24 April 2003Aids activist Zackie Achmat continues to receive accolades in the international community for his struggle to get antiretroviral drugs administered free to HIV/Aids sufferers.This week he was featured as one of 35 “Heroes 2003” around the world in TIME magazine’s European edition. In the profile, written by South African TIME correspondent Peter Hawthorne, Achmat is described as “filled with defiant energy” and “an old hand at fighting deadly foes”.Certainly, Aids is not the first battle Achmat, 40, has taken up. Writes Hawthorne: “As a schoolboy in the 1970s in a segregated Cape Town township, he was caught up in the violent student campaign against apartheid. He helped to set fire to his own school and was arrested and detained five times.“For 10 years he operated as an underground activist for the banned African National Congress, evading the secret police and organising youth resistance groups.”A new struggleThen it was apartheid, now it is Aids. Ironically, Achmat’s latest struggle frequently pits him against the government he fought to put in place, although he insists he is still a loyal member of the ANC.Achmat, who is gay and who has openly championed gay rights, took on his new struggle when he found out he was HIV-positive. “The disease was regarded as taboo”, he says in the TIME article. “The cost of treatment, if you could find any, was way out of the reach of poor people. To have Aids was a death sentence.”With the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), which he heads, Achmat has fought and won several battles to make anti-retrovirals more accessible to those who can’t afford to pay for them. Extensive lobbying by the TAC helped compel 39 large pharmaceutical companies to back down from their legal challenge against South Africa’s drug laws, in an attempt to prevent the production and importation of generic Aids drugs.Refusal to take antiretroviralsHis ongoing battle is to get the government to offer anti-retrovirals to the thousands of Aids sufferers who need them. Despite losing a lot of weight recently and suffering from constant diarrhoea, Achmat refuses to take the medication himself – in solidarity with the so many others who are denied it because they cannot afford to pay for it.The South African government has increased its HIV/Aids-combatting budget ten-fold from R342-million in 2001/02 to R3.6-billion in 2005/6, but is still unable to offer all Aids sufferers access to antiretrovirals. This would cost government R7-billion a year.Pregnant HIV-positive mothers around the country now receive Nevirapine to stop mother-to-child transmission, where adequate counselling and testing facilities exist. Antiretrovirals are also being offered to those who have been raped.The government is also providing treatment for opportunistic infections associated with Aids such as TB, pneumonia and oral thrush, but the provision of antiretrovirals for all Aids sufferers continues to pose a major challenge. A government task team trying to find ways of lowering the drug prices is set to announce its findings soon.In the meantime, Achmat won’t give up his struggle until he sees poor people who are Aids sufferers get the life-saving treatment he believes they have a right to. Not even former President Nelson Mandela, who has visited him to plead with him to take the drugs, can change his mind.Achmat has received several other accolades, including:In April 2001 he was named TIME magazine’s “Person of the Week”.In October 2001 he won the Desmond Tutu Leadership Award.The Treatment Action Campaign won an MTV Free Your Mind Award in Germany in November 2001.Others listed in TIME’s “Heroes 2003” include U-2’s Bono, soccer star David Beckham and Harry Potter author J K Rowling.SouthAfrica.info reporter
10 May 2016A small amateur cricket club in Limpopo is changing the game for the region’s kids on the field. Meet the Oaks Cricket Club. A new documentary and crowdfunding project takes the story of this positive community project to the world.Established in 1996, inspired by the South African cricket team’s successes after re-admittance to the international game, the Oaks youth cricket team started out small and humble in the village of Ga-Sekororo, part of the Maruleng district, with only rudimentary equipment and makeshift playing fields.Coach Cavaan Moyakamela, an alumni of the team, tutors and guides disadvantaged boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 19 from townships on the basics of cricket, instilling a love for the intricacies of the game, and gives them the opportunity to take their minds off their daily hardships.Moyakamela told community newspaper, Letaba Herald that the club priority has always been to create a safe, fun environment for the local youth, while offering an opportunity for the kids to learn about fitness and healthy living, but also gain discipline and respect that team sport offers.The club currently provides cricket training to over 80 kids, and despite the massive financial and social challenges they face, the team has progressed from strength to strength, playing against other school teams in the region with great success, creating an enthusiastic buzz amongst local residents.With the help of an award-winning filmmaker and a local journalist, the club is now eager to tell the world its story in an effort to create awareness for the power of grassroots sport initiatives and earn some much needed sponsorship. The money will be used to improve the club’s playing fields, buy new equipment and take its members on national tours to play against other youth cricket teams.South African Film and Television Award winning producer of local film hit Dis Ek, Anna, Niel van Deventer, and Letaba Herald journalist, Hendrik Hancke, have begun the Field of Dreams initiative as a way to generate interest in the club. They also seek financing and sponsorship for the documentary, which highlights the club and its rich history.While the story of the Oaks has now become legendary in the Limpopo province, inspiring local businesses and individuals to play their part in the form of sponsorships and other support for the club’s teams, Hancke and Van Deventer have now released a trailer for the documentary-in-progress on YouTube to gain wider exposure for the team. They have also started a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo’s Generosity fundraising website.The initiative has even caught the attention of former Proteas bowler Meyrick Pringle, who tweeted support of the club’s plans.Let’s help raise some funds. Inbox me please. https://t.co/n2iTdeK1fa— Meyrick Pringle (@MeyrickPringle) May 6, 2016While funds raised so far have been small, including donations from as far as New Zealand and the UK, the initiative hopes that as the story of the club’s success and contribution to the community spreads, the more funding will follow. The first part of the plan is to send the club on their inaugral national tour, to play youth teams in Eastern Cape over the next year.Watch the documentary trailer here and visit the Field of Dreams Generosity crowdfunding page for more information.
Analysis: Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2015 & Global Corruption Barometer
The 2015 Corruption Perception Index ranks 168 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. South Africa ranks 61/186 with a corruption score of 44 (moderately corrupt). Its score of has remained stable from 2014; with a positive 2 scores up from 2013 where SA scored 42/100.The Africa Survey 2015 of the Global Corruption Barometer interviewed 43,143 people in 28 African countries to understand public experiences and perceptions of corruption.83% of SA respondents said they thought corruption had risen in the previous 12 months.Yet actual bribery rates in SA are far below average, with with less than one in ten respondents saying they paid a bribe in the previous 12 months.Results illustrate the disjuncture between citizens’ personal experience of corruption & their perceptions of government structures not doing enough to stem corrupt activities. 1. TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL’S CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX 20151.1. Background Transparency International released its 21st annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on Wednesday, 27 January 2016. The CPI is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption, offering a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries from all over the globe.This year’s index ranks 168 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. Countries are measured on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).[i]Poor scores are indicative of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that do not respond adequately to citizens’ needs. Countries with clean scores should ensure that they do not export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries. This index allows government, business and civil society to implement measures to tackle the corruption in their respective countries.1.2. Findings South Africa ranks 61st of 168 countries with a corruption score of 44 (moderately corrupt) in 2015. Its score has remained stable from 2014; with a positive two scores up from 2013 where South Africa scored 42/100.How the BRICS Nations ScoredRankCountry2015 Score2014 Score2013 Score2012 Score61South Africa4444424376India3838363676Brazil3843424383China37364039119Russia29272828 South Africa outranks all its BRICS counterparts. With a score above 40, it is perceived to be the least corrupt of the BRICS nations.Next 11 ScoresSouth Africa also does fairly well compared to the Next 11. Only South Korea is perceived as less corrupt with a score of 56.RankCountry/territory2015 Score2014 Score2013 Score2012 Score37Korea (South)5655555661South Africa4444424366Turkey4245504988Egypt3637323288Indonesia3634323295Mexico3535343495Philippines35383634112Vietnam31313131117Pakistan30292827130Iran27272528136Nigeria26272527139Bangladesh25252726How select African countries fare:South Africa ranks 7th least corrupt out of the 46 Sub-Saharan African countries included in the Index. It shares this rank with Lesotho and Senegal.RankCountry/territory2015 Score2014 Score2013 Score2012 Score28Botswana6363646545Namibia5349484856Ghana4748464561South Africa4444424388Morocco3639373788Algeria3636363488Egypt36373232103Ethiopia33333333112Malawi31333737117Tanzania30313335130Cameroon27272526136Nigeria26272527139Uganda25262629139Kenya25252727147DRC22222221150Zimbabwe21212120163South Sudan151514N/A163Angola15192322165Sudan121111131.3 Hot Topic: Mapping Corruption Levels in Africa As illustrated by the Table and Figure above, corruption poses a serious challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, with 36 of the 46 countries surveyed in the region scoring below 40. Most countries score particularly badly on rule of law and justice. “While some governments are reducing risks for business, there’s little change for citizens – as systemic corruption leaves many countries struggling to uphold basic rule of law.”2. South Africa’s Performance in the Afrobarometer/Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer 20152.1. BackgroundTransparency International has partnered with the Afrobarometer to produced the Africa Survey 2015 of the Global Corruption Barometer.[i]Unlike the Corruption Perception Index, which measures and ranks 175 countries based to perceptions of public sector corruption, the Africa Survey measures perceptions of corruption in the following sectors: the political and government elite (the president’s office, members of parliament, government officials), public officials who work at the service level (tax officials, the police, judges and magistrates, local government councillors), and those who are not part of the public sector but who often wield strong influence (business executives, religious leaders and traditional leaders).[ii]In only three of the countries surveyed did a slight majority of the population think their governments were doing well at well at fighting corruption, namely Botswana, Lesotho and Senegal.2.2. Public perceptions of corruption levelsThe survey asked respondents how they thought corruption in their country had changed over the past year, i.e. whether it had increased, decreased or stayed the same. Unfortunately, South Africa (along with Nigeria and Ghana) performed worst in this category,with 83% of respondents saying that they thought corruption had risen in the previous 12 months.Figure 1 below depicts the best and worst performing countries in terms of population perceptions of corruption over time.Figure 1: Perceptions of corruption movement over 12-month period2.3. Public Perceptions of government anti-corruption measures Figure 2 below shows that Malagasy citizens were most critical of their governments. However, South Africa, doesn’t fall far behind, with approximately four of five respondents rating government’s anti-corruption efforts poorly.Figure 2: Perceptions of government performance in fighting corruption2.4. Perception vs. RealityAt the same time, the survey also asked respondents whether they had been exposed to corruption risks in the past 12 months when engaging with six key public services: public schools, public healthcare, the police, courts, for official documents or for utilities. If they had come into contact with these services, they were asked whether “they had paid a bribe, given a gift or provided a favour in order to get the services they needed”.Here, South Africa ranks below the regional average in terms of bribery rates, with with less than one in ten respondents saying they had paid a bribe.Figure 3: Percentage of Public Service Users that had paid bribes2.5. Citizens’ role in stemming corruptionThe survey also gauged the extent to which citizens believed that they could make a difference to the levels of corruption in their countries. The authors state that: “Citizens should be able to play an important role in turning the tide against corruption – either through reporting corruption when they see it, refusing to pay bribes, or demanding governments take action against the corruption that they see in their country.”South Africans, much like the rest of their African counterparts, are divided on whether they can make a difference in stemming corruption, with many feeling disempowered (56% are optimistic, yet 44% remain sceptical). See Figure 4 below.Figure 4: Citizens’ ability to stem corruption2.6. Lessons for Brand SAThe Africa Survey 2015 attests to citizens’ relatively negative perception of government performance in combatting corruption. More interestingly, this perception rests less on personal experience of corruption with public service entities (e.g. having to pay bribes for services), as the majority interviewed here had not paid a bribe in the 12 months prior to participating in the survey.The implications of this finding point to two pertinent questions for Brand SA to consider:• The Global Corruption Barometer reveals an apparent disjuncture between citizens’ personal experience of corruption and their perceptions of the government structures not doing enough to stem corrupt activities. Perhaps this is an indication of a distinction that is made between “low level” and “high level” corruption. At the “high level”, perceptions of excessive “tenderpreneurship” – which enables those with the political influence to secure lucrative government contracts – prevail. At the lower level, it appears that most South African citizens interviewed had little personal exposure to corruption when engaging with key public services.• The Corruption Perception Index marks the country as “moderately corrupt”, and put into comparative perspective against BRICS counterparts, the Next 11 or its continental neighbours, South Africa does relatively well. That said, if SA wishes to be globally competitive, we should also be competing with the likes of South Korea and the UAE to shift perceptions of public and private sector institutions to encourage investment and build trust in leadership.Prepared by: Dr. Judy Smith-Höhn Brand South Africa’s Research Notes, Research Reports and Web Analyses communicate findings from Brand South Africa research, related panel discussions and analyses of global performance indices. The publications are intended to elicit comments, contribute to debate, and inform stakeholders about trends and issues that impact on South Africa’s reputation and overall competitiveness.Views expressed in Research Notes, Reports and Analyses are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of Brand South Africa, or the Government of the Republic of South Africa. Every precaution is taken to ensure the accuracy of information. However, Brand South Africa shall not be liable to any person for inaccurate information or opinions contained herein.Contacts Dr Petrus de Kock – General Manager Research – firstname.lastname@example.orgDr Judy Smith-Höhn- Research Manager – email@example.comMs Leigh-Gail Petersen – Researcher – firstname.lastname@example.org Endnotes [i] The index draws on 12 different data sources from 11 institutions that capture expert assessments and views of businesspeople of corruption nwithin the past two years. For the first time this year, TI also analysed statistically significant changes in CPI scores for countries over a three-year time period by comparing their CPI scores between 2012 and 2015. Twelve data sources were used to construct the Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, namely: 1) African Development Bank Governance Ratings 2014, 2) Bertelsmann Foundation Sustainable Governance Indicators 2015, 3) Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index 2016; 4) Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Ratings 2015; 5) Freedom House Nations in Transit 2015; 6) Global Insight Country Risk Ratings 2014; 7) IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2015; 8) Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Asian Intelligence 2015; 9) Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide 2015; 10) World Bank – Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2014; 11) World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey (EOS) 2015; and 12) World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2015 [ii] A total of 43,143 respondents across 28 sub-Saharan African countries were interviewed from March 2014 to September 2015 to gauge their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their respective countries.[iii] See Africa Survey, pg. 8[iv] See Africa Survey 2015, pg.12.
South Africa over the weekend inaugurated its sixth democratically elected President; Cyril Ramaphosa after the national general elections in May 2019. Brand South Africa congratulates his Excellency Ramaphosa and affirms its support to reinforce its role in building a brighter tomorrow.The Nation Brand image and reputation is strengthened by the resilience demonstrated by the vibrant constitution, and institutions that continuously and effortlessly manage the transition to a new dawn domestically and internationally.The Presidential inauguration was a momentous event for the nation and it is also imperative to acknowledge the Public servants who heeded the call and ensured a safe and successful event.The inauguration coincided with Africa Day, a day that commemorates the formation of the African Union in 1963 to acknowledge and celebrate Africa’s history, heritage and culture. This significant day is and will be forever an opportunity to celebrate our democratic values and system of governance.In his address, President Ramphosa expressed his appreciation; “I stand before you having just taken the oath to be President of our beautiful country, South Africa. I am humbled by the trust you have bestowed upon me, aware of the challenges our country faces, but also alive to the fact that our people are filled with hope for a better tomorrow.”As the country awaits the conclusion of its new administration and leadership, Brand South Africa urges citizens to continue to strengthen and build an inclusive economy and play their part in contributing towards economic stimulation/ for all. Brand South Africa also congratulates Members of the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures Parliament who were sworn in by Chief Justice.Remembering the theme of the inauguration, “Together Celebrating Democracy: Renewal and Growth for a Better South Africa”, as the foundation to ensure a South Africa all are proud to call home.“I am saying yes, South Africa Thuma Mina. And I pledge here today that I will serve you, I will work with you, side by side, to build South Africa that we all want and deserve. A new era has dawned in our country. A brighter day is rising upon South Africa and upon our beloved continent, Africa. Nkosi Sikelel’ Afrika”, concludes, President Ramaphosa’s address
Bangladesh government has renewed search for its missing liberation war fighters believed to have buried in graveyards in Tripura. A team led by two senior diplomats of the country on Tuesday visited a Muslim burial ground in South Ramnagar in Agartala and interacted with elders at the locality.This was second initiative in past five years of the Bangladesh government to identify grave of hundreds of its missing fighters who fell fighting Pakistani army during war of liberation in 1971. Though Bangladesh could not count on exact numbers, but stated that it would be several hundred.India’s External Affairs Ministry in 2013 advised Tripura government to support Bangladesh teams that would carry our search to mark graves of their liberation fighters. Especially west Tripura district administration was assigned to conduct a survey on its own to support Bangladesh officials.Two senior diplomats of Bangladesh Mission in Agartala, Assistant High Commissioner Shekhawat Hussain and First Secretary Mohammad Jakir Hussaid Bhuyan visited the graveyard at South Ramnagar, on edge of border with Bangladesh. During interactions with local elders they were appraised that some 150 dead Bengali freedom fighters were given burial at the graveyard in months of turmoil in 1971.The team officials took note of accounts of the eyewitnesses who oversaw the burials. They said they were under instruction to send a detailed report to their government for further action.So far Bangladesh search team could identify and disinter remains of Hamidur Rahman, who was posthumously conferred highest civilian award of the country, from Ambassa area in Dhalai district in December 2007. The remains were subsequently buried in Dhaka with full state honour.
The recently concluded PCJ Delhi Couture Week had all the ingredients of the perfect fashion extravaganza-glamour, bling, bollywood and of course high fashion. Simply Delhi brings you the highlights of the event. Actor Katrina Kaif walked the ramp in an ivory and gold lehenga choli for designer Manish Malhotra’s couture,The recently concluded PCJ Delhi Couture Week had all the ingredients of the perfect fashion extravaganza-glamour, bling, bollywood and of course high fashion. Simply Delhi brings you the highlights of the event.Actor Katrina Kaif walked the ramp in an ivory and gold lehenga choli for designer Manish Malhotra’s couture collection. Inspired by the classic style of 50’s and 60’s, the collection had elegant lehengas, ghararas, shervanis, pathani salwars and saris.A model sporting JJ Valaya’s couture collection titled Azrak, inspired by the Ottoman Empire.Sharmila Tagore walked the ramp for designer duo Ashima-Leena’s bridal couture collection Raag Rattan which had a vintage feel to it.Madhuri Dixit was the showstopper for designer Anju Modi’s collection Devi, inspired by Bengal. Traditional Indian fabrics like cotton, muslin and tussar ruled the ramp at her show.A model sashaying down the ramp in a Shatanu-Nikhil creation. The designer duo’s collection titled ‘She is the One’ was all about dark hues, vintage looks and hard silhouettes.Yesteryears star Sridevi walked the ramp for designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee for his collection, titled New Moon inspired by the designers’ travels across his favourite cities including New York, Kolkata, Berlin, Barcelona and Paris.Titled Royal Affaire, Manav Gangwani’s collection played with only three shades-blacks, ivories and reds. Cocktail gowns, lehengas, churidar kurtas, anarkalis, shararas, gararas and pre-draped saris in fabrics like silks, laces, velvet and satins ruled the show.
Distribution is where leaders throughout the production supply chain are looking to cut costs in 2008, according to opening remarks by Tom Fox, vice president of manufacturing and technology, American Express Publishing/Time Inc., at IDEAlliance’s Print Media Executive Summit in St. Petersburg, Florida last month. Fox, the conference chair, polled all attendees—top level executives in the paper, printing and magazine production fields—prior to the event and found that distribution trumped all other potential cost-cutting areas cited, including Asian paper import potential, improved print management through virtual tool adoption and finishing through automation and bindery productivity. Newsstand distribution took a big hit in January when roughly 1,000 magazine titles were cut from Wal-Mart’s shelves, affecting small and large publishers alike. At the time, Wal-Mart accounted for more than 15 percent of total U.S. magazine retail sales. But Doron Grosman, president of the magazine print solutions business at Quebecor World, sees recent newsstand hits as an opportunity for groups of publishers and groups of printers to collaborate on ways to better utilize printers’ capacity and assets and impose real change to distributor and wholesaler arrangements. “Right now, distribution is the tail that’s wagging the dog,” he said at the conference. “We have to address this as an industry. We’re being held hostage by distributors in terms of what they’re intending to do.” He says increasing publishers’ visibility into printers’ plants can help.Jerry Lynch, president of the International Periodical Distributors Association, a 37-year-old retail industry veteran and a Primex presenter, said the entire supply chain—publishers, printers, logistics, national distributors and wholesalers—needs to come together to find ways to add to retailers’ marketing messages. Retailers are contending with old pressures of space, gross margins, labor and inventory as well as new pressures of sustainability and simplicity of offerings, he says. Finding these types of solutions “will require commitment,” he said. “Unless the whole supply chain is engaged, it’s a challenge.”Ideas for Change Specific solutions the supply chain needs to come together on, according to Lynch, are improved sell-through rates; replenishment programs that offer an alternative to single drops of titles; product redesigns; improving speed to market; and scan-based trading, a process where suppliers own inventory in a retailer’s warehouse or store until items are actually scanned and purchased.According to ABC’s Fas-Fax numbers released in February, seven of the top 10 magazines in terms of total paid and verified circulation showed decreased single copy sales in the second half of 2007 versus 2006. Even with postal reform capping rate hikes at the rate of inflation and the news that this year’s increase for periodicals will be below that at 2.7 percent, the postal service has an exigency clause, as David Riebe, vice president of distribution at Quad/Graphics, pointed out at Primex. The clause would allow for hikes above the CPI index. “The USPS believes that applies to any time they can’t generate enough revenue to run their business with the CPI increase,” he said. With first class and standard mail flats down 15 and 13 percent respectively, exigency could be a threat, which makes keeping volumes up crucial.On top of that, presenters reminded the audience about the gravity of “Do Not Mail” legislation—a well-funded effort to restrict mail to requested-only pieces. “It’s an all or nothing situation that would lead to a drastically altered USPS and increased costs for all of us,” said Joel Quadracci, president and CEO of Quad/Graphics. Digital edition distribution is not seeming like a strong alternative either, at least not for the crowd at Primex. Guy Gleysteen, SVP of production at Time Inc., said, “We have not seen any fit for exact facsimile digital magazines to complement print or replace print. It has a niche mostly as a marketing vehicle.” What does work, he says, is integrating subsets of for-download content into a magazine’s Web site.
Sonia ThiyamPR HandoutSonia Thiyam’s blogging journey kick started during her final year of her MBBS. She won the competition for the south zone and that’s where it all started.After finishing the MBBS course, she started pursuing blogging as a full time career. For almost a year, she dedicated all her time and energy into creating content without having earned a single penny.Slowly, after one year, she started getting smaller projects that really kept her going and made her want to work harder towards her goals.There was no looking back ever since for Sonia Thiyam. She was a full time blogger and a part time doctor too.Sonia’s success did not come easily to her. She had to make her career decision against her family’s wishes and being the eldest in her family, there was a lot of pressure that she had to deal with.Despite all the hurdles, Sonia has put in intense efforts in her work to reach where she is. In spite of financial instability, she invested in hiring a photographer because she knew that good photos played a very important role in her blogging career.Eventually, many brands started noticing and liking her content and fashion curation. And soon they wanted her on board for campaigns and projects.Sonia’s approach to fashion is artistic, simple and all about comfort with a smart style. Her mind-blowing fashion sense is reflected through her photos on Instagram.Sonia Thiyam believes that one should notice and take inspiration from the tiniest details in their surroundings.For Sonia her job is a work of art; she doesn’t do it for fame, for her it’s about creating an impact. She wants to tell the youth to chase after their dreams regardless of the obstacles. She strongly feels one should love what they’re doing and make sure to live their dreams.
Under the influence of severe cyclonic storm Fani, sea remains high in Patenga, Chattogram on 3 May, 2019. Photo: Focus BanglaVery severe cyclonic storm Fani has weakened into a severe cyclonic one and it is likely to reach Khulna and southwestern part of Bangladesh between midnight and Saturday morning, reports UNB. Fani has moved north-northeastwards, weakened further and currently lies over coastal Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal adjoining area, Met office said on Friday night.Maximum sustained wind speed within 64 kms of the storm centre is about 100kph, rising to 120kph in gusts/squalls. Sea will remain high.The danger level remains 7 for the maritime ports of Mongla and Payra and the coastal districts of Bhola, Barguna, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira and offshore islands and chars.Chattogram port has been advised to keep hoisted danger signal No. 6. The same warning level has been announced for Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Feni and Chandpur and their offshore islands and chars.The danger level at Cox’s Bazar port remains four.Under the influence of the severe cyclonic storm and the new moon phase, the low-lying areas of the coastal districts of Chattogram, Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Feni, Chandpur, Barguna, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barishal, Pirojpur, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and their offshore islands and chars are likely to be inundated by storm surge of 2-4 feet height above normal astronomical tide.Bangladesh has been feeling the peripheral effect of Fani since morning. A number of villages and shoals in coastal districts have already been inundated.Under its influence, sky remains overcast and rainfall is taking place at many places over the country.All fishing boats and trawlers over the North Bay and deep sea have been advised to remain in shelter till further notice.Meanwhile, state minister for disaster management and relief Enamur Rahman has said 1,240,795 people have been evacuated to cyclone centres in coastal districts till Friday evening.As many as 4,071 cyclone centres have been opened in 19 coastal districts while directives have been issued to use schools and colleges as shelter centres.Around 200,000 people took shelter in Khulna while 50,220 in Satkhira, 43,430 in Bagerhat, 25,000 in Pirojpur, 142,325 in Barguna, 3.5 lakh in Patuakhali, 8,120 in Barishal, 1.90 lakh in Bhola, 94,000 in Noakhali, 15,000 in Lakshmipur, 15,000 in Feni, 51,000 in Chattogram, 10,000 in Cox’s Bazar, 12,000 in Jhalakati, 5,000 in Chandpur, 15,000 in Shariatpur, 5,000 in Madaripur, 4,000 in Gopalganj, 4,500 people in Faridpur.The state minister said the district administrations have been directed to take necessary measures to minimise the extent of damage by the severe cyclone.Sufficient dry food, safe drinking water and medicine have been kept at the shelters, added Enamur Rahman.The Navy has deployed 32 ships in Chattogram, Khulna and Mongla for emergency rescue operations and relief work. Naval contingents are on standby for immediate deployment in coastal areas, ISPR said in a press release.The government has also set up control rooms. The National Disaster Response Coordination Centre is providing updates.