Tuesday, 21 April 2020

21 APRIL NEWS: India Heaven For Muslims says Union Minister Naqvi after backlash from OIC, Arab countries' on Islamophobic in India. Govt preparing for a second wave towards May end as lockdown eases


NEWS DIGEST EVENING 

21 April 2020: 27 Shaban 1441: Vol: 12, No: 187
*CORONAVIRUS - LOCKDOWN : INDIA*

India Heaven For Muslims  says Union Minister Naqvi after backlash from OIC, Arab countries' on Islamophobic in India
New Delhi: India is heaven for Muslims and their social, economic and religious rights are secure, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said today, in response to a statement by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on what it called "Islamophobia" in the country."India's Muslims are prosperous. Those trying to vitiate the atmosphere can't be their friends," Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was quoted as telling Press Trust of India."The constitutional, social and religious rights of all the citizens including minorities is India's constitutional and moral guarantee," he said.The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had in a statement on Sunday urged India to take "urgent steps" to protect the rights of Muslims and stop the incidents of "Islamophobia" in the country.In tweets, OIC's Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission also said the Indian media was negatively profiling the Muslims and subjecting them to discrimination.Asked about the OIC criticism, Mr Naqvi said, "We are doing our job with conviction. The prime minister whenever he speaks, he talks about the rights and welfare of 130 crore Indians. If some cannot see this, then it is their problem."The minister remarked that "secularism and harmony" was not "political fashion but perfect passion" for India and Indians.ndtv
UAE Princess Tweets Out Law On Hate Speech Amid Backlash Over Islamophobic Posts In India
Princess Hend Al Qassimi, a member of the royal family of UAE, has posted a part of the country’s law on hate speech on Twitter amid controversy over Islamophobic posts by an Indian user on the social media platform.Last week, Princess Qassimi had shared screenshots of those tweets and said that anyone “openly racist and discriminatory in the UAE will be fined and made to leave”.The man who posted the tweets was an Indian national working in Dubai. He has since deactivated his account.In an interview to NDTV on Monday, she said that she spoke about the offending tweets because “I didn’t like what I saw.”She also said that she did not believe that such comments made by certain people on Twitter reflected the opinion of all Indians.“One of the top five countries we trade in is India. We do not deny this friendship,” she said.Later she posted, “The whole world is on its nerves with Covid19, but the hate should stop.”On Saturday, Princess Qassimi tweeted out a list of other religious gatherings that had taken place in India around the same time, saying “all gatherings can increase the spread.”She is among the several prominent Arab figures who have criticised Islamophobic tweets, including one deleted by BJP MP Tejwasi Surya recently. The Middle East leaders and intellectuals have also questioned the treatment of Muslims in India.On Monday, Indian Ambassador to UAE quote-tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, “Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the Rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this.” huffingtonpost

'Scorn, ridicule will not go unnoticed': UAE royal warns after BJP MP Tejasvi Surya's tweet about Arab women
After Tejasvi Surya, singer Sonu Nigam shamed for his old Islamophobic tweet
On Monday BJP MP Tejasvi Surya faced social media backlash after an Islamophobic tweet by him resurfaced after years. On Tuesday, it was the turn of singer Sonu Nigam to face humiliation on Twitter after an old, controversial tweet surfaced.“God bless everyone. I'm not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India. And by the way Mohammed did not have electricity when he mad Islam...Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison," the singer had said in a series of Tweets in 2017.His controversial tweets surfaced after reports that the singer is in Dubai with his wife and son and is unable to travel to India due to the ongoing pandemic. Many social media users tweeted with the screenshots of his old tweets, calling the the current predicament of the actor an irony.The singer was the top trending topic on Twitter following which he deactivated his Twitter account."Now Sonu Nigam 🤣 ! Drub him royally by putting him in a cell with a loudspeaker calling out the call for prayer 5 times a day," said one user.A user asked, "Sonu Nigam is Stranded in Dubai, and that poor Soul must be Listening to the Azaan all the time . When is he going to Tweet against Azaan in Dubai?"PTI

Govt preparing for a second wave towards May end as lockdown eases
New Delhi :Even as Union govt is looking at various options for “gradual” lifting of the lockdown post-May 3 and hopes that the doubling time of COVID-19 cases will increase to 12 days by then, sources said it is preparing for a second wave in late May or early June, as restrictions are eased.On Monday, Health Ministry said the doubling time — an epidemiological metric of how long an infectious disease takes for the number of cases to double — is 7.5 days, up from the 3.4 days before the lockdown. The govt hopes that it will increase to 10 days by the end of the week, and 12 days by first week of May.“At our worst, our doubling time was 3.4 days. We are expecting to touch 12 by April-end or early May, but after that, as we gradually start to open up — the lockdown will definitely not be lifted in one go — there will be a gradual increase (in cases). We are looking at a second peak in late May or early June, but now that awareness levels are high  and people are getting used to the idea of social distancing, masks etc, we do not anticipate the doubling time dipping to below 5 days at that point,” said a source.It is likely that the cases will be concentrated around urban and peri-urban areas, where COVID-19 management will be less challenging than in rural areas.indianexpress
Coronavirus: Almost 19,000 people in India infected, toll rises to 603
India has 18,985 coronavirus cases and 603 deaths as of Tuesday evening, the health ministry said. Of these confirmed cases, 15,122 people are being treated, 3,259 people have recovered, and one person has left the country.Indian Council for Medical Research, the country’s nodal body for the coronavirus testing, advised states to not use rapid antibody tests for the next two days. This came after Rajasthan said the kits mostly delivered inaccurate results.scroll
India’s Covid-19 R0 down to 1.36 now, 25,000 cases by April-end at this rate: IMS scientist
New Delhi: India’s battle against Covid-19 has shown some ray of hope.The R0 value for Covid-19, which is a key parameter to describe the rate of infection of coronavirus, has further reduced this week to 1.36 — from 1.55 on 11 April.R0 is the basic reproduction number of a disease and indicates the number of people a patient can directly infect in a healthy population.The metric has been estimated by scientists at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMS) in Chennai. “Starting from 13 April, the data shows a further reduced rate of increase of the number of active cases, corresponding to an effective reproduction number of 1.36,” Sitabhra Sinha, a scientist at the IMS, told ThePrint. The value was as high as 1.83 on 6 April.
SC dismisses plea seeking relaxing of medical expenses for non-Covid-19 treatment
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking directions to the Centre, states and Union Territories for taking immediate steps to relax all medical expenses of non-Covid-19 ailments during the coronavirus pandemic.A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai dismissed the plea filed by lawyer Sourjya Das in which he said that due to the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, the means of livelihood and businesses of people have come to a halt resulting in financial crisis in numerous families.The top court also rejected another petition which sought making masks and sanitizers free of GST to make it cheaper at the time of coronavirus.Das in his petition, said, “On perusal of the steps taken by the respondents (Centre, States and UTs), it is valid to infer that the respondents have not taken steps to relax/reduce non-Covid-19 related healthcare/ treatment expenses during Covid-19 outbreak.PTI

1341 devotees were in Latur Ashram when Tablighis were demonised
Pune: When Tablighi Jamaat members were being accused of hiding in Nizamuddin Markaz as they could not return to their homes after the meeting held there, due to the sudden announcement of the lockdown, same situation was being faced by over 1341 members of a sect, stranded in their Latur-based ashram in Maharashtra.These Mahanubhavis or the sect members had gone to their ashram located in Nilanga tehsil in Latur district of Marathwada region on February 26.But the biased journalists who have shattered the fourth pillar of democracy were in the forefront bashing Tablighis and remained tight-lipped over the Ashram event.The programme of Mahanubhavis concluded on 29th March but had to stay back due to lockdown coming into force from March 22.However, the state government on Sunday (April 19) facilitated their journey through a special order.  The Disaster Management, Help and Rehabilitation department on April 17 issued a special order instructing the Latur district administration to make special transport arrangements to shift all the 1341 followers of “Mahanubhav Panth” or sect to Devdatta Ashram in Junnar, a distance of about 385 kms, while adhering to the social distanorms.“All the followers were brought in to the Jadhavwadi- based Shree Devdatta Ashram in Junnar tehsil in over 40 buses on Sunday,” said an official from the Pune (Rural) Police.
Over 129 Kashmiri Labourers Stranded in Shimla Jama Masjid
SRINAGAR;More than 129 Kashmiri labourers are stranded in Shimla Jama Masjid without food or money.After CPI(M) MLA Rakesh Singha sat on a dharna on Monday, Himachal Pradesh government came into action and provided ration to Kashmiri labourers stuck in Jama Masjid for the last 30 days. Singha is on indefinite dharna at Shimla Deputy Commissioner's office. “We have age-old relations with Kashmir. We too are dealing with apples. Kashmir also grows this fruit. After Article 370 abrogation, so many people from Kashmir came here for work. I got a call that people in Jama Masjid are not getting ration. The administration said they are giving, but labourers denied. There was a dispute,” said Singha over phone.Conservative figures reveal that there are 1400 to 1500 Kashmiris working in Himachal Pradesh.  Most of the people are working as coolies and daily wage labourers.For the last 29 days, nearly 129 labourers, mostly from Anantnag and Kulgam districts in South Kashmir, are stranded in Jama Masjid at Shimla. “Whatever we earned, was spent on food in the last 29 days. Even quarantine is for 14 days, we have completed 29 days,” Bashir Ahmad, a labourer from Kokarnag area of Anantnag district, told India Tomorrow over phone.indiatomorrow

Kerala HC pulls up state govt on privacy issues concerning use of app for gathering COVID-19 data
Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to inform the Court on the steps taken to ensure that the confidentiality of the sensitive medical information shared with New York-based software company Sprinklr, which has been engaged by the Kerala Govt to manage the COVID-19 data of persons under quarantine in the state, reported legal news website BarandBench. The court was dealing with a petition filed citing data privacy concerns in sharing such sensitive information with a private entity,Appearing for petitioner, advocate Jaykar KS on Tuesday told the Court that the data is collected by Asha workers on mobile applications, and that the information so pooled is sent to the servers of Sprinklr, which is a private entity.IANS

ICMR asks states to stop using rapid Covid-19 tests after complaints of patchy results
New Delhi: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has asked states to stop using rapid antibody test kits for Covid-19 diagnosis for two days until they are validated again. The directive came after the rapid antibody tests, which reveal if a person has contracted coronavirus and developed antibodies against it, were found to yield discrepant results. On Monday, Rajasthan had approached the ICMR, India’s apex medical research body, with a complaint that just over 5 per cent of the antibody tests had proved accurate.While the RT PCR (real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests, the gold standard to detect Covid-19 infection, can take up to a day to yield results, rapid antibody tests take less than 30 minutes and require no laboratory. The latter are also cheaper, costing up to Rs 500 a pop against around Rs 4,500 for RT PCR.

Rajasthan stops use of rapid test kits over low accuracy
Rajasthan government has decided to stop the use of rapid test kits from China as they were showing only 5.4 per cent accuracy in testing Covid-19 cases, according to Health Minister Raghu Sharma, on Tuesday.The kits, used on Covid-19 positive patients, showed them negative too, Sharma added.The state government has written to ICMR. "We are awaiting the ICMR's feedback. If it asks us to stop testing, we will send these kits back," he said.Sharma said the Health Department had set up a committee to test these kits' accuracy. It should have been 90 per cent, but, according to the committee, the accuracy was only 5.4 per cent.IANS
Not iftar parties, Delhi’s young Muslims will mark this Ramzan by feeding the poor
New Delhi: No iftar parties, no special outings, and no taraweeh prayers in mosques — Ramzan 2020 will be unlike any other that Indian Muslims have ever experienced. And while community leaders have reiterated their appeals to stay at home and observe the ritual fasting and prayers indoors, some younger Muslims in Delhi have decided to spend the holy month doing something new to help out people in the time of the lockdown.Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown to 3 May. Ramzan, dedicated to fasting from sunrise to sunset every day, is tentatively set to begin on 24 April in India, depending on the sighting of the moon.Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi then held a meeting with officials of various state waqf boards via video conferencing, to ensure there aren’t any violations of the lockdown and social distancing guidelines during Ramzan, spelt by some as Ramadan.Up to seven lakh mosques, eidgahs and dargahs, along with other religious and social institutions, come under state waqf boards across the country.

27 staff of private Tamil TV channel test Covid-19 positive
27 employees of a Tamil TV channel have been asked to get admitted to hospital after they tested positive for coronavirus, according to a senior channel official."27 employees, both editorial and non-editorial staff, tested positive for Covid-19," a senior official of the channel told IANS.IANS

Kedarnath shrine to open as scheduled after priests reject revised date announced by Uttarakhand govt
In an embarrassment for the state BJP government, priests of Hindu shrine of Kedarnath rejected the deferred dates of opening of the portals of the temple and decided to open the temple on April 29.Interestingly, on Monday, after a meeting between Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, state Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj and erstwhile ruler of Tehri state Manujendra Shah, it was decided that the portals of the Kedarnath and Badrinath temples will open on May 14 and May 15 respectively, due to outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. Uttarakhand Tourism minister Satpal Maharaj had announced the new dates.However, this was not go down well with the priests of Kedarnath temple. At a meeting held by ‘Dharamacharis’ presided by Bhima Shanker Ling, Rawal of Kedarnath temple at Omkeshewar temple at Okkhimath, today, it was decided that Kedarnath temple will open on April 29 at 6.10 am as per the earlier announced dates

Angry commuters stuck en route as Delhi-Ghaziabad border sealed
With authorities ordering a ban on to and fro movement on the Delhi-Ghaziabad border, a large number of daily commuters got stuck at the inter-state checkpoint at the Ghazipur border on the National Highway-9 on Tuesday morning.The commuters, angry over the sudden ban, could be seen arguing with policemen manning the barricades on the route. There were queues of vehicles stuck on both sides of the border.The orders to seal the Ghaziabad borders were issued by DM Ajay Shankar Pandey on Monday, but many people were unaware of the directive.IANS

Videos viral with false claim of poor slum dwellers and Muslims hoarding food in Meerut
Two videos have gone viral with the claim that people from Muslims are hoarding food supplies and wasting food amidst the lockdown imposed to tackle coronavirus. A 90-second video of a man who claims to be reporting at a slum near Gandhi Ashram has gone viral. In this video, the man says that since past seven or eight days he has been visiting these slums to give food. However, he claims that some people have been hoarding the relief food even when they have more than enough supplies of their own. Later in the video, he enters a house and shows various food items – a portion of chicken, a meagre quantity of flour and nine food packets. The video also shows stacks of pooris lying on a table. Just as the pooris are shows we can hear goats bleating in the background. While the man walks out, we see a lady sitting on the ground. She said, “We took them out because of the dal.” The man wraps up the video by requesting people of Meerut not to distribute food at slums near Gandhi Ashram.The readers should note that police officers can be seen in the viral video and the fact that the man in the video made no communal comments. Several Facebook users have posted a different one-minute video with the claim that Muslims are hoarding food so that poor Hindus are starved. This video shows the man from video 1 in an orange kurta. Just like the first video he appears to be reporting. According to him, food is being wasted at a leprosy ashram. The video shows a room where pooris are lying on the floor. It is pertinent to note only the man who appears to be reporting can be seen in the video. The video abruptly ends with the frame of stacks of jute bags.Just like video 1, no communal comments were made by the man in the video.On April 12, Kumar Ajit posted the viral video and wrote in Hindi, “#Caution #Food_Jihad has started, loot the food and let it go bad, don’t let the food reach to any Hindu poor, so that the government looks bad and poor Hindus die.Two videos went viral from Meerut around April 10. The initial claim was that marginalised people are stocking up food. However, several people subsequently shared it with the communal narrative on social media. Alt News investigated both the videos and verified that both claims do not hold water.altnews

Video of currency notes in Indore falsely viral as ‘Muslim conspiracy’ to spread coronavirus
A video where a few policemen are seen picking up notes with sticks from a roadside and placing them inside a bag is doing the rounds on social media. It is being claimed that a member of the Muslim community had thrown Rs 100, Rs 200 and Rs 500 notes to spread coronavirus.Twitter handle @SortedEagle posted this video with the message, “They’ve found a new way to spread the virus now. A resident of this area in Indore saw a Muslim chap scatter currency notes of 100, 200 & 500 in the locality for people to pick up & get infected. Police was called & they collected them with protection. 10 grand scattered around.”Alt News found a report published by Dainik Jagran on April 17, 2020. According to the report, the incident took place at Indore’s Khatipura-Gori Nagar road on Thursday. People informed the police after seeing some notes scattered on the road after which they sanitised the notes and ceased them. Furthermore, the police went through the footage of near-by CCTV camera but they couldn’t find a suspected vehicle or a person. The report nowhere identified the person suspected of having thrown the notes as a Muslim.altnews

Punjab Police Allegedly Assault Villagers, Then Arrest Them For 'Attempt to Murder'
New Delhi: Amidst COVID-19 lockdown, a horde of Punjabi policemen, packed in about 30 vehicles, allegedly stormed into houses of landless farm labourers in Mansa and assaulted them in the early hours of April 12. Many children, women and men were left bleeding and bruised. Two attacks allegedly occurred within a span of less than 12 hours, with the first assault coming the previous night around 8 pm. It reportedly began when five policemen chased some strolling boys back into their houses, thrashing them with canes.The provocation for April 12 morning’s illegitimate operation was the previous night’s melee, in which an assistant sub-inspector had also sustained a severe cut on his face reportedly from a shovel used by one of the boys while resisting police violence.“Some 5-6 policemen stormed into our house. I was cooking and my daughter was serving her brothers and father when they barged in and started abusing and beating my son Hardeep*, who sustained a head injury,” said Hardeep’s mother.A poor widow labourer said she was also beaten with lathis when she tried to save her sons Noman* (19) and Pawan* (16).Advocate-activist Jaswant Singh Grewal, who has taken up the matter to bail out the arrested villagers, told The Wire that the Mansa police registered the said case against the villagers after assaulting them.thewire

UP: A Muslim Doctor Who Treated COVID-19 Patients Dies of Same Disease
A doctor who had been involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients died after having contracted the disease, at Moradabad on Monday.The doctor has been identified by local news reports as 35-year-old Nizamuddin. PTI has reported that he headed the government-run Tajpur community healthcare centre.Nizamuddin, who reports have said was an Ayurveda doctor, had been undergoing treatment at the quarantine centre in the Teerthanker Mahaveer University Hospital in the district.He had reportedly been associated with National Child Health Programme.The Hindu has reported that the doctor had also been part of the team that visited the “area where attendees of a religious congregation in Delhi were found.”thewire

Centre allows Gujarat & UP to mobilise buses but turns down similar request by Jharkhand
State governments in opposition ruled states are at receiving end of growing unrest. Anger is mounting among workers and students stranded in other parts of the country for the governments’ failure to ensure their return. On the other hand, a growing number of people are asking why they are unable to mobilise buses as BJP-ruled states of Gujarat, UP and Uttrakhand have done.All 3 BJP-ruled states mobilized hundreds of buses to ferry stranded pilgrims, students and workers back home from other states. Why not a revenue rich state like Jharkhand?nationalheraldindia

Petition in SC: MP has utterly failed to handle COVID-19, situation beyond redemption
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre and MP government to constitute a High Level Expert Monitoring Committee for the state, to, inter alia, secure medical assistance to every sick person, provide adequate number of PPE Kits to health workers, set up testing labs in remote areas and increase the quantum of tests, reports legal news website LiveLaw.in.The petitioner Chinmay Mishra, who is the president of the Madhya Pradesh Sarvodaya Mandal, has averred that "Madhya Pradesh is one of the most affected states from Corona virus", that "the Capital Bhopal and Financial Capital Indore are most affected cities in Madhya Pradesh, that "till 15.04.2020 there are 1053 positive cases of Corona Virus in Madhya Pradesh out of which in Indore 646 cases and in Bhopal 170, and "that Indore is having the worst mortality rate in entire country due to Covid 19".

As Millions Fear Starvation, Govt to Convert ‘Surplus’ Rice Into Ethanol for Sanitiser
New Delhi: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has announced that the ‘surplus rice’ available with the Food Corporation of India will be “allowed to be converted to ethanol for utilisation in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers”. The announcement came after a meeting of NBCC chaired by petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan. It cited National Policy on Biofuels 2018, which says that if in a particular year there is projected to be excess supply of food grains, these surplus quantities can be converted into ethanol. The ministry has so far not clarified what it means by ‘surplus quantities of rice’, at what price it intends to buy the rice from FCI and when.“I am surprised that at this time we are talking about converting rice into sanitisers. Millions who are outside PDS are on the brink of starvation. We are already getting reports of hunger deaths from so many states across the country. At this time, the focus of the government should be on finding ways to ensure that the excess grain is distributed to those who need them and not on making sanitisers,” said politician and social scientist Yogendra Yadav.thewire

*CORONAVIRUS – WORLD*

Global hunger could double due to coronavirus pandemic: UN
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/global-hunger-double-due-coronavirus-pandemic-200421135911446.html
The number of people facing acute food insecurity could nearly double this year to 265 million due to the economic fallout of COVID-19, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).The impact of lost tourism revenues, falling remittances and travel and other restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic is expected to leave about 130 million more people acutely hungry this year, in addition to 135 million already in that category, the WFP said in a new report on Tuesday."COVID-19 is potentially catastrophic for millions who are already hanging by a thread," said Arif Husain, chief economist and director of research, assessment and monitoring at the WFP."We all need to come together to deal with this because if we don't the cost will be too high - the global cost will be too high: many lost lives and many, many more lost livelihoods," he told reporters at a virtual briefing in Geneva.Husain said it was critical to act quickly to prevent people already living hand-to-mouth from selling their assets as it could take them years to become self-reliant again. In some cases, such as when farmers sell their ploughs or oxen, it could have knock-on effects for food production for years to come, he added.


UK coronavirus death toll 40 percent higher than reported
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/uk-coronavirus-death-toll-40-percent-higher-reported-200421125350128.html
The true extent of Britain's COVID-19 death toll was more than 40 percent higher than the government's daily figures indicated as of April 10, according to data that put the country on track to become among the worst-hit in Europe.The Office for National Statistics said it recorded 13,121 deaths by April 10 in England and Wales, which account for the vast majority of Britain's population, compared with 9,288 in the government's daily toll for those who died in hospital. The ONS figures include deaths in care homes and hospices as well as in hospitals.Britain, which scientists say is probably now experiencing the peak of the outbreak, has reported the world's fifth-highest national death toll from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.The global death toll from COVID-19 now stands at around 170,000.





Iraq eases restrictions ahead of Ramadan
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/coronavirus-dead-world-exceeds-170000-live-updates-200421005048334.html
Iraqi authorities will partially scale back the 24-hour curfew imposed to contain the new coronavirus in a move to balance the restrictions for the month of Ramadan.The new curfew will be implemented mainly at night, from 7pm until 6am local time as of April 21 until May 11.The total ban, however, will stay in place on Fridays and Saturday.Restrictions on public gatherings, gatherings of more than three people and social distancing rules remain in place while restaurants and cafes will be permitted to provide delivery services only.

Indonesia bans traditional Ramadan exodus to rein in coronavirus
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/coronavirus-dead-world-exceeds-170000-live-updates-200421005048334.html
Indonesia will ban its traditional annual exodus of people streaming out of cities at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, as the Southeast Asian nation looks to curb the spread of coronavirus, President Joko Widodo said.Indonesia's tally of 616 virus deaths is the highest in East Asia after China, but Widodo had previously resisted a ban, seeking instead to persuade people to stay put.But health experts had warned that allowing millions in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country to travel to homes in towns and villages over Ramadan, which starts this week, could accelerate the spread of the disease.


o new corona cases in Lebanon in past 24 hours - health ministry
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/coronavirus-dead-world-exceeds-170000-live-updates-200421005048334.html
Lebanon recorded no new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours for the first time during the country's outbreak, the health ministry said in its daily report.It said that after 487 tests conducted in the last 24 hours the number of infections stood at 677, with 21 deaths.

US oil prices fall back below zero amid coronavirus crisis
US oil markets have fallen back below zero as the coronavirus crisis continues to take a toll on oil demand.The US oil price – which turned negative for the first time in market history on Monday – climbed above zero overnight before slumping back to -$4.29 a barrel as trading began in Europe on Tuesday. A negative price means that traders are paying customers to take the oil off their hands and it is the result of the US running out of space to store a glut of crudecaused by the global coronavirus lockdown. West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for US crude prices, crashed to -$40 a barrel on Monday as oil storage facilities filled to the brim and producers were forced to pay buyers to take their barrels.John Browne, who was the head of BP from 1995 to 2007, said the negative US prices would remain low due to a chronic oversupply of crude in the global market.“The prices will be very low and I think they will remain low and very volatile for some considerable time,” Browne told BBC. “There is still a lot of oil being produced that is going into storage and not being used. theguardian

Coronavirus | Global death toll tops 170,000
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 170,000 people globally, close to two thirds of them in hardest-hit Europe, according to an AFP tally on Tuesday.In total, 170,226 people have died from the virus around the world, including 106,737 in Europe. With 42,364 deaths, the United States has the highest mortality rate, followed by Italy with 24,114 fatalities and Spain's 21,282. France has 20,265 deaths and Britain 16,509.There are 2,483,086 recorded cases around the world, though the number of actual infections is believed to be higher since many countries are only testing the most serious cases. AFP

Trump says he will halt immigration, citing pandemic, as Georgia plans partial reopening
US President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak took on a sharper political tone with his pledge to suspend immigration into the country, while Georgia and other U.S. states began lifting restrictions that stalled their economies.Trump made the immigration announcement in a Twitter message late on Monday night, suggesting his action would prevent further contagion from outsiders while saving American jobs.Trump, elected in 2016 in part on his vow to stamp out illegal immigration, had staked his re-election in November on the strength of a U.S. economy now sapped by the economic shutdown to stop the pandemic. He has since been pressing for states to begin easing restrictions that have left a record 22 million people seeking unemployment benefits.“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy,” he tweeted, referring to the pandemic, “as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.” Reuters

Virus made biggest crisis since WWII: Turkish president
The human cost and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic have turned it into an era-defining global crisis, said Turkey’s president on Tuesday.“With its economic fallout, the pandemic has turned into the biggest crisis since World War II,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan.His remarks came during a central executive board meeting of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party via videoconferencing. Turkey has so far registered 90,980 cases with a death toll of 2,140.

Saudi to ease restrictions in Ramadan
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/coronavirus-dead-world-exceeds-170000-live-updates-200421005048334.html
Saudi Arabia plans to ease curfew hours it imposed on several cities during the month of Ramadan to allow people more time to shop for essential needs within the boundaries of their neighbourhoods, state news agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.Currently, people living in areas under 24-hour curfew can go out for healthcare and to supermarkets from 6am to 3pm. In Ramadan these hours will start from 9am until 5pm, SPA said.


Pakistan records highest number of coronavirus deaths in a day
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/pakistan-records-highest-number-coronavirus-deaths-day-200421082118654.html
Pakistan has seen its highest rise in deaths in a single day from the coronavirus, with 17 new cases taking the country's death toll from the highly contagious virus to at least 192, according to government data.Monday also saw the highest single-day rise in cases in Pakistan, with 705 confirmed cases taking the country's tally to 9,214, according to the data.So far, at least 2,053 patients have recovered from COVID-19 in the country, leaving the active case tally at 6,969.The increase in cases has occurred in conjunction with a modest increase in testing capacity, as the government aims to ramp up to 25,000 tests a day.

Coronavirus pandemic amplifying threat to press freedom: Reporters Without Borders
Coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating threats to press freedom around the world, with authoritarian states including China and Iran suppressing details of the outbreak, activists said on Tuesday.Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its annual press freedom rankings that the pandemic was "highlighting and amplifying the many crises" already casting a shadow on press freedom.The outbreak had encouraged some regimes to "take advantage of the fact people are stunned and mobilisation has weakened to impose measures that would be impossible to adopt in normal times", RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire told AFP. The rankings saw few major changes from last year, with Nordic countries regarded as the most free and isolated states Turkmenistan and North Korea footing the list of 180 countries. RSF accused China and Iran -- in 177th and 173rd place respectively -- of censoring major coronavirus outbreaks.PTI

*OTHERS*
Muslim Leaders Condemn Palghar Lynching and Communalization Bid, Commend Swift Action of Maharashtra Govt.
New Delhi:Muslim leaders have unequivocally condemned the brutal lynching of 2 Hindu saints and their car driver in Palghar area of Maharashtra. They have also strongly condemned the desperate bid by right-wing people to falsely give a communal colour to the painful incident. Muslims leaders have lauded Maharashtra govt for swiftly arresting the culprits and nipping the communalization of the incident in the bud.“The killing of 2 sadhus has again blackened the face of our Indian society. This is a shameful and inhuman act. This must be condemned in strongest words,” said Mohammad Salim Engineer, Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.He said: “Whoever are involved in the crime should get punishment at the earliest. So that such incidents do not recur in future. This is our demand. What is more regrettable is the whole incident occurred in the presence of the police and cops were seen helpless.”“Whatever happened in Palghar is very painful and regrettable,” said Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission. Navaid Hamid, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, said: “The unfortunate incident which has happened in Palghar is most draconian act of violence and needs condemnation without ifs and buts. Anybody who indulges in lynching of innocents needs to be tried under strict prevailing laws. But the incidents of lynching would not stop unless govt enacts specific anti-lynching law.” Former MP and NCP leader Abdul Majeed Memon said: “Mob-lynching needs to be condemned wherever it takes place and in whatever circumstances it takes place and whoever is the aggressor and whoever is the victim. When a human life is lost without judicial trial by people becoming law unto themselves, it must be condemned by all right-thinking people. Such incidents only diminish people’s faith in rule of law.”Muslim leaders have strongly condemned the unsuccessful attempts by saffron groups and individuals to falsely give a communal colour to the Palghar lynching.“People of BJP’s IT Cell tried to maliciously generate impression as if some Muslim killed those 2 sadhus. They wanted to create a big disturbance in the whole Maharashtra and whole country. On the first day, they even mentioned a Muslim name as the main instigator of the mob. Later it came out they had turned the word ‘chor’ as Shoaib. The fact is there is no Muslim population around that area. It is completely tribal-dominated area,” said Dr Tasleem Ahmed Rahmani, President, Muslim Political Council of India.  In a series of tweets, Navaid Hamid also raised the issue before the central government. Salim Engineer also condemned the trend to give communal angle to every incident these days.indiatomorrow

Enact anti lynching law, Muslim body renews demand after 2 Sadhus lynched in Palghar
All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, an apex body of Muslim organisation, has demanded from the Prime Minister to enact an 'Anti Lynching Law' in next parliamentary session after two Sadhus were lynched by a mob in Palghar, Maharashtra.Navaid Hamid, the president of the Muslim body said, "It is earnestly requested that to stop rising lynching cases, please consider to enact Anti Lynching Law at the earliest available opportunity in the upcoming parliamentary session."The Supreme court in its judgement on lynching had issued guidelines for preventive, remedial and punitive measures to combat lynchings.ExUnion Minister Salman Khurshid tweeted: "Violence and hate like Corona know not where to stop. They tasted the blood of Akhlaq, Pehlu, Ganesh, Junaid, Naeem, Mangesh. Now they have crushed abstinence of Sadhus in Palghar. The blood they take is human and pure. It is our blood and of prayer."IANS

Palghar lynching incident falsely communalised on social media
On April 16, three men were lynched by an armed mob near Gadchinchale village which comes under the Kasa Police jurisdiction in Maharashtra’s Palghar district. 3 days later, videos of the incident on social media were amplified with an insinuation that it was a communally-motivated crime committed by members of the Muslim community.One such video of the gruesome incident was tweeted by some individuals with the claim that the mob can be heard saying, “Maar Shoaib Maar”.Film director Ashoke Pandit twice claimed that the accused involved in the incident is “Shoaib”.Suresh Chavhanke, the editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News, also claimed that he is able to hear the word “Shoaib” in the video.Delhi BJP’s Richa Pandey Mishra tweeted the video with the text, “Hit Shoaib Hit, Kill them”. Similar tweets by handle ‘Yana Mir‘ and ‘This Posable‘ has garnered close to 2,700 retweets combined. Facebook page Our India posted the same video with a similar communal narrative. It has been shared more than 2,200 times.An image of 2 deceased men was also shared on social media with a graphic that accuses “the goons of Christian missionaries” for the attack.After listening to several videos of the same incident taken from different angles, Alt News found that the men are saying,  “Bass oye bass (Stop hey stop)”.  In the video posted below, the same can heard. Thus, the claim that one of the perpetrators involved in the incident was Shoaib is baseless.Prominent social media users like Suresh Chavhanke and Ashoke Pandit attempted to give the incident a communal colour by claiming that the men involved in the lynching were members of the Muslim community. The accused and victims both hail from the same religion. There is no communal angle to the incident.altnews

Kashmir: Families of Slain Militants Allege Bodies Buried in Distant Unmarked Graves
Baramulla: Amid rains and lockdown, 55-year-old Abdul Majid Mir of Gantamulla area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district and five other locals on Friday evening quietly buried bodies of two militants in a graveyard located on the scenic Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.Mir, who owns a tea stall in the village, has been performing the task of digging graves for unidentified militants killed in the encounters with forces in different parts of the Valley over the past four years and was called here for the burial.“I received a phone call from the local police at around 1 pm to get ready for performing the last rites of two militants. The bodies were brought here at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and we completed the entire burial process by 7 pm,” he says. Mir says he could not see the faces of the slain militants as they were wrapped in shrouds.Mir and villagers of Gantamulla have silently buried more than 100 militants in this graveyard meant only for unidentified and non-local militants, as their funeral in populated areas of Kashmir can trigger law and order problems.thewire

Witch-Hunt of Journalists in Kashmir, Now FIR Against The Hindu Correspondent
Srinagar:After booking a young woman photojournalist Masrat Zahra under UAPA, Jammu and Kashmir police have filed a FIR against The Hindu correspondent Peerzada Ashiq for carrying what they termed as "fake news".Police on Sunday verbally summoned Peerzada Ashiq and asked him to explain the alleged factual inaccuracies in a story that was published on the same day.Kashmir Press Club (KPC) said while Peerzada explained his case to police in Srinagar, he was asked to travel to South Kashmir, some 40 kilometers away in the evening, and present himself before a police officer in Anantnag district. “He returned late in the midnight to his home in Srinagar. In the meantime, his family was terrified and concerned about his safety,” said a KPC spokesman.The story in question was published by the newspaper with a headline…“Kin allowed to exhume bodies of militants in Baramulla”.Police said they received information regarding a “fake news item" being published in The Hindu by Peerzada regarding an encounter at Shopian and subsequent developments.indiatomorrow

India Has Dropped 2 Places In World Press Freedom Index: Here's Why
India has dropped two places on the 2020 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders and is now ranked 142 out of a total 180 countries. Norway leads the list fourth year in a row and North Korea is ranked in the last place. India’s position in this year’s index, the report said, is heavily affected by the situation in Kashmir. The Narendra Modi government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution in August last year and imposed a communication blackout for several months. The government made it “virtually impossible for journalists to cover what was happening in what has become a vast open prison,” the report added.

MPs write to President protesting against ‘whim and fancy of a one-man non government’ in MP
Senior Advocates and Rajya Sabha MPs Kapil Sibal and Vivek K. Tankha have written a letter to the President of India, raising concerns over alleged "undemocratic and unconstitutional functioning" of the Government of Madhya Pradesh without a Cabinet, reports legal news website LiveLaw.in. The two MPs said that they had been "constrained to approach" the Union government in view of the "one man show" prevalent in the state.As per them, the Governor of MP has promulgated two ordinances relating to appropriation of funds amid the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, at the aid and advice of the Chief Minister of the state Shivraj Singh Chouhan, alone.They pointed out that such an exercise cannot be undertaken in light of Article 164 of the Constitution which mandates a 'Council of Ministers' to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions."The Governor cannot act without the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by Chief Minister. Additionally, the proviso to Article 164(A) provides for the minimum strength of the Council of Ministers to be not less than twelve including the Chief Minister. Here the Council is missing, only the head exists," the letter states.

Shivraj Singh Gets A Mini-cabinet But Cracks Clear In BJP-Scindia Bonhomie
At long last, Shivraj Singh Chouhan formed his council of ministers – albeit a tiny, five-member one – on Tuesday, 29 days after he was sworn-in as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh after the fall of the Congress-led government under Kamal Nath.The absence of a cabinet in general, or a health minister in particular, at a time when the Coronavirus pandemic was rapidly claiming victims across the state had become the most strident criticism against Chouhan over the past month. Outlook had first reported on April 14 that Chouhan had initiated cabinet formation talks and a final decision on the subject would be taken by April 20.With the swearing-in of Narottam Mishra, Kamal Patel, Govind Singh Rajput, Tulsi Silavat and Meena Singh as cabinet ministers, Chouhan has made a belated, though still half-hearted, attempt to silence critics who lashed out at him for becoming the longest-serving chief minister without a cabinet. This iniquitous record was held by Karnataka’s B.S. Yediyurappa till a few days back. The Karnataka CM had functioned without a cabinet for 22 days after he returned to power last year following the fall of the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led JD (S)-Congress coalition government.

China includes Arunachal in its updated map
China has included parts of Arunachal Pradesh within its international boundaries, an updated version issued by Sky Map has revealed.Sky Map, China's authority on digital maps, is constructed and operated by a unit directly under Beijing's National Surveying and Mapping Geographic Information Bureau. Recently, Sky Map users discovered that it has updated the country's map with the latest national borders, including India's Arunachal Pradesh, a DW media report said. IANS

Israeli coalition deal keeps Netanyahu in power
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/israel-netanyahu-gantz-sign-unity-government-agreement-200420162532262.html
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival have announced that they have forged a deal to form an "emergency" coalition government, ending the worst political crisis in the country's history.The deal on Monday between Netanyahu's Likud Party and former military chief Benny Gantz's Blue and White alliance ends months of political paralysis and averts what would have been a fourth consecutive election in just over a year.The power-sharing agreement means that Netanyahu will almost certainly remain in office for the duration of his upcoming trial on corruption charges.Netanyahu, in power consecutively for the past 11 years, is under criminal indictment on corruption charges which he denies. They include bribery, fraud and breach of trust.Under the three-year deal, Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for the first half, with Gantz taking the job for the second half.Gantz's party will take control of a number of senior government ministries, including foreign affairs and defence, but Netanyahu's party will gain influence over judicial appointments - a key demand of the prime minister as he prepares to go on trial."I promised the state of Israel a national emergency government that will work to save the lives and livelihoods of the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu tweeted.Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said that there have been leaks to the media that Netanyahu was trying to ensure that he could stay in an influential role even after handing over the premiership to Gantz."As a deputy there are concerns that perhaps he might be ruled out of that position again because of these corruption charges that he faces," Fawcett said.

Palestinians condemn new Israeli 'annexation government'
https://gulfnews.com/world/mena/palestinians-condemn-new-israeli-annexation-government-1.1587410846346
Ramallah: The Palestinians condemned the formation of a new Israeli “annexation” government Monday, saying the agreement would wreck hopes of peace.“The formation of an Israeli annexation government means ending the two-state solution and the dismantling of the rights of the people of Palestine,” Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh tweeted.

Israeli citizen indicted for 'spying' for Iran is identified
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/israeli-citizen-indicted-spying-iran-identified-200421075154824.html
Israeli activist Ayman Haj Yahya has been identified as the individual indicted for allegedly spying for Iran after he was arrested on March 16 by the internal security agency Shin Bet and Israeli police.Haj Yahya - a well-known political leader and activist within the Palestinian community in Israel - was accused of having contacts with Iranian intelligence to recruit Arab citizens in Israel.He was charged in court in the central city of Lod with "serious infringement of the security" of Israel on Sunday.Israeli authorities allege that Haj Yahya was in contact with Iranian agents during a trip to Europe and also communicated with a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) group in Lebanon.


Amnesty: Saudi Arabia executed record number of people in 2019
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/amnesty-saudi-arabia-executed-record-number-people-2019-200420151616663.html
Saudi Arabia executed a record 184 people last year, according to Amnesty International, which said it was the highest number the rights organisation has ever recorded in a single year in the country.In its 2019 global review of the death penalty published on Tuesday, Amnesty reported Saudi Arabia stepped up its use of the death penalty even as the rest of the world saw a decline in executions, including in the Asia-Pacific region.Saudi Arabia executed 178 men and six women in 2019, just over half of whom were foreign nationals. The figure was 149 in 2018.The majority of executions were for drug-related offences and murder."Saudi Arabia's growing use of the death penalty, including as a weapon against political dissidents, is an alarming development," Clare Algar, Amnesty International's Senior Director for Research, Advocacy and Policy, said.
*views, Articles, FEATURES*
It Was Naive to Expesct They Would Forget Their Hatred Towards Muslims in a Crisis:Irena Akbar
How the Palghar Lynching Was Relentlessly Communalised on Social Media:Jignesh Patel
COVID-19 Crisis Will Push Millions of Vulnerable Children Into Child Labour:Protiva Kundu
Hindutva agenda, though muted, continues even during the war against COVID-19:Amulya Ganguli/IPA
Now that world has spotted Hindutva bigotry, Modi insists that coronavirus doesn’t see religion:Rohan Venkataramakrishnan
India's Coronavirus-Related Islamophobia Has the Arab World Up in Arms:Seemi Pasha


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 9:57 PM). 

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