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How Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Adha amid coronavirus | Coronavirus pandemic News



Muslims worldwide will celebrate Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, amid a coronavirus pandemic that has so far infected more than 16 million people worldwide.

Like the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr in May that followed the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are being encouraged to take precautions and alter the way they observe as a result of COVID-19 between July 30 and August 4.

In normal circumstances, Eid day starts by gathering at a mosque in the morning to take part in prayers.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has published recommendations on its website promoting outdoor prayers and if not, for multiple staggered prayer times indoors.

Enough time should be arranged between congregations and khutbahs, or sermons, and they should be kept short, the MCB advised. It added Eid greetings should be given without hugging or shaking hands.

Much of Eid observances consist of getting together with family and friends and sharing meals, but the MCB advised it is best to keep numbers to a minimum and to meet outdoors.

Some mosques in Canada are following similar guidelines, with Toronto’s Jame Masjid encouraging Muslims to reserve a spot for prayer ahead of time on one of the eight different time slots on its SMART Jamaat app.

Crimean Tatar Muslims pray in the Great Khan Mosque on the first day of the Eid al-Adha (Kurban Bayram) in the city of Bakhchisaray in this file photo from 2014 [Max Vetrov/AFP]

For those who are unable to reserve a time, the Bosnian Islamic Association (BIA) in Toronto said Muslims can still perform Eid prayers at home instead.

BIA advised Muslims to continue following the sunnah (practices of the Prophet Muhammad) by dressing in one’s best clothes and reciting takbirs (Islamic phrases in Arabic exalting God) as much as one can from Fajr (early morning prayer before sunrise) until the Eid prayer.

After having mosques closed for more than two months, including during Eid al-Fitr in May, Saudi Arabia announced that Eid prayers will take place inside mosques and not outside.

Its Ministry of Islamic Affairs recommended adhering to the usual precautionary measures such as keeping two metres (six feet) of social distancing and bringing one’s own prayer rug.

Much of the world has implemented social distancing as a basic measure, but in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinians say they will be gathering with family and celebrating Eid as usual as there have been few cases.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, as of Monday there were only five people infected with the coronavirus who were all in quarantine at the hospital. Seventy people have so far recovered from coronavirus since the outbreak.

“So far we have zero cases of coronavirus in Gaza [outside of the hospital]. That’s why this won’t affect how we celebrate; it will be the same,” Karama Fadel, 31, an Arabic-language teacher from Gaza City, told Al Jazeera.

She added her siblings living in Turkey, Belgium and Morocco will not be able to celebrate as usual under coronavirus measures.

“Here in Gaza we can celebrate, but unfortunately our families outside of Gaza cannot celebrate like us and can’t be with us,” Fadel said.

A Palestinian boy carries a goat in a farm where livestock are sold for the upcoming Eid Al Adha sacrifice, in the northern Gaza Strip

A Palestinian boy carries a goat in a farm where livestock is sold for the upcoming Eid al-Adha sacrifice in the northern Gaza Strip [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

Distributing meat to the poor

A major part of Eid al-Adha is the Qurbani (or Udhiya), which means sacrifice. Livestock – goats, sheep, cows or camels – are sacrificed reflecting on Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham for Christians and Jews) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) for the sake of God.

The meat is then donated to the poor as well as neighbours and family. Every Muslim who has the financial means should give his share to the poor.

Many donate money to their local mosque or organisation, who in turn buy the livestock and distribute the meat to millions of people in need worldwide. All livestock must be hygienically and ethically treated.

The MCB advises that if sharing Udhiya locally, to make contactless drop-offs.

Indonesia, which has the highest rate of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, issued a notice last month that prayers in congregation and the slaughter of sacrifical animals are allowed in areas at low risk of coronavirus transmission.

Worker feeds animals with dry grass at a cattle shop, in Depok

A worker feeds animals with hay at a cattle yard as the coronavirus pandemic continues in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia [Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters]

Other countries are also taking special precautions. In Hyderabad, India, a mufti issued a fatwa (legal opinion given by a qualified religious scholar) that Muslims can donate an equal amount of money to the poor instead of sacrificing an animal if they are unable to do so because of the pandemic.

The fatwa comes as some fear coronavirus may spread if people visit markets to buy livestock or if people visit others when distributing the meat.

Pakistani authorities have banned setting up small makeshift meat markets within cities and have prohibited the slaughter of animals in open spaces.

“I appeal to the citizens to avoid visiting cattle markets, and opt for online booking of sacrificial animals this year,” Zafar Mirza, Pakistan’s top health official, said on Sunday.

Asad Umar, Pakistan’s planning minister and head of a coronavirus task force, said in a tweet over the past few days “more than 500 illegal cattle markets had been shut” across Pakistan.

The World Health Organization published a list of guidelines this week including nominating one household in an area to perform the sacrifice, whose members adhere to physical distancing throughout the process.

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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