Algeria reopens mosques, beaches after 5-month lockdown

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Algerian men perform the noon prayer at the El Fateh mosque in the El Afia de Kouba neighbourhood of the capital Algiers, on August 15, 2020, as the country eases COVID-19 restrictions. (AFP)
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Algerian men perform the noon prayer at the El Fateh mosque in the El Afia de Kouba neighbourhood of the capital Algiers, on August 15, 2020, as the country eases COVID-19 restrictions. (AFP)
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Algerian men perform the noon prayer at the El Fateh mosque in the El Afia de Kouba neighbourhood of the capital Algiers, on August 15, 2020, as the country eases COVID-19 restrictions. (AFP)
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Updated 15 August 2020

Algeria reopens mosques, beaches after 5-month lockdown

  • Restaurants were also allowed to reopen, and mosques that can hold more than 1,000 people and ensure social distancing measures
  • Crowds packed beaches Saturday in the capital Algiers, celebrating the opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean Sea

ALGIERS: Algeria started reopening its mosques, cafes, beaches and parks Saturday for the first time in five months, gradually relaxing one of the world’s longer virus confinement periods.
Curfews remain in place in more than half the country, and masks are required outdoors as Algeria tries to keep virus infections down. But authorities decided to start reopening public places starting Saturday, saying the virus infection rate is believed to have stabilized.
Crowds packed beaches Saturday in the capital Algiers, celebrating the opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean Sea amid the August heat.
Restaurants were also allowed to reopen, and mosques that can hold more than 1,000 people and ensure social distancing measures.
However, mosques remain closed to all women, children and the elderly until further notice, and the main weekly Muslim prayers on Friday will remain banned to limit crowds. Mosque-goers must wear masks and bring their own prayer mats.
“This reopening will depend entirely on the discipline of each person to respect protection measures,” said the minister for religious affairs, Mohamed Belmahdi, who was among those attending the first services Saturday at Khaled Ibn El Walid Mosque in the resort town of Heuraoua east of Algiers.
He warned that authorities would close mosques again if Algerians show even a “slight indifference” toward preventive measures. “The health of citizens comes before faith.”
Algeria has reported more than 37,000 virus infections and 1,350 deaths as of Friday, the third-highest death rate reported in Africa after South Africa and Egypt.


US president awards Kuwait’s emir with rare military decoration

Updated 26 min 45 sec ago

US president awards Kuwait’s emir with rare military decoration

  • The award was accepted on behalf of the emir by his son Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah
  • The honor was granted in recognition of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s “great efforts” and the important role he plays in the region and the world

LONDON: US President Donald Trump on Friday presented Kuwait’s emir with a rare military award during a private ceremony at the White House.
The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander is a prestigious decoration that can only be bestowed by the American president and was last awarded in 1991.
The honor was granted in recognition of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s “great efforts” and the important role he plays in the region and the world, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.
It also reflected the “distinguished and historic” partnership between Kuwait and the US and came in advance of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, KUNA added.
The award was accepted on behalf of the emir by his son Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah.

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