Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Highlights of Thursday’s newspapers:

The Financial Express:

— The government Wednesday signed an inter-governmental agreement with Russia for construction of the country’s two nuclear power plants to generate 1,000 megawatts (mw) of electricity from each of the plants at Rooppur in Pabna.

— Fresh investment by public and private sectors is essential at the moment to boost the sagging stock market of the country, experts said on Wednesday.

— A portion of the total credit disbursed by the state-owned commercial banks (SCBs) at low rate of interest to the tanners for raw hide purchase during the Eid-ul-Azha every year is not used for the same creating scope for smugglers to take the advantage of liquidity crisis in the market, sources said.

The Daily Star:

— An intercity train was set on fire in Narsingdi town yesterday during demonstrations by the Bangladesh Chhatra League to protest the murder of the mayor of the municipality, Lokman Hossain.

— The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund has recommended increasing fuel prices further to ensure macroeconomic balance. The recommendation comes following an IMF Board meeting in Washington on October 28.

— The taka fell further against the dollar after the cap on the exchange rate expired, bankers said yesterday. On October 10, Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers Association (BAFEDA) set the dollar rate at a maximum of Tk 76 at customer level to avoid volatility in the market. The ceiling was valid for 15 days.

The New Age:

— Railway service between Chittagong and Sylhet divisions and Kishoreganj district and Dhaka was severed because angry supporters of slain Narsingdi mayor Lokman Hossain set fire to a Dhaka-Kishoreganj passenger train in Narsingdi. Bus association leaders also said that Sylhet and Kishoreganj district remained disconnected from the capital due to the same reason.

— Profits of half of the banks listed with the capital market and almost all of the non-bank financial institutions in the first nine months of the year dropped significantly because of ongoing liquidity crisis in the banking channel and crash of stock market. According to data released by Dhaka Stock Exchange in last seven days, profits of 15 listed banks out of 30 declined during January-September period compared to the same period last year. Profits of 15 banks increased in nine months of this year.

— Dhaka stocks ended flat on Wednesday when a late selling pressure faded the early gains as the retail investors continued to push sell buttons to minimise losses in every scope they got. The benchmark general index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, DGEN, gained 0.08 per cent, or 4.23 points, to close the day at 5,209.40 points. On Tuesday the DGEN gained 169 points after four days of sharp fall.

BBN/SSR/AD-03Nov11-10:22 am (BST)