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Makkah Set to Receive Vaccinated Umrah Pilgrims During Ramadan



JEDDAH, April 8 – Makkah is set to receive vaccinated Umrah performers during the Ramadan month.

According to a report by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), relevant authorities had presented their plans during the Haj Central Committee Meeting chaired by  Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Governor of Makkah Region, on Wednesday.

It reported that Prince Khaled, who is  Chairman of the Committee, stressed the necessity of unifying and consolidating efforts and increasing the level of coordination and readiness to serve the visitors of the Two Holy Mosques, in addition to providing everything that would preserve their safety.

During the meeting,  the Hajj and Umrah  Ministry had also presented its plan for Ramadan season, which includes increasing the operational capacity of the Grand Mosque while adhering to all precautionary and preventive measures issued by the relevant authorities.

Permits to perform Umrah will be granted to immunised persons who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, immune person after 14 days of receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and immune person who has recovered from the infection.

It said booking  permits to perform Umrah rituals, prayers and visit, available time slots, as well as verification  will be done through the (Eatmarna) and (Tawakkalna) apps.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque also presented its operational plan, which will be implemented by 4,422 employees serving Umrah performers and worshipers at the Grand Mosque during the month of Ramadan.

According to the plan, the Presidency allocated 14 paths for the performance of Tawaf (circumambulation) and allocated the three paths closest to the Kaaba for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Nearly 5,000 male and female workers will perform sterilisation and disinfection operations around the clock, and instructional posters will be put up in all prayer halls to promote adherence to social distancing.

Meanwhile, in presenting its plan in receiving Umrah performers at the King Abdulaziz Airport, the General Authority of Civil Aviation will allocate a specialised team from all operational departments, around the clock.

The team will coordinate with  government agencies and service providers to secure the necessary manpower to serve pilgrims in all airport halls, and the northern terminal has been  prepared for the arrival and departure of Umrah performers according to the precautionary measures for the COVID-19 pandemic issued by the Health Ministry.

All means of transport have been prepared and provided to serve the Umrah performers which include the Haramain High-Speed Railway, and provide all the operational requirements to complete the procedures for the arrival and departure of Umrah performers, and designate express service routes to receive and complete their procedures, added the SPA report.



Separated Since Babies, This Identical Twins Finally Reunite After 36 Years



Identical twins Molly Sinert and Emily Bushnell were separated at birth in South Korea and adopted by different families. Molly went on living in Florida while Emily in Pennsylvania. The siblings spent most of their lives totally unaware of each other’s existence and little information about their birth family.

But everything changes after Emily’s 11-year-old daughter, Isabel wanted to make a DNA test to explore her heritage.

Isabel said, “I wanted to do the DNA test because she was adopted. I wanted to find out if I had more family on her side.”

Meanwhile in Florida, Molly also decided she wanted to take a DNA test to find out more about her mother’s history. The database confirmed her relations with Emily.

“(The results said:) ‘You share 49.96% DNA with this person. We predict that she’s your daughter’. This is obviously not right because I’ve never gone into labor, I don’t have children.”

Shortly after, she figured out that she must be her sister. They contacted each other but decided not to have a video call until they met in person.

Even though Emily didn’t feel comfortable taking the test, but finding out about her twin makes everything so clear.

“Although I have family who loves me and has been wonderful, there was always a feeling of disconnection. Finding out that I had an identical twin sister just made everything so clear. It all makes sense.”

As the twins got to know each other, they discovered more and more similarities between themselves.

Emily added: “Our senior prom picture…we were both wearing a beaded dress with a strapless style and our hair was exactly the same.

Emily concluded by describing the reunion as ‘the happiest moment of her life’.

Source: Daily Star

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‘Sinomacrops Bondei’, The Newest Species of Pterosaur Found In China



Paleontologists in China have discovered the fossil skeleton of Sinomacrops bondei, a new species of pterosaur. Scientists, mostly from China and Japan, found the fossil skeleton of the ruined creature in a rock preserved in China’s Hubei Province and realized that it was a new species of pterosaur.

The name Sinomacrops bondei is taken from the Greek word for Chinese which is Sino, combined with the words for large, macro, and eyes.

The researchers chose Bondei in honor of paleontologist Niels Bonde, for his many scholarly contributions and for being an inspiration to us.

Using x-ray imaging, the team was able to reconstruct the long-extinct pterosaur and illustrations were made to show how it looks like.

“Despite being crushed to the point of obliterating many details, the specimen is rather complete and provides new information for the group,” wrote the researchers on their reports.

The illustration made depicts the creature that looks like a flying squirrel but instead of a rodent’s body, its shaft looks more like a salamander with large membrane wings protruding from each side. This new species also has gaping eyes, a wide smile, and a small tail between a pair of legs.

Sinomacrops bondei are also likely to be hairy but not with hair or feathers. Scientists argue that it is covered by tufted ‘pycnofibers’, a completely different shape of the cover and evolving independently.

A paleontologist from Baylor University in Texas, Megan Jacobs who was not involved with the research, said the findings are interesting because pterosaur fossils are so rare because their thin, hollow bones cannot be preserved like other creatures.

“It’s very round with large, forward-facing eyes. Most pterosaurs of this period have elongated snouts full of little teeth.

“Finding these early pterosaurs really gives us an insight into how they started to adapt and alter aspects of their skeletons,” said Jacobs.

Source: 9Gag, New York Post

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Government Amends National Trust Fund Act



KUALA LUMPUR, April 21  — The government has approved amendments to the National Trust Fund (KWAN) Act 1988 (Act 339), which allows funds from KWAN to be used for the procurement of vaccines and any expenditure incurred in relation to the vaccines.

This is based on the Emergency (National Trust Fund) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, which comes into operation today, through the Federal Government Gazette published by the Attorney General’s Chambers today.

The ordinance, amended in Section 6, was promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, on April 14 pursuant to Clause (2B) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that immediate action is required to amend the National Trust Fund Act 1988.

The new subsection states that “the procurement of vaccines and any expenditure incurred in relation to the vaccines for an epidemic of any infectious disease as specified under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342)”.

On Jan 12, Istana Negara, in a statement, announced that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented to the Proclamation of Emergency to be implemented nationwide until Aug 1, as a proactive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Sources: BERNAMA

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