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Islam’s holiest sites emptied by COVID-19 crisis as Ramadhan begins

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The holy month of Ramadan began on Friday with Islam’s holiest sites in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem largely empty of worshippers as the coronavirus crisis forced authorities to impose unprecedented restrictions.

During Ramadan, Muslims the world over join their families to break the fast at sunset and go to mosques to pray. But the pandemic has changed priorities, with curbs on large gatherings for prayers and public iftars, or meals to break the fast.
In a rare occurrence in Islam’s 1,400-year history, Mecca’s Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina – the religion’s two holiest locations – will be closed to the public during the fasting period.
Prayers from inside the mosque at Mecca on the first evening of Ramadan on Thursday were restricted to clerics, security staff and cleaners, in a ceremony broadcast live on television.

In comments marking the start of Ramadan, King Salman, who is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, lamented the need for social distancing during the holy month.
“It pains me to welcome the glorious month of Ramadan under circumstances that forbid us from prayers in mosques,” he said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
“It doesn’t feel special this year, we don’t feel any Ramadan vibes,” said Sarah, a mother-of-two in Riyadh.

At a near-empty Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, an imam called out the first Friday prayers of Ramadan across a windswept plateau almost devoid of worshippers.
A handful of clerics in face masks knelt below the pulpit, keeping several feet apart to comply with coronavirus restrictions.

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He is a very dangerous man! Sonko’s daughter accuses senator of attempting to kill her

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Lamu Senator Anwar Loitiptip and Saumu Mbuvi, daughter of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, have announced their separation following wrangles and disagreement.

The reports were fuelled by photos and videos of Senator Loitiptip hanging out with a female friend.

Saumu, on Instagram, announced that the two have separated, claiming that she has undergone domestic violence under Loitiptip.

“These are the things he did to me,” wrote Saumu, in one of her photos showing a swollen face and bruised lips.

“He almost killed me. I will forever fight for women to stand for their rights. Never allow a man to be violent to you.”

She also claimed that the senator had neglected their child, leaving Saumu as the primary caregiver.

Loitiptip told Kenyans.co.ke that Saumu shared her father’s traits and was suffering from bipolar disorder, threatening to expose her past to prove his claim.

The two have been dating for months and at one point planned to get married. However, Sonko’s daughter clarified that the two had split before officiating their union.

“Wedding date confirmed,” she captioned a picture of herself and the senator in June 2020.

Her previous relationship with businessman cum politician Ben Gatu also ended after she accused him of being violent.

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US raises alarm over Covid-19 cases surge in Tanzania

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The US government has revealed that there are significant cases of Covid-19 in Tanzania.

This is just a week after it advised its citizens against travelling to the East African country.

“The US Embassy is aware of a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases since January 2021,” the Embassy said.

In a Health alert, the US said the practice of Covid-19 mitigation and prevention measures remains limited.

The Tanzanian government has not released aggregate numbers on Covid-19 cases or deaths since April 2020.

“Healthcare facilities in Tanzania can become quickly overwhelmed in a healthcare crisis. Limited hospital capacity throughout Tanzania could result in life-threatening delays for emergency medical care,” US said.

The Department of State’s travel advisory level for Tanzania is Level 3.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says that travellers should avoid all travel to Tanzania.

The Embassy continues to recommend that all individuals take caution in day-to-day activities.

President John Magufuli assured the 58 million inhabitants that they need not worry about observing Covid-19 preventative measures.

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Siwachii wezi! Uhuru vows not to leave the country to thieves in 2022

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday made a surprising stop to lecture Nairobi residents after finishing his engagement at the National Cargo Deconsolidation Centre (NCDC-Nairobi).

The Head of State said he was angry at Nairobians for being against the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill stating that the report has given Nairobi more constituencies.

“If we have a BBI that says the people of Nairobi will have more constituencies and if it’s bursaries a child in Mathare who today receives Ksh500, how will that child study up to university level,” President Kenyatta said.

“But there is another child who gets Ksh100,000 in Busury per year is that right?… BBI is not for helping Raila or Uhuru it is for you,” he continued.

Uhuru went on to disclose that he has no plans to rule after his term is over and his interest is in finishing the job that Kenyans elected him to do.

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