Saudi Arabia suspends travel to and from India amid rising covid cases

News Network
September 23, 2020

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Riyadh, Sept 23: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday suspended air travel to and from India, Brazil and Argentina, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the country's Civil Aviation Authority, people with travel history to any of the mentioned countries 14 days prior to their arrival to the Kingdom, have also been barred.

"Suspending travel to and from the following countries (India, Brazil, and Argentina) including any person who has been in any of the mentioned countries in the last (14) days prior to their arrival to the Kingdom," General Authority of Civil Aviation said in a statement.

However, those who have official government invitations are excluded.

Saudi Arabia to re-allow umrah pilgrimage

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has allowed pilgrims residing inside the country to undertake the umrah pilgrimage beginning on October 4, after a seven-month pause due to coronavirus concerns, state news agency SPA reported.

Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina undertaken any time of the year, attracting 19 million people last year.

Saudi Arabia had instituted a freeze on umrah in March.

It will now allow 6,000 citizens and residents inside the kingdom to perform umrah daily, representing 30% of a revised capacity of 20,000 that takes into account precautionary health measures, SPA added. That will expand to 75% of capacity on October 18.

Beginning November 1, Saudi Arabia will allow visitors from specific countries deemed safe to perform umrah at 100% of the revised capacity, until the end of the pandemic, SPA said.

This year, Saudi Arabia conducted a limited haj, the larger pilgrimage that usually attracts around 3 million people, for a few thousand citizens and residents.

Official data show haj and umrah earn the kingdom about 12 billion USD a year.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia reported 330,798 total cases of coronavirus and 4,542 deaths, as cases in the Gulf region topped 800,000.

Global COVID-19 cases

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 31.5 million, while the deaths have increased to more than 969,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As of Wednesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 31,517,087 and the fatalities rose to 969,578, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 6,896,218 and 200,786, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 5,562,663, while the country`s death toll soared to 90,020.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are:

             Brazil (4,591,364)

             Russia (1,111,157)

             Colombia (777,537)

             Peru (768,895)

             Mexico (705,263)

             Spain (682,267)

             South Africa (663,282)

             Argentina (652,174)

             France (507,150)

             Chile (448,523)

             Iran (429,193)

             UK (406,058)

             Bangladesh (352,178)

             Saudi Arabia (330,798)

             Iraq (327,580)

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News Network
October 8,2020

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Hisar, Oct 8: Some unidentified assailants allegedly burnt a businessman to death after looting ₹ 11 lakh cash from him in Haryana's Hisar district, police said on Wednesday. The man was 35.

The incident took place in the Hansi area on Tuesday night, they said.

Ram Mehar, a resident of Data village on Bhatla-Data road in Hansi, was going home in his car when the robbers intercepted him, police said.

The attackers then allegedly looted the businessman, locked him in the car and set it on fire, they said.

On receiving information, police rushed to the spot and found Mr Mehar charred to death inside the vehicle. Later, the relatives of the victim were contacted after he was identified through the number plate of the vehicle.

Mr Mehar, who owned a factory of disposable cups and plates in Barwala, was travelling to Data village from Hisar after withdrawing ₹ 11 lakh from a bank, the victim's family told police.

A case has been registered against unknown persons and the CCTV footage from the area is being scrutinised to trace the culprits, said Hansi police spokesperson Subhash.

Hitting out at the BJP-led government in the state over the incident, Congress party's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said "jungle raj" prevails in Haryana, where criminals were having a free run.

He said it was shocking that the businessman was looted in the middle of a road and then burnt.

Some unidentified assailants allegedly burnt a businessman to death after looting ₹ 11 lakh cash from him in Haryana's Hisar district, police said on Wednesday. The man was 35.

The incident took place in the Hansi area on Tuesday night, they said.

Ram Mehar, a resident of Data village on Bhatla-Data road in Hansi, was going home in his car when the robbers intercepted him, police said.

The attackers then allegedly looted the businessman, locked him in the car and set it on fire, they said.

On receiving information, police rushed to the spot and found Mr Mehar charred to death inside the vehicle. Later, the relatives of the victim were contacted after he was identified through the number plate of the vehicle.

Mr Mehar, who owned a factory of disposable cups and plates in Barwala, was travelling to Data village from Hisar after withdrawing ₹ 11 lakh from a bank, the victim's family told police.

A case has been registered against unknown persons and the CCTV footage from the area is being scrutinised to trace the culprits, said Hansi police spokesperson Subhash.

Hitting out at the BJP-led government in the state over the incident, Congress party's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said "jungle raj" prevails in Haryana, where criminals were having a free run.

He said it was shocking that the businessman was looted in the middle of a road and then burnt.

"Where is the government?" the Congress leader asked.

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Agencies
October 18,2020

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Cairo, Oct 18: Saudi Arabia allowed its citizens and residents inside the kingdom to perform prayers in one of the most holy religious sites, Al Haram Mosque (Grand Mosque) in Makkah, for the first time in seven months, state television reported early on Sunday.

Earlier this month Saudi Arabia allowed citizens and residents to perform the Umrah pilgrimage at holiest sites, Makkah and Madinah, after a seven-month pause due to coronavirus concerns.

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News Network
October 16,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 16: With LJP's abrasive comments on JD (U) raising suspicion within Bihar NDA and apprehension of damage due to vote division, BJP has decided to showcase its unity with Nitish Kumar, who might be attending the odd dozen rallies that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kickstart from October 23 in the state.

Indications are that the despite Chirag Paswan's "Modi se Bair Nahin, Nitish Teri Khair Nahin" (No enmity with Modi but will not spare Nitish) stance, the Bharatiya Janata Party is gradually distancing from the allies and political realities may force the party to dump LJP finally to salvage the BJP-JD (U) alliance performance.

With LJP trying hard to give the message that it wants a BJP Chief Minister in Bihar and is solidly behind PM Modi, the BJP on Friday tersely told Chirag Paswan not to create confusion by repeatedly talking about his relations with its senior leaders and sought to counter the impression that LJP is "B team of BJP".

"We have no relations (with LJP), and we do not like this politics of spreading confusion," Union minister Prakash Javadekar said in the backdrop of repeatedly laudatory remarks of Paswan about Modi and other BJP leaders and his assertion that the next government in the state will be a BJP-LJP government.

BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav went to the extent of accusing the LJP leader of resorting to "politics of lies" and reminding him that till February this year Paswan was praising the Bihar government.

"Chirag should not live in illusion, nor nurse or spread any illusion," Yadav tweeted as the LJP leader's sustained attack on Nitish Kumar has raised doubts in JD (U) circles of a larger BJP game plan.

Insisting that its alliance with 's alliance in Bihar is with JD(U), Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM(S) and Vikassheel Insaan Party, BJP on Friday unveiled plans for Modi's 12 rallies and expressed confidence that the alliance will win a three-fourth majority in the state.

In the three-phased state polls beginning October 28, Modi will hit the campaign trail from October 23.

During most of these rallies, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will share dais with Modi. This is expected to dispel the notion of a rift in the alliance, an idea which is being pushed through LJP's aggressive attacks on Nitish Kumar.

"The LJP is nothing more than "vote katwa" (vote spoiler) and it will not be able to make much impact," said BJP's Bihar in-charge Devendra Fadnavis.

The BJP has planned Modi's rallies in all key districts, where candidates from adjoining districts will attend and seek people's vote in Modi's presence. Fearing anti-incumbency; BJP falls back on brand Modi again and is pushing development narrative as a counter to the formidable caste-community--Muslim Yadav plus Left voters among the downtrodden.

Seeking to reach out to a larger audience, BJP will also put up screens in assembly constituencies, where Modi's speeches will be broadcast live. An indication of the campaign increasingly being centred around the persona of Modi was also in the speech of BJP President J P Nadda in Banka where he listed

He listed out development measures launched by the Modi government for Bihar. Nadda did raise the contentious issues of Ram temple, abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and scrapping of the practice of instant triple talaq but they were muted with the focus largely on Modi's development works, law order under Nitish and alleged "jungle raj" during RJD regime.  He also recalled that Modi had announced a Rs 1.25 lakh crore package for the state in 2015 and a Rs 40,000 crore for infrastructure development.

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