Wavering intent: Plan to reopen places of worship gets mixed response

first_imgThe government’s plan to gradually reopen places of worship has drawn mixed responses from religious groups and health experts, many of whom insist that any possible easing of curbs anywhere should be contingent on low risk of transmission.For Muslim-majority Indonesia, where faith plays a large role in society, the pandemic has shuttered various mosques, temples and churches and prevented people from holding mass prayers.However, the debate has managed to open a can of worms that pits public health against the right to practice religious beliefs. “There should be a guarantee from experts and authorities that can be held accountable. Only if these terms are fulfilled can we think about reopening, and even then only with strict [health] protocols,” Abdul told The Jakarta Post.Rev. Japarline Marbun, head of the Bethel Church of Indonesia’s (GBI) synod, also said it would be better to err on the side of caution, considering how difficult it is to put in place the necessary health protocols in some churches.“It is difficult, for instance, to expect congregations not to jostle as they enter the church, and there are many churches closed off with [poor] air circulation,” Japarlin said.And while some preach about the importance of relying on science to ensure public health, others still find it hard to heed state-sanctioned physical distancing measures.The nation’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which comprises many organizations including NU and Muhammadiyah, said that places of worship should be allowed to reopen their doors to worshipers in areas deemed safe from COVID-19 transmission.“Under conditions where the spread of COVID-19 is under control, Muslims are obliged to carry out Friday prayers and allowed to get involved in mass prayer activities […] so long as they stay mindful of not getting infected,” said Asrorun Niam Sholeh, the MUI’s fatwa commission secretary, in a statement.Last week, Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi signed a circular detailing the necessary protocols for reopening places of worship in areas deemed to have little risk of viral transmission.“The guidelines stipulate that any religious or social activity at a place of worship must take account of the real circumstances in the immediate vicinity and not just the status designated for that given area,” Fachrul said in a virtual press briefing on Saturday.“Even if, for example, an area is considered a yellow zone, if COVID-19 transmission is found anywhere near a place of worship, that place cannot host any collective prayer.”In order for a place of prayer to be reopened to the public, Fachrul said the local COVID-19 task force must recommend it in coordination with the relevant authorities. Recommendations can also be revoked if new infections are recorded or if there is a perceived lack of health protocol enforcement.Three months after Indonesia reported its first COVID-19 infection, the government has come under fire for not acting swiftly enough to curb the spread of the disease among the nation’s devout – the millions of people who are accustomed to attending mass congregations and collective prayers.A recent report from the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) found that the lack of an early response to ban mass religious gatherings in the early days of COVID-19 transmission had contributed to the emergence of two infection clusters: the Gowa cluster linked with a tabligh (Muslim mass gathering) in South Sulawesi, and another from a religious seminar by GBI in Lembang, West Java.“The lack of clear guidance on enforcement or sanctions could lead to unfortunate outcomes: new clusters of religious ‘super-spreaders’ or vigilantism, as some groups decide to take law into their own hands,” researchers said in the IPAC report.The city of Brebes in Central Java was designated a COVID-19 “red zone” early last month after 16 of its residents tested positive for the disease after returning from the Gowa tabligh event, while 127 people were infected from the Lembang event.University of Indonesia epidemiologist Pandu Riono said that restrictions on places of worship should be eased gradually and that the government should be prepared to conduct local testing and tracing should COVID-19 cases increase following the reopening of such locations.There are always going to be concerns about violations or if [proper health protocol] is not observed,” Pandu told the Post.“If people in a congregation from mosques or churches catch [the virus], the entire group should be tested and [places of worship] should be temporarily closed.”Topics : Robikin Emhas, chairman of the country’s largest grassroots Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, said the current circumstances called for a thorough assessment of the options and should take various factors into account, including the rate of infection and the preparedness of the national healthcare system.He said that any state policy should consider the actual conditions in the field as they relate to the infection curve, as well as the ability to contact-trace, quarantine and treat COVID-19 patients.“As an exit strategy for the current large-scale social restrictions, a ‘new normal’ should be studied and prepared thoroughly so it may foster a productive livelihood for a society that is safe from COVID-19,” said Robikin, a vice presidential advisor.Abdul Mu’ti, secretary-general of the nation’s second-largest Muslim group, Muhammadiyah, voiced a similar opinion, saying that reopening places of worship should not be done with haste, calling instead for the government to focus on prevention.last_img read more

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Wildfires rage in California, stoked by extreme heat in US West

first_imgOfficials in Madera County issued evacuation orders and urged the county’s 157,000 residents to leave if they felt unsafe.A hiker who had just embarked on a multi-day trip when the Creek Fire broke out and had to find a way out of the blaze shared the harrowing experience on social media.”We’re safe and we’re out, but wow, we hiked our way out of the #CreekFire yesterday,” Asha Karim posted on Twitter https://twitter.com/ashasquasha/status/1303003437626318850.San Francisco-based power provider PG&E Corp warned customers on Monday in 21 counties, mostly in the Sierra Foothills, that their power might be shut off as a safety measure because of the extreme high and dry winds. Three large wildfires continued to burn in California as a record-breaking heat wave lingered across large swaths of the western United States on Monday.The Creek Fire, which has engulfed the Fresno area in central California and caused the emergency evacuation over the weekend of more than 200 people vacationing at a popular reservoir, was still 0% contained as of Monday afternoon, fire officials said.The blaze, growing under “extreme weather conditions,” had devoured nearly 79,000 acres (32,000 hectares) of land, while a cause remained under investigation, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) said in a statement. Topics :center_img A fire in San Bernardino County, southeast of Los Angeles, that officials said was caused by a pyrotechnic device used during a gender reveal party, kept burning through the night and was 7% contained as of Monday morning.East of San Diego in Southern California, nearly 400 firefighters battled the Valley Fire, which burned more than 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares)in Cleveland National Forest. Video shared on social media showed firefighters dousing the flames, the air thick with ash and fire embers.The blaze was at only 1% containment as officials issued more evacuation orders on Monday afternoon and announced the deployment of military aircraft to help fight the rapidly spreading flames.Late on Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, San Bernardino and San Diego counties due to the wildfires, which also prompted the US Forest Service to temporarily close some national forests including the Sierra National Forest, the Angeles National Forest and the San Bernardino National Forest.The California Independent Systems Operator, which runs most of the state’s power grid, again urged consumers to cut back on energy consumption and said it was monitoring wildfires throughout the state threatening power lines.”Temperatures are expected to be above normal statewide for the third consecutive day, driving up electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use,” it said in a statement. last_img read more

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Australia’s facing a serious affordable housing shortfall

first_img MORE: The New South Wales government sold off several public housing properties four years ago, including this one at Millers Point at The Rocks which fetched $2.56m. Public housing at Rosemeadow in the south west of Sydney. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts.Australia is facing a massive housing shortfall that won’t be met unless governments ramp up affordable home building tenfold, a new report warns.The figures, contained in the latest report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) out Thursday, warned the country would need an estimated 727,300 additional social housing dwellings in the next two decades – with the current shortfall sitting at 433,000 homes.Report co-author Dr Laurence Troy from UNSW Sydney found that the number of public housing units built by Australian governments had shrunk significantly from a level between 8,000 to 14,000 new public housing units a year 40 years ago to minimal construction rates now. Good news for first home buyers Meet the couple that bought an entire town Dr Troy said lack of affordable housing was a serious problem for many Australian families.“A renewed social housing program should boost output to a level similar to that seen in the early post-war period when state governments were building about one in seven new homes in Australia.”The report which saw researchers from RMIT and UNSW Sydney also explore the best options to meet public housing shortfalls urged government to move towards capital grant funding as it was the most cost effective option. “Australian governments have been recently funding only around 3,000 new social housing units per year, we estimate that output of about 15,000 is needed just to stop the existing shortfall from getting even bigger. To fix the current problem as well, over a 20 year period, calls for a ten-fold increase.”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours agocenter_img “The lifetime cost is $1.6 billion less, or a 24 per cent direct saving to the public purse, compared with a commercially-financed program supported through revenue subsidy,” Dr Troy said.The research found that more than a fifth of all housebuilding in places like the UK, Finland, France and Australia were by “housing providers with a social purpose”. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 2:09Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -2:09 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p360p360p216p216pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWhy rental affordability is a problem02:09 Harder to rent in Brisbane than Sydney The report estimates Australia needs an estimated 727,300 additional social housing dwellings in the next two decades. Picture: Jodie Richter. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON TWITTERlast_img read more

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Chart swings to fourth-quarter profit

first_imgUS LNG engineer, Chart Industries swung to a $26.7 million fourth-quarter profit after a $3.3 million loss reported in the corresponding quarter last year. For the full year, the company’s net profit was at $28 million, dipping slightly below the last year’s figures of $28.2 million, Chart’s report shows.Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 were $306.0 million, a 43 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter 2016.Chart order activity in 2017 increased 18 percent over 2016, the company said noting that each of its three segments had order growth over 2016, with energy & chemicals 2017 orders totaling $243.6 million. This compares to E&C’s 2016 orders of $110.2 million, representing a 121 percent increase.Additionally, Chart’s order trends increased sequentially each quarter of 2017, including 10 percent growth in the fourth quarter over the third quarter of 2017.Increases in the United States shale and associated gas drove natural gas processing plant activity throughout 2017, resulting in the best order year for E&C’s air cooled heat exchanger product line since 2014.Chart added that in 2017, there were no significant orders for LNG liquefaction plants in 2017, although in the fourth quarter of 2017, Tellurian signed an agreement with Bechtel and Chart to proceed with utilizing Chart’s IPSMR process technology and equipment on the Driftwood project.For the year 2018, Chart expects its sales guidance to be in the range of $1.15 billion to $1.2 billion, and its adjusted earnings to be at $31.5 million.last_img read more

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HE is the ‘mother’.

first_imgThe Catechesis of Caroline 23 Feb 2013Remember how everyone scoffed at the idea that following ‘same-sex marriage’, the next step would be to follow in the footsteps of Spain and replace the terms of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with Progenitor A and Progenitor B? It would appear that, Elton John and David Furnish have decided to lead the way by declaring that David Furnish is the ‘mother’ on the birth certificate of their new baby son, Elijah as well as their elder son Zachary. That’s right – David Furnish is officially recognised as a mother, despite the fact that he isn’t, he never can be given that he possesses entirely the wrong set of equipment. So not content with redefining marriage, we now need to redefine motherhood and fatherhood into one homogenous mass known as parenthood. Or is it that David Furnish recognises the importance of a mother, just as the LGBT lobby recognise the importance of marriage and has decided to reclaim it for himself? After all, why should motherhood be restricted to women on account of their sexual organs and reproductive ability? Isn’t that rather sexist? This is why we see the overlap between queer theory and feminism, because by declaring that gender is a separate entity to sex and performative in nature, it paves the way for boys to be girls, men to be mothers, girls to be fathers and vice-versa and everybody gets an excuse to indulge their own notions of self-identity.http://carolinefarrow.com/2013/02/23/a-fantastic-infrastructure/last_img read more

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#ParisAttacks: Multiple deadly attacks hit French capital

first_imgFrench people are waking up following a night of terror. After a series of coordinated attacks late on Friday. It’s been the deadliest and most violent night in the country since the second world war. AFP is reporting that at least 120 people have been killed and more than 200 injured. Authorities say eight of the attackers are dead. Five others have been arrested. The attacks took place at six different locations across Paris. The deadliest happened at the Bataclan concert hall, where at least 82 people were reported killed. A witness at the venue says he clearly heard the attackers say that French President Francois Hollande was to blame for the attacks due to France’s military action in Syria.// Across the city at the Stade de France, at least three explosions were heard during an international football game. President Francois Hollande was at the stadium when the bombings took place. He was later evacuated to an emergency meeting. He called the attacks “unprecedented”. Paris authorities have urged residents to stay indoors… and over 1,500 military personnel have been deployed across the city.last_img read more

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Egyptian FA bans fans from stadiums over coronavirus fears

first_img Loading… More than 55 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Egypt so far with the government closing schools and universities. After Moroccan football authorities also banned fans from attending football matches last week, EFA has also taken similar steps. “To preserve the safety of the Egyptian Football fans in these special circumstances, which requires all measures to be taken in the face of the risk of the spread of the coronavirus, and in response to the specific instructions, the Egyptian Football Association has decided to hold the next games without public presence. See until further notice,” read EFA’s statement on Facebook.Advertisement Egyptian Football Association (EFA) said that they will be no fan attendance inside football stadiums as a precaution to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Promoted ContentBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made7 Universities In The World Where Education Costs Too Much10 Risky Jobs Some Women Do7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The WorldInsane 3D Spraying Skills Turn In Incredible Street Art7 Famous And Incredibly Unique Places In Thailand10 Irresistibly Cute Albino Animals That Will Make You Day7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The Universe9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A TattooTop 10 Iconic Personalities On TV NowFantastic-Looking (and Probably Delicious) Bread ArtBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For Them The Egyptian Premier League campaign is currently underway and the Pharaohs’ 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Togo could also be affected by this decision. However, most Egyptian Premier League matches have already been played with a limited number of fans allowed into stadiums following the 2012 Port Said disaster. The coronavirus outbreak is threatening to disrupt the 2021 Afcon qualifiers set for the end of March. Read Also:Egypt’s world record-chasing 75-year-old scores on debut Already, Madagascar’s Afcon qualifier against Ivory Coast is uncertain after the Indian Ocean islanders’ Sports Ministry has suspended their international sporting events. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

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Bacolod City gov’t imposes 6-hour COVID-19 curfew

first_imgPolice checkpoints were also put up instrategic areas of the City to enforce necessary quarantine measures. Exemptedare call center agents whose duty fall under curfew hours, health workers,emergency response personnel of government, accredited media practitioners; fire fighters and other disaster relief personnel; priests andministers performing last sacraments for last rites; and public utility vehicledrivers servicing. Parents or guardians shall take properresponsibility over their minor children onwards in observing the curfew. City police are also visible at nightpatrolling major thoroughfares and streets. Under Mayor Evelio Leonardia’s ExecutiveOrder (EO) No. 22, a curfew from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. for all residents isenforced. To ensure they follow the order, somevillage officials are knocking on the door of every home to reiterateLeonardia’s policy to strictly observe home quarantine.center_img The early closure of businesshours in all malls and other commercial areas are directed to limit theirdaily operational hours to 8 p.m./PN BACOLOD City – Residents here areencouraged to just stay home and observe curfew hours to contain the spread ofcoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Stringent social distancing must bestrictly observed. City residents are strongly encouraged to stay at home, andare advised to only come out for work, to buy their daily needs and supplies,or to go to medical establishments. Leonardia cited in his EO that anyperson failing or refusing to observe this curfew measure may be dealt withappropriately by the Philippine National Police as regards the inimicalact committed in violation of public order. last_img read more

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Twisters Victorious Against Chargers

first_imgThe Oldenburg Academy Twisters posted a 12-2 win over The North Decatur Chargers in Varsity Baseball action to improve to 2-6 for the season.ND          200 000                2    4   3OA          800 022                12 13 1OA Hitting:  Nick Bischoff 1-3, 2 runs, double, bb, hbp; Aaron Huber 2-3, 2 runs, double, bb, sac fly, 3 rbi; Sam Gast 1-2, run, bb, sacrifice; Tannery Alley 2-2, 2 bb, rbi; Glenn Geraci  run; Chase Hogg 1-3, run, sac fly rbi; Tyler Hesselbrock 1-3, run, bb, rbi; Bryce Ahaus 1-3, run, rbi, sac bunt; Dalton Mooney 2-4, run, 2 rbi; Jordan Stenger run; Zach Pottschmidt 2-3, rbi, hbp; and Ian Dickey run.OA Pitching:  Zach Pottschmidt  6 IP, 2 earned runs, 4 hits, 2 k, 1 bb   WinThe Twisters will be back in action on Saturday, April 23rd, at Union County.     ”Courtesy of Twisters Coach Doug Behlmer.last_img read more

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Area Boys Basketball Scores (2-10)

first_imgArea Boys Basketball Scores.Friday  (2-10)Greenfield Central  50  Franklin Co.  45South Ripley  56     South Dearborn  47Hauser  81     Jac-Cen-Del  52South Decatur 110  Waldron 107 (2-OT)SW Hanover  67     Rising Sun  37Switz. County  55     Shawe Memorial  24last_img

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