Omicron panic!



Kanak Joty, Contributing Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Barta24.com

Photo: Barta24.com

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A new variant of Covid Omicron has arrived in neighboring India. The variant was identified on Thursday (December 2) in Karnataka province. According to Indian media, one of the victims was a 66-year-old man and the other a 48-year-old woman. However, their other identities were not disclosed. It has been informed that all precautionary measures have been taken by keeping the victims in isolation and conducting tracing.

Meanwhile, so far this variant has been caught in 29 countries of the world. Research is underway to see if this variant has a stronger effect on the body than other variants. According to the World Health Organization, the answers to these questions will be known in the next few days.

In such a situation, two years after the outbreak of Corona, the whole world is worried about this new variant. Different parts of the world, including India, have imposed restrictions on communication with other countries. Because, those who have been infected with Covid before, they may be infected with Omicron again. Although it is not yet clear how contagious this variant is. The World Health Organization (WHO) says RT-PCR tests are able to detect this variant quickly. Research is underway to determine the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine against the new virus, the agency said.

Incidentally, the global pandemic Coronavirus is developing new strains before it is two years old. On the eve of its second birthday in December, Corona's brand new type of Omicron has once again engulfed the entire world in a horrible sheet of massive infection.

The Omicron variant is infected faster than the Covid's Delta variant. Epidemiologists are giving such an indication. This is the first time that research has been done on the type of Omicron infection that has been found in South Africa. As a result, vigilance and preparation is going on in the countries of the world.

Like the multifaceted majesty of danger, the types of corona have a name. The name Coronavirus itself originates from the Latin word corona, which means crown or necklace. The word corona itself comes from the Greek word, meaning garland or necklace. The name refers to the characteristic presence of virion (contagious form of the virus) through an electron microscope. The huge tubular surface of the virion has projected edges, which create the memory of the crown. Its morphology is made up of viral spike papilloma, which is basically a protein located on the surface of the virus.

Meanwhile, a new strain of Coronavirus, Omicron, which has recently created a new terror around the world, was first identified in South Africa on November 25. In just a few days, the deadly variant spread rapidly in several European countries, including Hong Kong, Israel, and even Australia. South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, are also at high risk due to the potential for new injuries.

According to pathologists or epidemiologists, Omicron is the second most contagious Covid strain to be found after Delta. However, there is a subtle politics behind the naming of this new variant.

Initially, when a new Covid variant was found from a country, the variant was named after that country. However, there was widespread controversy over the WHO's naming system. And then the World Health Organization walks the alternative path of naming.

The newly discovered strains were first identified by the letters of the Greek alphabet. Alpha, beta, delta, gamma - that's how the list went. In accordance with this rule, the strain found in Colombia in September of this year was named ‘Miu’ which is probably the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet. But according to the calculations, the name of the newly discovered variant in South Africa should have been named after the thirteenth Greek letter 'New'. However, in naming the B1.1.529 variant available in South Africa, WHO have chosen the 15th letter Omicron, excluding the new letter "G" or "Shi".

But why are these two letters omitted? No, there is no politics hidden in the letter 'New'. Rather, the letter has been omitted because of its phonetic similarity to ‘new’ or new, for fear of creating disagreement. However, there are clear political reasons behind the omission of the letter 'Shi' or 'G'. The matter has also been acknowledged by the top scientist and epidemiologist of the variant naming panel, Martin Culdorf. Yes, the World Health Organization has avoided the letter because of its resemblance to the name of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The Corona pandemic was "born" in China at the end of 2019. The virus then spreads slowly throughout the world. Several heads of state, including then-US President Donald Trump and Bolsonaro, blamed China at the time.

Coronavirus has been dubbed the "Chinese virus" for political reasons, avoiding pathology. The theory of virus transmission came up more than once in biological weapons laboratories. It was also said that China's political conspiracy.

As a result, Asian expatriates have become victims of social violence around the world since the beginning of the political debate over the virus. Especially in America, the people of Southeast Asia continue to be terribly affected. The World Health Organization has taken such a tactical step to stop that violence. However, while WHO’s decision was hailed in the scientific community, it is still debated in the political arena. Many are also complaining that China has been discriminated against. But some politicians and Netizens have resolved this controversy

The main challenge now is to prevent this particularly contagious variant.

Incidentally, in the context of the political controversy surrounding the global pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) began identifying new species in Greek letters. The new naming system was announced on May 31 in favor of the organization. The type that has been identified in the UK has been named 'Alpha'. In South Africa, the corona's identification is known as 'beta'. The variant identified in Brazil has been named 'Gamma'. The type of corona that wreaked havoc across India in the second wave has been dubbed 'Delta'.

However, this did not stop the debate. On the contrary, since there are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet, a new question arises, if more than 24 types of corona are identified, how will the naming be done? For that reason, the World Health Organization has announced a new method of naming in the future.

Maria Van Kerkhov, technical director of the World Health Organization, said: Therefore, no country should be discriminated against for identifying and reporting the type of corona. New names are not being used in scientific names. Rather this simple method of naming has been introduced for the convenience of understanding. Because it is difficult to pronounce, there is a risk of calling new variants by scientific names.

Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh



News Desk, Barta24.com
Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh

Padma Bridge, the Wonder of Bangladesh

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The wait period is over. The dream came true. Today (June 25), the door of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, which stands on the two banks of the river Padma, is opening.

This dream bridge of about 60 million people in 21 districts of the south-west is a proud history of the whole country. The wonder of the whole world. The bridge connecting Mawa in Munshiganj to Banglabazar in Shariatpur is a harbinger of a new day in the country's economy, investment, trade and overall development.

The celebration of Padma victory will touch the whole country today. Various programs have been taken all over the country on the occasion of inauguration of Padma Bridge. The people of the south are happy with the new day.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open the much-anticipated 6.15-kilometer Padma Bridge for vehicular movement on Saturday which will bring massive progress in road connectivity of 21 south and southwestern districts with the capital of Dhaka and other major cities.

Marking the grand opening of the bridge, a festive mood is prevailing in the country, particularly in the southern and southwestern region which will be directly facilitated through the major road connectivity.

The premier will join the Padma Bridge inaugural ceremony at Mawa point in Munshiganj at 10 am.

As per the premier’s programme schedule, she will also unveil commemorative postage stamps, souvenir sheets, opening day cover and seals at 11am at Mawa point to mark the grand opening of the country’s biggest self-financed mega project which is likely to boost GDP by 1.2 to 2 percent.

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Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned



News Desk, Barta24.com
Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned

Bangladesh Floods: Six Million People Marooned

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Incessant rains and gushing waters have marooned at least six million people in Bangladesh, prompting authorities to call in the Army to assist in the rescue and relief operations.

Officials estimate that six million people were marooned at their nearly inundated homes or were forced to take makeshift refuge elsewhere as water level in rivers in northeastern and northern regions continued to rise.

“Water now continued to surpass much above the danger lines in two of the country’s four major river basin. The situation appears to be nearly as bad as that of the 2004 flooding, a Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) spokesman said. The FFWC attributed the flooding to excessive rainfalls simultaneously in upstream Meghlaya and Bangladesh.

Many people were forced to initially take refuge on their rooftops amid gushing rising waters until rescue boats came in Sunamganj, said local officials. Meanwhile, due to huge rainfall, many districts of norther Bangladeh are facing threat of fresh flood.

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CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective



Dr. Mahfuz Parvez
CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective

CHT, Bay of Bengal and Security Perspective

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The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is a group of districts within the Chittagong Division in southeastern Bangladesh, bordering India and Myanmar (Burma) and covering 13,295 square kilometers. Historically settled by tribal groups, now the CHT is also inhabited by huge Bengali settlers.

The CHT region witnessed bloodshed beginning in the early 1970s, when ethnic groups protested the government’s policy of recognizing only the Bengali culture and language and designating all Bangladeshi citizens as Bengalis.

The CHT Peace Accord, signed in 1997 with the promise to end ethnic insurgency and grant a host of benefits to the people, was hailed by all.

With two decades passed since the signing of the CHT Accord, its lack of implementation has reached alarming levels. Ethnic groups and Bengali community are also demanding different types of political, citizenship and land rights.

As per ground realities, there could be fresh tension, political confrontation and security problem in the CHT if the emerging issues are not addressed.

The fact that the CHT people are overwhelmingly in favor of peace as a necessary precondition to all round development of the region is good augury. But the biggest challenge is to continue the peace that has emerged from the conflict with the wisdom, determination and political skill of the leadership.

However, the proximity of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to the Bay of Bengal (BoB) poses a security risk. In a research report, Angshuman Choudhury, Siddharth Anil Nair, Ashutosh Nagda & Garima Maheshwari mentioned the BoB region is one of the most climate-vulnerable in the world. Its strategic, political, social and economic faultlines are also extensive. Together they create fertile ground for volatile security dynamics, social friction and violent conflict. It is a textbook example of the complex relationship between climate change and security, and how an aggregate of both could create emerging challenges for policy-planners (CLIMATE SECURITY IN THE BAY OF BENGAL, 18 Jan, 2022, 212, IPCS Special Report).

Growing strategic significance of the Bay of Bengal within the emerging and increasingly contested geography of the Indo-Pacific, is sharply visible in various ways. BoB's strategic location at the heart of the Indo-Pacific, and ponders the unfolding challenges to regionalism in the Bay of Bengal. It is important for Bangladesh to intensify its efforts to construct a more secure and cooperative Bay of Bengal littoral (C. Raja Mohan, "The Bay of Bengal in the Emerging Indo-Pacific").

Dr. Mahfuz Parvez, Professor, Political Science, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh; Associate Editor, www.barta24.com



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Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week

Dr. Kamal's Writ Hearing on Tax Evasion Adjourned for a Week

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The High Court has adjourned the hearing of prominent lawyer, constitutional expert Dr. Kamal Hossain's writ petition for a week.

A High Court bench of Justice Syed Rifat Ahmed and Justice Mohammad Mahbub-ul-Islam granted the order on behalf of Kamal Hossain on Sunday (June 5).

Junior lawyer Barrister Tanim Hossain Shaon appeared for the writ petition. "We asked for a one-day court hearing," the lawyer said. The court has given one week time.

Earlier, a writ petition was filed in the High Court by Kamal Hossain over a dispute over the amount of income tax applicable to him for one year. The writ petition challenging the order of the tax appeals tribunal was on the agenda for hearing today.

Writ has said, for the tax year 2018-19, Kamal Hossain in his income tax return file shows annual income of 1 crore 4 lakh 3 thousand 495 Taka. On the other hand, it is mentioned in the return file that the applicable tax has been deducted at the source as 76 lakh 41 thousand 548 Taka.

Meanwhile, on December 30, 2019, the Deputy Tax Commissioner in an order fixed Kamal's annual income at 20 crore 11 lakh 4 thousand 219 Taka. Due to non-submission on time, with a late charge of 87 lakh 35 thousand 634 Taka,
a total of 6 crore 9 lakh 85 thousand 351 Taka income tax was demanded from Kamal Hossain.

Against the decision of the Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Kamal Hossain appealed to the Tax Appeal Tribunal. However, the tribunal dismissed the appeal.

Later, a writ petition was filed in the High Court on behalf of Dr. Kamal Hossain. The High Court on Sunday (June 5) adjourned the hearing of the writ petition for a week.

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