India’s coronavirus cases rise by a daily record of 55,078

India aims to raise capacity to 1 million coronavirus tests per day in the medium term. Above, a health worker checks the temperature of a resident at a containment zone in Chennai on July 30, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 31 July 2020

India’s coronavirus cases rise by a daily record of 55,078

  • India aims to raise capacity to 1 million coronavirus tests per day in the medium term

BENGALURU: India reported another record surge in daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the total to 1.64 million, as the government further eases virus curbs in a bid to resuscitate the economy, while also trying to increase testing.
Infections jumped by 55,078 in the past 24 hours, while the death toll rose by 779 to 35,747, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on its website.
The ministry also said it aimed to raise the country’s capacity to 1 million coronavirus tests per day in the medium term, from a record 600,000 on Friday.
The federal government this week announced the reopening of yoga institutes and gymnasiums, and removed restrictions on the movement of people and goods.


Muslim woman accuses McDonald's franchisee of discrimination

Updated 12 min 45 sec ago

Muslim woman accuses McDonald's franchisee of discrimination

  • The general manager prohibited Powell from praying in a quiet spot at the airport
  • He told her to to pray in a dirty stock room instead

SILVER SPRING: A Muslim woman who worked for a McDonald’s franchisee in Maryland claims managers and co-workers sexually harassed her and subjected her to religious discrimination after she converted to Islam.
Diamond Powell, 28, of Baltimore, sued her former employer, Susdewitt Management LLC of Lanham, Maryland, on Thursday with the backing of attorneys from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group.
The Morgan State University graduate was Christian in 2016 when she started working for the company, which operated two McDonald’s locations at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Powell converted to Islam in February 2017 and began wearing a hijab, a religious head covering, to work.
A manager told her to “take that hoodie off” her head while another manager told her, “You don’t have to wait for God to wake up for you to pray,” Powell’s federal lawsuit alleges.
Powell has a religious belief that she must pray five times a day at prescribed times. A general manager initially granted Powell’s request to take short prayer breaks during her shifts, according to her lawsuit.
“Her prayer breaks lasted no longer than a typical bathroom break,” the suit says.
But the general manager prohibited Powell from praying in a quiet spot at the airport and instead told her to pray in a dirty stock room, the lawsuit alleges. After Powell continued praying outside the restaurant, the general manager eventually revoked her request to take a prayer break, saying, “God will understand,” according to the lawsuit.
“By doing so, the general manager forced Powell to choose between continuing her employment with McDonald’s or sacrificing her sincerely-held religious beliefs,” the suit says.
Powell resigned from the job in April 2018. Her suit accuses Susdewitt Management of violating the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Susdewitt Management owner Isaac Green disputed the lawsuit’s “characterizations” but said the company is reviewing Powell’s allegations and will “respond accordingly.”
“We pride ourselves on our diverse workforce, and we have policies in place to provide a welcoming workplace and to respect the accommodations employees may need for religious reasons,” Green said in a statement provided by a McDonald’s corporate spokeswoman.
The suit also claims Powell was sexually harassed at work, with several managers and co-workers asking her if she was a virgin and a shift manager making sexually explicit remarks.
“No Muslim woman should ever, ever experience what I went through, and I hope this lawsuit will help other Muslim women,” Powell said Thursday during an online news conference with her attorneys.
Zainab Chaudry, director of CAIR's Maryland office, said the group has seen an uptick in the number of incidents in which Muslims have experienced hostile work environments because of their faith.
“Unfortunately, this disturbing case is a glaring reminder of the challenges that Muslim employees often face within the workplace,” she said.