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  • Sri Lanka has locked up this Muslim lawyer without charge for nearly five months
    The prominent Sri Lankan Muslim lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah, is being described by human rights groups as the latest victim of Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act.

    On April 14, Hizbullah, 40, got a call from the Ministry of Health saying they were worried he may have contracted COVID-19 and advised him to remain at home.

    A day earlier he and others had written to the Sri Lankan president about his government’s decision to ban Muslims from burying their dead, forcing them to cremate their remains instead – a violation of their right to freedom of religion, as protected by Sri Lanka’s constitution and its international obligations.

    Hejaaz Hizbullah was a lawyer at the Supreme Court and worked as a state counsel for the Attorney General’s department. Beyond his legal work, he was involved...
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  • “කවදා හෝ යුක්තිය ඉටුවේයැ’යි බලාපොරොත්තු සහගතව ජීවිතය ගෙවනවා විනා වෙන කිසිවක් කළ නොහැකි වීම ගැන මට ඇත්තේ නොදැරිය හැකි වේදනාවකි”: මගේ මල්ලි හිජාස්
    හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මගේ බාල සොහොයුරා ය. අගෝස්තු 25 වැනි දිනට එළඹුණු ඔහුගේ 40 වැනි උපන්දිනය ඔහුට ගත කිරීමට සිදු වුයේ පාස්කු ඉරිදා ත්‍රස්තවාදී ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ බවට අභූත චෝදනා එල්ල කරමින් අයුතු ලෙස අත්තඩංගුවට පත්ව අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ රැඳවුම් භාරයේදී ය. හිජාස් පිළිබඳව මට ඇති පැරණිතම මතකයන් අතර බොහොමයක් කළුබෝවිල සිට...
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  • Hejaaz Detention: Fort Magistrate Orders CID To Submit All Statements Obtained In Investigations


    Following submissions by Defence Counsel that the Criminal Investigations Department is selectively reporting facts to the Magistrate in order to malign Hejaaz Hizbullah, Fort Magistrate today ordered the Criminal Investigations Department to submit a report of all statements obtained by them from persons relating to the investigations of Hizbullah.
    When the case was taken up today. Counsel for the Defence informed Court that the Criminal Investigations Department had obtained statements from all persons of the Save the Pearls Charity and the Teachers and Board of Management of the Al-Zuhriya Madarasa.

    However, none of those statements had been produced to date.
    They said that the statements would reveal that all the allegations made by the CID are a fabrication and were made in order to malign Hizbullah and...
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  • Hejaaz Hizbullah: Symptom and symbol
    What made him more enigmatic was that unlike most others in his profession who shield their lives beneath a calm facade, he taught exceptionally well Apparently he called the Easter attackers “fools who died as fools.” I can picture Hejaaz saying that   There’s an image of Hejaaz Hizbullah I return to over and over again. It’s an image of him holding a placard at a protest in 2018. The placard reads, “Asilachaara parliamenthuwak wenuwata seelachara parliamenthuwak” (“A cultured parliament in place of an uncultured parliament”). The reason why it resonates with me is that, even in the ecstatic way he holds it, he is quite unlike the Hejaaz Hizbullah I once knew. But then I realise that the Hejaaz I once knew couldn’t have been the real guy. 
    I first encountered the man in 2013 at my law school. He didn’t...
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  • Niqab Ban In France Violates Human Rights Of Muslim Women: UN Human Rights Committee
    The United Nations Human Rights Committee said France’s niqab ban violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.” Women in France can be fined up to 150 euros for wearing the niqab, a full-face...
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  • Rathana At It Again; ACJU Is The Punching Bag For Everyone
    By Mass L. Usuf Mass Usuf Let this column begin with a Disclaimer. It is only an analysis and the writer is not holding a brief to defend or protect the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (
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  • Democracy Threatened: Impunity, Political Patronage & Rollback Of Devolution
    By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole – R. Sasilan: Assistant Commissioner of Elections Today we are opening new living quarters for our Election Commission’s man-in-charge in Batticaloa. I am so glad because R. Sasilan is a man I am proud of. He stands up for what is right without fear or favor. When a minister distributed gifts in elections some years ago, he confiscated a gift pack and filed a complaint with the police. The police, as often happens, disappeared the evidence. Sasilan sent a report to the Commission and that too disappeared....
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  • Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka's Muslims decry forced cremation
      Image copyrightEPA Image captionSri Lankan Muslim women wait for a Covid-19 test. Some in the community are fighting cremation rules Sri Lankan authorities are insisting on cremation for coronavirus victims - a practice forbidden by Islam. The nation's minority Muslim community says they are using the pandemic to discriminate, writes BBC Sinhala's Saroj Pathirana. On 4 May, Fathima Rinoza, a 44-year-old mother of three from Sri Lanka's minority Muslim population, was admitted to hospital with a suspected case of Covid-19. Fathima, who lived in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, had been suffering from respiratory problems and the authorities feared she had caught the virus. On the day she was admitted to hospital, the family was "set upon" by the authorities, her husband Mohamed Shafeek said. "The police and military along with...
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  • ජිනීවා මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සිලයේදී රටවල් 5කින් ලංකාවට චෝදනා
    පාස්කු ප්‍රහාර සම්බන්ධයෙන් සැකපිට අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන සිටින නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා රඳවා තබාගැනීම, විශේෂ බළකායේ සැරයන් සුනිල් රත්නායකට ජනාධිපති සමාව ලබාදීම ඇතුළු කරුණු ගණනාවක් පදනම් කරගනිමින් එක්සත් රාජධානිය ඇතුළු රටවල් 5ක කණ්ඩායමක් එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සිලයේදී ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට චෝදනා එල්ල කර ඇතැයි ජිනීවා තානාපති...
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Coronavirus toll in New York state passes 1,000: Live updates

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00:50 GMT - Death toll in New York state surpasses 1,000

More than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus outbreak in New York state, according to a tally by The Associated Press  (AP) news agency.

On Sunday evening, New York City said its toll had risen to 776. The total number of statewide deaths is not expected to be released until Monday, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state's total fatalities was at least 1,026, AP said.

00:30 GMT - China reports 31 new cases in mainland

The number of COVID-19 infections in China continues to slow with health authorities in Beijing reporting 31 new cases at the end of Sunday.

The figure includes one locally transmitted infection and marks a drop from the 45 cases reported a day earlier. There were no new cases for a sixth consecutive day in central Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak was first detected in December last year. 

In mainland China, the total number of cases to date rose to 81,470 in the mainland, while the cumulative death toll increased to 3,304.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/death-toll-york-state-passes-1000-live-updates-200329234257896.html

US President Donald Trump has extended federal guidelines on social distancing until April 30 after a top health official warned more than 100,000 people could die from the coronavirus in the United States.

The announcement on Sunday evening came as the death toll in hard-hit New York state passed 1,000.

"The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks," Trump told reporters at the White House. "Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period it's very important that everyone strongly follow the guidelines ... We will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread."

The initial 15-day period had been due to expire on Monday.

The US has 139,000 confirmed infections from the coronavirus, more than any other country in the world, while more than 2,400 people have died from the respiratory illness caused by the pathogen.

Worldwide, the number of cases has reached more than 718,000. Some 149,000 people have recovered, and more than 33,000 have died.

Here are all the latest updates:

Monday, March 30

06:30 GMT - EasyJet grounds fleet, furloughs cabin crew for two months

British low cost airline easyJet said it had grounded its entire fleet and reached a deal with its cabin crew for employees to be furloughed for two months under a government job retention scheme.

The airline said that its entire fleet of over 300 aircraft was parked up and there was no certainty for the date of restarting commercial flights.

EasyJet said that under a deal with Unite, the union which represents its cabin crew, they would not work for two months from April 1 and will be paid 80 percent of their average pay under the government job retention scheme.

06:00 GMT - Guatemalan deported from US tests positive

A Guatemalan man who was deported from the US last week has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a spokeswoman for the Guatemalan health ministry.

The 29-year-old man was deported last Thursday on a flight chartered by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. The flight, with at least 40 others on board, originated in Mesa, Arizona, according to the Guatemalan Migration Institute.

Read more on this story here.

A curfew to combat the spread of the virus in Guatemala has been extended until April 12.

05:50 GMT - Nepal extends lockdown until April 7

The government of Nepal extended a nationwide lockdown put in place on March 23 by another week. International flights will also be banned until April 15.

The Himalayan country has recorded a total of five infections from the new coronavirus.

05:35 GMT - Japan to 'ban all travellers from US, China, Europe'

All visitors from the United States, China, South Korea and most of Europe will be denied entry to Japan under new rules to curb coronavirus infections, according to the Asahi newspaper.

Citing government sources, Asahi said Japan's foreign ministry is expected to also advise Japanese nationals to refrain from travelling to those countries.

05:00 GMT - India lockdown hits chronic patients hard

Strict restrictions on movement in India has hampered access to healthcare for people with chronic illnesses such as HIV, kidney and autoimmune diseases.

One 15-year-old HIV patient's parents walked 32km to obtain her medication in New Delhi.

"We could quickly be facing a non-COVID humanitarian crisis if the government fails to act to restore health services, particularly for those with critical conditions that require sustained medication/treatment," said Malini Aisola, public health activist and co-convenor of the All India Drug Action Network.

04:51 GMT - Australia tightens curbs on public gatherings

New rules limiting public gatherings to just two people in Australia will come into effect at midnight on Monday, with the states of New South Wales and Victoria introducing hefty fines for people violating those restrictions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said members of the public should leave their house only to buy food, attend medical appointments and for exercise.

Skate parks, outdoor gyms and public playgrounds across the country, he said.

04:20 GMT - Fears of a second wave of infections in China

Concern of a second wave of infections is growing in China amid official pressure to resume normal life, according to Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu.

"In Wuhan, the epicentre of China's coronavirus outbreak, some shops are open, and malls are starting to open their doors after two months. People who work in essential industries, such as the cement, steel and car industries, are also starting to go back to work," Yu said from Beijing.

Our correspondent said officials are under "tremendous pressure to resume normal life" with President Xi Jinping travelling on Sunday to a port and an industrial park in eastern Zhejiang Province to inspect the resumption of work and production there.

"He wants to get the economy going after two months at a standstill. And because of this urgency to get things going, there are fears it may be too soon and could result in a second wave of infections," she said. "Officials are also under pressure to keep numbers down, and that's causing fears they may not be transparent when it comes to reporting new cases."

02:00 GMT - Argentina extends quarantine

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez extended a nationwide quarantine until mid-April to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

"We are going to extend the quarantine until the end of Easter. What do we aim to achieve? To keep the transmission of the virus under control," he said in a televised message.

The mandatory measures were due to expire at the end of March. The lockdown will be lifted on April 12.
Argentina has 820 confirmed cases and 20 deaths from COVID-19.

01:40 GMT - South Korea reports 78 new cases; total at 9,661

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 78 new cases in South Korea on Monday, down from 105 confirmed infections a day earlier.

The figure brings South Korea's total infections to 9,661.

The KCDC said the new cases marked the 18th consecutive day that new infections hovered about 100 or fewer additional cases.

01:30 GMT - Japanese comedian dies

Ken Shimura, one of Japan's best-known comedians, died from COVID-19 at a hospital in Tokyo, according to the public broadcaster NHK.

He was 70 years old. Many fans took to social media to pay tribute.

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