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  • Anguish as Sri Lanka forces Muslims to cremate COVID-19 victims
    Rights group and activists accuse gov't of forcing cremation of Muslim COVID-19 victims in disregard to WHO guidelines. The forced cremation of two COVID-19 infected Muslims in Sri Lanka has sent shock waves among the minority community, which accused the authorities of violating Islamic burial rites. Bishrul Hafi Mohammed Joonus, a 73-year- old  man from the capital Colombo who died of COVID-19, was the second Muslim to have been cremated in the Indian Ocean island nation, which has registered 151 cases so far. Bishrul's son Fayaz Joonus, 46, said his father who had a kidney...
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  • ආදරණීය සිිංහල මිතුරන්ගෙන් කරන ‌ඉල්ලීම
      ඊයේ දින ‌කොරෝනා නිසා මරණයට පත් වූ මීගමුවේ පුද්ගලයාගේ මිනිය භූමිදානය කිරීමට කළ උත්සාහයන් අසාර්ථක වීම ගැනත් ඒ පිළිබඳව රවූෆ් හැකීම් වැනි ‌අය නිකුත් කළ මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය ගැනත් විවිධ අදහස් සමාජ මාධ්‍යය ඔස්සේ ඉදිරිපත් ‌වෙමින් පවතී. ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌‌සෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව...
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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...
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  • Iran urges US to free Iranian prisoners amid coronavirus pandemic
    Iran's government has urged the United States to release Iranians held in US jails on sanctions-related issues due to fears about the coronavirus outbreak. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Washington of holding a number of Iranians in its prisons and said under these circumstances they should be set free. Meanwhile, the death toll in Iran from the coronavirus rose to 2,378 on Friday, a jump of 144. Iran is one of the worst hit countries in the world. Zarif also referred to a report by The Guardian newspaper about Sirous Asgari, a science professor, who it said was still being...
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  • Palestinian groups cancel mass Gaza rallies due to coronavirus
    Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip have cancelled mass rallies planned for next week along the border with Israel amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in the densely-populated territory, organisers said on Saturday. The rallies were called for March 30 to mark the second anniversary of the so-called "Great March of Return" which had prompted weekly protests by Palestinians seeking to regain access to land, now in Israel, from which their ancestors were forced to flee during the Nakba, the Palestinian exodus, in 1947-48.
    They also mark Palestinian Land Day which commemorates the events of March 30, 1976, when Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel as they protested against the Israeli government's expropriation of land. "We call upon our people not to go to...
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  • Sri Lanka pardons soldier who killed Tamil civilians
    Sri Lanka's president on Thursday pardoned and released an army officer sentenced to death for slitting the throats of Tamil civilians, including four children, during the island's bloody ethnic war. Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake was to be hanged for the December 2000 killing in a case held up by previous Sri Lankan governments as an example of rare accountability over abuses during the conflict. A court convicted him of murdering eight members of the Tamil minority, including a five-year-old and three teenagers after a 13-year trial. They were killed as they returned to their bombed homes to salvage what was left of their belongings and their bodies were found buried in a cesspit near an army camp at Mirusuvil on the Jaffna peninsula. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the officer's appeal and upheld the death penalty last year. But...
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  • Fears mount as Syria reports first coronavirus case
    Authorities step up lockdown efforts in war-torn country after 20-year-old woman tested positive. Health officials in war-battered Syria have announced the first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, as authorities in the country prepare to halt all public transportation in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Health Minister Nizar Yazji told a news conference in the capital Damascus on Sunday that...
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  • Fear, anxiety as besieged Gaza confirms first 2 coronavirus cases
      Authorities in the coastal enclave have shut restaurants and cafes, while Friday prayers have also been suspended. Palestinian officials have announced the first two cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in the besieged Gaza Strip. Deputy Health Minister Youssef Abulreesh said late on Saturday the two Palestinian patients had returned from Pakistan via Gaza's Rafah border with neighbouring Egypt on Thursday. The pair exhibited symptoms of the illness, which include a dry cough and high fever, Abulreesh told a news conference. He added that the two were placed in quarantine upon arrival and are now in a field hospital in the border town of Rafah, in the southern 
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5 Stress Busters to Enhance Your Productivity

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In this deadline-demanding, rat race society, it seems like we’re pushed to run and run everyday beyond our capacity. Suddenly, one day passes like an hour, and an hour seems like a passing mosquito. But now, instead of making stress a scary green monster that’s ready to eat you alive, we’re going to find out how to manage stress and keep it under control.


1. Address the Root Problem
What would you do if suddenly in the middle of night, your fire alarm rings? Would you switch off the alarm and go back to sleep? Of course not! You’ll search the house and try to find the source and spring into action to douse it out.
Likewise, your stress. You don’t just slap a “this too shall pass” attitude then turn on the TV comedy show to distract yourself from the problem. Stress is merely a smoke, and fanning the smoke alone won’t save your house from the fire.
Now do a quick contemplation: write down the things that stress you. Stuff you have to accomplish, including those you must do but you’re just “finding no time” to do. Just write them all down, from big stuff like “I want to publish a novel!” to something as trivial as giving your cat a bath. This is only the start. Next you’ll have to:

2. Reassess Your Priorities
The cause of stress is typically poor self management and time management. Very often, we get mixed up between which stuff needs a higher priority than others. We lack self discipline and try to do several things at once or end up switching between tasks because the others are not desirable enough to do. We end up getting lazy and procrastinate, opting to rush within the last minutes.
In one of the productivity seminars I attended, the coach inserted some pebbles to a jar. He inserted all the bigger pebbles first, then the smaller ones, then the sand, until the jar was full. He asked the participants, “What message can you get from this?”.
“You can multi-task in between your schedule”, one participant replied.
“No”, he answered. “The message is: you must prioritize your bigger goals first, the bigger pebbles. If you inserted all the sand first, or the smaller pebbles, there wouldn’t be enough room for the bigger pebbles.
“Likewise, your time. If you keep wasting it for insignificant goals, you’ll lose your valuable asset for life, and you’ll lose in the long term.
“What is your bigger goal in life? How do you treat and value your time according to it?”

 

3. Use the Stress Boost to Take Action
Under a great emergency, or what the mind PERCEIVES as emergency, human beings often do something incredible beyond their ordinary limits. The mechanism is quite simple. Under the perceived emergency, your body releases cortisol, which in effect stimulates the production of adrenaline. Adrenaline accelerates the breaking down of food – converting it into quick energy so we can react in a “fight or flight” response. The result is a great boost of alertness. It’s just a survival mechanism God has installed in your body.
But an unhealthy, excessive cortisol production can induce stress. And as law of nature conducts, all good things done excessively will turn out bad.
Sometimes we react more to pain and fear than pleasure. But it’s just the way the human mind works. Now you could use it against you, or to your advantage. Turn stress into your natural caffeine, use it to kill procrastination, and take action.

4. Quick Meditation
A quick relaxation and deep breathing technique – like a little pause button to your non-stop world – will work wonders for you. Plus, the deep breathing can supply oxygen to refresh your brain.

Sit or lie down in comfortable position.
Close your eyes and take a deep, diaphragmatic breath.
Slowly count in your mind from 100 to 1, or from 50 to 1.
It’s better if you do it while listening to alpha or tetha binaural beats with your headset. They’re available for free to download everywhere, and many are music-free. This audio might sound weird for first-time listeners, but it works by stimulating the alpha state in your brain, which induces the relaxation and creativity state. Listening to this audio is better for your brain than music.
Empty your mind from worldly stuff during the process and focus on your breathing.
Give yourself a suggestion, like “on each count, I’m feeling more relaxed”. Alternatively, visualize your problem as trash, and on each count you’ll ditch them one by one into the garbage can. What works best for me is visualizing a beautiful green garden with flowers and fountains.
Done; or repeat until you truly feel relaxed.

5. Don’t Forget to Smell the Roses!
Once you’ve completed your tasks, reward yourself. Truth is, if you can’t appreciate or care for yourself,  no one would do it for you.
Reserve a block of time each day or week (depending on what activity you want to reward yourself with) to do something relaxing and rejuvenating.
We live only once and if we run too fast, we’ll miss a lot of beauty on the sides of the road. Stop and smell the roses. Life is about keeping a balance between yourself, your family and beloved one, work, and of course with your Divine Creator. Get your dusty Qur’an from the shelf and recite it heartily, while pondering its meaning. Take your family out for a picnic. Bike to a hill and breathe some fresh air. Life is larger than what you perceive it inside your box.
Be grateful that compared to a billion people on the planet, you’re still blessed.
“Whoever among you wakes up physically healthy, feeling safe and secure within himself, with food for the day, it is as if he acquired the whole world.” [Ibn Majah]
Try the tips above and share your experience in the ‘Comments’ section below!

Author:  Fatima Ariadne - A Graduate Student

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