Palestinian Muslims slam Israeli regime’s new racist restrictions on Christians

News Network
April 24, 2022

Palestinian resistance groups have spoken up in support of Christians’ religious freedom, condemning the Israeli regime’s new restrictions on the number of Christians wishing to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the Holy Fire ceremony.

Christians celebrated their Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of al-Quds on Saturday, following the imposition of an incendiary limit on attendance this year that the regime in Tel Aviv claimed was for safety reasons.

The move provoked a backlash, with Christian leaders rejecting Israeli pretexts for capping attendance and saying the restrictions infringe on religious freedom.

In a statement on Friday, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas said the interference of Israeli courts in the religious affairs of Palestinians exposes the “racist nature” of the regime and refutes its “allegations regarding the freedom of worship for everyone.”

“We condemn the Israeli occupation supreme court’s ruling to limit the number of Christians allowed to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre” for the Holy Fire ceremony, the statement said.

“We stress that the Palestinian people have the right and willpower to defend their sacred Muslim and Christian sites. No Israeli schemes will deter our people from doing so at any cost,” it added.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another major Gaza-based resistance movement, also denounced the Israeli restrictions as a “blatant violation” of freedom of worship and an attack on Islamic and Christian sanctities in occupied al-Quds.

In a statement on Saturday, the group also called for the unity of all Palestinians to confront the Tel Aviv regime’s continued aggression and to “defend the right of our people” to worship and exercise their religious freedom, Palestine Today reported.

These practices will not affect the steadfastness and determination of the Palestinian people and their adherence to their land, it added.

Earlier this month, the Greek Patriarchate said it was “fed up with [Israeli] police restrictions on freedom to worship” and that it “has decided, by the power of the Lord, that it will not compromise its right to provide spiritual services in all churches and squares.”

Like al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is governed by a decades-old set of informal arrangements known as the status quo. The Israeli violations of those arrangements have angered Christians, as is the case in al-Aqsa with Muslim worshipers.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound has been at the center of weeks of heightened Israeli violence against Palestinian worshipers since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, which started early in April.

Israeli forces have killed at least 19 Palestinians, including three boys and three women, and injured hundreds more there in recent weeks.

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News Network
June 20,2022

Riyadh, June 20: Saudi Arabia today lifted coronavirus-related travel restrictions on its citizens travelling to India and three other countries.

The move is based on the follow-up to the epidemiological situation of the coronavirus pandemic, and what has been submitted by health authorities on the global epidemiological situation, the Saudi Press Agency reported quoting an official source at the Ministry of Interior.

Besides India, the other countries are Ethiopia, Turkey and Vietnam, the report said.

Last week, Saudi Arabia announced the lifting of measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the requirement to wear face masks in closed places.

The oil-rich kingdom has already started receiving pilgrims for the annual Hajj season that gets underway in a few weeks.

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News Network
June 20,2022

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New Delhi, June 20: Parts of Delhi witnessed massive traffic jams on Monday as the traffic police closed off several roads in view of a call for Bharat Bandh, and the Congress' protest against the Centre's Agnipath scheme and "vendetta politics" against Rahul Gandhi.

Massive traffic jams were witnessed at the Delhi-Noida-Delhi flyway, Meerut Expressway, Anand Vihar, Sarai Kale Khan, Pragati Maidan and Delhi-Gurugram border.

Long queues of slow-moving vehicles were seen in these areas.

Some commuters took to Twitter to share their plight.

While one commuter said he had been stuck in traffic for almost 30 minutes and was running late for the office, another asked people to avoid the Anand Vihar-Sarai Kale Khan stretch.

The Delhi Traffic Police, however, said their teams have been deployed at various spots to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.

Protests against the Centre's Agnipath scheme for defence recruitment have been going on in several parts of the country. Reportedly, some groups have given a call for a Bharat Bandh in some states to protest the scheme.

The Congress had announced on Sunday that lakhs of party workers will continue peaceful protests on Monday against the "anti-youth" Agnipath scheme and Rahul Gandhi's questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the National Herald money laundering case.

The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths in the age bracket of 17-and-half to 21 years in the armed forces for only four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.

In a series of tweets, the traffic police informed commuters about road closures.

Due to special traffic arrangements, inward movement of buses will be restricted in New Delhi beyond Gol Dak Khana Junction, Patel Chowk, Windsor Place, Teen Murti Chowk and Prithviraj Road, it said.

"Kindly avoid Gol Methi junction, Tughlak Road Junction, Claridges Junction, Q-point Junction, Sunehri Masjid Junction, Maulana Azad Road Junction & Man Singh Road Junction between 0800 hrs & 1200 hrs. Due to special arrangements, there will be heavy traffic movement on these roads," it added.

The traffic police also advised commuters to avoid Motilal Nehru Marg, Akbar Road, Janpath and Man Singh Road between 8 am and 12 pm.

The ED probe against Gandhi, who appeared before the agency for the fourth time on Monday, pertains to alleged financial irregularities in the Congress-promoted Young Indian Private Limited, which owns the National Herald newspaper.

The newspaper is published by the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Private Limited. 

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News Network
June 26,2022

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Strikes in Europe's transport sector have disrupted air flights and train schedules as transportation companies struggle to cope with rising demand at the start of the peak summer travel season after the COVID restrictions were lifted.

A strike by staff members at Irish airline Ryanair and Brussels Airlines over pay and working conditions forced the cancellation of a number of flights on Saturday.

The workers' strike also disrupted flight schedules in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Belgium.

Since Friday, low-budget airline Ryanair has been forced to cancel 127 flights, an airport spokeswoman told AFP on Saturday.

The walkout forced the cancellation of two flights between Lisbon and Brussels.

The airports at Bordeaux and Marseille said nine and 12 flights respectively would be cancelled on Sunday.

Ryanair flights were also cancelled in France. Damien Mourgues of the SNPNC union said 36 out of 80 flights had been cancelled because of a walk-out by air stewards.

In Belgium, the walkout meant that only 41 percent of Ryanair flights left Charleroi airport near Brussels on Saturday.

The situation in Belgium was further complicated by a three-day strike by Brussels Airlines staff ending on Saturday. The strike has forced the carrier, which is owned by German giant Lufthansa, to cancel about 300 out of 500 flights since

Adding to Europe's traveling problems, Austria Airlines said on Saturday it had had to cancel 52 out of 360 scheduled flights.

USO transport union in Spain said 75 flights from six different cities had been cancelled, noting that the striking staff had been replaced by workers brought in from Morocco, which it cited as a violation on Thursday.

Unions have called for EasyJet cabin crew based in Spain to strike for nine days in July as part of a dispute over pay.

The Swiss airline has already had to cancel thousands of flights this summer because of staff shortages at airports.

Staff shortage

The aviation sector is still struggling to recover from the COVID pandemic which led to staff-cuts as international travel was put on hold.

However, a rise in the number of COVID infections reported by Austria Airlines staff on Saturday led to the cancellation of its flights.

"Our crew members are sick, cases of infection are rising," an Austria Airlines spokeswoman told AFP.

Faced with staff shortages, Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport was also forced to announce earlier this month that it would be limiting traveler numbers this summer and cancelling flights.

The shortages have already caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled, while huge queues have angered travelers.

In the UK, the railway system once again came to a halt on Saturday. 

Over the week, tens of thousands of workers have walked in Britain's biggest rail strike in 30 years, with millions of passengers facing days of chaos as both the unions and government have stuck to their guns in a row over pay.

The British transport union, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), threatened to continue the industrial action until managers address the workers' grievances, and meet their salary demands.

Despite the ongoing negotiations between representatives from the management and staff, media predicted the strikes to continue.

They attributed further industrial action to the rapidly rising inflation rates exacerbated by sluggish economic growth, saying this combo will likely lead to more workers' strikes across the European continent in the summer ahead.

Unions have said the rail strikes could mark the start of a "summer of discontent" with teachers, medics, waste disposal workers and even barristers heading for industrial action as inflation pushes 10%.

Inflation has soared across Europe on the back of a major rise in energy costs and Britain is not alone in facing strikes. 

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