Expats from 17 countries including India to benefit from Saudi’s free visa renewal decision

News Network
November 30, 2021

Riyadh, Nov 30: Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) has announced that expatriates from 17 countries including India can benefit from the recent government decision to extend the validity of residency permit (iqama), exit and re-entry visas and visit visas without any fee.

The 17 countries are India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Brazil, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini (Swaziland).

The Jawazat has started automatically extending the validity of iqama and exit and re-entry visa until Jan. 31, 2022 without charging expatriate levy or any other fees. This is in line with implementation of the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

The extension will not be applicable to expatriates who are fully vaccinated in the Kingdom before their departure abroad on exit and re-entry visa.

The King’s directive also includes extending the validity of visit visas issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for visitors who are outside the Kingdom and who are from countries facing travel ban as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus. The period of extension will be until Jan. 31.

This extension falls within the government’s continuing efforts to mitigate the financial and economic repercussions of COVID-19, and as part of precautionary measures and preventive protocols that ensure the safety of citizens and expatriates.

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News Network
January 13,2022

With Covid-19 cases surging in India, clouds have formed over the likelihood of India being the venue for the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI)  is mulling holding the league outside of India amid the ongoing scenario. However, unlike the past two years where the IPL has been partially or fully held in UAE because of the pandemic, the BCCI is now keen to look at other options for the flagship event.

Cricket board officials are considering South Africa and Sri Lanka as their backup options for IPL 2022, according to a report in The Indian Express.

“We can’t be dependent on UAE all the time so we decided to explore more options, South Africa’s time difference also works out well for the players,” a BCCI official told the publication.

South Africa, so far, has hosted two cricket series and has impressed BCCI officials for the way the country handled the Indian players.

“The place where the team was staying for the second Test is spread over several acres. There were walking tracks and even a pond on the property and that has made things easier for the players who for the last couple of years or so have been confined to their rooms on several overseas tours,” an official said.

A BCCI official, recently said that the board is prioritising holding the tournament in India but the decision will be dependent on what the state governments decide.

BCCI had to postpone the upcoming edition of the Ranji Trophy indefinitely due to the rise in Covid cases in the camps. The domestic U19 Behar Trophy was also halted midway for the same reason.

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News Network
January 11,2022

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Singer Lata Mangeshkar has been hospitalised after she tested positive for Covid-19. She is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. Her niece Rachana Shah confirmed the news to ANI and said that she has mild symptoms.

“She is doing fine; has been kept in ICU only for precautionary reasons considering her age. Please respect our privacy and keep Didi in your prayers,” Rachana said.

Lata was earlier admitted to the hospital in September 2019, when she complained of breathing problems. “Lata didi suffered from a viral chest infection so we got her to the hospital. But now, she is on a path of recovery. Thank you for your concern,” Rachana had said in a statement at the time.

The 92-year-old singer has recorded songs in more than 1,000 Hindi films in several languages. She is the recipient of three National Film Awards, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the Bharat Ratna, among other honours.

Last month, Lata took to Twitter to commemorate 80 years of her debut on radio. She tweeted in Hindi, “On 16 December 1941, I sang two songs for the first time in the studio for radio after seeking the blessings of my parents. It has been 80 years today. In these 80 years, I have got immense love and blessings from the people. I believe that I will always keep getting your love and blessings.”

Mumbai is witnessing a sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, including the Omicron variant. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) additional commissioner Suresh Kakani told PTI that the civic body was ready to take on any crisis.

“Out of 30,500 hospital beds in Mumbai, only 3,500 beds are currently occupied. Also, adequate oxygen supply, medicines, ventilators, ICU facility and hospital beds are available,” he said. He added that in 90% of the Covid-19 cases, patients are asymptomatic and only 4 to 5% of them are being hospitalised. The number of serious cases is negligible, he said, adding, “Though the numbers are within limit, they have kept hospital beds and other things ready.”

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News Network
January 11,2022

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Chikkamagaluru, Jan 11: The saffron shawl versus hijab row ended at the Balagadi First Grade College in Koppa taluk of Chikkamagaluru district in Karnataka as students and parents called a truce and agreed not to wear either a hijab or a saffron shawl along with the uniform to the college from Tuesday.

However, the girls will be allowed to wear veils along with uniform. The decision was made at the parents meeting held in the college.

Principal S Ananth addressing the meeting stated that a similar controversy erupted in 2018. Then, a decision was taken to only cover the face with a veil. This time also consent has been taken from all the parents and a decision on veils has been taken.

The college authorities will take strict measures to see that students do not violate discipline on the campus. He also warned that if any student violates the decision taken in the meeting, their parents would be called and they would be issued a transfer certificate.

MLA Raje Gowda, who also attended the meeting, said the students must maintain discipline on the campus. The behaviour should not be provoking and students must focus on studies and follow the decision taken at the meeting.

The row erupted recently when a group of students started attending classes in hijabs. In retaliation to this, another group of students started wearing saffron scarves and shawls to the college.

The students last week staged a protest by boycotting classes for allowing some of the students to wear a hijab. The students said that uniform norms were violated by some students who wear a hijab along with the uniform. If they are allowed to wear hijabs, then they must also be allowed to come with saffron scarves and shawls, the agitating students demanded. 

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