Umrah pilgrimage booking through Eatmarna App begins

News Network
July 25, 2022

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The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that it has started issuing permits for Umrah effective from the new Umrah season on Muharram 1, 1444 corresponding to July 30, 2022.

According to the ministry statement, the issued permit of someone who is proven to have been infected with coronavirus or had contact with an infected person will be cancelled. This directive is among a number of terms and conditions issued by the ministry for the issuance of Umrah permits as well as for the entry to the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

These requirements also include verification of the health status of the pilgrim through the Tawakkalna application; compliance with the regulations such as wearing mask throughout the period of the pilgrim’s presence inside the Grand Mosque; leave the Grand Mosque after completion of the performance of the Umrah rituals; and not to carry any unauthorized bags and luggage while entering the Grand Mosque.

The ministry revealed that Saudi citizens and residents from within the Kingdom can book and get issued permits through the Eatmarna application. Citizens and residents of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states as well as pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom and GCC states can also obtain Umrah permit through following the easiest and simplest procedures and steps available on the application. These measures have been taken as part of the ministry’s efforts to facilitate the services provided to the pilgrims to perform Umrah in ease and comfort.

The issuance of Umrah visa through the Eatmarna application will be in accordance with an integrated system of health services and measures approved by the concerned authorities to maintain the safety and health of pilgrims and visitors, within easy procedures that ensure the performance of the Umrah rituals in an air of spiritual ambiance.

The Eatmarna application provides a number of options for booking appointments in accordance with the capacity of the Grand Mosque around the clock. The application also provides a number of instructions to enter the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.

The reservation’s page on the application shows the indicator of the position and capacity of reservations in color for all days of the month effective from July 30. It shows explicitly the possibility of booking and availability of confirmation. This is through showing various colors such as green for light crowding; orange for medium crowding, red for heavy crowding; and gray to indicate unavailability of appointments.

The ministry had started from July 14 receiving requests to issue visas for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom, provided that they can come and perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina starting from Muharram 1. All the details about the requirements for issuing an Umrah visa from abroad can be had by visiting the ministry’s link: https://haj. gov.sa/ar/InternalPages/Umrah.

The ministry had stated that the regulations for the qualification of foreign agents to provide services for Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque include submitting a qualification request through the portal of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in the link: (https://umralicense.haj.gov.sa).

They should also adhere to the rules and regulations described in the portal, with attaching documents and data related to commercial registration and membership of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

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News Network
August 10,2022

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Patna, Aug 10: After taking oath as Bihar Chief Minister an eighth time, thus continuing in the chair with a change of partners, Nitish Kumar took a shot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the next Lok Sabha elections: "He won in 2014, but will he in 2024?"

Though Nitish Kumar repeatedly spoke of "working towards Opposition unity" to unseat the BJP at the Centre, he told reporters that he is "not a contender for anything", when asked if he wants to be PM candidate. "The question to ask is, if the person who came in 2014 will win in 2024,” he said.

Elections in Bihar are due in 2025, a year after the Lok Sabha contest. Nitish is likely to still be in the chair in 2024, which means the who'll-be-the-challenger speculation isn't likely to die down soon, especially with the Congress weakened and the Opposition still far from united. His deputy once again, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav has said Nitish Kumar is the "most experienced chief minister in India right now".

It helps Nitish Kumar's case that another regional leader with national ambitions -- Bengal's Mamata Banerjee — has had to halt her march after corruption charges against her party colleagues. 

Analysts have for years floated the theory that Nitish Kumar could be the Opposition candidate against PM Modi, if the Congress plays a non-leading role. But that's drowned out as he floats in and out of alliances — with and against the BJP. Till yesterday, he was chief minister with BJP support. And now he is back with the RJD of old pal Lalu Yadav, whose son is his deputy in the new government — a new version of their 2015 alliance. The Congress is among the partners.

The first version of the JDU-RJD-Congress tie-up — called the 'Mahagathbandhan' or Grand Alliance — won power in 2015. Nitish Kumar had broken up with the BJP two years before that, ending a two-decade relationship. He had problems with Narendra Modi's past, particularly the 2002 Gujarat riots, and left the NDA after he became the PM face. 

But he made up with PM Modi's party in 2017, walked out the Mahagathbandhan and took a fresh oath. The JDU and BJP remained together for the 2019 Lok Sabha contest, and then won the 2020 assembly polls. Nitish Kumar remained in the chair. Two years on, he has switched again. 

Today he said he did not want to be Chief Minister after the 2020 win with the BJP. "Ask people in the party (JDU), what they have been reduced too. I did not want to become CM... but I was put under pressure. Then you see what happened. I have not even spoken to you (journalists) in two months." 

He pointed towards the drop in JDU's numbers. "How many seats did we win in 2015? And then we went with the same people (BJP) and look at what we have been reduced to." Besides those in the JDU, Tejashwi Yadav too has said the BJP "wants to finish off regional parties" and "usurps its partners".

In 2015, Nitish Kumar's JDU had won 71 seats as part of the Grand Alliance's 170, in a House of 243. The RJD was the single largest party with 80 seats, but he became chief minister as leader of the pact.

At present, the JDU has 45 seats. The BJP, which has 77, made him chief minister in 2020 despite these numbers — but with two deputies from its stable. Why the switch now? Nitish Kumar and his party, it is learnt, were spooked in the latest by the Maharashtra coup in which the BJP backed a split in the Shiv Sena to return to power.  

On his fate after yet another flip, Nitish Kumar today said, "Whether I will stay or not... let people say what they have to say." After staking claim yesterday, he said he "never allowed corruption", and "we want brotherhood in society". Standing next to him, Tejashwi Yadav accused the BJP of dividing people along communal lines: "We are socialists. All of us want that the BJP's agenda shouldn't be implemented in Bihar."

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Agencies
August 12,2022

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New York, Aug 12: Controversial author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the neck at an event in New York, US, on Friday. Details were scarce about his condition and the attacker, who has been detained. The 75-year-old author's writings have in the past led to threats.

The New York State Police confirmed the stabbing and said he was taken to an area hospital by helicopter. The attacker is in custody, police said. Social media posts showed people rushing to his aid on stage at Chautauqua Institution, about 100 km from the city. A person interviewing him suffered minor head injuries in the attack. 

Mr Rushdie fell to the floor immediately after the attack, and the attacker was restrained. A small group of people surrounded the author, holding up his legs, presumably to send more blood to his chest, AP reported. Hundreds of people in the audience gasped at the sight of the attack and were then evacuated.

Rabbi Charles Savenor, who was in the audience, told AP: "This guy ran on to platform and started pounding on Mr Rushdie. At first you're like, ‘What's going on?' And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten." He said the attack lasted about 20 seconds. 

The attack happened around 11 am local time (8.30 pm IST) as Mr Rushdie was being introduced before he was to speak. The Chautauqua Institution, located in a rural part of New York, is known for its summertime lecture series. Mr Rushdie has spoken there before.

Delhi-based British writer William Dalrymple was among the first to react, hoping that Mr Rushdie wasn't hurt. "A terrible day for literature, for freedom of speech and for authors everywhere. Poor poor Salman: I pray he's not hurt and recovers quickly," he tweeted.

Mr Rushdie, 75, faced threats particularly in the late 1980s over his book, The Satanic Verses, which is banned in Iran since 1988 as it is alleged to be blasphemous towards Islam. There was also a reward out on his head by the Iranian top leader, though by 1998 the Iranian government said it wasn't seeking to enforce that 'fatwa' or edict. It wasn't clear if the attack is linked to that.

A British citizen of Indian origin, Mr Rushdie has lived in the US for the past 20 years. After the controversy over his fourth book, The Satanic Verses (1988), he remained out of the public eye, mostly living in the UK. Despite the threats, he produced several novels throughout the 1990s.

His first novel came out in 1975, but one of his seminal works is about modern India, Midnight's Children (1981), for which he won the Booker Prize. 

In 2007, he was knighted — given the ceremonial title of 'Sir' — by Queen Elizabeth II for services to literature. He has produced over a dozen works, including non-fiction.

In 2012, after an Iranian religious outfit renewed the bounty on him, he dismissed that threat, saying there was "no evidence" of people being interested in the reward, said the AP report. That year, he published a memoir, Joseph Anton, about the fatwa. The title came from the pseudonym he had used while in hiding.

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News Network
August 15,2022

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Mangaluru, Aug 15: A retired army soldier collapsed and died during a flag hoisting ceremony marking Independence Day at a village in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district on Monday, police said. 

The deceased has been identified as Gangadhara Gowda.

As people across the country celebrated the 76th Independence Day, the Kutrupady gram panchayat in Kadaba taluk too organised a flag hoisting ceremony.

Gowda, who took part in the ceremony, collapsed soon after giving a call for saluting the national flag, police said.

Though he was rushed to hospital, Gowda died on the way, they said.

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