UAE to gradually reopen mosques, churches on July 1

The UAE said it was committed to cooperate with the international community to overcome COVID-19. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 30 June 2020

UAE to gradually reopen mosques, churches on July 1

  • The mosques and churches can operate at 30 percent capacity
  • The country also announced the return of federal government staff to their offices

DUBAI: The UAE announced it will reopen mosques and other places of worship across the Gulf country on July 1 at 30 percent capacity, state news agency WAM reported.

The new decision excludes prayer areas on highways, industrial zones, labor camps, commercial centers, and parks.

It comes as the country works to return to normal life following the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The country also announced the return of federal government staff to their offices while adhering to health guidelines to avoid a new wave of infections.

Meanwhile, the UAE said it was committed to cooperate with the international community to overcome COVID-19.

Since March, the Gulf nation has assisted more than a million medical workers through aid including the supply of personal protective equipment.

“Today’s milestone of assisting 1 million healthcare workers affirms the UAE’s commitment to extending a hand of cooperation to the world, regardless of the religion, race, or ideology of recipients,” Reem bint Ibrahim Al-Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said.

The number of people infected with the coronavirus in the UAE’s is 48,246, although more than 37,000 have recovered. But 314 people have died of the virus in the country.


Syrian, Russian airstrikes in Idlib amount to war crimes, as do extremist attacks — UN

Updated 8 min 32 sec ago

Syrian, Russian airstrikes in Idlib amount to war crimes, as do extremist attacks — UN

  • UN blames Syrian, Russian planes for bombing schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib

GENEVA: Syrian and Russian planes have carried out deadly aerial strikes amounting to war crimes on schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib province, UN investigators said on Tuesday in a report that also condemned attacks by extremist fighters.
They said that “indiscriminate bombardment” by pro-government forces, ahead of a March cease-fire brokered with Turkey, claimed hundreds of lives and forced nearly one million civilians to flee, which may amount to a crime against humanity.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria also accused Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a extremist group that controls part of northwest Syria, of firing artillery into civilian areas “with no apparent legitimate military objective.”
Fighters from HTS, a group formerly known as Nusra Front, have tortured and executed detainees, it added.
“What is clear from the military campaign is that pro-government forces and UN-designated terrorists flagrantly violated the laws of war and the rights of Syrian civilians,” Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN panel, said in a statement.
The report, covering Nov. 2019 until June 2020, was based on overflight data and witness testimony.
It examines 52 “emblematic attacks” in northwest Syria, including 47 attributed to the Russian-backed Syrian government.
Russian warplanes were solely implicated in a deadly March 5 strike on a poultry farm near Marat Misrin that sheltered displaced people and in three strikes next to a hospital damaged in the rebel-held town of Ariha on Jan. 29, the report said. Russia denies involvement in the latter attack, it said.
The region is home to a mix of Islamist militant and opposition groups, many of which fled other parts of Syria as President Bashar Assad, with Russian backing, seized back territory from them.
“The Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that pro-government forces committed the war crimes of deliberately attacking medical personnel and facilities by conducting airstrikes,” it said.
Karen Koning AbuZayd, a panel member, said: “Women, men and children that we interviewed faced the ghastly choice of being bombarded or fleeing deeper into HTS-controlled areas where there are rampant abuses of human rights...
“The acts by HTS members amount to war crimes.”