22-yr-old Muslim League worker killed in post-poll clash in Kannur

News Network
April 7, 2021

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Kannur, Apr 7: A 22-year-old Youth League activist, who was seriously injured in a post-poll clash between workers of the CPI(M) and the Indian Union Muslim League in Koothuparamba constituency, died in the early hours of Wednesday, police said.

The clash broke out in the Paral area around 8 pm on Tuesday over allegations of bogus voting, they said.

The Youth League worker, Mansur, had suffered injuries to his leg and was rushed to a private hospital in Kozhikode. He succumbed to the injuries, police said.

The Youth League is the youth wing of the IUML, a key ally of the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

Mansur's brother, a UDF poll agent, was also injured in the clash, police said.

The IUML has alleged that a group of CPI(M) workers hurled bombs at them before attacking the two with sharp weapons.

Koothuparamba assembly constituency in the northern Kerala district of Kannur witnessed a fierce contest between K P Mohanan of the Lok Janatantrik Dal, a partner of the ruling CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and Pottankandy Abdullah of the IUML.

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Agencies
April 29,2021

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Dubai, Apr 29: Indians from the millions-strong expat community in the UAE, stranded in their homeland during a catastrophic coronavirus surge, are swamping private jet operators with requests to whisk them back to safety.

Fearing a prolonged flight ban between India and the Gulf state, they aim to use an exemption for private business planes that was in effect last year during the first wave of the global crisis.

An estimated 3.5 million Indians live and work in the United Arab Emirates.

The latest suspension in flights that came into force Sunday has shut down some 300 commercial flights that operated weekly on one of the world's busiest air corridors.

Apart from low-paid labourers on short-term contracts, the sudden move has stranded members of long-settled wealthy families who travelled to India for holidays, work or on medical emergencies.

Many are now in a panic as cases in India skyrocket, with 18 million infections and more than 201,000 people dead, and the daily fatality toll rising above 3,000 for the first time on Wednesday.

T. Patel, a businessman living in Dubai, is working frantically to bring back his brother's wife and three children, currently stuck in Bangalore.

"I am exploring the private jet option. It is a lot of money but if I have no other way of bringing them back, then I will go for it," he said.

After the UAE shut its airspace to curb the spread of coronavirus in March last year, some residents raised the funds for seats on shared chartered planes that were permitted to fly to Dubai.

Patel paid $10,500 to get his parents and niece to Dubai, nearly 20 times the cost of regular tickets.

"I waited for two months and finally hired a private jet for $42,000, the cost of which was shared by a few equally desperate residents," he said.

Dozens of charter flights zipped passengers from India to Dubai in the days before the new ban, after all commercial seats were snapped up, and charter companies say demand has since surged.

A 13-seat jet flying from Mumbai to Dubai costs between $35,000 and $38,000, around 35 times the price of a regular ticket. Prices from other cities are even higher.

But as demand soars, operators have been scrambling to clarify rules around private planes landing in the UAE.

"Chartered flights need to get approval from the General Civil Aviation Authority and the foreign ministry to operate. But we do not know who is exempted to travel," said Tapish Khivensra, CEO of Enthral Aviation Private Jet Charter.

Civil aviation has said UAE nationals, diplomats, official delegations and "businessmens' planes" are excluded from the ban, provided passengers observe measures including a 10-day quarantine.

Long-term Dubai resident Purushothaman Nair said he was prepared to "spend a fortune" to return to the UAE.

"My wife and I came to India for just 10 days. We have to fly back to Dubai at any cost," he told AFP.

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"There are many people who are willing to pay up. How can people with business interests and big responsibilities in the UAE afford to stay away for a longer period?" said Nair, who works in the government sector.

"The fear of contracting the virus is a bigger worry."

The less well-off are weighing the high cost against the risk of losing their livelihoods.

"If I cannot make it in a few weeks, my job is on the line. My employer is already putting pressure on me and asking me to travel to the UAE via other countries," Jameel Mohammed told AFP.

Mohammed had not seen his young son for two years when he was granted leave in March.

He was thrilled at the prospect of a reunion but is now stranded in the southern state of Kerala.

"I can't afford that kind of money. But if the choice is between losing my job and borrowing money, I will do the latter and fly back."

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News Network
April 27,2021

Makkah, Apr 27: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah reiterated that parents are prohibited from bringing along their children for Umrah or prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah during the holy month of Ramadan.

The ministry said that this is part of the regulations it announced regarding the issuance of permits for Umrah and prayer at the Grand Mosque during Ramadan.

The regulations include obtaining a permit for Umrah and prayer from Eatmarna and Tawakkalna applications; immunization through two dozes of vaccination or completion of 14 days after taking the first dose of vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus infection.

The ministry said that vehicles of only those who have a permit will be allowed to enter the central Haram area. The regulations also stipulate that vehicles of those who have a permit will be allowed to enter various entry points to Makkah only within the stipulated period of time specified in the permit.

With regard to performing Umrah, the ministry earlier confirmed that the permitted ages for Umrah from within the Kingdom range between 18 and 70 years as per the instructions of the Ministry of Health.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had previously stated that all prayers of the day could be reserved, and prayers could not be reserved for more than one day at the same time, and after the expiry of the permit of one day, it can be booked for another day.
 

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News Network
April 25,2021

Bengaluru, Apr 25: The practical examinations of second-year pre-university college (PUC 2) courses which were scheduled to begin on April 28 across Karnataka have been postponed, said a circular issued by the Department of Pre University Education on Sunday.

Considering the requests from parents, teachers and students to postpone the exams in the wake of a spike in the Covid-19 cases across the state, the department has decided to act on them.

However, colleges have been directed to conduct practical exams after the completion of theory examinations. 

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