Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said Bangladesh would be the 9th largest consumer market by 2030 with the government working with the goal of overtaking many established markets in the world. “We’ve been working with a goal so Bangladesh could surpass established markets like the UK and Germany, and the current high-growth countries Vietnam and Thailand at that time. We’ve this effort,” she said. The premier said this while inaugurating the 60 years’ celebration and Investment Expo, 2023 of Foreign Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at Hotel Radisson Blu in the city. “There are some 17 crore people in our Bangladesh. Besides, we’ve strengthened connectivity with our neighbouring countries. We think Bangladesh would become the world’s 9th largest consumer market by 2030,” she said. Noting that Bangladesh has a large population, she said the government is developing them as skilled manpower for its better utilization. Read: Bangladesh to become world’s 9th largest market by 2030 overtaking UK, Germany: PM Hasina The PM said the number of growing middle class and rich people will be 3.40 crore by 2025 in Bangladesh and the estimated GDP per capita will be 5,880 US$ by 2040. “Due to its strategic geographical location, Bangladesh can be the hub of the regional market of 3 billion people,” she said adding that her government has taken steps to strengthen the connectivity with this region. Hasina said her government has successfully been able to bring a significant change in Bangladesh after assuming office in 2009. “Bangladesh has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world in the last 15 years,” she said. Noting that Bangladesh is now considered as the 35th largest economy in the world, she said they have raised the GDP growth rate to 7.25 percent now due to strong macroeconomic fundamentals and trade consolidation. The PM, however, said the growth rate was even higher during the pre-Covid period as the government raised it to 8:10pc before the pandemic. Read: Only votes can change govt: PM Hasina The government has successfully increased per capita income to US$2,793 from only US$ 543 and raised the GDP size to Tk 50.31 lakh crore now from Tk 4 lakh crore in 2006, she said. During this period, they brought down the poverty rate to 18.7 percent from 41.1 percent, while extreme poverty rate to 5.6 percent from over 25pc, she said adding that her government has given the most importance to the development of the rural economy. In the last 15 years, the Awami League government took multifaceted measures for the development of the business sector of the country. So, the private sector has become stronger and more developed. Bangladesh is currently the second largest garment exporter in the world, she said. “Bangladesh is expected to be the 20th largest economy in the world by 2037,” said Sheikh Hasina, adding that the country will be transformed into a developed and prosperous Smart Bangladesh by 2041. Mentioning that the government is setting up some 100 economic zones and established 39 hi-tech parks throughout the country, she said those economic zones and parks are kept open for foreign investment. If any country can want land singly, seek land under joint venture or public private partnership (PPP), the government would allow them and provide them with lands, she said. Read: PM Hasina collects nomination form for national election The premier said one stop service has been introduced in investment development agencies to facilitate investment. “We have undertaken plans to make all offices providing investment services fully online and digitized,” she said. In Bangladesh, there is a scope to develop USD 350-billion infrastructures in the energy, water, logistics and transport sectors. “By 2025, the logistics sector alone is expected to become a US$90 billion market,” she said. The prime minister said they want to raise private investment to 31.43 percent of GDP by 2031.She said Bangladesh has become an attractive destination to many countries around the world for investment, industrialisation and export due to various reasons including its economic growth, structural development programmes, investment-friendly policy, large domestic market, strategic location, high profitability and large workforce. Talking about the FICCI’s celebration, she said the chamber has stepped into 60 years this year since the inception of its journey in 1936. As a leading chamber, FICCI represents investors from 35 countries in more than 21 sectors of Bangladesh. “FICCI represents 90 percent of the country's inward FDI, which carries special importance to the overall development of our country,” she said. The premier extended sincere thanks to all former and current members of FICCI on the occasion of the celebration of its 60 years. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and PM’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman, among others, spoke at the function, while FICCI President and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Naser Ezaz Bijoy delivered the welcome speech. The premier also unveiled a research book titled ‘Catalyzing Greater FDI for Vision 2041’, which was published by FICCI.
Bangladesh-origin Hindus in UK laud PM Hasina's exemplary steps to establish secular, democratic Bangladesh
Leaders of the Bangladesh Hindu Association, representing Bangladesh-origin Hindus in the UK, have praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership for the remarkable economic development as well as her exemplary steps to establish a secular and oppression-free democratic Bangladesh. They called on Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen in London on Saturday (September 30, 2023), said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday (October 01, 2023). The Association raised their concerns over the welfare of their fellow members and relatives in Bangladesh during the Durga Puja and upcoming election. The Foreign Minister assured them that strict precautionary measures and necessary steps would be taken during the Durga Puja and upcoming election to protect the Hindus. Dr Momen emphasized the Bangladesh government’s commitment to ensure religious peace, harmony, and security. Read: ‘Battle is between secular and non-secular forces, which one does UK choose?’: Bangladesh High Commissioner The Bangladesh Hindu Association thanked and appreciated the Foreign Minister for his support and commitments to safeguard the values of the Hindus and other religious communities. Foreign Minister Dr Momen also praised their role in connecting Bangladeshi-origin Hindus with the UK and urged them to represent Bangladesh’s religious harmonies as well as the nation's achievements. The Hindu association handed over a petition to the Foreign Minister to ensure the protection and safety of their relatives. Mr. Proshanta Datta Purokayastha, BEM, Chairman of the association, led the group. Read: British MPs, diplomats express solidarity with Bangabandhu’s secular, progressive values Rabin Paul, Vice Chairman, Haradhan Bhowmik, Vice Chairman, Prasanta Kumar Dutta, Vice Chairman, Sujith Chowdhury, General Secretary, Biswajit Dey, Treasurer, Kankan Kanti Ghosh, Joint Treasurer, Bappy Dam, Women Organizing Secretary, Arjun Kumar Datta, Deputy Organizing Secretary, Sushanta Kumar Halder, Entertainment Secretary, and Dr Debabrata Chowdhury, Member, attended the meeting. Read more: Bangabandhu's killing designed to destroy secular spirit of Liberation War: Speakers
Bangladesh to become 3rd largest global market after UK and Germany: PM Hasina tells Commonwealth investors
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (September 13, 2023) invited investors from the Commonwealth countries to come to Bangladesh in a bigger way. “Geographically, Bangladesh is at the center of a market of 3 billion people. We have 170 million people of our own. By 2030, the affluent population of Bangladesh will stand at 35 million. Therefore, Bangladesh will become the third largest market globally, leaving behind Germany and the United Kingdom,” she said. The prime minister said this while addressing the two-day "Commonwealth trade and investment forum Bangladesh-2023" at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC). The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, which is the Commonwealth's accredited business network, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Zi Foundation, a family-run foundation that offers support to vulnerable people, jointly organised the event. End the Ukraine war thru negotiations: PM Hasina tells Russian foreign minister The aim is to promote innovation, trade, investment and economic growth, enhance partnerships and explore ways towards sustainable and inclusive economic development for Bangladesh. The PM said that Bangladesh needs development partners for reaching its goal. “We need more high-quality and sustainable investment to accelerate the economic progress of Bangladesh,” she said. She mentioned that as a prerequisite for Biniyog Bikash, or investment promotion, her government has prioritised organisational reforms, the formation of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), which offering attractive facilities for investors, and ensuring post-investment services. Hasina said that almost all sectors are open for investment in Bangladesh. ‘Why would you call yourselves minority?’: PM to Hindu community But among those, she said, more investment is encouraged in agricultural goods and food processing, leather and leather goods processing, medical equipment, automobiles and shipbuilding, and ICT. “There are promising investment facilities in these sectors, including the easy process of taking back dividends or benefits to your home country,” she said. The premier said that some 70 percent of Bangladesh's foreign direct investment comes from reinvestment, which is a proof of the excellent investment environment that Bangladesh offers to investors. She mentioned that BIDA has started a one-stop fast-track delivery service to facilitate investors with the services of various departments of the government and through this one-stop service, 78 services from 26 departments can be received through one platform. PM Hasina offers land to Japanese businesses to set up industries Mentioning that the pre-requisite for investment is the development of infrastructure, she said that the government has established 100 economic zones, 109 hi-tech and software technology parks, and IT training and incubation centres across the country with attractive incentive packages to promote foreign investors. “We are developing our land, rail, and air connectivity. Almost all highways in the country have been elevated to four or more lanes,” she said. In this connection, she said that the Padma Bridge has connected 21 south-western districts of Bangladesh directly with Dhaka and other parts of the country. “There will be rail connectivity through the Padma Bridge between Dhaka and Khulna soon," she said. Read more: Dhaka, London plan to sign MoUs on economic cooperation, cyber security She said that soon the government will inaugurate the Karnaphuli underwater tunnel, the first such infrastructure not only in Bangladesh but in South Asia. “Work on establishing rail link between Chattogram and tourism town Cox’s Bazar is progressing fast.” Sheikh Hasina said that after winning the election in 2008 and forming the government in 2009, the government has started building the country based on short-, middle-, and long-term programmes. “A democratic environment, political stability, continuity of government, and, above all, structured development programs have helped in the quick socio-economic development of Bangladesh," she stated The prime minister said that the government is working to build a Smart Bangladesh, which will be realised by building the pillars of smart government, smart citizens, a smart economy, and a smart society. “Our goal now is to become a knowledge-based and Developed Smart Country by 2041 and a Prosperous Delta by 2100. We are working relentlessly towards that goal through the Perspective Plan, the Five-Year Plan, and the Delta Plan 2100.” Prime minister's private industry and investment adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Lokman Hossain Miah, Strategic Advisor (Bangladesh) Of CWEIC Zillur Hussain And Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) Chairman Lord Marland also spoke at the programme. PM Hasina also handed over Commonwealth Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Green Investment Award to Eco Brixs from Uganda. A video documentary was screened in the programme. Read more: Russian foreign minister’s recent comment in Dhaka is ‘not the most self-aware’: US State Dept Spokesperson
UK Development Director and Deputy High Commissioner in Bangladesh Matt Cannell has said the devastating flooding in Sylhet last year and Chittagong division this year demonstrates Bangladesh’s vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change. “The UK is proud to partner with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office to support greater disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in Bangladesh. I am pleased to announce this during the government of Bangladesh and UNDP’s Disaster Resilience Week,” he said, announcing that the UK is providing £500,000 to the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office to support disaster preparedness, response and recovery in Bangladesh. Read: Teesta water sharing issue to be raised during Hasina-Modi talks in Delhi: FM The Deputy High Commissioner said this will help guarantee that disaster responses are coordinated and well-informed, and that more preparations are made ahead of disasters, limiting their impact and saving lives. “This builds on the UK's historic support for humanitarian response in Bangladesh and complements the Government of Bangladesh's remarkable work on disaster resilience and response to date,” he said. UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis said the partnership with the UK will enhance coordination across the UN and NGOs in Bangladesh, and as a result strengthen support to the government of Bangladesh, and most importantly to the people most affected by natural disasters. “The impacts of climate change and the resulting intensity of disasters means this work is more important than ever. Our efforts are focused on better early warning systems, anticipatory action and a quick and timely response to emergencies and disasters,” she said. Read: Elevated expressway a big step towards Smart Bangladesh: Korean Ambassador This money will aid in the coordination of humanitarian assistance provided by the Government of Bangladesh, donors, the UN, and NGOs prior to, during, and after disaster events. It will also ensure that this help reaches the most vulnerable people with the most essential relief supplies, said the British High Commission in Dhaka on Sunday. Read: Bangladesh, Vietnam on right track to pursue $2bn trade target: Ambassador Furthermore, it will assist the government of Bangladesh in developing a new risk assessment and contingency plan for earthquakes, as well as expand its work on anticipatory actions and early warning systems to assist people in taking precautions to protect their lives before disasters strike.
Thousands of air travelers faced delays on Monday after Britain's air traffic control system was hit by a breakdown that slowed takeoffs and landings across the U.K. Flight control operator National Air Traffic Services said it was experiencing an unexplained "technical issue" that could delay flights on Monday, the end of a holiday weekend and one of the busiest travel days of the year. Also read : After Narita (Tokyo), Biman eyeing flights to New York, Chennai, Los Angeles, Rome The service said it had "applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety" and that engineers were working to find and fix the fault. It said U.K. airspace remained open. It did not give an estimate of how long it would take to fix the problem, or what had caused it, but European air traffic authority Eurocontrol warned of "very high" delays because of a "flight data processing system failure" in the U.K. Scottish airline Loganair said there had been "a network-wide failure of U.K. air traffic control computer systems." "Although we are hopeful of being able to operate most intra-Scotland flights on the basis of local coordination and with a minimum of disruption, north-south and international flights may be subject to delays," it said. Also read : New DCTS scheme can create stronger trade, investment partnership with UK: BGMEA President Airports both inside and outside the U.K. told passengers to expect delays and cancellations. Heathrow, Europe's busiest air hub, said "national airspace issues" were causing disruption to flights, and advised passengers to check with their airline. Dublin Airport said in a statement that air traffic control issues were resulting in delays and cancellations to some flights into and out of Dublin. "We advise all passengers due to travel today to check the status of their flight with their airline in advance of travelling," it said. British Airways said it was "working closely with NATS to understand the impact of a technical issue that is affecting U.K. airspace, and will keep our customers up to date with the latest information." Also read : UK political watchdog says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ‘inadvertently’ broke ethics rules Aviation analyst Alastair Rosenschein, a former BA pilot, said the air traffic system appeared to have suffered "some kind of patchy failure as opposed to a total shutdown." He told Sky News that "the disruption will be quite severe at some airports" and some U.K.-bound flights will likely have to land in other European countries in order to reduce the flow of inbound planes.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was chided by Parliament’s standards guardian on Thursday for failing to declare his wife’s financial interest in a childcare firm that stood to benefit from government policy. Standards Commissioner Daniel Greenberg said Sunak broke the code of conduct for government ministers, but said the mistake was “inadvertent” and that the prime minister should not be sanctioned for the error. Read: Nearly 2,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors landed in Rome over the weekend Greenberg opened an investigation in April over Sunak’s failure to declare when questioned by a committee of lawmakers that his wife. Akshata Murthy, held shares in the company Koru Kids, which had been selected to receive government support for childcare firms. Greenberg said Murthy’s shareholding “was a relevant interest that should have been declared.” But he said the failure stemmed from confusion about the rules rather than an intent to deceive. “I confirm that the matter is now closed,” he said. Sunak apologized for the mistake. Read: Europe gripped by extreme weather as 'era of global boiling' arrives The finding follows a string of ethics breaches by members of Britain’s Conservative government. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was driven from office in mid-2022 when his own Cabinet turned on him after a string of scandals over his judgment and finances. Read: Putin profits off US and European reliance on Russian nuclear fuel Sunak vowed to restore order and integrity to government after three years of turmoil under Johnson and briefly serving successor Liz Truss, who quit within weeks after her policies rocked the U.K. economy. But Sunak, a former investment banker, has faced questions about his wealth and the financial arrangements of his wife, the daughter of an Indian billionaire. Last year, it was revealed that Murthy didn’t pay U.K. tax on her overseas income, including 11.5 million pounds ($15 million) a year in dividends from Infosys, the Indian IT company founded by her father.
The Bangladesh-UK relationship is transitioning to a deeper economic, migration and security partnership, while helping to protect Bangladesh’s development gains, said the British foreign ministry. The UK’s development offer in Bangladesh aligns with the UK government’s Strategy for International Development (IDS) and government of Bangladesh’s strategies and plans. "Bangladesh is an increasingly important strategic partner for the UK in the Indo-Pacific region and it is a key player in upholding the Rules-Based International System (RBIS)," said the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in a policy paper on UK–Bangladesh development partnership. MPs’ roundtable seeks UK-Bangladesh joint efforts ahead of COP28 The Strategy for International Development (IDS) places development at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy. It sets out a new approach to development, anchored in patient, long-term partnerships tailored to the needs of the countries. This approach goes beyond aid and brings the combined power of the UK’s global economic, scientific, security and diplomatic strengths to development partnerships. The Country Development Partnership Summary details how the IDS and IR23 will be put into practice with Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a Lower-Middle Income (L-MIC) country with aspirations to become an Upper Middle Income Country (U-MIC) by 2031. Bangladesh-UK relations transformed to strategic partnership: British envoy The United Kingdom and Bangladesh have a long-standing partnership built on shared economic, security, development and people to people ties. The UK was one of the first countries to recognise Bangladesh and the countries celebrated 50 years of partnership in 2021. Bangladesh has made significant progress on development and it will graduate from Least Developed Country status in 2026. It was the world’s second-poorest country at independence and had a Gross National Income (GNI) per person of $120 in 1973. It is now the world’s 33rd largest economy with GNI per person of $2,570. UK to support Bangladesh’s aspiration of becoming an aviation hub Annual GDP growth has averaged about 6% since 2011, except in 2020 because of COVID-19. Growth has been fuelled by the expansion of garment exports, overseas remittances, external support, and domestic consumption. Bangladesh has a strong record on poverty reduction and improvement in a range of social indicators. Despite this progress, Bangladesh faces a range of development challenges as it strives to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, said the British Foreign Ministry. Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to the impact of extreme weather events. The Global Climate Risk Index highlights that Bangladesh was the 7th most climate vulnerable country in the world in 2019. It is one of the world’s most densely populated countries with more than one third of the population living in urban areas. Read more: Dhaka requests Tokyo to extend preferential treatment, concessions to Bangladesh beyond LDC graduation Decades of high growth and impressive human development gains in Bangladesh are set against governance and democracy challenges, said the policy paper. To overcome these development challenges, the UK said, a number of key economic and policy reforms have been identified by both the government of Bangladesh and development partners. The government of Bangladesh has outlined rapid and transformational shifts in agriculture, trade, education, healthcare, transportation, communication and in conducting business in the 2021 to 2041 Perspective Plan. It also stressed the need for institutional and governance improvements to drive economic development. The UK is increasingly providing expertise and knowledge to support Bangladesh’s development. "We will continue to prioritise areas where analysis shows this is key to systemic change, whether economic - promoting trade and investment, political - supporting peaceful politics or social - women’s rights," said the UK government. Read more: Foreign minister seeks to expand economic ties with Singapore A deeper and broader economic partnership will help Bangladesh access new sources of affordable finance for sustainable growth and build resilience against the impact of climate change, it said. “We will use technical and diplomatic expertise to support long term economic reforms and boost investment,” it added. The UK’s new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) will boost trade and British Investment International (BII) will expand its impact investment portfolio. The UK has six strategic goals in Bangladesh. These goals bring together the strategic priorities and international objectives of the UK and Bangladesh to support progress on the SDGs. They also align with the UK’s IR23 and the IDS. Read more: PM looking forward to attending G20 Summit in India in September Goal 1: Foreign policy and security UK will develop and maintain a strong and productive network of contacts in Bangladesh to support a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific region, that upholds the RBIS. UK will also support Bangladesh to remain a stable, reliable, and human rights compliant partner on UK national security interests and migration. Goal 2: Democratic institutions and norms UK will work with government, civil society, youth, political parties, and international partners to deliver this goal. UK will support Bangladesh institutions become more open, democratic, and inclusive, with greater transparency and accountability, respect for human rights, gender equality and ability to resolve conflict. Goal 3: Women and girls and global health UK will support government’s efforts to help ensure Bangladesh has the systems, policies, and practices in place that educates and empowers its people, especially women and girls, to protect their rights, fulfil their potential, and live healthy lives. UK will provide targeted technical assistance, combined with diplomatic lobbying, global, regional, and centrally managed programmes (CMP) and UK expertise to support this goal. Read more: ASEAN secy-general to support Bangladesh's bid to be sectoral partner Goal 4: Economic reform, trade and investment UK will support Bangladesh to deliver key reforms to help it reach upper middle-income status whilst building a closer economic and investment partnership. UK will deepen bilateral trade and investment partnership through better market access for British firms and the DCTS. Goal 5: Climate change and environment UK will ensure the partnership with Bangladesh delivers on climate change and environment commitments and contributes to the government’s efforts for a more climate resilient, less-carbon-intensive, and cleaner Bangladesh. UK will use targeted ODA programming, political engagement, centrally and regionally managed programmes, and UK technical expertise to support people to better adapt to the impacts of climate change. Goal 6: Rohingya and disaster preparedness UK will use its UN Security Council membership to continue to put pressure on Myanmar to resolve the crisis and call for accountability. UK will also deliver large scale life-saving humanitarian support to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and advocate for a more sustainable response to the protracted crisis. UK will also support Bangladesh to prepare and respond effectively to natural disasters across the country. Read more: Bangladesh’s estimated growth higher than forecast for FY 2023: ADB
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Sunday he plans to resign at the next Cabinet reshuffle after four years in the job. Wallace has served as defense secretary under three prime ministers and played a key role in the U.K.'s response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. South Korea to expand support for Ukraine as President Yoon Suk Yeol makes a surprise visit He told The Sunday Times his departure was due to the strain his job had put on his family. He also said he would stand down as a lawmaker at the next general election. Wallace is the longest continuously serving minister in government. He was security minister under former Prime Minister Theresa May, before being promoted to defense secretary by her successor Boris Johnson. MPs’ roundtable seeks UK-Bangladesh joint efforts ahead of COP28 Wallace drew criticism last week when he suggested that Ukraine should show "gratitude" for the West's military support. He made the remark at the NATO summit in Lithuania after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed frustration about when his country could join the military alliance. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak distanced himself from Wallace's comments, saying Zelenskyy had "expressed his gratitude for what we've done on a number of occasions." Zelenskyy blasts NATO’s failure to set a timetable for Ukraine’s membership as ‘absurd’
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Sarah Cooke, has said the UK and Bangladesh enjoy a strong partnership based on their long-shared history, deep people-to-people ties and as members of the Commonwealth. “I am delighted to host this reception to celebrate the Official Birthday of His Majesty King Charles III and the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen," she said while speaking at a reception on Wednesday evening. The British High Commission celebrated the official birthday of His Majesty King Charles III and the Coronation of the King and Queen. LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md. Tajul Islam joined the reception as the guest of honour. Dhaka-based music producer invited to a research trip to Switzerland “With thanks to our partners, we are also making a donation today to support women’s empowerment and climate justice through youth engagement in Bangladesh. His Majesty is a strong supporter of youth, community, sustainability, and diversity and with this contribution we pay tribute to him," said the British High Commissioner. A wide range of dignitaries from the government of Bangladesh; Bangladesh parliament; the diplomatic corps and representatives from the fields of business, trade, social development, academia, arts, culture, media and sports joined the celebration. In honour of the King, the themes of the event were “youth, community, diversity, and sustainability”. Switzerland will develop skilled manpower in Bangladesh under a new MoU A significant portion of the sponsorship raised for the event will be used to support the empowerment of women in leadership and youth promotion of climate advocacy across Bangladesh, through YouthNet for Climate Justice and WAVE Foundation for Women in Leadership. The King’s Birthday Party is celebrated by British embassies and high commissions around the world. This year, the King turns 75 on November 14. His Majesty the King is Head of the Commonwealth, which is a family of 56 countries working together for prosperity, democracy and peace.
In a groundbreaking development, scientists have generated synthetic human embryos using stem cells that sidestep the need for eggs or sperm, The Guardian reports. These model embryos, which mirror those in the earliest stages of human development, may offer a significant insight into the effects of genetic anomalies and the biological factors that contribute to recurrent miscarriage, according to scientists. Since lab-grown entities are illegal in the UK and most other nations, the development also poses significant ethical and legal concerns. The structures contain cells that would ordinarily develop into the placenta, yolk sac, and embryo itself but lack a beating heart and the beginnings of a brain, reports the Guardian. Also read: Scientists say taurine, present in meat, may extend life Prof Magdalena Żernicka-Goetz, of the University of Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology, described the work in a plenary address on Wednesday at the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s annual meeting in Boston. “We can create human embryo-like models by the reprogramming of [embryonic stem] cells,” she told the meeting. According to The Guardian, the use of synthetic embryos in clinical trials is not anticipated to happen anytime soon. It is currently unknown if these structures have the ability to continue maturing past the initial stages of development, making their implantation into a patient's womb illegal. The goal of the research is to help scientists better comprehend the so-called "black box" period of development, which lasts for only 14 days in accordance with regulatory restrictions. They then pick up the development's course at a far later stage by examining donated embryos and pregnancy scans. Also read: Alzheimer's drug gets FDA panel's backing, setting the stage for broader use “The idea is that if you really model normal human embryonic development using stem cells, you can gain an awful lot of information about how we begin development, what can go wrong, without having to use early embryos for research,” Robin Lovell-Badge, the head of stem cell biology and developmental genetics at the Francis Crick Institute in London, told The Guardian. Previously, Żernicka-Goetz’s team and a rival group at the Weizmann Institute in Israel showed that stem cells from mice could be encouraged to self-assemble into early embryo-like structures with an intestinal tract, the beginnings of a brain and a beating heart. Since then, a race has been under way to translate this work into human models, and several teams have been able to replicate the very earliest stages of development. The current research from the Cambridge-Caltech lab has not yet been fully described in a scholarly article. However, addressing at the conference, Ernicka-Goetz recounted growing the embryos to a level barely past the point at which a natural embryo would develop after 14 days. Also read: Did humans 3000 years ago have bigger brains than us? The model structures, which were each developed from a single embryonic stem cell, have begun to undergo gastrulation, a developmental stage in which the embryo changes from being a continuous sheet of cells to generating discrete cell lines and establishing the basic axis of the body, the Guardian reports, citing Ernicka-Goetz. The model demonstrated the presence of primordial cells, which are the precursor cells of egg and sperm, although the embryo at this stage does not yet have a beating heart, a functioning gut, or the beginnings of a brain. The development highlights how rapidly the science in this field has outpaced the law, and scientists in the UK and elsewhere are already moving to draw up voluntary guidelines to govern work on synthetic embryos. “If the whole intention is that these models are very much like normal embryos, then in a way they should be treated the same,” Lovell-Badge told the Guardian. “Currently in legislation they’re not. People are worried about this.” Read more: Scientists say taurine, present in meat, may extend life