The holiday season is approaching and we’re all in need for a good vacation. This year hasn’t been the easiest and working from home can be a tall order for some. All things considered, Bangladesh has gotten away quite easy compared to other countries around the world. Nevertheless, a short staycation would do anyone some good to round off 2020, and these staycation spots in Bangladesh deserve a try.
Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden
Recognized as one of the best hotels in Dhaka, the Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden is the perfect place to consider if escaping the bustle of urban life is on the top of your needs. The resort houses 200 guest rooms that vary from private suites to family-friendly options. If this vacation is for the kids as well, Radisson offers tailor-fit services like rollaway beds, connecting rooms and even infant beds to make your visit as easy as possible.
Facilities in this place include three premium restaurants, health clubs, conference centers, full-service spa and of course, a large swimming pool. Radisson doesn’t break the mold nor relies on gimmicks; when it comes to premium services, the brand holds true to its reputation. If the hotel facilities start to bore you there are many landmarks around worth a visit. The Bangladesh Army Stadium and Army Golf Course are approximately 20 minutes away by foot, while Dhaka’s urban hotspots aren’t extremely far off either.
Many customers have put the spotlight specifically on the top notch quality of Radisson’s quality of service; certainly not a factor to be overlooked. In general, if you’re looking for a relaxing escape and want somewhere quiet and serene to recharge, this would be the perfect choice for your next staycation.
Grand Oriental Hotel
Staycations can be a little pricey and some may not want to splurge that kind of cash during this difficult year, but Grand Oriental could be one to consider if you’re adamant about getting the bang for your buck. With axed prices in the hotel industry all over the country, Grand Oriental remains more competitive than ever. Starting as low as USD 50 and capping at USD 90 after discount; all rooms are realistically priced and opens up many opportunities to customers, without feeling restricted.
A lavish feast is essential to complete a vacation of any kind and Grand Oriental does not disappoint. Their menu prides itself with barbecue, continental and Thai food; capable of serving at their first class restaurant or in the banquet hall (best if you want to throw a party). Their service is 24 hours and can serve meals and snacks whenever you start to get the munchies.
Additional services include airport pickups, sightseeing tours and a fitness center. Grand Oriental isn’t the largest hotel around, but the entire experience is a luxurious one that will give you and your loved one more than enough time to take a break in Dhaka.
The Peninsula Chittagong
Moving on to Chittagong, The Peninsula is at the GEC Circle and is a mere five minute walk from Central Plaza. By car, it’s a solid 45 minute drive to the airport and only 20 minutes away from the Chittagong Railway Station. But then again, if you’re a Chittagong resident, the locale may not affect you as much as the resort itself.
The rooms themselves welcome guests with its ceiling high windows and ample space to immerse any resident with a good view of the cityscape. The hotel isn’t shy for choices when it comes to food either; offering a delectable combination of Bangladeshi, Indian, Thai and Chinese dishes. The Isles Bar is also a cozy haven that has the perfect drink for you to unwind.
Other facilities include spas, the highest rooftop swimming pool in the city, and a fitness center. Limousine and event services are also available options.Peninsula shines in giving its guests luxury with a view.
Approximately once every minute and 40 seconds, a child or young person under the age of 20 was infected with HIV last year, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported, calling on governments to “protect, sustain and accelerate” efforts to combat childhood HIV.
Prevention efforts and treatment for children remain some of the lowest amongst key affected populations, and in 2019, a little less than half of children worldwide did not have access to life-saving treatment, UNICEF said in a new report on Wednesday.
Nearly 320,000 children and adolescents were newly infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and 110,000 children died of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) last year, reports UN news.
“Children are still getting infected at alarming rates, and they are still dying from AIDS. This was even before COVID-19 interrupted vital HIV treatment and prevention services putting countless more lives at risk”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
Life-saving HIV services hit by COVID-19
According to UNICEF, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened inequalities in access to life-saving HIV) services for children, adolescents and pregnant mothers everywhere, and there are serious concerns that one-third of high HIV burden countries could face coronavirus-related disruptions.
“Even as the world struggles in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, hundreds of thousands of children continue to suffer the ravages of the HIV epidemic”, said Fore.
Data from the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), cited in the report, shows the impact of control measures, supply chain disruptions, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the redeployment of healthcare workers on HIV services.
Paediatric HIV treatment and viral load testing in children in some countries fell by 50 to 70 percent, and new treatment initiation by 25 to 50 percent in April and May, coinciding with partial and full lockdowns to control the novel coronavirus.
Health facility deliveries and maternal treatment were also reported to have reduced by 20 to 60 per cent, maternal HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation by 25 to 50 per cent, and infant testing services by approximately 10 per cent.
Though the easing of control measures and the strategic targeting of children and pregnant mothers have successfully led to a rebound of services in recent months, challenges remain, and the world is still far from achieving the global 2020 paediatric HIV targets, said UNICEF.
Despite some progress in the decades-long fight against HIV and AIDS, deep regional disparities persist among all populations, especially for children.
While the Middle East and North Africa region recorded 81 per cent paediatric ART coverage, only 46 per cent and 32 per cent were covered in Latin America and the Caribbean, West and Central Africa, respectively.
The South Asia region recorded 76 percent coverage, Eastern and Southern Africa 58 percent, and East Asia and the Pacific 50 percent.
Praising the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the High Commissioner of India in Dhaka Vikram Doraiswami stated on Tuesday that Bangabandhu was not only an iconic statesman, but also a hero in India as well as other parts in the world.
The Indian envoy made his remarks while presiding over a group art exhibition titled 'Bangabandhu: Statesman of the Era' at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on Tuesday.
The exhibition is organized by the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) and the High Commission of India in Dhaka, in collaboration with BSA - marking the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni virtually inaugurated the special exhibition as the chief guest, while eminent thespian and former Cultural Affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor and chief coordinator of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee, Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury virtually joined as the special guests.
Acknowledging the Father of the Nation as one of the greatest leaders in the world, HC Doraiswami said that Bangabandhu is an inspiration for millions of his countrymen for his sagacity, courage and most importantly, his unconditional love for his people.
"We take immense pleasure showcasing these artworks from all these incredibly talented artists, in remembrance of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. To be a part of something like this (exhibition) is a huge honour for us and the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre as well, which is named after our great leader Indira Gandhi who considered Bangabandhu as his brother", the Indian High Commissioner said at the event.
He also greeted the participating artists along with the curator of the exhibition ARK Reepon on the stage with flowers, and presented a sanitizer machine to BSA secretary Md Naoshad Hossain and fine arts director Syeda Mahbuba Karim Mini as a token of friendship, on behalf of the Indian High Commission.
Thanking the Indian HC, Education Minister Dr Dipu said, "India and Bangladesh have always shared great mutual friendship. Many of the Indian soldiers have also sacrificed their lives alongside our freedom fighters for our independence in the 1971 War of Liberation, embracing the martyrdom. We hope that exhibitions like this will also be arranged in India as well, as part of the great relationship that India-Bangladesh and Indira Gandhi - Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have always continued".
Focusing on the artistic importance of Bangabandhu's life, eminent thespian-politician Asaduzzaman Noor said, "Bangabandhu changed the norms of politics and made it accessible to the common people, which was previously greeted only as a matter of imperial autocracy. His majestic life must be studied properly in the realm of arts and culture, and this exhibition is a great example on how that study should be projected".
Curated by renowned art curator ARK Reepon, the special exhibition is featuring artworks of 12 prolific Bangladeshi artists including Abdul Mannan, Md Muniruzzaman, Syeda Mahbuba Karim Mini, Quader Bhuiyan, Kiriti Ranjan Biswas, Sanjib Das Apu, Prashanta Karmakar Buddha, SM Mizanur Rahman, Md Zakir Hossain Pulok, Monjur Rashid, Manik Bonik and Sourav Chowdhury.
The exhibition will remain open for everyone from November 24 to November 26 at the Gallery 4 at the National Art Gallery, every day from 11 am till 6 pm.
It will also be moving forward at the District Shilpakala Academy in Rajshahi, Sylhet, Jashore and Chittagong from December 4 - 6, 11 - 13, 18 - 20 and 25 - 27, respectively.
Sustainability and eco-friendliness has been a rising trend for the past few years; with more organisations and governments backing pro-green initiatives. As a humble consumer, we can do our part to conserve the environment, but sometimes we are stuck with non biodegradable products given to us at the grocery store. Jute has been around for a while now, but has made a resurgence and it can be the greenest alternative to plastic bags yet.
Jute is a plant-based fiber that is primarily used for clothes, paper, rope, sacks and baskets. Almost exclusively found in South and South East Asia, the material has found mainstream success in making the aforementioned products and can come with a plethora of perks:
Biodegradable: The material has a life-expectancy of approximately one to two years and triumphs many other materials on this front. It is 100% biodegradable. Even when the material is scrapped or discarded, it can be used as an organic fertilizer for crops.
Durable: It’s understandable to be concerned about its durability if the material’s biodegradability is so swift. In its lifespan, the material has been used for sturdier products such as carpets, furniture and decorations.
Agriculturally Sound: It only takes four to six months for the plant to fully mature. Which means it does not occupy much land nor does it disrupt ecosystems during its plantation. Once harvested, the land in which Jute was farmed at is left with rich and fertile soil that can be reused for other plants. During its entire growth process, it does not require pesticides or fertilizers, making its entire growth process completely organic.
Cheap and reusable: Jute is one of the cheapest natural materials around and can contest the affordability of cotton and other natural alternatives. Its affordability is complemented by its ability to be reused unlike plastic bags.
Low CO2 footprint: Farming jute on a large scale does nothing harmful to the environment. In fact, the plant photosynthesises at a faster rate than other plants and has been recorded to absorb 15 tons of CO2 and release 11 tons of oxygen in one season.
Reusable: Plastic bags were designed to have a one-time use, while Jute bags can be reused as many times as you see fit without wearing out the material.
These reasons alone should give anyone the understanding that Jute is mankind’s best bet when fighting to minimise the use of plastic materials. Many countries around the world such as Taiwan, South Africa and the United States have taken active measures to slow the unrelenting distribution of plastic bags at local grocery stores, however as consumers, we can do our part by eliminating plastic from our person.
Bangladesh is one of the most prevalent spots to harvest jute and getting in Dhaka or Chittagong should be a breeze. If your local shops fall short on this common material, you can try local online stores such as Jotal or any other ecommerce platforms that deliver to your area. It might not be the most versatile material to pull off ambitious fashion statements, but it certainly does look good with just enough creativity. Jute is an overall essential to environmental conservation and it takes just one bag to take out wasteful plastic disposal for good.
Two new exhibitions are scheduled to be inaugurated at the National Art Gallery of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on Tuesday.
The first of these two exhibitions is a three-day exhibition on Islamic calligraphy arts and photographs, marking the occasion of the International Day of Islamic Art 2020.
Md Abdul Mannan Ilias, additional secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs is expected to inaugurate the exhibition at 12 pm as the chief guest of the inauguration ceremony.
BSA secretary Md Nowshad Hossain will preside over the inauguration event, which will also be joined by Md. Shohel Imam Khan, deputy secretary-general of Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO as the special guest.
The exhibition will continue from November 24-26 from 11 am to 6 pm.
Meanwhile, marking the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - a group art exhibition organized by the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) and the High Commission of India in Dhaka, in collaboration with BSA, will also be inaugurated on Tuesday at the Gallery 4 of the National Art Gallery.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni will inaugurate the special exhibition as the chief guest at 4 pm.
High Commissioner of India in Dhaka Vikram Doraiswami will preside over the inaugural event, while eminent thespian and former Cultural Affairs minister Asduzzaman Noor and Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, chief coordinator of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee, will join as the special guests.
Featuring the artworks of 12 prolific artists of Bangladesh including Abdul Mannan, Md Muniruzzaman, Syeda Mahbuba Karim Mini, Kader Bhuiyan, Kiriti Ranjan Biswas, Sanjib Das Apu, Prashanta Kumar Buddha, SM Mizanur Rahman, Md Jakir Hossain Pulok, Manjur Rashid, Manik Banik and Sourav Chowdhury - the exhibition will remain open for everyone from November 24 to November 26, every day from 11 am till 6 pm.