Zig’s Place Chatroom News Saturday PM 7-17-21
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butterfly Pilgrims arrive in Mecca for second Hajj during COVID pandemic
This year’s downsized Hajj will see only 60,000 fully vaccinated residents in Saudi Arabia take part in the five-day ritual………17 Jul 2021
Pilgrims began arriving in the holy city of Mecca on Saturday for the second downsized Hajj staged during the coronavirus pandemic, circling Islam’s holiest site in masks and on distanced paths.
The kingdom is allowing only 60,000 fully vaccinated residents to take part, seeking to repeat last year’s success that saw no virus outbreak during the five-day ritual.
butterfly This year’s Hajj, with participants chosen through a lottery, is larger than the pared-down version staged in 2020 but drastically smaller than in normal times.
After being loaded on buses and brought to Mecca’s Grand Mosque, pilgrims began performing the “tawaf”, the circumambulation of the Kaaba, a large cubic structure draped in golden-embroidered black cloth, towards which Muslims around the world pray.
Many carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the scorching summer heat.
“Every three hours, 6,000 people enter to perform the tawaf of arrival,” Hajj ministry spokesman Hisham al-Saeed told AFP news agency. “After each group leaves, a sterilisation process is carried out at the sanctuary.”
butterfly The Hajj, usually one of the world’s largest annual religious gatherings with some 2.5 million people taking part in 2019, is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be undertaken by all Muslims with the means at least once in their lives.
It consists of a series of religious rites, formally starting on Sunday, which are completed over five days in Islam’s holiest city and its surroundings in western Saudi Arabia.
It follows a route the Prophet Muhammad walked nearly 1,400 years ago and is believed to ultimately trace the footsteps of the Prophets Abraham and Ismail.
butterfly According to India’s National Family Health Survey conducted in 2015-16, Uttar Pradesh has a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.7, which is above the national average of 2.1, Muttreja said.
However, Muttreja said due to the efforts by subsequent governments in Uttar Pradesh, health outcomes have improved since 2015.
“The Technical Group on Population Projections for the Period of 2011-2036, constituted by the National Commission on Population under the ministry of health and family welfare in July 2020 projected that Uttar Pradesh will achieve the replacement level of TFR by 2025, without a need for coercive policies,” Muttreja told Al Jazeera.
According to the United Nations Population Division, a TFR of about 2.1 children per woman is called replacement-level fertility, which, if sustained over a longer period, each generation will exactly replace itself.
butterfly Shailaja Chandra, former health ministry secretary and former executive director of National Population Stabilisation Fund, said given its population and high fertility rate, Uttar Pradesh does require “focus at a policy level and a population policy is very much called for”.
But she cautions about the proposed legislation.
“No law will be able to bring down the fertility [rate] and laws which already exist in 12 [Indian] states have not shown any positive change towards people’s reproductive behaviour. So this law is also not going to achieve that,” Chandra told Al Jazeera.
“If you do anything by way of taking away certain benefits, that’s coercion, and coercion is not acceptable … You can’t have a state doing something different from the national policy on such an important subject,” she added.
Ironically, if the provisions of the proposed two-child policy law were to be applied in Uttar Pradesh, half of the legislators belonging to the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would not be eligible to contest the assembly elections.
At least 152 of the BJP’s 304 elected members to the state assembly have three or more children.
butterfly Moreover, Uttar Pradesh is not the only BJP-run state where a chorus of population control has grown recently.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of the northeastern state of Assam, last month announced that his government will gradually implement a two-child policy for availing benefits under specific schemes funded by the state.
In the southern state of Karnataka, BJP leader CT Ravi on Tuesday called for a population control policy on the lines of Assam and Uttar Pradesh.
With “limited natural resources available, it will be difficult to meet the needs of every citizen if there is a population explosion”, he told reporters.
That is why most opposition parties have hit out at the BJP-led government over the proposed bill, with the Uttar Pradesh-based Samajwadi Party terming the move as “election propaganda”.
“BJP has failed in delivering on its promises in Uttar Pradesh and now when the elections are just months away, it wants to divert the attention of media and opposition from its failures through these non-issues,” Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary told Al Jazeera.
butterfly Assembly elections are due in Uttar Pradesh early next year.
Even Nitish Kumar, a prominent BJP ally and chief minister of neighbouring Bihar state, and the right-wing party’s ideological partner, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), have raised objections against the proposed law in Uttar Pradesh.
butterfly Days after proposing the draft bill, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath unveiled the Uttar Pradesh Population Policy 2021-30 to mark World Population Day on Sunday.
The policy aims at bringing down the gross fertility rate among women to 2.1 by 2026 and to 1.9 by the year 2030.
Calling the rising population “a hurdle in development”, Adityanath said he wanted to stabilise the state’s population and reduce maternal and infant deaths in a time-bound manner.
Muttreja of the Population Foundation of India pointed out the “complete contrast” between the proposed law and the government’s population policy based on a “non-coercive, life-cycle approach”.
butterfly “If the proposed bill was to come into effect it would completely overturn the policy, rendering it irrelevant and ineffective,” she said, adding that the concern and alarm around “population explosion” are not substantiated by data.
“There is no evidence that there is a population explosion in either India or Uttar Pradesh,” she told Al Jazeera.
India is projected to overtake China as the most populous country by 2025.
But statistics show that India’s population growth peaked decades ago and is now on a downward trajectory. In fact, 24 of India’s 29 states have already achieved a TFR of 2.1.
Yet, the bogey of population explosion is often used by India’s right-wing groups, including the BJP, to target the minority Muslims, with their conspiracy theories saying the community plans to outnumber Hindus, who constitute 80 percent of the country’s population as opposed to 14 percent Muslims.
butterfly In a column in the Indian Express newspaper, SY Quraishi, former chief election commissioner of India and author of The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India, wondered what provoked two BJP chief ministers to suddenly announce population policies.
“In both cases, keeping the cauldron boiling for communal polarisation is the probable answer, and probable electoral gains for Yogi Adityanath in the impending election,” he wrote.
butterfly Two-child norms ‘anti-women’
India’s family planning programme is voluntary in nature, which enables the couples to decide the size of their families and adopt family planning methods best suited to them, without any compulsion.
In December last year, India’s health ministry, in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, said coercing people to have a certain number of children would be “counterproductive” and lead to a “demographic distortion”.
A study published in The Lancet in July 2020 found that continued trends in female educational attainment and access to contraception will hasten the decline in fertility and slow population growth.
Chandra suggested the Uttar Pradesh government should “segregate” the state into districts and focus on those districts where the fertility rate is high.
butterfly Muttreja said two-child norms are known to “disproportionately impact the most deprived and vulnerable, particularly women and girls, who already have little to no access to health and education”.
“This further impacts their ability to make decisions regarding their health and wellbeing,” she told Al Jazeera.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and restrictions have compounded inequities and vulnerabilities of the most marginalised.”
Kavita Krishnan, a feminist and member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), said the Uttar Pradesh bill is “based on the racist premise that India has ‘overpopulation’ and that Indians should thus reproduce less than, say, American, British or Australian people”.
“Similar laws in China further worsened the sex ratio, the same will happen in India,” she told Al Jazeera.
“The law will penalise women, preventing them from being able to contest elections or seek welfare benefits, even though women do not control decisions relating to the number of children in our patriarchal culture.”
butterfly Al-Maliki calls on the families of martyrs and prisoners to close ranks and actively participate in the elections
Saturday 17 July 2021 20:21 …….Head of the State of Law Coalition, Nuri al-Maliki, called on the families of the martyrs and prisoners to unite the word, close ranks, and actively participate in the elections to contribute to building the future of Iraq.
In his speech delivered this evening at the mass ceremony held by the Shaheed Organization and the Al-Basheer Youth Movement, on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the execution of the tyrant Saddam Hussein, he said: Our celebration of this occasion is a message to Saddam’s followers and every Ba’athist took the approach of killing and injustice against his people that there is no place for him. You and you commit crimes of murder and loss of life against innocents, and that retribution will inevitably come, just as it was established against your criminal tyrant Saddam.
butterfly Al-Maliki added: Today, we commemorate Saddam’s execution, and we are following in the footsteps of our martyrs, and we tell them that we are following your path, adhering to the principles and preserving the jihadist legacy in order to establish the reform curriculum in society.
He pointed out that: the buried Baath Party did not abandon its bloody and criminal approach, indicating: We were afflicted by a party that harbors foundlings, perverts, thieves and those who feel inferior in their social path. After the fall of the regime, the tails of the Baath continued to yearn for that criminal regime until they used the title of resistance to the occupier as a window for revenge.
From the Iraqi people, they began targeting the doctor, the academic, and the security man. Despite all that, we managed to defeat them and achieved many victories.
Al-Maliki stated that: Saddam’s followers were trying to smuggle him from Iraq, and millions of dollars were allocated, but we failed their efforts and we were able to inflict the just retribution against this criminal, praise be to God.
butterfly He continued: We say to all of Saddam’s criminal followers: We are following your dirty moves, and although we did justice to you and your tyrant by giving him a fair trial, do not be deceived by our fairness and justice because we will not allow you to return again.
He called on the families of the martyrs and prisoners to be the successor to the good of an ancestor and to contribute to building Iraq, and to actively participate in the elections despite the whispers of some and their desire to postpone, but we say that elections should be held to chart the future of Iraq.
butterfly Araqchi: Iran is witnessing a transitional period… and the Vienna talks must wait for the new government
Saturday 17 July 2021………..The chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, said that his country is going through a transitional period, indicating that Ibrahim Raisi will soon take over the country’s leadership in the next stage.
Araqchi added this evening, commenting on the suspension of nuclear talks between Tehran and the 4+1 group in Vienna: We are in a transitional period and a democratic transfer of power is taking place in Tehran, and the Vienna talks must wait for the new Iranian government.
The Iranian official called on the United States and Britain to understand this and stop, and link the humanitarian exchange – which is ready for implementation – to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the nuclear agreement).
butterfly Araqchi considered the exchange (prisoners) as a hostage for political purposes, leading to the loss of the exchange process and the nuclear agreement.
He believed that: It is possible to release ten detainees from all sides tomorrow if the United States and Britain fulfill their obligations under the agreement.
The new Iranian president, who belongs to the hard-line camp, Ibrahim Raisi, is scheduled to officially take over the presidency on August 3.
Raisi had won the presidential elections that took place on June 18, after obtaining nearly 18 million votes.
Iran began nuclear negotiations hosted in Vienna over six rounds last April, to revive the nuclear agreement, and the United States participates in these negotiations indirectly because of Iran’s insistence on lifting sanctions before allowing Washington to return to the direct negotiating table within the 4+1 group.
Iran signed the nuclear agreement with the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany in July 2015, before withdrawing from it in 2018, the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
butterfly Zain Hit by Iraqi Dinar Devaluation……..17th July 2021………….Zain Iraq’s H1 2021 revenue reached USD 376 million, and EBITDA amounted to USD 145 million, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 39%.
Net profit reached USD 24 million for the period. The operator’s customer base increased by 7% to reach 16.1 million customers maintaining its market leading position.
It should be noted that the Iraqi dinar devaluation also impacted Zain Iraq’s revenue by USD 88 million for the six-month period.
Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi (pictured), Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO commented:
“To minimize the impact of the currency devaluations, management has proactively undertaken decisive cost optimization initiatives across all markets, and both Zain Iraq and Zain Sudan have revamped prices and are now offering new attractive data monetization packages.” (Source: Zain)
butterfly NOTICE THE DATE ON THIS ARTICLE………………….Central Bank says No Further Devaluation of Iraqi Dinar…13th April 2021 in Iraq Banking & Finance News………….he Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has reassured the markets that there will be no further devaluation of the Iraqi dinar.
Ammar Mohammed said:
“It was important to change the exchange rate before approving the budget in order to know the income and budget in dinars … to serve the interests of the Iraqi economy … it will also enhance the competitiveness of domestic products and reduce imports …
“The decision … is final, and there will be no further change in this rate.”
He added that the Central Bank has sufficient foreign reserves to sustain the new exchange rate.
(Source: Govt of Iraq)