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Saudi Arabia suspends entry for pilgrims over coronavirus

Saudi Arabia, which so far has reported no cases of the virus but has expressed alarm over its spread in neighboring countries, said the suspensions were temporary......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarFeb 27th, 2020

Saudi Arabia suspends entry for Mecca pilgrims over coronavirus

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia on Thursday, February 27, suspended visas for pilgrims wishing to visit Mecca over coronavirus fears, the foreign ministry said. The government is "suspending entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet's Mosque temporarily," the foreign ministry said in a ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsFeb 27th, 2020

In Mecca, dreams of a ‘green hajj’

A smaller carbon footprint, less waste, and more environmentally friendly — this year’s pilgrimage to Mecca, dramatically scaled down due to coronavirus, has opened up the prospect of a “green hajj”. This year’s dramatically downscaled Hajj pilgrimage has had a much less adverse effect on the environment than previous years (AFP Photo/STR) In addition to being a logistical and security headache, one of the planet’s largest gatherings, which drew some 2.5 million people last year, also typically poses huge environmental challenges. The procession of so many worshippers, over a short time and in a limited space, results in an assault on the desert kingdom’s delicate environment. Thousands of vehicles generate substantial air pollution, while the pilgrims leave behind an avalanche of waste, including enormous quantities of plastic water bottles. This year’s hajj, limited to a maximum of 10,000 attendees, was by all accounts literally a breath of fresh air. But for environmental activist Nouhad Awwad, it’s not so much the size of the crowd that determines the impact on the environment but more “our collective behaviour”. “This year’s hajj, although taking place at a difficult time globally, can be a source of hope,” the Greenpeace campaigner told AFP. “It gives an idea of what a green pilgrimage could look like,” she added. The scenes in Mecca since the hajj began on Wednesday are very different from those of past years. Rather than the vast crowds that move between the sites, casting rubbish as they go and sometimes prone to deadly crushes, the movement of the pilgrims has been limited and orderly. Even the pebbles they use to symbolically “stone the devil” have been sanitised, as part of elaborate amenity kits provided by authorities that include disinfectant and masks. “Everything is clean and there are only a few municipal workers collecting the small amounts of garbage,” Azim Allah Farha, a pilgrim from Afghanistan who has performed the hajj several times before, said at Mount Arafat, the site of one of the main rituals. One of those workers, Rahim Fajreddine, recalls the hundreds of tonnes of rubbish — plastic bags, cans and food plates — left in past years at the rocky hill outside Mecca where pilgrims pray and repent in the high point of the hajj. “Large numbers of workers had to be mobilised to remove all the debris they left behind as they passed,” he recalled. Eco awakening Until recently, the environment was not a central concern of Saudi Arabia when it came to the hajj. As “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”, the kingdom was concerned primarily with accommodating as many pilgrims as possible, mindful of the long waiting lists for Muslims, who must complete the hajj at least once in their lifetime if they are able. Huge extensions have been built in recent decades to increase the capacity of the two mosques and pilgrimage sites. Saudi Arabia hopes to welcome 30 million pilgrims to the kingdom annually by 2030. However, by 2018 the local authorities launched a waste separation programme and began to consider recycling. Signs in several languages were posted to encourage the pilgrims to do their bit and dispose of their waste properly. This year, despite the relatively tiny number of pilgrims, the municipality deployed more than 13,000 cleaners to the holy sites, equipped with hundreds of skips, according to an official statement. ‘This is our future’ Awwad said that although this year’s hajj is leaving a small environmental footprint because of the constraints generated by the global pandemic, in the future the same outcome must be achieved by choice. “By investing in sustainable development and adopting green practises, we can continue to live our traditions and perform our rituals while keeping our skies clear of pollution and our streets free of waste,” the activist said. She imagines “a hajj with its millions of pilgrims in total symbiosis with their environment, in a Mecca powered by solar energy”. In a kingdom that ranks as the world’s top energy exporter, and where the shift to renewables is going slower than planned, her vision is unlikely to become a reality any time soon.   “But this is the future we should all be working towards,” she insisted......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

Saudi triples VAT, suspends handouts in virus-led austerity drive

Saudi Arabia's finance minister on Monday said the kingdom will triple its Value Added Tax (VAT) and halt monthly handout payments to citizens in new austerity measures amid record low oil prices and a coronavirus-led economic slump......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMay 11th, 2020

Saudi Arabia bans Filipinos with tourist or pilgrimage visas over coronavirus fears

The Saudi government is also suspending indefinitely the issuance of tourist visas and entry visas for the purpose of umrah, visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in Media......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 5th, 2020

Trump plays down fears on global virus spread

President Donald Trump has played down fears of a major coronavirus outbreak in the United States, even as infections ricochet around the world, prompting Saudi Arabia to ban pilgrims from visiting Islam's holiest sites......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 28th, 2020

Trump: US can avoid major epidemic

President Donald Trump has played down fears of a major coronavirus outbreak in the United States, even as infections ricochet around the world, prompting a ban on pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. China is no longer the only breeding ground for the deadly virus as countries fret over possible contagion coming from other hotbeds of infection, […] The post Trump: US can avoid major epidemic appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsFeb 27th, 2020

Saudi Arabia restarts prayers in Islam s holiest site

Saudi Arabia opened Sunday Islam's holiest site for prayers for the first time in seven months, and expanded the umrah pilgrimage to accommodate 15,000 worshippers as it relaxed coronavirus curbs......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 19th, 2020

Offshore turbines to power post-virus UK recovery plan

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday sought to blow away the coronavirus blues with a new plan to turn Britain into the Saudi Arabia of wind power using energy from floating turbines......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsOct 7th, 2020

Hajj goes virtual for lucky pilgrims

Khobar, Saudi Arabia---Faridah Bakti Yahra travelled alone to Mecca when she won the lottery of a lifetime to join this year’s hajj, the smallest in living memory, but her family is relishing the experience virtually......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJul 31st, 2020

Muslims begin downsized hajj pilgrimage

Mecca—Muslim pilgrims on Wednesday begin the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage.  .....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJul 29th, 2020

57 bodies of OFWs from Saudi arriving next week

The remains of 57 overseas Filipino workers who succumbed to coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia will arrive in the Philippines next week, the Department of Labor and Employment announced yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 21st, 2020

Only 49 OFW remains arrive from KSA

The Department of Labor and Employment apologized for the delay in the repatriation of the more than 270 remains of overseas Filipino workers who died in Saudi Arabia, after only 49 bodies of the OFWs arrived in the country. Almost half of them died of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 10th, 2020

Koepka among those who have to catch up in FedEx Cup

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The question was perplexing to Brooks Koepka, perhaps because it was missing specific context or because it takes a lot to make him worry. He was asked going into the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head if he felt any sense of urgency. “Urgency for what?” he replied. Koepka missed three months after a knee injury in October when he slipped on wet concrete at the CJ Cup in South Korea and had to withdraw. When he returned, he played five times — his only top-20 finish was a tie for 17th in Saudi Arabia — and then the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf for three months. Having played only four PGA Tour events, he was No. 213 in the FedEx Cup standings. The only time he didn’t make it to East Lake for the FedEx Cup finale was in 2015, when he missed a month with an ankle injury. He finished 35th. Koepka was unaware that history is working against him this year. In the last 10 years, Jim Furyk is the only player to be outside the top 200 in the FedEx Cup standings with nine events remaining and reach the postseason. “I just go play golf, just keep doing what I’m doing,” Koepka said that day. “I feel like I’m playing good, so eventually it will come.” He closed with a 65 at Harbour Town to finish seventh and moved up 56 spots to No. 148. And then he withdrew the following week from the Travelers Championship out of caution when his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for the coronavirus. He returns to the Workday Charity Open this week having slipped seven spots to No. 155. Six tournaments are on the schedule between now and the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Furyk in 2016 turned it around with a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. Only one major and one World Golf Championship remain on the schedule. Koepka has company in that regard. British Open champion Shane Lowry spent most of his time on the European Tour late last year and into the first month of 2020, so he has only seven starts on the PGA Tour and is at No. 148. C.T. Pan, who played in the Presidents Cup, has missed seven of nine cuts since January and is No. 182. Sergio Garcia is at No. 122. One week can change everything. Dustin Johnson, who missed the entire fall recovering from knee surgery, was off to a slow start before the pandemic and missed the cut at Colonial upon his return. Two weeks later, he won the Travelers Championship and moved up to No. 22. Koepka still has the World Golf Championship at TPC Southwind, where he won last year, and the PGA Championship, where he tries to become the first player to win three straight times in stroke play. There is time. Plus, he's not one to sweat such matters. BONES ON THE BAG Matt Fitzpatrick came over from England for the restart of the PGA Tour, and caddie Billy Foster stayed behind. The idea was for Fitzpatrick to get used to the protocols, and then Foster would join him for the World Golf Championship in Memphis, Tennessee, and the PGA Championship in San Francisco. Fitzpatrick used Cayce Kerr for three tournaments. And then he got an offer he couldn’t refuse for two weeks at Muirfield Village: Jim “Bones” Mackay, the longtime looper for Phil Mickelson who now does course commentary for NBC Sports. “I was absolutely shocked,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everyone knows his place in the game and how well he’s done. Even just walking around here, people are excited to see him back and on tour. For me, I was very taken aback.” It wasn’t an accident. Fitzpatrick has an endorsement with Workday, whose CEO knows Mackay and suggested he reach out to Fitzpatrick. They will be working together the next two weeks at the Workday Charity Open and the Memorial. LET’S PLAY TWO Muirfield Village is hosting different PGA Tour events in consecutive weeks, which hasn’t happened in 63 years. The last time was in 1957, when Roberto de Vicenzo won the All American Open against an 83-man field at Tam O’Shanter Club in Illinois. Dick Mayer won the World Championship of Golf on the same course a week later. That was the 10th straight season that the All American Open and World Championship of Golf were held at Tam O’Shanter in successive weeks. Lloyd Mangrum was the only player to win both events in the same year (1948). According to the PGA Tour, there was one other tournament held on the same course in back-to-back weeks. That was in 1956, when the Dallas Centennial Open and the Texas International Open were held at Preston Hollow to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of Dallas being founded. Both events were never played again. DRIVE ON Maybe some of the PGA Tour players should borrow the “Drive On” slogan from the LPGA Tour. That’s all they’ve been doing since the restart last month in Texas. Russell Knox drove his RV from the north Florida coast to Colonial, and then back toward the Atlantic coast to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. From there, he and his wife went north to Connecticut to the Travelers Championship. At that point, they hired a driver (they were passengers) for the trip to Detroit, and now they’re in Ohio. But they had company. One of his closest friends on tour, Brian Stuard, also bought an RV. “We’ve been traveling along with him,” Stuard said. “Decided to do it and really enjoy it so far. Not sure if we’re going to continue to do that. Those were some long drives. But it’s worth it once you get it there.” And then there’s Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian played at Oklahoma State and still lives in Stillwater, so he decided to take the four-hour drive to Colonial. “Then I just kept on thinking, ‘Well, what if I just take my car to all these tournaments?’ I looked it up, it’s 16 hours to Hilton Head. It’s 13 hours to Connecticut. ... Yeah, been having a lot of fun so far.” He drove through the night from Fort Worth, Texas, to Hilton Head and didn’t feel great when he arrived. He took in some views from Connecticut to Detroit. “It’s really nice just driving through New York and Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s really hilly and a lot of cool views on the way.” DIVOTS Matt Fitzpatrick is hopeful fans will return, especially for the Masters — not so much for him, but his parents. “I know my parents really want to come watch that one,” he said. ... The Senior British Open, canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will remain at Sunningdale next year. ... After his victory in Detroit, Bryson DeChambeau was listed as the betting favorite over Rory McIlroy in the three majors this year. STAT OF THE WEEK The last three PGA Tour events were won by players from the top 10 in world — Webb Simpson (9) at Hilton Head, Dustin Johnson (6) at Hartford and Bryson DeChambeau (10) at Detroit. The last time that happened was in the summer of 2018 when Johnson (1) won the Canadian Open, Justin Thomas (3) won the Bridgestone Invitational and Brooks Koepka (4) won the PGA Championship. FINAL WORD “I’ll be devastated if I don’t play well.” — Charles Barkley on playing the American Century Championship for celebrities......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2020

Saudi downturn deepens Yemen s economic despair

On top of war and the coronavirus pandemic, Yemen faces looming economic disaster as a crisis gripping its main benefactor Saudi Arabia dents remittances and leaves state coffers running dry......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2020

51K OFWs napauwi na ng DFA sa bansa

UMABOT na sa 51,113 ang bilang ng mga overseas Filipino workers na naiuwi ng Department of Foreign Affairs kaugnay ng coronavirus disease 2019. Sa naturang bilang 57.33 porsyento o 29,302 Overseas Filipinos ang sea-based at 42.67 porsyento o 21,811 OFs ang land-based. Ang mga dumating kahapon ay galing sa Japan, Norway, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, […] The post 51K OFWs napauwi na ng DFA sa bansa appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 21st, 2020

Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem reopens after two months

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound---the third-holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia---reopened on Sunday after being closed for more than two months because of the coronavirus pandemic......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMay 31st, 2020

Saudi Arabia to end virus curfew from June 21

Saudi Arabia will end its nationwide coronavirus curfew from June 21, except in the holy city of Mecca, the interior ministry said Tuesday, after more than two months of stringent curbs......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMay 26th, 2020

Saudi Arabia relaxes virus lockdown except in hotspot Mecca

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia on Sunday, April 26, partially eased a 24-hour curfew in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic , except for in hotspots including the Muslim holy city of Mecca. The curfew will be relaxed between 9am and 5pm and malls and retailers will be allowed to ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 26th, 2020

Saudi-led coalition extends Yemen ceasefire by a month

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The Saudi-led coalition said Friday, April 24, it was extending a unilateral ceasefire in Yemen by one month to combat the coronavirus pandemic, even as fighting persists in the war-torn country. The extension comes after Yemen's Iran-aligned Huthi rebels rejected a two-week ceasefire declared by ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 25th, 2020

Langis umabot sa pinakamababang halaga dahil sa COVID-19 pandemic

London – Umabot sa $16 (P811) kada barrel ang halaga ng langis nitong Miyerkoles, Abril 22, at ang ito ang pinakamababa mula noong 1999 dahil sa pagbaba ng ekonomiya na dulot ng coronavirus pandemic. Nabigo ang Saudi Arabia at Russia na mag-renew ng output cuts noong nakaraang buwan. Sumang-ayon ang OPEC+ sa bagong curbs sa […] The post Langis umabot sa pinakamababang halaga dahil sa COVID-19 pandemic appeared first on REMATE ONLINE......»»

Category: newsSource:  remateRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020