Saudi Arabia extends umrah visa to 3 months for all pilgrims

News Network
October 3, 2022

Makkah, Oct 3: The Umrah visa has been extended from one to three months for all Umrah performers of all nationalities, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said.

He made this announcement during his two-day official visit to Tashkent where the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev received the Saudi minister at the conclusion of the Dr. Al-Rabiah's visit.

The minister conveyed the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Salman to President Mirziyoyev and the Uzbek government and people and their wishes of further growth for Uzbekistan.

They wished prosperity to Uzbekistan in light of the ongoing reforms that the republic is witnessing, stressing that the visit is an extension of distinguished historical relations between the two countries and resulted in several cooperation agreements in various fields.

The accords were primarily in the Hajj and Umrah, which reflects the great efforts of the leadership in serving Islam and Muslims and facilitating procedures for pilgrims and Umrah performers.

The minister added that the recent Hajj season saw the participation of some 12,000 Uzbek pilgrims after authorities increased the numbers of pilgrims following the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that more than 36,000 people from Uzbekistan have performed Umrah during the last two months, the majority of whom managed to visit Madinah and pray at Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifah and visited religious and historical sites in Madinah.

Al-Rabiah’s visit witnessed holding of several meetings with various officials to discuss means of enhancing cooperation in various fields and developing distinguished ties between the two countries.

The discussions mainly revolved around the automating of all services and programs that are now offered electronically through Nusuk platform and issuing visit and Umrah visas quickly.

The minister met with several Uzbek officials as part of boosting cooperation between the two countries in various fields and stressing the deep-rooted bilateral relations.

Talks during the visit also reviewed means to enhance strategic bilateral cooperation between the two sides to enhance the quality of services provided to Uzbek Umrah performers.

This is in addition to going over the possibility of increasing the activities of joint committees in several aspects, including increasing the number of flights between the two countries. 

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News Network
November 20,2022

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Mangaluru, Nov 20: The explosion in a moving auto rickshaw in Mangaluru was an 'act of terror,' Karnataka Director General of Police, Praveen Sood said on Sunday.

In a tweet, the DGP said, "It's confirmed now. The blast is not accidental but an ACT OF TERROR with intention to cause serious damage. Karnataka State Police is probing deep into it along with central agencies."

The blast occurred on Saturday evening inside an autorickshaw, near a police station, leaving the passenger and the driver injured. Both have been admitted to the hospital.

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra too said that central investigation teams are assisting the police in the case.

"The person injured in the blast is not in a position to speak yet. The police team is collecting all the information. Early indications into the probe suggest terrorist activity. We have informed the central security agencies, and they have sent a team to Mangaluru. We are expecting concrete information in the next one or two days," he said.

The police have recovered a "burnt pressure cooker with batteries" inside the autorickshaw, sources said.

Speaking to media, Mr Sood said that the main suspect is the passenger in the auto. "The passenger was carrying an Aadhar card which was later found to be of a man from Hubbali. The photo on the Aadhar card looked like his, but it's not his. This gives us a fair idea that he was planning to target something, but we are not sure about his target. We are not ruling out his connection to the recent Coimbatore blast. He is from Karnataka and had travelled outside the state in the last few months. He had recently travelled to Coimbatore and parts of Tamil Nadu. It was a low-intensity bomb. He was headed somewhere. Not sure what was his modus operandi".

CCTV visuals from the location, shared by the police, showed the autorickshaw catching fire following what appeared to be a minor explosion.

"The driver alleged he spotted the fire. They (driver and passenger) are undergoing treatment and are unable to speak now. We request the public not to spread rumours. They should remain calm and not panic. We will update once we speak to them," city Police Commissioner N Sasikumar had said. 

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News Network
November 20,2022

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Mangaluru/ Mysuru, Nov 20: The Karnataka police today conducted searches at the house of a youth who suffered severe injuries in a blast in a moving auto rickshaw in Mangaluru last night. The injured, who is also the prime suspect in the blast case, was reportedly staying in Mysuru. 

According to the police, the accused took the one-room accommodation on rent last month. He had told the house owner that he was in the city for "mobile repair training".

Preliminary investigation indicates Mohammed Shariq, 24, hailing from Teerthahalli he has terror links. He had previously been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for graffiti on walls in Mangaluru. He was out on bail in the case. He was also absconding in a terror case and was wanted by the police.

Police have verified his photos in their records and his family has also identified the injured person in the hospital as Mohammed Shariq, via a phone, and are on their way to the hospital, a senior police official said.

Shivamogga stabbing case

Probing a stabbing incident in Shivamogga around Independence Day over putting up a photo of V. D. Savarkar, Shivamogga Rural Police had busted an alleged terror module with alleged links to Islamic State. Police had arrested Maaz Muneer Ahmed, 22 and Syed Yasin, 21 and recovered explosive materials from the duo.

Investigations had uncovered that they were radicalised by Mohammed Shariq and they had learnt making bombs through PDF files, videos and several materials sent to them by Shariq. The duo had prepared an IED and tested it successfully on the banks of Tungabhadra, police had alleged. However, Shariq had fled from his residence and had been absconding till date. 

Mohammed Shariq and Maaz Ahmed were earlier arrested by Mangaluru City Police in 2020 over graffiti they wrote on the walls of two buildings in the coastal city, in support of Lashakr-e-Taiba and Taliban, and were later released on bail. Maaz Ahmed was again busted in the terror module case in Sepetmber 2022, even as Shariq the prime accused in the case was at large. 

Links to Al Hind IS module

Mohammed Shariq is said to be associated with Matheen Ahmed Taha, also hailing from Shivamogga and a member of Al Hind IS module, active in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Bengaluru-based Al Hind IS module was allegedly put together by Mehboob Pasha, a resident of Gurappana Palya, Bengaluru and Khaja Moideen, a resident of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, accused in several murder cases of Hindutva leaders in the neighbouring state.

The module was busted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2020 and chargesheets filed in 2021, alleging the group wanted to establish an IS province inside the jungles of South India. However, Matheen Ahmed Taha, a prominent member of this group, is still at large and Mohammed Shariq is suspected to be his associate.

The blast occurred on Saturday evening inside an autorickshaw, near a police station, leaving the passenger and the driver injured. Both have been admitted to the hospital. The police said inside the vehicle, they found a burnt pressure cooker fitted with batteries, which Shareeq was apparently carrying. The pressure cooker, the police said, was a low-intensity Improvised Explosive device or IED.

‘Not well enough to give a statement’

This morning, the police confirmed that it was "an act of terror with intention to cause serious damage". The Karnataka police are investigating it along with central agencies.

The police said Shareeq is not well enough to give a statement. The auto driver, who was also injured, is in the hospital.

Shareeq was also carrying an Aadhaar card which did not belong to him, the police said. The owner of the card has been located. Premraj Hutagi, a resident of Karnataka's Hubballi district, has said he had lost the card and had acquired a duplicate.

Citing the "stolen" Aadhaar card, the police said it gives them a "fair idea that he was planning to target something, but we don't know what". "We are not ruling out his having a connection with the recent Coimbatore blast," said state police chief Praveen Sood. 

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News Network
November 20,2022

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Some of the best football players will be in action at the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will be held across eight magnificent stadiums in Qatar from November 20 to December 18.

The Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 will see 32 teams from five confederations compete for the biggest prize in football. The teams have been divided into eight groups of four (A to H) and only the top two teams will advance to the knockout stages.

As many as 64 matches will be played during the course of 29 days, also making it the shortest 32-team FIFA World Cup in history. 

Except for the first two days, four matches will be played each day during the group stages. Each of the 32 teams will play three matches in the group stages before the knockouts begin with the round of 16 (pre-quarterfinals) on December 3. 

Hosts Qatar will kick off the 2022 World Cup against Ecuador in Group A at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on November 20. Defending champions France will play their first match against Australia at 12:30 AM IST on November 23 while five-time champions Brazil will start against Serbia at 12:30 AM IST on November 25. India is 2 hours 30 minutes ahead of Qatar.

The semi-finals will be played on December 14 and 15, both at 12:30 AM IST, while the final will take place at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on December 18.

This will be the first time that a country from the Middle East will host the FIFA World Cup and consequently, the first edition being held outside the typical June-July window earmarked for the quadrennial showpiece. 

FIFA World Cup 2022 schedule

All times are in Indian Standard Times (IST).

Group stages

Sunday, November 20

Group A: Qatar vs Ecuador - 9:30 PM IST

Monday, November 21

Group B: England vs Iran - 6:30 PM IST

Group A: Senegal vs Netherlands - 9:30 PM IST

Tuesday, November 22

Group B: United States vs Wales - 12:30 AM IST

Group C: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia - 3:30 PM IST

Group D: Denmark vs Tunisia - 6:30 PM IST

Group C: Mexico vs Poland - 9:30 PM IST

Wednesday, November 23

Group D: France vs Australia - 12:30 AM IST

Group F: Morocco vs Croatia - 3:30 PM IST

Group E: Germany vs Japan - 6:30 PM IST

Group E: Spain vs Costa Rica - 9:30 PM IST

Thursday, November 24

Group F: Belgium vs Canada - 12:30 AM IST

Group G: Switzerland vs Cameroon - 3:30 PM IST

Group H: Uruguay vs South Korea - 6:30 PM IST

Group H: Portugal vs Ghana - 9:30 PM IST

Friday, November 25

Group G: Brazil vs Serbia - 12:30 AM IST

Group B: Wales vs IR Iran - 3:30 PM IST

Group A: Qatar vs Senegal - 6:30 PM IST

Group A: Netherlands vs Ecuador - 9:30 PM IST

Saturday, November 26

Group B: England vs United States - 12:30 AM IST

Group D: Tunisia vs Australia - 3:30 PM IST

Group C: Poland vs Saudi Arabia - 6:30 PM IST

Group D: France vs Denmark - 9:30 PM IST

Sunday, November 27

Group C: Argentina vs Mexico - 12:30 AM IST

Group E: Japan vs Costa Rica - 3:30 PM IST

Group F: Belgium vs Morocco - 6:30 PM IST

Group F: Croatia vs Canada - 9:30 PM IST

Monday, November 28

Group E: Spain vs Germany - 12:30 AM IST

Group G: Cameroon vs Serbia - 3:30 PM IST

Group H: South Korea vs Ghana - 6:30 PM IST

Group G: Brazil vs Switzerland - 9:30 PM IST

Tuesday, November 29

Group H: Portugal vs Uruguay - 12:30 AM IST

Group A: Netherlands vs Qatar - 8:30 PM IST

Group A: Ecuador vs Senegal - 8:30 PM IST

Wednesday, November 30

Group B: Wales vs England - 12:30 AM IST

Group B: IR Iran vs United States - 12:30 AM IST

Group D: Tunisia vs France - 8:30 PM IST

Group D: Australia vs Denmark - 8:30 PM IST

Thursday, December 1

Group C: Poland vs Argentina - 12:30 AM IST

Group C: Saudi Arabia vs Mexico - 12:30 AM IST

Group F: Croatia vs Belgium - 8:30 PM IST

Group F: Canada vs Morocco - 8:30 PM IST

Friday, December 2

Group E: Japan vs Spain - 12:30 AM IST

Group E: Costa Rica vs Germany - 12:30 AM IST

Group H: South Korea vs Portugal - 8:30 PM IST

Group H: Ghana vs Uruguay - 8:30 PM IST 

Saturday, December 3

Group G: Cameroon vs Brazil - 12:30 AM IST

Group G: Serbia vs Switzerland - 12:30 AM IST

Round of 16

Saturday, December 3

Group A winner vs Group B runners-up - 8.30 PM IST

Sunday, December 4 

Group C winner vs Group D runners-up - 12.30 AM IST

Group D winner vs Group C runners-up - 8.30 PM IST

Monday, December 5 

Group B winner vs Group A runners-up - 12.30 AM IST

Group E winner vs Group F runners-up - 8.30 PM IST

Tuesday, December 6 

Group G winner vs Group H runners-up - 12.30 AM IST

Group F winner vs Group E runners-up - 8.30 PM IST

Wednesday, December 7 

Group H winner vs Group G runners-up - 12.30 AM IST

Friday, December 9 

Quarter-final 1 - 8.30 PM IST

Saturday, December 10 

Quarter-final 2 - 12.30 AM IST

Quarter-final 3 - 8.30 PM IST

Sunday, December 11 

Quarter-final 4 - 12.30 AM IST

Wednesday, December 14

Semi-finals 1 - 12.30 AM IST

Thursday, December 15

Semi-final 2 - 12.30 AM IST

Saturday, December 17

Third place match - 8.30 PM IST

Sunday, December 18

Final - 8.30 PM IST

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