20 May 2020

20 May News: UN Expert Thinks CAA Has Sparked More Hate Speech, Discrimination Against Minorities. Won't accept Nepal's artificial enlargement of territorial claims says India. Indian Virus Looks More Lethal Than Chinese, Italian, Attacks Nepal PM, blames India for spreading coronavirus


20 May 2020: 26 Ramazan 1441: Vol: 12, No: 214


UN Expert Thinks CAA Has Sparked More Hate Speech, Discrimination Against Minorities


New Delhi: In a strong statement, a senior UN official has expressed concern that the adoption of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, has led to rising number of hate speech and discrimination against minority communities. In a press note issued through UN, the special advisor on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, said that while objective of the act to provide protection to minorities is commendable, “it is concerning that this protection is not extended to all groups, including Muslims.”“This is contrary to India’s obligations under international human rights law, in particular on non-discrimination,” he stated. Dieng joins a chorus of voices from UN, starting from the secretary general Antonio Guterres to UN human rights chief, who have been critical about CAA. UN high commissioner for human rights Michele Bachelet had also moved an intervention application in the Supreme Court in the hearings against CAA. Referring to protests, May 18 statement noted that UN special advisor expressed concern over reports that demonstrations “had reportedly resulted in the injury and death of civilians, attacks on religious sites, as well as an increase in expressions of hate against India’s Muslim community”.On hate speech, he specifically mentions by name a ruling party parliamentarian as especially worrisome. “…statements such as those expressed by MP Subramanian Swamy, that all people are not equal, and that Muslims are not in an ‘equal category’ as others are extremely alarming. Hate speech and the dehumanisation of others goes against international human rights norms and values”.thewire


Subramanian Swamy threatens to sue UN Under-Secretary-General for ‘slander’ on comments related to Muslims


BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has threatened to sue UN Under-Secretary-General Adama Dieng for expressing his concern over the comments attributed to the former that Muslims were not the equal citizens of India. Swamy’s comments on Muslims had triggered social media backlash with many raising issue of his journalist daughter’s marriage to a Muslim. Swamy took to Twitter to threaten to sue him. He wrote, “UN Under-Secretary-General Mr. Adama Dieng slandered me in a press release in New York saying I had said in an interview to a Pakistani owned TV channel that Muslims are not equal to Hindus in Indian Constitution. This is a blatant lie so I will take steps to sue him in court.”jantakareporter

'We mistook you for Muslim. You had long beard. Man who assaulted you is a staunch Hindu...whenever Muslim arrested, he beats them up brutally': MP Cops apologise after beating up lawyer


In Madhya Pradesh’s Betul, an incident which is striking in its example of Islamophobia and police highhandedness has come to light. On March 23, a lawyer Deepak Bundele was beaten up brutally by state police while he was on his way to a government hospital for treatment. A month later, he is under pressure from police to withdraw his complaint. Police officials, in their defence, told Bundele that he was beaten up because they had wrongly identified him as a Muslim man. Bundele said that on March 23, between 5.30 and 6 pm, he was on his way to the hospital when he was stopped by the police. “The nationwide lockdown hadn’t come into place then but Section 144 had been imposed in Betul. I have been an acute diabetic and blood pressure patient for the last 15 years. Since I was not feeling well, I decided to visit the hospital and get some medicines. But I was stopped by the police midway.”Bundele, who sports a beard, said that he explained to police personnel that he had to get his medicines but one of them slapped him without trying to listen to what he was saying. “I told them that they should act within constitutional limits, and that I was ready to be detained under Section 188 of IPC if the police thought so. On hearing this, the police personnel lost their temper, and started abusing me and the Indian constitution. Within no time, many police officials came and started beating me up with sticks,” Bundele said. He wrote subsequent letters to CM, human rights commission, Chief Justice and top officials. Since then, he alleged, police have been trying really hard to get him to withdraw the complaint. However, Bundele didn’t budge. In his March 24 complaint to SP he requested district police to file an FIR against incident. On that basis, a few police officials came to his house on May 17 to record his version. This is when the police told him that this was a case of mistaken identity, and that the police officials thought he was a Muslim. According to the voice recording Bundele shared with The Wire, voices allegedly belonging to police officials are heard saying that his assault was a mistake on the part of a few officials who thought he was a Muslim because of his beard. Then they go on to say that police generally support the Hindus in a situation of communal riots. Bundele clarified that there was no Hindu-Muslim riot that day, and asked whether he was beaten for being wrongly identified as a Muslim. Police officials agreed, and said:“Yes, exactly. You had a long beard. The man (who assaulted you) is a kattar (staunch) Hindu…In Hindu-Muslim riots whenever a Muslim is arrested, he beats them up brutally, always.”An FIR against this case has still not been registered, Bundele said.The Wire


Plea to strike down Delhi Minorities Commission Act; HC seeks AAP's stand


Delhi High Court has sought AAP govt's response to a plea claiming that Delhi Minorities Commission Act was invalid and seeking removal of DMC chairperson Zafarul Islam Khan.A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula asked Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor's office to file a status report regarding the allegations in the petition and listed the matter for hearing on May 21.Delhi government additional standing counsel Anupam Srivastava, who also appeared for LG's office, told the court that in another petition seeking removal of Khan from his post, a single judge bench had on May 11 asked the administration to take a decision on the issue expeditiously as his term is set to expire on July 14.The latest petition, by social worker Vikram Gahlot, has contended that Delhi Assembly did not have the powers to enact DMC Act and therefore, the statute be declared as ultra vires the Constitution and be struck down. Gahlot has also contended that since the Act was not valid, the appointments made under it, including that of the chairman, would also be invalid.PTI


JNU violence case: Only urgent matters to be taken up due to COVID-19, says court


New Delhi :A Delhi court has refused to grant early hearing on a plea seeking registration of FIR in a matter related to an attack on students and teachers on the JNU campus on Jan.5, saying only “urgent matters“ were to be taken up during the present condition posed due to Covid-19 .The court was hearing a plea filed by Sucharita Sen, who suffered head injuries during the attack by masked people inside the campus on Jan.5, seeking early hearing of an application for registration of an FIR in a case related to injuries to her.“The reasons for preponment of the application…of the complainant are not found to be plausible. Further, in the present condition posed due to Covid-19 Pandemic, the courts are to take only the urgent matters.“It is beyond the comprehension of the court as what prejudice will be caused to the complainant if already pending application…is not preponed,” the court said on Tuesday.DM Vasundhra Chhaunkar passed the order after noting from a status report filed by CrimeBranch of Delhi Police that investigation of FIR already registered regarding the mob violence at JNU was in progress and Delhi HC has already directed to investigating agency to expedite the matter.The court noted that the application seeking lodging of a separate FIR was already listed for hearing on June 18 before a court concerned.PTI


Delhi riots: HC asks for police response on Shahrukh Pathan’s bail plea


 Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the response of the city police on a plea by Shahrukh Pathan, one of the persons accused in the north-east Delhi riots case who had brandished a gun at a police constable, after he moved the court seeking bail.Justice Prateek Jalan directed Investigating Officer (IO) to file a status report on the plea by Pathan, wherein he sought interim bail from the court to look after his ailing father in Uttar Pradesh. 23-year-old Pathan was arrested on March 3 from UP’s Shamli district.The court also asked IO to verify all the medical reports of Pathan’s father after his counsel, Asghar Khan, contended that he needed to be with his father as he would be undergoing knee surgery. Pathan had moved the High Court challenging a decision of the trial court, which denied him bail on May 9. HT


UP’s Leader of Opposition Seeks Azam Khan’S Release


LUCKNOW – Leader of Opposition in the UP Assembly Ram Govind Chaudhary has written to Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit urging him to ensure the release of Samajwadi Party MP Mohd Azam Khan, his wife Tazeen Fatima and son Abdullah Azam on compassionate grounds on the occasion of Eid.All three have been lodged in Sitapur jail since February.In his letter, Ram Govind Chaudhary said Azam Khan was unwell while his wife had recently suffered a fracture when she fell down in the jail.IANS


Local Dispute in Siliguri Falsely Blamed on ‘Muslim Immigrants’: thequint


A viral video showing a woman crying for help is being shared on social media with a false claim that it involved a house being vandalised by 'illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh'.However, message was found to be completely misleading. The woman's family got into a dispute with their neighbours over the disposal of garbage bags following which clashes broke out between the two parties. The incident is being shared with a false communal spin.A viral video shows a woman crying and claiming that her brother was taken into custody by police after her house was vandalised. "They do this with us every time. Is it because we don't have a guardian?", she can be heard asking.thequint


MP: Mahasabha observes Godse’s birth anniversary again; Congress fumes


Despite lockdown, like every year, the members of Gwalior Hindu Mahasabha celebrated the the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse on Tuesday. Dozens of Mahasabha members gathered at Daulatganj office in Gwalior and lit 111 earthen lamps on 111th birth anniversary of Godse. They also paid tribute to his main accomplice Narayan Apte and distributed sweets.Last year, on November 15, 2019, the Mahasabha had observed 70th death anniversary of Godse and his main collaborator Narayan Apte's hanging as ‘Balidan Diwas’ and burnt crackers. As the matter came to light, the Congress, which was in power in the State, ordered Gwalior police to register a case against the Mahasabha workers.


Common entrance test for college ruled out, DU, AMU, BHU will have to continue own admissions


New Delhi: Students anxious about college admissions for the 2020-21 session will have to wait for some more time to get clarity on the status of various entrance examinations that were postponed by universities and colleges in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown.This is because holding of a single entrance examination for all higher education institutions — an idea suggested to UGC by an expert committee to tide over the crisis — has been ruled out, ThePrint has learnt.So now, all states and central institutions have been left on their own to decide the mechanism and the time of admissions.


Delhi Police participated in anti-Muslim pogrom:IAMC


Delhi Police has been complicit in the anti-Muslim pogrom and is now using COVID 19 lockdown to unleash witch-hunt on Muslim students and activists who participated in anti Citizenship law protests, says Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). The pogrom is widely acknowledged to have been sparked by incendiary comments made by Kapil Mishra, a BJP leader, about Muslims peacefully protesting against ‘anti-Muslim and unconstitutional’ citizenship law. Video evidence and witness accounts pointed to Delhi police allowing Hindu mobs to roam the streets freely to target the Muslim community.IAMC has shared a video on YouTube and it claimed that Delhi Police which comes directly under India’s Home Ministry participated in Delhi pogrom.Maktoob


Cyclone Amphan Live : Death toll climbs to 4 as storm ravages West Bengal


Extremely severe cyclone Amphan, packing winds of up to 190 kmph roared into West Bengal on Wednesday, dumping heavy rain and leaving a trail of destruction that left at least 4 people dead. After making landfall at 2.30 pm between Digha in West Bengal and and Hatiya island in Bangladesh, Cyclone Amphan cut a swathe through the coastal areas, flattening fragile dwellings, uprooting trees and electric poles. At least 6.58 lakh people were evacuated in West Bengal and Odisha before the cyclone struck. NDRF said that 20 teams of the federal disaster response force had already begun road clearing operations in Odisha, while 19 units deployed in West Bengal were shifting people to safety. Indiatoday



Nepal’s new map claims territories of India in west, asserts control over Susta in east


Nepal has officially unveiled a new political map of the country showing the regions of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh of Uttarakhand, as part of its sovereign territory. Launching the map at a press conference, Minister of Land Management Padma Kumari Aryal said the government of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli was committed to protecting territorial sovereignty and integrity of the country.“It is a historic moment of happiness for the people of Nepal. The govt will not allow erosion of self-esteem of our people. Nepal will publish the new map and make it part of the school textbooks,” said Aryal.The area of Susta near Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh also appears to be part of Nepal in new map. Kathmandu claims that India has encroached upon this area claiming large tracts of land and wants Delhi to evacuate the population from the region. The publication of the new map came less than a fortnight after India announced building a road to the Lipulekh pass, which will cut travelling time to Tibet’s Manasarovar pilgrimage centre. Nepal had reacted angrily, asserting that the area belongs to Kathmandu and Mr. Oli said his government was willing to give a road to Tibet on lease to India without surrendering the region.“We look forward to begin diplomatic negotiations with friendly nation of India regarding the territorial claims”, Aryal said on Wednesday.


Won't accept Nepal's artificial enlargement of territorial claims: India


India today said Nepal's claim to Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani was "artificial enlargement of territorial claim" and will not be accepted.Asked about the matter today, the foreign ministry said Nepal government's "unilateral act is not based on historical facts and evidence".The move, ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, was also contrary to bilateral understanding to resolve outstanding boundary issues through dialogue."Nepal is well aware of India's consistent position on this matter and we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope that the Nepalese leadership will create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues," he added.


Indian Virus Looks More Lethal Than Chinese, Italian,  Attacks Nepal PM,  blames India for spreading coronavirus


Kathmandu: After a "new map" claiming parts of Indian territory, Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli has delivered a new shocker in his offensive against India. Virus from India "looks more lethal" than Chinese and Italian, Oli said in a speech in parliament, blaming India for the spread of coronavirus cases in his country. "Those who are coming from India through illegal channels are spreading the virus in the country and some local representatives and party leaders are responsible for bringing in people from India without proper testing," Oli said in his speech in Tuesday, his first in parliament since a major health scare. "It has become very difficult to contain COVID-19 due to the flow of people from outside. Indian virus looks more lethal than Chinese and Italian now. More are getting infected," said Nepal PM, in comments that have baffled New Delhi and outraged officials in India. This has escalated the rift between India and Nepal over a new road inaugurated by India.Oli also said Nepal would "bring back at any cost" Kalapani-Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh area, which is part of Indian territory.Recently, Nepal cabinet had endorsed a new political map incorporating Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani, which are part of Indian territory.


Tensions escalate along LAC in Sikkim as China accuses India of trespass


China has accused Indian army of crossing into its territory and “blocking” its patrols and “attempting to unilaterally change the status” on LAC between two countries in Sikkim and Ladakh.The strongly worded statement made available to the media by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs marks an escalation in the current tensions at LAC between them and threatens to bring what Indian govt has thus far maintained were “actions by both armies on the ground” into a diplomatic face-off between countries, most serious such event since the Doklam face-off in 2017.In the statement released on Tuesday in Chinese, MFA in Beijing referred to the recent skirmish in Sikkim, claiming that “the Indian army has crossed the line across the western section of the Sino-Indian border and the Sikkim section to enter Chinese territory”. Sikkim’s Naku La pass is one of 4 areas that have seen aggressive action between Chinese and Indian troops since mid-April this year, according to sources.


Chinese bring more boats to lake in Ladakh, Indians a road


2 weeks after Indian and Chinese troops came to blows near Pangong Tso, a lake in eastern Ladakh, Chinese have stepped up patrols and deployed more boats on the lake. They are also objecting to Indian construction of a vehicle track, and patrols beyond a certain point.The tensions in Ladakh, officials said, can worsen the situation elsewhere along LAC.The number of Chinese patrol boats, sources said, have gone up three times — they had earlier been using only three boats. Indian Army also has a similar number of boats to dominate 45-km long western portion of the lake which is under Indian control.

Srinagar Encounter Leaves Kashmiris Homeless amid Coronavirus


Srinagar:Switching on the flashlight of her mobile phone, Shakeela searched for her husband’s medical prescriptions in the charred remains of her house in Srinagar, Kashmir, on Tuesday night. 50-year-old woman perused the rubble for about 30 minutes before she sat down on a pile of debris and said, “They have burned everything. Oh my god, what will I do now? Where would I go? My husband is unwell and my children are young. Where do I take them in this (coronavirus) pandemic?” Shakeela’s house was destroyed on the afternoon of 19 May in a gunfight between militants and Indian security forces in the densely populated neighbourhood of Nawakadal in Srinagar. 2 militants were killed in the 12-hour long joint operation carried out by the J&K Police and CRPF. 3 CRPF personnel and one policeman were injured, according to the J&K Police. This was the second operation to hunt for militants in Srinagar after 2018 encounter in Fateh Kadal locality that killed two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, a policeman and a civilian. huffingtonpost

Bombarding a Locality: Srinagar Residents Left Homeless after Encounter That Killed Two Militants



J&K: BSF jawan killed, another injured in militant attack


Srinagar:One BSF jawan was killed and another injured in a militant attack on the outskirts of Srinagar, bordering central Kashmir's Ganderbal district, on Wednesday afternoon.A Srinagar-based police spokesman said the two BSF jawans were manning a checkpoint on the outskirts of the Srinagar city at Pandach Chowk when they were fired upon by militants."Two to three bike-borne militants were involved in the attack. One jawan died and another was evacuated to a hospital in Srinagar," police said.According to officials at hospital, second jawan was "critical". Preliminary reports suggest the militants also managed to decamp with the service rifles of the BSF jawans.


Omar Abdullah appeals to PM Modi for release of J&K politicians ahead of Eid


Srinagar: Former J&K chief minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for release of detained politicians ahead of the Eid festival.Since his release, Omar Abdullah has made frequent appeals for the release of detained political leaders and those under house arrest.“We are days away from Eid. @narendramodi ji should order the release of all detained politicians in J&K, whether under formal detention orders or informal house arrest. They have done nothing to deserve being locked away for as long as they’ve been,”tweeted Omar.Omar Abdullah also questioned J&K govt for not replying to the petition challenging the slapping of PSA on NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sager, who is under detention since August 5. HT




A Black Eid for Tablighi Jamaatis? No Release of Quarantined Men Even After 45 Days


Lucknow: Maroof Ansari (name changed) has completed almost 49 days in a quarantine centre, triple the period he was supposed to be in the government isolation ward in Barabanki, 26 km away from the state capital of Uttar Pradesh. He wonders why he has still not been allowed to go home."It has been almost one and half months and two coronavirus tests which came out negative, yet I am held up in this centre. I am not being allowed to go home, or even meet my family members," Ansari, 59, told NewsClick from the quarantine centre in Barabanki's Haidargad area. "This will be a black Eid for us, it seems," he adds.Ever since Tablighi Jamaat members were held accountable for spreading the virus by Right-wing groups, a section of the media left no stone unturned to communally polarise the pandemic by targeting TablighiJamaat and describing the Nizamuddin Markaz incident as “corona terrorism."Ansari said for the first time in his living memory, he, along with 13 others, all of them from Saharanpur, observed 25 'rozas' (fast) at a quarantine centre.Ansari and others, all members of Tablighi Jamaat, were brought to Bilali Masjid, Court Wali Masjid and Umar Masjid quarantine facilities on March 13. A diabetic, he had to run from pillar to post for his medicines. Mohd Kamran (name changed) also said that despite completing 49 days in different centres, they were not being released. He said everyone had tested negative, yet were being confined for over thrice the mandatory coronavirus isolation period of 14 days, which was“tantamount” to illegal detention. Some of them questioned why they were being punished after Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad’s name appeared, holding him responsible for outbreak. Kamran also expressed frustration over the lack of food for sehri and iftar, making it difficult for them to observe the fast during the holy month.Mohd Tarique Khan, a senior journalist based in Barabanki, told NewsClick, "On March 13, at least 48 people, 13 from Saharanpur and 35 people from Assam landed up in Barabanki's Banki area. Khan said between May 13 to 17, people from Assam, when they got permission, after a month, left Barabanki in their own conveyance, but 13 Tablighi members of Saharanpur did not get permission even after 49 days.NewsClick spoke to Adarsh Singh, DM of Barabanki, but he refused to comment on why Tablighi members were being kept in quarantine for such a long period even after testing negative. He said he was just following government directives.newsclick


Anger over long quarantine for Tablighi members; Christian leaders, activists  denounces rights violation


New Delhi: Church leaders and activists in India's capital have expressed dismay over the plight of Tablighi Jamaat members who have remained in quarantine centers beyond the mandatory 14-day period to stem the spread of Covid-19. Sabiha Quadri, a social worker who lodged a petition at Delhi High Court, alleged that 3,300 members of Islamic missionary movement have remained at various quarantine centers for over a month despite testing negative for the coronavirus. “It is a total violation of human rights because, according to federal government guidelines, a suspected person can be kept at a quarantine center for 14 days during which if a person is tested negative, he or she has to be released. It is their right,” Father Denzil Fernandes, director of the Jesuit-run Indian Social Institute in New Delhi, told UCA News.“We are not sure why the government is failing to take appropriate steps to release Tablighi Jamaat members, but there is general feeling and fear among people that they are the ones responsible for the spread of this disease.“People are turning to the courts for justice as the government is in reserve mode. It is time that we unite irrespective of caste, creed and religion and fight this pandemic together.” In his petition, Quadri sought directions from authorities to comply with the guideline of the 14-day quarantine and to form a high-level committee to investigate the issue.“It is very unfortunate that some people are trying to give it a communal color. Some fundamentalists are trying to push their agenda on particular communities,” Shabnam Hashmi, founder of ANHAD told UCA News.ucanews


Food, milk, sanitary pads: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind turns saviour for migrants passing through Bhopal


Bhopal:Unperturbed by how the word 'Jamaat' has been vilified after members of Tablighi Jamaat were accused of spreading the coronavirus, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has set up a 24-hour helpdesk on Vidisha Bypass road on the outskirts of Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal where passing migrant labourers are being provided with food and other essentials. Jamaat-e-Islami volunteers have ensured food for those who are hungry, milk for children, shoes and slippers for those undertaking long, arduous journeys back home on foot and medicine for those who are sick. India Today TV visited helpdesk post-midnight on Monday and found a spirited team of Jamaat volunteers rushing towards every bus that passed with migrant labourers.“This is not from any politician or any political party, this is not even help, you are us, so please accept these,” volunteers could be seen appealing to migrant labourers as they offered them food, water, fruits, biscuits and milk. “It is not just food and water, we have even bought sanitary pads for women who need them. These men, women and children are in distress, they just need human help,” a volunteer said. While many tired labourers took what they were offered from the bus windows, there were some who got overwhelmed with emotion and got down from the buses to express their gratitude.“My friend and I started from Ahmedabad on foot 3 days back. On the way, we met both the good and the bad. Some truck drivers took pity on us and offered us lift but we were also robbed of the little money that we had. We reached Bhopal and here these people gave us food. We are from West Bengal and these people have now promised us that they will put us on a train to Bihar from where we will go home,” Mohammad Akram, migrant labourer said.Shakeel Bhai, man behind mobilising humanitarian assistance said, “We have to look at these people with sympathy, they are us, they are from our neighbouring states and how can we sleep peacefully if our neighbours starve?”“Jamaat-e-Islami has been running 5 community kitchens in the city for the past one month and close to 10,000 food packets are distributed among the poor every day,"he added.India Today


RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh protests against changes to labour laws, petitions President


Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), labour arm of RSS, on Wednesday organised a nationwide protest against what it called was the “black ordinance brought by the govts of Uttar Pradesh, MP and Gujarat” and “unilateral” changes in labour laws by 11 other states. Workers associated with the BMS held a demonstration and submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to put a halt to the changes announced by the states.The protests were carried out in small groups with the members maintaining social distancing norms, the BMS said.“The protest is against-not making proper facilities for migrant labourers; non payment of wages for the lockdown period; irregularities in providing Covid-19 benefits; not making travel arrangement for migrant labourers to return to their home states; increasing working hours from 8-12 hours and unbridled privatisation,” BMS general secretary Vrijesh Upadhaya said.


“We are discriminated because of our names”, UP’s Muslim vendors fear brutality amid lockdown


Saharanpur: “A few days before, I was standing at the roadside to sell my fruits, a policeman came and he smashed me with his stick,”says 40-year-old Afzal who sells watermelon at one of busiest roadsides in Saharanpur. Afzal has been a vendor since childhood.“It is very hard to earn and eat these days,” adds Afzal. Afzal says he is afraid and can’t trust anyone.“So I don’t go to colonies to sell my fruits,” he says, adding, “Some people may ask for my identity card but they will beat me even if I will show them”. In April, a video from Badarpur area of Delhi went viral showing a vegetable vendor getting beaten up by a man who is accompanied by at least three other persons. The assailant asks vendor for an identity card and his name. The vendor responds that he does not have an ID card at the moment and his name is Mohammad Saleem. On hearing this, Saleem is verbally abused and hit with a stick. Assailant hitting Saleem says,“You people are doing jihad.”Incidents like these have created fear among Muslim vendors for selling their goods amid ongoing pandemic.Afzal said that previously he would bring fruits from the Mandi and sell them at retail price. “But now I tell my fellow vendors to get some for me because I don’t have a curfew pass,” he says.twocircles


Do not go to barber shops owned by Muslims, Uttarakhand BJP MLA advises people


In an Islamophobic social media post, Mahendra Bhatt, a ruling BJP MLA of Uttarakhand, has said to people to be cautious while visiting barbershops and beauty parlors by Muslims which opened in the state today.“The people should ensure that ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ is written in barbershops, targeting barbers belonging to the Muslims, Bhatt has advised the general public to go to the barbershops owned by Hindus.A majority of the barbershops in the state even in Garhwal and Kumaon hills are owned by Muslims from Uttar Pradesh, according to National Herald.maktoobmedia


Migrant workers return home against all odds — only to be seen as carriers of the virus


Pune :Riyaz Ali, a 25-year-old migrant labourer working in Pune, knew “2-days” was the distance between him and his family back in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur. That’s the time he would take by train. However, when he set out for home last week to escape the hardships triggered by the lockdown, he found out – for the first time – that Rampur was 1,460 km away and it could even turn out to be a journey of “full 7 days”.Riyaz had to camp on the highway on Pune outskirts for 2 days before he could board a bus running illegally to Lucknow and after paying 3 times the usual fare. When he reached Lucknow, he squeezed in with 20-odd passengers of an ‘essential supplies’ tempo carrying wheat-flour bags for another five hours before he could finally make it.Once home, an exhausted Riyaz “ate like a horse” and then slept for “a day and a night” straight. He woke up to a ruckus outside his door.A neighbour, who was also a distant relative, had come to know of Riyaz’s return from ‘Covid-19 hotspot’ Pune and was quarrelling with the family for letting Riyaz return and “put everyone in the village in harms’ way”. Riyaz showed him a medical certificate he had obtained before leaving Pune that stated he had no COVID-19 symptoms and also offered to be quarantined for 14 days in the village school.Nothing would, however, calm down the neighbour. “People go to the city when they want money and run to the village when in danger,” was his refrain.The neighbour, said Riyaz, had previously requested him to look for work for his son in Pune. “Now this same person is treating me as if I have committed a crime by going away to earn,” said Riyaz over the phone from his village in Tanda tehsil of Rampur district.Rushing home against all odds only to discover that you are no longer welcome is a predicament being faced by many among the millions of migrant workers who have returned, and are still in the process of returning, to their native places in the wake of the pandemic.In Uttar Pradesh, local health workers are surveying the returned migrants and testing those who show primary symptoms. On May 18, 44 workers who had returned from Pune to Basti district 2 days earlier in a truck, were found positive.


Maharashtra: Labourer dies of hunger, dehydration while walking home


Mumbai :A 40-year-old farm labourer died of hunger and dehydration while walking to his native place in Maharashtra’s Parbhani district from Pune, police said on Wednesday. Pintu Pawar was found dead on Monday at Dhanora village in Beed district, located about 200 km from his native place, Ambhora police station’s assistant inspector Dnyneshwar Kuklare told PTI.“The postmortem was later done and it was found that he died of excessive walking, hunger and dehydration around May 15,” the official said.PTI


Gujarat: Migrant workers ‘attack police, vandalise property’; 35 arrested


Ahmedabad :As many as 35 persons were arrested on Monday after a group of migrant workers employed at the IIM Ahmedabad site in Vastrapur area vandalised office property, government vehicles and assaulted police personnel and other workers, demanding that they be allowed to return home.Police said they fired tear gas shells and resorted to lathicharge when the irate group assaulted other workers, pelted stones at police teams and vandalised properties. All 35 arrested are from Jharkhand, they added. According to police, around 10 am on Monday, Vastrapur police station received a message that a mob of over 250-300 migrant workers had assembled at the GMDC Ground behind Alpha One mall, demanding that they be allowed to go back to their home states.


At 13 lakh, Ahmedabad tops list of people under containment


With five percent of the total population in Gujarat put under containment (based on data provided by the state health department), the highest numbers are in Ahmedabad. Nearly 13 lakh persons residing in 2,61,511 houses are contained in ten wards and one pocket of the city.Being the city with the highest number of Covid-19 cases and mortality rate in Gujarat, this is nearly 23 per cent of its population (as per census 2011).As per the list of containment zones in the state issued by health dept.on Tuesday, Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara have been put under the red zone. 3 districts also have the highest number of coronavirus cases in Gujarat.Of the remaining 30 districts in the state, 17 are in the orange zone while 13 are in green zone.indianexpress



Stones pelted at police at Delhi-Gurugram border over movement restriction


A group of people pelted stones at police at Delhi-Gurugram border near Palam Vihar. The incident took place allegedly after they were not allowed to cross the border. The stone-pelters, said to be migrant workers, were trying to cross border and enter Gurugram. On Tuesday, Haryana government has ordered for strict implementation of Centre’s guidelines during lockdown 4.0. MHA has allowed resumption of economic and other activities with restrictions, except in containment zones.HT


Muslim Youth Who Sat by Hindu Friend Narrates Harrowing Experience of Taking Body Home


Last week, a heart-wrenching picture of a Muslim youth sitting beside his ailing Hindu friend holding his head in his lap won internet. However, this heartwarming tale did not have a happy ending.On night of May 16, ailing Amrit took his last breath at Shivpuri hospital in Madhya Pradesh. Devastated by the demise of his friend, Mohd Sayyum had a harrowing experience in taking back his friend’s body to native place in Basti, Uttar Pradesh. Shivpuri administration declined to offer an ambulance and on Monday evening after hours of hardship the ambulance arrived.Both Sayyum (23) and Amrit (24) were part of a group that was heading to Uttar Pradesh from Surat, Gujarat. They worked at a yarn making unit in Surat and lived together in the city.The day when both were travelling in a truck, Amrit felt uneasiness, following which the fellow passengers got scared of corona and asked the driver to drop him then and there. Concerned that how his ailing friend would manage treatment, Sayyum too alighted at Shivpuri. Keeping Amrit’s head in his lap, crying at Shivpuri highway, Sayyum sought help from passersby.news18


Domestic flight services to resume from Monday


Centre on Wednesday said domestic flight services would resume from Monday in a “calibrated manner”, laying the ground for gradual resumption of scheduled commercial flight operations that have been shut since March 25. “Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday. All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from May 25. SOPs for passenger movement are also being separately issued by Ministry of Civil Aviation,” Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.indianexpress


Railways To Run 200 Non-AC Trains Daily From June 1, Online Bookings Soon


New Delhi: Passenger train service will expand from the existing 15 trains to more than 200 starting next month. The service will involve non-air conditioned trains, which had not been allowed so far. The 15 trains that have been running since May 12, are air-conditioned trains and the passengers are required to maintain rules of social distancing and use masks and sanitisers.In a tweet on Tuesday, the Railways said apart from the Shramik Special trains, it would run "200 additional timetable trains daily from June 1, which will be non-air conditioned second class trains and booking of these trains will be available online". 

Only 4 of 5,630 random samples positive in Kerala; India tests a lakh in a day


After a lull of nearly 3 weeks, Kerala added 139 Covid-19 cases in last 10 days but govt has ruled out community spread of the virus based on random testing done on 5,630 samples, of which only four tested positive.After his daily review meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that the state had tested 5,630 samples as part of sentinel surveillance — a method of random testing where samples were collected from asymptomatic health workers, the elderly, those under quarantine, truck drivers and traders in markets, and primary and secondary cases of positive cases, among others. Samples were also collected from areas where no positive cases were reported. Of the total samples, four tested positive, 5,340 returned negative and results are awaited for the rest.

Stimulus package pure 'cheating'; Centre treating states like 'beggars': Telangana CM


 Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao has hit out at Modi-led NDA government over the fiscal stimulus package, accusing it of treating states like "beggars" and imposing "laughable" conditions for increasing borrowing limits under FRBM Act.This is 'pure cheating. Betrayal. Jugglery of numbers. All gas.' Centre has reduced its own prestige, he said while referring to conditions linked to increased borrowing limits for states under FRBM Act."This is a very cruel package. It is fully in a feudal policy and dictatorial attitude. We fully condemn this. This is not what we asked for," Rao, who had supported several measures taken by the Centre so far in the fight against coronavirus, said.PTI


UP Congress chief arrested again after getting bail in Agra


Congress' UP President Ajay Kumar Lallu was granted interim bail by a local court in Agra on Wednesday. He was asked to furnish a personal bond of Rs 20,000 for his release. Minutes after his release, Lallu was again arrested by a team of Lucknow police that had reached Agra earlier in the day.Congress media coordinator Lalan Kumar confirmed that Lallu had been rearrested and was being brought to Lucknow.Lallu was booked in a case of fraud and forgery by Lucknow police on Tuesday night for allegedly submitting wrong details of 1,000 buses sought by the state govt.IANS


Paste BJP flags on buses, but let us get the migrants home: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra


New Delhi :Amid row over buses arranged by her party for migrants in Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Wednesday asked the Adityanath government to allow the buses to ply even if it means “pasting BJP flags on these buses”.In a video message, Vadra said, ‘At 4 pm, it will be 24-hours since the buses were made available. If you want to use it, do it. Give us permission. If you want to use BJP party flags and stickers on the buses then do it. If you want to say that you made those buses available, do it. But let the buses run. Please let us get the migrants home.”“We will have to understand our responsibilities. They (migrant labourers) aren’t just Indians but India’s backbone. The country runs on their blood and sweat. It is everyone’s responsibility. It is not the time for politics,” she added.


India’s battling its biggest migrant labour crisis. And labour minister Gangwar is ‘missing’


New Delhi: India is facing the biggest migrant labour crisis in its history but one will be hard pressed to find Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar having much to say on the matter.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown beginning 25 March triggered a massive exodus of migrant labour from industrial towns. Deprived of work and livelihoods, these migrants began their arduous journey back home on foot or bicycles. Over 55 days later, the migrants are still on the road. In this period, India’s weekly unemployment rate has consistently been over 20%, data from CMIE shows. Yet, Gangwar, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, has largely remained silent amid this massive humanitarian crisis that the government roughly pegs involves 8 crore migrant workers.His visibility is confined to microblogging site Twitter where he retweets PM Modi, official handle of BJP and other govt handles.theprint


Noida Reverses Mandatory Aarogya Setu Order After Legal Challenge


Two weeks after residents of Noida, Greater Noida and civil society submitted a legal challenge against mandatory imposition of Aarogya Setu app, the Gautam Buddh Nagar District administration has rolled back its orders for the contact tracing app.The current orders under Section 144 of CrPC, issued on Wednesday, 20 May, makes no mention of the app at all. This comes in stark contrast to its previous order on 3 May which directed that the app is mandatory and non-installation of the Aarogya Setu app will be treated as a violation of the order and attract criminal penalties.


Offer Eid namaz at home with family, Bengal Imams’ body asks Muslims


Bengal Imams Association (BIA) has thanked members of Muslim community for praying at home during the holy Ramzan month, and urged them to continue the practice in run-up to Eid-ul-Fitr and offer namaz with family members on the day of the festival.He said, “Remember that your wife, daughter, sister can offer prayers along with you. Isn’t that a welcome development?” BIA chief also urged every Muslim to pray for a coronavirus-free world for mankind.PTI


Machines used for testing drug-resistant TB can be now used for confirmation of COVID-19 cases


Diagnostic machines used for testing drug-resistant tuberculosis can now be used for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases, the apex health research body, ICMR, said. As part of its efforts to ramp up the testing capacity, ICMR had approved use of TrueNat system for conducting coronavirus tests on April 10, while recommending it only as a screening test. Now, ICMR has issued revised guidelines for TrueNat testing for COVID-1, saying the “TrueNat system is now a comprehensive assay for screening and confirmation of COVID-19 cases”.PTI


No specific duration established for survival of virus in dead bodies: ICMR


Indian Council of Medical Research said on Tuesday that the survival of coronavirus in a dead body gradually decreases with time, according to scientific studies conducted on the matter, PTI reported. However, no specific duration has been established till now following which a body can be declared “non-infective”, it added.The council made its observations in a report called ‘Standard guidelines for Medico-legal autopsy in Covid-19 deaths in India 2020’, which was released on Tuesday. In the report, the medical body answered some of the frequently asked questions about the treatment of bodies of those who died of the infection.


Cease Harassment of Journalists for Reporting on Pandemic, Demand Unions


New Delhi: Two journalist bodies have condemned the lodging of FIRs against journalists on “trumped up charges for their critical reporting regarding clear mismanagement of response to Covid-19”, specifically referring to the charges pressed against Uttar Pradesh-based reporter Ravindra Saxena and Gujarat-based editor Dhaval Patel.International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said that the “present trend suggests that state governments of India” are trying to “silence the critical voice” by lodging FIRs against journalists. “These acts are a violation of the public’s right to know. IFJ calls on the authorities to drop all charges against Ravindra Saxena and cease the harassment of journalists for reporting on the health pandemic,” statement read. National Union of Journalists, India (NUJI) condemned FIR against Saxena and demanded the immediate withdrawal of all charges.


Hyderabad: ‘We are not beggars or prisoners, return us our livelihood,’ say workers stranded at govt shelter


aking shelter in make-do camps at an exhibition ground in Hyderabad, distressed migrant workers, stranded due to the nationwide lockdown, are now reconsidering their plans to go back home, and demanding jobs from state govt as curbs are gradually eased.Walking into the huge temporary shelter in Nampally,a few elderly men can be seen sleeping while holding on to their minimum belongings, some lazily chatting away in groups, some seated in a circle playing cards, and a few others aimlessly strolling. With signs of normalcy returning in the city, as businesses and offices prepare to open, almost everyone in shelter is seeking a job opportunity in the city after a failed chance to go back home. From nearly 1300 inmates in the last week of March, the shelter is left with less than 150 persons at the moment. Languishing in the temporary shelter run by NGOs with state’s assistance, migrant workers reiterate that they are neither beggars nor prisoners and demand that their livelihoods be restored by the government if they are not going to be sent back.


Salman Khan's Food Truck "Being Haangryy" Distributes Rations To Mumbai's Needy


Doing his bit to help people in need during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, and lockdown 4.0 phase, Bollywood actor Salman Khan has initiated ''Being Haangryy''- food truck facility to distribute, provide ration to needy.To feed the affected people in Mumbai, the food truck with the words ''Being Haangryy'' written on it, was seen in Mumbai roads on Wednesday, where volunteers are providing huge bags of ration. A long queue of people was standing near the truck to get the essentials.Many videos of the truck moving around the city providing ration kits to the people in need, surfaced on the internet from earlier this month.

ShareChat sacks 101 employees amid COVID-19 uncertainties


Home-grown regional language social media platform ShareChat on Wednesday announced that it had to let go of 101 of its employees, or about a fourth of the company's total workforce, due to COVID-19-induced uncertainties in the advertising market. Bengaluru-based company's cost-saving measures were announced in an email to employees by Ankush Sachdeva, Cofounder and CEO of 5-year-old firm which competes against likes of Facebook and TikTok.IANS


Delhi HC raps AAP govt on not fulfilling promise to feed hungry during lockdown


Delhi High Court has expressed anguish over the failure on part of the Delhi government in implementing its previous “clear cut” directions that “no citizen currently residing in Delhi should go hungry”.“We express our disappointment and dismay,” a bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh said, after noting that the orders passed to the Delhi government by the court on April 27 and May 6, has not been implemented in “letter and spirit”.The bench reiterated its previous orders and observed that the objective sought to be achieved in that regard remains unfilled, therefore, the Delhi government should immediately ensure that the food grains are distributed to poor, needy and marginalised non-PDS residents from the Public Distribution System (PDS), as well as, other distribution centres.



Foreign investors pull out $26 billion from Asian economies; $16 billion from India


Amidst the global economic recession due to coronavirus pandemic, foreign investors have pulled out an estimated $26 billion from developing Asian economies and over $16 billion out of India, according to a Congressional report. Foreign investors have pulled an estimated $26 billion out of developing Asian economies and more than $16 billion out of India, increasing concerns of a major economic recession in Asia, independent Congressional Research Center said in its latest report on global economic effects of COVID-19.In Europe, over 30 million people in Germany, France, the UK, Spain, and Italy have applied for state support, while first quarter 2020 data indicates that eurozone economy contracted by 3.8%, largest quarterly decline since the series started in 1995, it said.In the U.S., preliminary data indicated that GDP fell by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020, the largest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2008 during the global financial crisis, CRS said.According to CRS, the pandemic crisis is challenging governments to implement monetary and fiscal policies that support credit markets and sustain economic activity, while they are implementing policies to develop vaccines and safeguard their citizens.PTI


Coronavirus will push over 6 crore people into extreme poverty, says World Bank


World Bank on Tuesday said that the coronavirus pandemic will push over 6 crore people into extreme poverty, even as it announced emergency operations worth $160 billion (Rs 12.1 lakh crore) in 100 developing countries to fight the virus, PTI reported.“Pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty,” World Bank President David Malpass said. He said this will erase much of the recent progress done in poverty alleviation.“World Bank Group has moved quickly and decisively to establish emergency response operations in 100 countries, with mechanisms that allow other donors to rapidly expand the programmes,” he said. Malpass added that the World Bank decided to deploy $160 billion in order to provide rapid, flexible responses to tackle the health emergency, support the poor, maintain the private sector, and strengthen economic resilience and recovery.


Harsh Vardhan to take charge as WHO executive board chairman; 62 countries seek independent probe into body's COVID-19 response


 Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is set to take charge as the chairman of WHO Executive Board on 22 May, sources said on Tuesday. Executive Board meeting of WHO will be held on 22 May. Executive Board is composed of 34 technically qualified members elected for three-year terms. The chairman's post is held by rotation for one year among regional groups. The main functions of the Board are to implement the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly and facilitate its work.Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had on Monday participated in 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) via video conferencing. WHA is decision-making body of WHO.73rd WHA unanimously adopted a resolution to conduct an independent probe of WHO's COVID-19 response.WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked the World Health Assembly members for adopting a resolution on the independent evaluation of the coronavirus response.ANI


Trump selects Muslim scientist to lead COVID-19 vaccine plan


Washington:An Arab-American scientist, Moncef Slaoui, will head Donald Trump's Covid-19 vaccine programme 'Operation Warp Speed' which has been unveiled to create an antidote by the end of the year. Morocco-born Slaoui, a former professor of immunology at University of Mons, Belgium, is the operation's chief scientist. Trump described Slaoui as "one of the most respected men in the world in the production and, really, on the formulation of vaccines".US President said, "We're proud to announce addition of 2 of the most highly respected and skilled professionals in our country-worldwide respected."He added, "Operation Warp Speed's chief scientist will be Dr.Moncef Slaoui, a world-renowned immunologist who helped create 14 new vaccines - that's a lot of our new vaccines - in 10 years, during his time in the private sector." khaleejtimes


Debate rages in France on the irony of burqa ban and mandatory face masks


France has said that everybody will be required to wear a face mask on public transport to avoid spreading coronavirus, reigniting the debate about a national ban on face coverings worn for religious reasons.The ban, which was introduced in 2010 when Nicolas Sarkozy was president, outlaws the wearing of veils and masks that cover face. Wearing such a face covering, like the burqa or niqab, is punishable by a 150euro fine and/or enforced participation in citizenship education.However it excludes face coverings worn for health reasons. “They are two completely separate things,” Olivier Roy, a French political scientist and professor at European University of Florence, said. “Burqa ban concerns the policy of ultra-secularity that we have had for 20 years in France, whereas wearing a protective mask that covers the face attracts the derision of some Muslims who are opposed to burqa and veil ban.”arabnews


Pakistani lawmaker Shaheen Raza, member of Imran Khan's party, dies of coronavirus


A Pakistani local legislator died on Wednesday after contracting Covid-19, hospital officials said, marking the first death of a political figure in the South Asian nation from the disease at a time the country has lifted its countrywide lockdown. Pakistan has recorded 45,898 infections and 985 deaths to date from the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Tuesday saw the most deaths in a single day reported, at 46 .Shaheen Raza, a 65-year-old female member of the provincial assembly of Punjab, the country's largest province, died in Lahore, CEO of Mayo Hospital, Dr Asad Aslam, told Reuters.Reuters


Coronavirus:Egypt to deduct 1% from civil servant salaries


Egypt’s cabinet approved a draft law on Wednesday that would see public sector salaries cut by one percent starting in July for a duration of 12 months.According to a government statement, the law aims to offset the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Egypt's public sector employs an estimated six million civil servants.The law also includes a 0.5 percent reduction of net payment for pensioners, the statement added.middleeasteye


Rights group: 2 detainees died of COVID-19 in Egypt


An independent human rights organisation based in Geneva said on Monday that two persons who were suspected of having been infected by coronavirus have died in detention in Egypt, bringing the number of deaths in detention in the country since June 2013 to 1,007.Committee for Justice (CFJ) called upon “the Egyptian Interior and Health Ministries to reveal the truth about infections, and suspected infections, with COVID-19 inside a number of police stations in some Egyptian governorates,” according to a press release published on its website.


Closure of Egypt courts leads to pretrial detention without review


Human Rights Watch has said that Egyptian authorities have used COVID-19 pandemic to automatically renew the pretrial detention of “hundreds and most likely thousands” of prisoners without proper detention renewal hearings since mid-March.US-based organistaion criticised the absence of even “the pretence of judicial review” of detention renewals, “a new low for the country’s justice system”.Citing Egyptian lawyers, HRW said: “Authorities held no detention renewal hearings between mid-March and beginning of May, when courts partially closed under Covid-19 measures.”


Coronavirus: British Muslims call out 'double standard' over government Eid warnings


Adverts posted by UK govt online urging British Muslims to stay home and observe the religious festival of Eid at home have been criticised as a display of “double standards” in fight against the coronavirus pandemic.With over 35,000 deaths recorded from the coronavirus in the UK and nearly 250,000 confirmed cases, residents of the country have been urged to remain home - despite mixed messaging from the government on which outings are permitted and encouragement to return to work for those who can. However, British Muslims have felt particularly targeted during lockdown and have denounced their singling out by the government as “hypocritical”, given that the same type of messaging was not used to dissuade street parties organised for Victory in Europe (VE) Day earlier this month marking the end of World War II in Europe.middleeasteye


Coronavirus crisis turned Israelis, Palestinians to faith in God


Palestinians and Israelis have more faith in God as a result of the coronavirus crisis, a new study by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and Keevoon Global Research revealed.The survey measured the attitudes of Israelis, Palestinians, Germans, Americans, Brits, Italian and Poles about coronavirus. Around 500 people from each country were polled between April 28 and May 9, with an average margin of error of +/- 4.33%.Some 34% of Jews and 49% of Palestinians said their faith increased as a result of coronavirus. Some 39% of Americans said their faith in God increased as well.In contrast, only 19% of Germans, 22% of Poles, 22% of Italians and 18% of Brits felt similarly.When asked what they wished for, many Israelis, Palestinians and Americans responded that they hoped the disease would lead “everyone to know God and who is in control.” Similarly, when asked what COVID-19 means to them, several people said that “God is trying to tell me something.”American-Israeli pollster and communications professional Mitchell Barak, who heads Keevoon, said there was no formal explanation for this increase in faith, but he surmised that it could have had to do with the time of year. Jews experienced coronavirus during the Purim and Passover holidays, both which center around miracles.Muslims were impacted by coronavirus during the month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.jpost.com


Johnson & Johnson to stop sale of baby powder in US, Canada, will continue selling it elsewhere


Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson has said it will stop selling its talcum baby powder in US and Canada owing to a drop in demand, according to Reuters. The company faces thousands of lawsuits claiming asbestos contamination in its baby powder.“Demand for talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America has been declining due to changes in consumer habits, fuelled by misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising,” the company said in a statement.



Palestinian President Abbas says accords with Israel, US are void


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced has that his administration considers all agreements signed with Israel and the United States null and void, after Israel declared it would annex parts of the occupied West Bank, according to local media reports. Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Abbas made announcement during an emergency meeting held in Ramallah to discuss Israeli plans.


Turkey: Annexation of West Bank is a crime


Turkey today called on the international community to condemn Israel’s plan to annex the West Bank.Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the occupation and annexation are crimes, calling on the world to take a stand.“We reject Israel’s plan to annex the West Bank and call for the world to take a stand against it. Occupation and annexation is a crime,” Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.


Jordan denies reports of deal with Israel over Al-Aqsa


Hashemite Kingdom denied signing any deal with Israel related to arrangements at Al Aqsa Mosque, Quds Press reported.In a statement published by Petra News Agency, spokesman of Jordanian Foreign Ministry, Deifullah Al-Fayez, said: “The Administration of Jerusalem’s Awqaf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs was the body which decided the protective measures inside the holy site in relation to coronavirus.”Al-Fayez stressed that the administration of Jerusalem’s Awqaf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs “is the legitimate body which has the exclusive right to run Al-Aqsa Mosque and all the Sacred Sanctuary Yards.”Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, Hussam Al-Hayyari, said: “The Council decided to reduce performing prayers to only inside Qibli Mosque and to allow only Al-Aqsa Mosque workers to join the prayers.”


Hamas: Only way to release Israel captives is ‘real prisoner swap’ deal


Hamas said that the only way to release Israeli captives in Gaza is a “real prisoner swap”.Hamas commented on remarks made by new Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz that he is committed to bringing home Israeli soldiers captured by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.“These are emotional remarks aimed at affecting families of the Israeli captives,” Hamas spokesman Hazim Qasim said.“The only way to release the Israeli captives is a real prisoner swap,” Qasim stressed.


Taliban urge US not to let peace deal derail


KABUL: Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah on Wednesday urged US not to let the landmark peace agreement to fail amid resurging violence in Afghanistan. In his usual annual Eid al-Fitr message, Taliban leader outlined an 11-point "policy and objectives" concerning the current state of affairs and recent developments in the country.He vowed the Taliban would seek to have "brotherly relations" with Islamic countries, neighborly relations with neighbors and to strengthen constructive relations with all regional and world countries. He also strived to assure Afghan male and female members of their due rights, social justice and welfare. AA


Taliban ‘won’t allow ISIS to operate in Afghanistan’


Taliban is not a proxy of any country and it does not want to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations, group’s political spokesperson said on Tuesday.“Calling current Afghan Islamic national liberation movement terrorists or a proxy is an untrue and provocative statement,” Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman of the Taliban's Doha-based Political Office, told The Hindu.He spoke about India’s policy on Afghanistan soon after the deputy leader of Taliban’s Political Office in Qatar, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, was reported to have accused India of playing a “negative role” inside Afghanistan. Part of India’s concern over the Taliban’s opinions, especially on Kashmir, stems from fact that South Block still considers it a terror group and has refused to engage it in a dialogue.Shaheen also indirectly dismissed social media reports about the outfit’s opinion on the Kashmir issue, vowing to stay away from the domestic affairs of other countries. “Islamic Emirate has a clear policy of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries.”He also addressed issues raised by NSA Board member Amar Sinha, who in an interview to The Hindu had questioned why Taliban was unwilling to fight ISIS-KP jointly with Afghan govt. US had blamed ISIS-KP for recent attack on a hospital in Kabul and Taliban had blamed “malicious elements” for killings. In response to Indian official’s doubts, Shaheen said Taliban is an independent entity and will not join hands with others to fight ISIS. “Based on Doha Accord with US, we will not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any one. It is our commitment. We don’t join hands with anyone. We are independent people,” he said, adding that those Indian policymakers who oppose exchanges with Taliban are not realistic. Shaheen maintained that Indian officials who oppose engagement with Taliban are “following a failed policy”.The Hindu


Afghan Air Force Bombs Health Clinic in Kunduz while fighiting Taliban


KABUL:In a day of intensifying violence across Afghanistan, the country’s security forces bombed a clinic in the northern province of Kunduz on Tuesday in their efforts to thwart another coordinated assault by Taliban on the provincial capital that the militants have twice overrun and continue to besiege.Ihsanullah Fazli, the provincial director of health in Kunduz, said that the clinic in district of Chardara had been bombed and that several parts of it, including its ambulances, had been destroyed.“We have some wounded among our personnel and patients, but we do not have any deaths,” Fazli said.Abdul Wali, a nurse at the clinic who sustained wounds in his legs and arms, said about 50 people had been at the clinic at the time of the bombing.“Taliban brought their fighters for treatment, but there were civilians there, too,” Wali said. “The doors, the guard rooms, were struck. Our emergency section is destroyed.”Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, denied that a clinic had been struck. But internal security communications in Kunduz, viewed by New York Times, showed that A-29 attack aircraft of the Afghan Air Force had struck what the messages described as “a center for treatment of wounded Taliban in Chardara district.”New York Times


Soldiers killed in 2 separate attacks in Pak's Balochistan


Islamabad: At least 7 soldiers have been killed in 2 separate attacks in the southwest Pakistani province of Balochistan, the country's military says, the latest violence in a region torn by separatist violence.Six soldiers were killed when their vehicle was targeted by a roadside bomb in Pir Ghaib area, about 55km southeast of the provincial capital Quetta, late on Monday, military said in a statement.The soldiers were "returning to base camp after routine patrolling duty", the statement said.Bashir Amand, a local administration official, confirmed the death toll to Al Jazeera.aljazeera


Niger: 12 soldiers killed in Boko Haram attack on military base


12 soldiers have been killed in a Boko Haram attack on a military outpost in Niger's Diffa region, the scene of recent clashes with armed fighters.The attack by "Boko Haram terrorists" overnight on Monday on the Blabrine military base left another 10 soldiers wounded, Niger's defence ministry said in a statement late on Tuesday.


Syrian government orders seizure of assets of Assad's billionaire cousin Makhlouf


Syrian government has ordered seizure of assets belonging to Bashar al-Assad's cousin, the business tycoon Rami Makhlouf, as well as those of his wife and children, according to a document issued by Syria's finance ministry. The document, stamped May 19 and signed by Syrian finance minister, said the "precautionary seizure" aimed to guarantee payment of sums owed to the Syrian telecom regulatory authority.Once at the heart of al-Assad's inner circle, the billionaire Makhlouf has quarrelled with the authorities over funds which the government said are owed by his mobile phone company Syriatel. The unprecedented public tussle has uncovered a rare rift in the ruling elite.Makhlouf on Tuesday posted a letter dated May 18, denying allegations by the Ministry of Telecoms that Syriatel had rejected payment of amounts it was required to pay in a dispute over its licence.The telecom tycoon has long been seen as a pillar of the Syrian government since al-Assad rose to power in 2000, succeeding his father, Hafez.aljazeera


Iraq: Daesh attack power lines in Diyala governorate


Daesh militants attacked overhead power lines on the outskirts of Mansouriya district, in the Diyala governorate, a local source reported.Iraq’s Shafaq News Agency yesterday quoted the source as saying that Daesh militants detonated two towers and damaged a third using explosive devices, in the village of Al-Tineh, north of Mansouriya.The source said the towers are part of the strategic power transmission line between Mansouriya and Kirkuk, explaining that the damage to towers caused a blackout in several regions.


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 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 10:18 PM)


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