased interest rate flexibility.5

    Meanwhile, Bangladesh has welcomed the fact that the UNSC resolution 1973 aims at protecting civilians and civilian populated areas under threat and excludes categorically an occupation force. However, it has urged restraint in the implementation of the UN Security Council Action on Libya “so that military action is resorted to only when absolutely essential and solely for neutralising military targets.” 6

    According to a UNICEF report, maternal mortality rate in Bangladesh has reduced by 40 percent during the last 10 years due to better health service and dissemination of proper information.7

    Reports noted that Governor of Indian State of Tripura, Dr DY Patil paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Gonobhaban on March 21. During the meeting, they discussed bilateral issues, including trade between the two neighboring countries especially with Tripura.8

    Meanwhile, Tamotsu Shinotsuka, Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, and a representative of OISCA-IDB (JAPAN) signed a US $ 97,122 grant contract for a development project for fishery in rural Bangladesh through Grant Assistance for Grass Roots Human Security Projects (GGHSP) at Japan embassy in Dhaka.9

    Reports noted that Director General level talks between drug control nodal agencies of Bangladesh and India was held in Dhaka on March 23-24. Director General of Department of Narcotics Control Khandaker Mohammad Ali led a 15-member Bangladesh delegation while his counterpart Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau OPS Malik led an 11-member Indian delegation.10

    In other developments, according to the latest survey by Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh’s overall FDI (foreign direct investment) inflow rose by US$ 228.58 million or 66.79 per cent, to $570.80 million during the January-June period of 2010 over the corresponding period of 2009 due mainly to significant increase of equity capital inflow.11