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Lawmakers grill religious affairs minister for ‘sudden’ haj cancellation

first_imgReligious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi found himself in hot water during a hearing with the House of Representatives on Thursday, as lawmakers on Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs criticized him for not consulting with the House before deciding to cancel the 2020 haj pilgrimage over coronavirus concerns.The minister announced earlier this month that Indonesia would prevent haj departures to Saudi Arabia this year, a decision that affected hundreds of thousands of would-be pilgrims in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Indonesia has the largest haj pilgrim quota of any country. John Kennedy Azis of the Golkar Party – a political party in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ruling coalition – questioned Fachrul’s sudden announcement of the policy on June 2, saying there had been no pressure for the central government to announce it immediately without consulting the legislative body.”There was no external pressure that we would be fined if we didn’t decide [on haj departures] quickly. Why couldn’t you wait for just two days? Why so sudden?” John said, referring to a planned House hearing with the government on the matter scheduled for June 4.The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with Saudi Arabia’s indefinite suspension of haj and umrah (minor haj), were cited as reasons behind the government’s decision to cancel this year’s haj departure. Fachrul previously said the conditions had left the government without enough time to prepare visas and protective measures.Indonesia initially planned to send about 221,000 people on the annual pilgrimage, and nearly 180,000 people had already paid for the journey, Religious Affairs Ministry data shows. The government said the pilgrims would be placed on next year’s haj. Read also: Religious affairs minister to lobby Saudi Arabian government for bigger 2021 haj quotaFachrul said at the time of the cancellation that he had communicated with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the House regarding the cancellation, but some lawmakers quickly fired back, saying he had not done so.John said to Fachrul – a retired military general – that he had made numerous controversial moves as a minister.The politician cited his past controversial support of a ban on the niqab in government compounds – a statement that Fachrul later backtracked from – and his past announcement of a plan to repatriate 689 people who had joined the Islamic State (IS) movement in the Middle East.He warned Fachrul that the House could use its interpellation and inquiry rights against him or could write a letter to the President if he continued his controversies. “Don’t underestimate us at the House […] This should be the last [controversial move].”John also highlighted a plan floated by Aceh to get their own, separate haj quota. The provincial administration was reportedly considering issuing a qanun (regulation) on the matter based on Law No. 44/1999 on Aceh’s special autonomy.”Regions are trying to apply for haj quotas themselves. If that happens, then where’s the government?” he said.Read also: Plan to ban niqab in government offices stirs controversyMuhammad Husni of the Gerindra Party said Fachrul had violated Law No. 8/2019 on the haj and umrah, which stipulated that matters related to haj funds should not be decided unilaterally by the government but should include the House.”Logically speaking, we should decide on the cancellation together. The Minister said that he had coordinated with House Commission VIII but we never knew that,” Husni said.In response to the criticism, Fachrul apologized to the lawmakers during Thursday’s hearing, saying the cancellation decision was not made by his ministry but by himself as a minister.”I personally apologize to the leaders and all members of the House Commission VIII for this incident,” said Fachrul.The minister explained that at that time, he felt obliged to announce the cancellation as soon as possible because it had exceeded the June 1 deadline for the government to announce the year’s haj departure date.Indonesia initially expected Saudi Arabia to announce its final decision on the haj pilgrimage – which attracts millions of Muslims annually from around the world – on May 13. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the 2020 haj into doubt as Saudi authorities have yet to announce any decision about whether they will accept haj pilgrims this year.”We needed to quickly give certainty to the pilgrims who had been waiting for the announcement,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Suarez hat-trick extends six-goal Barca’s La Liga lead

first_imgIt was the perfect outing for Barcelona after ninth-placed Girona had taken a shock early lead on their first-ever visit to the Camp Nou, as Coutinho, Suarez, Messi and Ousmane Dembele shone on their first start together.Portu took advantage of hesitation from Barca centre-back Samuel Umtiti to round goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and slot into an empty net to put Girona ahead in La Liga’s newest Catalan derby.The hosts took less than two minutes to get back on level terms, though, as Messi collected the ball in midfield before sending Suarez through to score. Messi’s wizardry put Ernesto Valverde’s side in front on the half-hour mark, after Suarez touched down a long pass from Andres Iniesta for the Argentinian. It looked as though the chance had gone when Messi was forced wide, but the league’s top scorer showed trademark footwork to jink past several defenders before slotting into the bottom corner.The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was running the show, and he doubled the advantage just seven minutes later with a low free-kick under the wall.“It always seems that he has done everything and then suddenly, he surprises us again, as with his free kick. It sounds easy but it is not,” said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.Having gone five games without a goal before his crucial equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Chelsea in the Champions League in midweek, Messi has scored three in two games.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2center_img Madrid, Spain | AFP | Luis Suarez hit a hat-trick and Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant first league goal for Barcelona as the La Liga leaders thrashed Girona 6-1 on Saturday to open up a 10-point lead at the top of the table.Lionel Messi continued his return to goalscoring form with a double to reach 30 in all competitions for the season, as Barca extended their advantage over closest title rivals Atletico Madrid, who visit Sevilla on Sunday.Real Madrid remain off the pace in third, despite a comfortable 4-0 victory over Alaves that saw Cristiano Ronaldo net a double and Gareth Bale back on the scoresheet.last_img read more

Police investigate another possible trespassing incident at Mar-a-Lago

first_imgAnother possible trespassing incident at Mar-A-lago calls Palm Beach police to open an investigation.According to reports, police were called on Wednesday. No further details were details.Earlier this year, police arrested a woman who was accused of lying to Secret Service agents to gain access to the club.Chinese businesswoman sentenced to eight months for Trespassing at Mar-a-Lagolast_img

Officers to begin ticketing Florida motorists who text and drive starting Jan. 1

first_imgFlorida Highway Patrol troopers and other law enforcement agencies will be officially issuing tickets for texting while driving starting Wednesday, Jan. 1.A new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that will make texting while driving a primary offense instead of a secondary offense will be in full effect come 2020.The texting and driving law went into effect in July in phases. During the first phase, officers would only issue warnings. Then, in October, a ban went into effect on holding a phone while driving through a school or work zone.Well now, officers will  issue tickets starting with a $30 fine plus court costs. If a second violation occurs within five years, the fine doubles to $60 and court costs increase to over $150. Violators will also have points added to their license.Thanks to the new law, texting while driving is now a primary offense, allowing officers to pull drivers over for texting.last_img read more

Sunday is the First Global Palindrome Date in Over 900 Years

first_imgSunday marks the first global palindrome date in 909 years.It is also the only palindrome date in all date formats that we will see in this century.Today is February 2, 2020, or 02/02/2020, which means the date as digits reads the same both front and backwards, regardless of the format in which a country writes the date.Both the MM/DD/YYYY format and the DD/MM/YYYY format read 02/02/2020 on this day, or simply 02022020.The last time a palindrome date in all formats occurred was 909 years ago, on 11/11/1111. It will happen again in 101 years, on 12/12/2121.last_img read more

President Trump Continues to Pester “Mini Mike” on Twitter

first_imgMini Mike Bloomberg is a LOSER who has money but can’t debate and has zero presence, you will see. He reminds me of a tiny version of Jeb “Low Energy” Bush, but Jeb has more political skill and has treated the Black community much better than Mini! https://t.co/qIef5VhjDr— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2020 Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is firing back at President Trump for making fun of the former New York City mayor’s height. Bloomberg shot back, “He Donald where I come from we measure your height from your neck up.”Bloomberg spoke out yesterday while campaigning in North Carolina. Earlier in the day, Trump sent a number of tweets attacking Bloomberg. He referred to the billionaire as a “mass of dead energy” and nicknamed him “Mini Mike.”Mini Mike is a 5’4” mass of dead energy who does not want to be on the debate stage with these professional politicians. No boxes please. He hates Crazy Bernie and will, with enough money, possibly stop him. Bernie’s people will go nuts!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2020 Bloomberg fired back on twitter calling Trump a carnival barking clown and says Trump is scared of him..@realDonaldTrump – we know many of the same people in NY. Behind your back they laugh at you & call you a carnival barking clown. They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence. I have the record & the resources to defeat you. And I will. https://t.co/fO4azmZaUg— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 13, 2020center_img Just imagine how a debate would play out between these two candidates.last_img read more

Caitlin set for England test after exam break

first_img Tags: Caitlin Whitehead, Cumbria, England Girls’ Squad Caitlin Whitehead is ready to win again and help the England girls’ squad achieve their 2020 vision.The 17-year-old is gearing up for a big year after putting golf on the backburner for a spell last season to concentrate on her school exams.With the stress of GCSEs now over and a solid winter of practise behind her, the golfer from Kendal is keenly anticipating the new season.Whitehead is no stranger to the winner’s circle. In 2018, she was crowned European Young Masters champion after a fine performance in Norway.That victory earned her a place at the Asia Pacific Junior Championships in Hong Kong – which she duly won as an individual and also claimed top prize in the team event alongside Finland’s Sakke Siltala.Now Whitehead is itching to get back onto the circuit as well as playing her part in national team triumphs.“Last year I had my GCSEs so that cut a large proportion of the season out,” confirmed Whitehead who spent last week in Portugal training with the girls’ squad.“I felt I was behind before the season really started.“Obviously it would be amazing to have a career in golf, but I do believe I should take time out for education. You need a back-up plan in case things don’t quite go as well as planned.“I did get on track with a good finish in the English girls’ last season“This year I hope to hit the ground running in March and have a better start.“I want to have more consistent finishes and play in women’s and girls’ events. I’d like to win a girls’ event and have top 15 finishes in women’s events.“Splitting them is the best way to do it, I believe.”Whitehead is a member of both Kendal Golf Club and Carus Green Golf Club having been inspired by her dad to take up the game as a child.Fell running and football were her other passions before golf took over and now the whole Whitehead family is hooked. Caitlin’s younger brother is also mad keen and playing county golf off a handicap of five.Whitehead has now been a mainstay of the England girls’ squad for two successive Home International campaigns.Last week’s coaching camp at Quinta Do Lago resort on the Algarve was geared towards preparing for the season’s main team events.Having helped England win in 2018 and 2019 she’d love the hat-trick this season when the event is staged at Royal St David’s in Wales.“I love being part of the team and competing,” added Whitehead who was part of the winning team skippered by putting coach Mike Kanski (pictured below) during a fun session on the Algarve coast.“The whole experience of going away with the girls to play practice rounds is much more inciteful,” said the teenager.“I look to gather more detail than I otherwise would do on my own and I can take that onto the course.“Overall, I feel as if I’ve developed as a player. I’ve had ups and downs and these have made me resilient. I can cope with pressure better and I know what I want to achieve.“I definitely know how to handle myself and manipulate the golf ball to get a low score.”Whitehead is currently exploring options with American universities and contemplating a course in either business studies or psychology.“In 2021 I’m looking to go to university in America and I’m just starting to put together some schedules for visits just now,” she confirmed.“I don’t have a clear idea of where I want to go, but I will be going to America.“I think a lot of the American schools are business-minded and that’s what I’m doing for my A levels.“But that’s for the future and right now I’m excited about what lies in store this year.”Photograph credits: Leaderboard 24 Feb 2020 Caitlin set for England test after exam break last_img read more