Yeshiva World News

BREAKING: Trump Designates All Houses Of Worship As ESSENTIAL, Will Override Governors [VIDEO]

President Trump on Friday announced that new Centers for Disease Control guidance will classify houses of worship as “essential,” as he called on governors to allow them to open “right now” after being closed during the coronavirus lockdowns. Trump announced the policy for churches, synagogues and mosques, during a short briefing at the White House. “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now–for this weekend,” Trump said. “If they don’t do it I will override the governors.” “In America, we need more prayer not less,” Trump said. The announcement comes after Trump has been hearing concerns of faith leaders who are unable to hold Sunday services due to coronavirus restrictions at a time when their parishioners are grappling with the crisis. Families may be grieving the loss of loved ones from the virus and struggling with job loss but unable to seek respite in their places of worship. “I consider them essential,” Trump said earlier Friday of houses of worship of all faiths.

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Trump Lashes Out At Scientists Whose Findings Contradict Him

“A Trump enemy statement,” he said of one study. “A political hit job,” he said of another. As President Donald Trump pushes to reopen the country despite warnings from doctors about the consequences of moving too quickly during the coronavirus crisis, he has been lashing out at scientists whose conclusions he doesn’t like. Twice this week, Trump has not only dismissed the findings of studies but suggested — without evidence — that their authors were motivated by politics and out to undermine his efforts to roll back coronavirus restrictions. First it was a study funded in part by his own government’s National Institutes of Health that raised alarms about the use of hydroxychloroquine, finding higher overall mortality in coronavirus patients who took the drug while in Veterans Administration hospitals. Trump and many of his allies had been trumpeting the drug as a miracle cure and Trump this week revealed that he has been taking it to try to ward off the virus — despite an FDA warning last month that it should only be used in hospital settings or clinical trials because of the risk of serious side effects, including life-threatening heart problems. “If you look at the one survey, the only bad survey, they were giving it to people that were in very bad shape. They were very old, almost dead,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “It was a Trump enemy statement.” He offered similar pushback Thursday to a new study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. It found that more than 61% of COVID-19 infections and 55% of reported deaths — nearly 36,000 people — could have been been prevented had social distancing measures been put in place one week sooner. Trump has repeatedly defended his administration’s handling of the virus in the face of persistent criticism that he acted too slowly. ”Columbia’s an institution that’s very liberal,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “I think it’s just a political hit job, you want to know the truth.” Trump has long been skeptical of mainstream science — dismissing human-made climate change as a “hoax,” suggesting that noise from wind turbines causes cancer and claiming that exercise can deplete a body’s finite amount of energy. It’s part of a larger skepticism of expertise and backlash against “elites” that has become increasingly popular among Trump’s conservative base. But undermining Americans’ trust in the integrity and objectivity of scientists is especially dangerous during a pandemic when the public is relying on its leaders to develop policies based on the best available information, said Larry Gostin, a Georgetown University law professor who is an expert in public health. “If the president is politicizing science, if he’s discounting health experts, then the public is going to be fearful and confused,” Gostin said, calling it “dismaying.” The White House rejected that thinking, noting that Trump has followed his administration’s public health officials’ recommendations through much of the crisis. “Any suggestion that the president does not value scientific data or the important work of scientists is patently false as evidenced by the many data-driven decision he has made to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including cutting off travel early from highly-infected populations, expediting vaccine development, issuing the 15-day and later 30-day guidance to ‘slow the spread,’ and providing governors with a clear, safe road map to opening […]

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“We Trust Parents”: Florida Lifts Restrictions On All Youth Activities, All Summer Camps Open

Restrictions on all youth activities have been lifted in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday. “Effective immediately, Florida will be lifting all restrictions on youth activities including summer camps and athletics,” Gov. DeSantis said during a news conference in Jacksonville. “We believe this makes sense based on the data and observed experience.” The Department of Health may post some best practices moving forward. But the governor says they won’t be “instituting a lot of rules or any rules.” “At the end of the day, we trust parents to be able to make decisions in conjunction with physicians and community leaders and coaches to be able to do these activities in a way that is safe,” he said. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW STAY UPDATED WITH BREAKING UPDATES FROM YWN VIA WHATSAPP – SIGN UP NOW Just click on this link, and you will be placed into a group. (AP)

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POLL: Many In US Won’t Return To Gym Or Dining Out

Much of the country remains unlikely to venture out to bars, restaurants, theaters or gyms anytime soon, despite state and local officials across the country increasingly allowing businesses to reopen, according to a new survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That hesitancy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak could muffle any recovery from what has been the sharpest and swiftest economic downturn in U.S. history. Just 42% of those who went to concerts, movies, theaters or sporting events at least monthly before the outbreak say they’d do so in the next few weeks if they could. Only about half of those who regularly went to restaurants, exercised at the gym or traveled would feel comfortable doing so again. About a quarter of Americans say someone in their household has lost a job amid that downturn, and about half have lost household income, including layoffs, pay cuts, cut hours or unpaid time off. The majority of those whose household suffered a layoff still believe they will return to their previous employer, but the share expecting their job will not return has risen slightly over the past month, to 30% from 20%. Amber Van Den Berge, a teacher in Indiana, held off on immediately returning to her second job as a fitness instructor. She would need to pass a test for COVID-19, get her temperature checked each morning and lead class while wearing a protective mask. “Wear a mask to teach a fitness class? I’m not ready for that,” said Van Den Berge, 39. The speed and strength of any economic rebound could be thwarted because many fear the risk of new infections. Consumers make up roughly 70% of U.S. economic activity, so anything less than a total recovery in spending would force many companies to permanently close and deepen the financial pain for 39 million people who have lost jobs in the past two months. Forty-nine percent of Americans approve of how President Donald Trump is handling the economy, the poll shows. That has slipped over the last two months, from 56% in March. Still, the issue remains a relative positive for Trump, whose overall approval rating stands at 41%. Trump has at times downplayed the threat of the coronavirus and the benefits of testing and has criticized the leadership of Democratic governors. Meanwhile, many Democratic lawmakers have insisted on the importance of containing the disease and sustaining the economy with federal aid. Greg Yost, a Republican from Rockaway, New Jersey, says he wishes the president would defer more to medical experts, rather than speak off the cuff. But he added that he thinks Trump believes he must defend himself against personal attacks. “He’s between a rock and a hard place,” Yost said. But ShyJuan Clemons, 45, of Merrillville, Indiana, says Trump has made the fallout from the pandemic worse by initially denying its dangers and failing to display much empathy for those hurt by the coronavirus. “Even my cat knows that he’s terrible,” said Clemons, referring to his 14-year-old Siamese mix, Shinji. Clemons works with special needs people and worries about his hours if Indiana — starved of tax revenues because of the disease — cuts its budget. But it also shows how an atmosphere of political polarization may be feeding both an eagerness by […]

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Live Stream At Kabbolas Hatorah Will Look Different This Year

The siyum, planned to be an international event, with participants worldwide joining together, has been canceled due to the virus. However, as Rabbi Zacharia Adler, the indefatigable Director of Daf Hashavua explains, the Siyum will still go one, albeit in an unusual way.  “All the people that have learned the Daf for years definitely deserve the best Siyum possible”, explains R’ Zacharia, “therefore we plan on a virtual Siyum with someone being Mesayem, the beginning of Masechta Yevamos, and lively music in honor of this great accomplishment.”  The Siyum will also feature Divrei Chizzuk from leading Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshivos, urging the Lomdim to continue their never-ending work of toiling in the Torah, with the beginning of Masechta Yevamos, a difficult and complex Masechta. The Siyum will have viewers from all over the world, from Australia to Eretz Yisroel to the West Coast, and will be a way for all Daf Hashavua participants to connect together.  It will be live-streamed on with an option of telephoning in as well. The Siyum will feature divrei bracha from HaRav HaGaon R’ Shmuel Kamenetsky Shlita, who has already many times publicly spoken out about the importance of the in-depth learning provided by the Daf Hashavua learning program. Other speakers will include, Rav Yosef Elefant as well as Rav Ahron Moshe Friedman, whose daily Daf Hashavua Shiurim are listened to across the globe. HaRav Yisroel Reisman will also be speaking in honor of the Siyum, as well as other chashuvim who will give divrei chizzuk urging the Lomdim. Registration required, register at 

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BIDEN GOES VIRAL: “If You Have A Problem Figuring Out If You’re For Me Or Trump You Ain’t Black”

Joe Biden defended his legislative record in an often contentious Friday morning interview with Charlamagne The God, the host of the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club,” and argued that his presidential campaign was doing enough to reach out to black voters. At one point, Biden argued that black voters undecided on whether to vote for him or for President Trump “ain’t black.” WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW STAY UPDATED WITH BREAKING UPDATES FROM YWN VIA WHATSAPP – SIGN UP NOW Just click on this link, and you will be placed into a group. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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BIG UPDATE FOR NJ: Groups Of 25 Can Now Gather Outdoors

New Jersey is loosening restrictions on the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings and certain outdoor activities, Gov. Phil Murphy announced at his daily press conference on Friday morning. Gatherings of up to 25 people will now be allowed outdoors, as well as for outdoor recreational businesses like charter and fishing boats, driving ranges, and outdoor batting cages. Murphy added that this does not apply to outdoor dining or graduations. Still, Murphy said the state still social distancing guidelines must be followed, and the wearing of masks is strongly recommended, as people come together. STAY UPDATED WITH BREAKING UPDATES FROM YWN VIA WHATSAPP – SIGN UP NOW Just click on this link, and you will be placed into a group. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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Arrivals To UK Face 14-Day Quarantine Under Government Plan

People arriving in the U.K. will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days and could be fined 1,000 pounds ($1,220) if they fail to comply under a plan being announced Friday by the British government. Home Secretary Priti Patel will set out details of the measures, which have already sparked confusion and criticism from airlines, airports and lockdown-weary Britons wondering whether they will get to take a vacation abroad this summer. Britain did not close its borders during the worst of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, which has been linked to more than 36,000 deaths in the U.K. It is introducing its quarantine just as many other European countries are starting to open up again. The British government has previously said the quarantine will start in early June and will apply to arrivals from everywhere except Ireland, which has a longstanding free-movement agreement with the U.K. Ireland is expected to announce similar measures. There are likely to be exemptions for some travelers, including truckers and medics. Britons returning from overseas will also have to self-isolate for 14 days under the measures, which will be reviewed every three weeks. There has been confusion about the U.K. policy, after the government initially said it would not apply to people arriving from France. That prompted a rebuke from the European Union, which wants a coordinated policy across the 27-nation bloc. Britain later said France would not be exempt. Airlines have warned that the British move could hobble their efforts to rebuild a business devastated by pandemic-related travel restrictions. Karen Dee, chief executive of Britain’s Airport Operators Association, said the government had not told airports how the quarantine would be enforced. “I believe that passengers will be asked to give an address in the U.K. and there will be spot checks and fines for those people, but I don’t know the detail of how that will be implemented,” she told Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee. Many European nations shut their borders in March as the pandemic took hold, and are now easing those restrictions. But the plans to reopen to foreign visitors are spurring national and regional tensions as the summer tourist season approaches. Italy, the onetime epicenter of Europe’s pandemic, is opening to European travel on June 3, the same date that it is allowing Italians to move outside their regions for pleasure. But some regions are taking precautions to ensure that the sudden reopening doesn’t create new infection clusters. Sardinia’s governor has suggested he might require visitors to the island to certify they had tested negative for the virus within the past week, or submit to a test on arrival. The Tuscany regional government says on its website that any visitor from abroad or another Italian region must undergo quarantine for 14 days. It’s unknown if Tuscany, which fills with British and German tourists in summer, will revise that rule as June 3 approaches. France says it may quarantine people arriving from an area “where the virus is circulating,” but it has not published a list of targeted areas. The French presidency said those coming from EU countries, from Britain and from the passport-free Schengen area will be exempted. Some European regions and tour operators have called for “tourism corridors” between areas with low rates of the coronavirus. Britain has said it may consider […]

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Double Standard? 5,000 Israelis At Concert In Tel Aviv In Largest Crowd Since COVID-19 Hit

About 5,000 Israelis gathered together at a beachfront concert in Tel Aviv, with social distancing regulations completely falling by the wayside and nary a face mask to be seen. The concert was apparently approved by the police and was supposed to be held in accordance with health ministry regulations, according to a Channel 12 News report. However, although there were reports that attendees initially tried to keep a distance from each other, it didn’t last for long. And few were wearing masks but that may have been due to the fact that the requirement for masks was temporarily lifted due to the heatwave this week, which finally began to break as of Friday morning. The concert was held as a solidarity event for musicians and other performers who had no work during the past two months, when strict coronavirus restrictions were in place. Religious reporters couldn’t help but compare the huge concert, which drew no criticism or even attention from the media, to the scathing attacks on any gathering of Chareidim that even slightly stretched the rules. And on the same day of the concert, gathering in Jerusalem for Yom Yerushalayim, which normally draws thousands of participants, were limited to hundreds due to coronavirus restrictions. Kikar H’Shabbos pointed out that Tel Aviv is actually currently heading the list in the number of coronavirus cases, with a .35% rise in the number of cases on Thursday compared to 0% in Bnei Brak and .08% in Jerusalem. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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US Begins Crackdown On Unvetted Virus Blood Tests

U.S. regulators are moving ahead with a crackdown on scores of antibody tests for the coronavirus that have not yet been shown to work. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday published a list of more than two dozen test makers that have failed to file applications to remain on the market or already pulled their products. The agency said in a statement that it expects the tests “will not be marketed or distributed.” It was unclear if any of the companies would face additional penalties. Most companies faced a deadline earlier this week to file paperwork demonstrating their tests’ performance. Regulators required it after previously allowing tests to launch with minimal oversight, which critics said had created a “Wild West” of unregulated testing. The FDA website shows more than 175 tests have either filed applications with the agency or are in the process of doing so. A dozen companies have already been reviewed and authorized by the FDA to sell the tests after meeting requirements for accuracy and reliability. “We have seen a high level of collaboration and engagement from developers who want to get this right,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in a statement. Antibody tests are different from the nasal swab tests currently used to diagnose active infections. Instead, the tests look for blood proteins called antibodies, which the body produces days or weeks after fighting an infection. Most use a finger-prick of blood on a test strip. An antibody test might show if you had COVID-19 in the recent past, which most experts think gives people some protection. But studies are still underway to determine what antibody level would be needed for immunity. It’s also not yet known how long any immunity might last or whether people with antibodies can still spread the virus. For now, antibody tests are most useful for researchers trying to track how the virus spreads in communities. Under pressure to increase testing options, the FDA in March essentially allowed companies to begin selling antibody tests as long as they notified the agency of their plans and provided disclaimers, including that they were not FDA-approved. The FDA is now working with the National Institutes of Health and other federal health agencies to vet the accuracy of the tests and determine how they can be used to track and contain the virus. (AP)

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Iran Leader Says Israel ‘Cancerous Tumor’ To Be Destroyed

Iran’s supreme leader on Friday called Israel a “cancerous tumor” that “will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed” in an annual speech in support of the Palestinians, renewing threats against Iran’s Mideast enemy. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s speech marked a subdued Quds Day for Iran, which typically sees government-encouraged mass demonstrations in Tehran and elsewhere in the Islamic Republic, as well as Iranian-allied nations. “Al-Quds” is the Arabic name for Jerusalem. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Iran largely asked demonstrators to stay home. Khamenei spoke to the nation in a 30-minute speech aired on state television, a rare address by the supreme leader as other officials in the past gave the keynote speech. He repeatedly referred to Israel as a “cancer” or “tumor” during the speech, criticizing the U.S. and the West for equipping it with “various kinds of military and non-military tools of power, even with atomic weapons.” “The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region,” Khamenei said. “It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed.” Iran under the U.S.-allied Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had relations with Israel. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the first Quds Day be held on the last Friday of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to criticize Israel. The late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat was among the first people invited to Iran after the revolution. Khamenei also compared Israel to the coronavirus during the speech, while saying his anti-Israeli views were not anti-Semitic. However, in the days running up to Friday, his office released a cartoon graphic showing smiling Iranian-backed forces, Arabs and two Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem under a headline that included the phrase “the final solution.” Nazi Germany used the phrase “final solution” to describe its plan for the Holocaust, in which its forces killed 6 million Jews in World War II. The image later was deleted from Khamenei’s Twitter account and other places, though it remains on the Farsi-language version of his official website. Israel’s Foreign Ministry offered a tweet of its own over the picture, writing: “We have experience with leaders who talk about ‘final solutions,’ and we promise: Not on our watch.” (AP)

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Khashoggi’s Sons Forgive Saudi Killers, Sparing 5 Executions

The family of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi announced on Friday they have forgiven his Saudi killers, giving legal reprieve to five government agents who had been sentenced to death for an operation that cast a cloud of suspicion over the kingdom’s crown prince. “We, the sons of the martyr Jamal Khashoggi, announce that we forgive those who killed our father as we seek reward from God Almighty,” wrote one of his sons, Salah Khashoggi, on Twitter. Salah Khashoggi, who lives in Saudi Arabia and has received financial compensation from the royal court for his father’s killing, explained that forgiveness was extended to the killers during the last nights of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in line with Islamic tradition to offer pardons in cases allowed by Islamic law. The Saudi court’s ruling in December that the killing was not premeditated paved the way for Friday’s announcement by leaving the door open for reprieve. Additionally, the finding was in line with the government’s official explanation of Khashoggi’s slaying that he was killed accidentally in a brawl by agents trying to forcibly return him to Saudi Arabia. The family’s decision to pardon Khashoggi’s killers comes as questions continue to linger over who ultimately ordered the operation and whether his sons have come under pressure. The trial was widely criticized by rights groups and an independent U.N. investigator who noted that no senior officials nor anyone in charge of ordering the operation was found guilty. The independence of the Riyadh criminal court was also brought into question. Prior to his killing, Khashoggi had written critically of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in columns for the Washington Post. He’d been living in exile in the United States for about a year as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman oversaw a crackdown in Saudi Arabia on human rights activists, writers and critics of the kingdom’s devastating war in Yemen. In October 2017, a team of 15 Saudi agents was dispatched to Turkey to meet Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul for what he thought was an appointment to pick up documents needed to wed his Turkish fiancee. The group included a forensic doctor, intelligence and security officers and individuals who worked for the crown prince’s office. Turkish officials allege Khashoggi was killed and then dismembered with a bone saw. The body has not been found. Turkey, a rival of Saudi Arabia, apparently had the Saudi Consulate bugged and has shared audio of the killing with the CIA, among others. Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said Friday that the “killers came from Saudi with premeditation to lure, ambush & kill him.” “Nobody has the right to pardon the killers. We will not pardon the killers nor those who ordered the killing,” she wrote on Twitter in response to the family’s pardon. Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur who investigated his killing, said the announcement of forgiveness was anticipated. “All of us who, over the last 20 months, have reported on the gruesome execution of Jamal Khashoggi, and absence of accountability for his killing, expected this,” she said in a Facebook post and added that Saudi authorities were “playing out what they hope will be the final act in their well-rehearsed parody of justice.” The grisly killing, which took place as Khashoggi’s fiancee waited for […]

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Clarification Regarding Opening Of Camp Oraysa

Statement from Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Far Rockaway, NY: Our plans are tentative at this point. Although we operate a program every July known as Oraysa, which is a study-and-recreation program for our own high school and post-high school seminary students, our current plans relate to our seminary students (18+ years old) only. We have conducted extensive discussions with the NYS Department of Health about allowing a group of approximately 100 of our adult students – all of our seminary students are 18 years of age or older – to spend part of June and the month of July in seclusion at our Woodbourne property. The purpose would be to study and pray together for seven days a week on our expansive grounds. All of the students would sleep on the grounds as well. Every one of our seminary students must test positive for the Covid-19 IgG antibodies before being accepted into this program. Our rules of operation are being carefully crafted under the guidance of qualified infectious disease specialists in New York State. We will not be operating a children’s camp; we will be hosting a group of adults – our seminary students – to study and rejuvenate together in an isolated environment. Our students will not be going on pleasure trips or visits to local supermarkets and the like. The State Department of Health has issued a temporary residency permit for our program. We have and will continue to abide by all federal, state and local laws and look forward to the eventual reopening of all regions of the Empire State as laid out in Governor Cuomo’s timetable. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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Pakistan Plane With 107 On Board Crashes Near Karachi

A passenger plane with 107 people on board crashed in a crowded neighborhood on the edge of the international airport near Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi on Friday after what appeared to be an engine failure during landing. Mayor Wasim Akhtar said at least five or six houses were destroyed in the crash of the domestic flight operated by Pakistan International Airlines. He said all those on board died, but two civil aviation officials later said that at least two people survived the crash. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media. Local TV stations reported that three people sitting in the front row of the aircraft survived and aired footage of a man on a stretcher they identified as Zafar Masood, the head of the Bank of Punjab. They reported that at least 11 bodies were recovered from the crash site and six people were injured. It was not immediately clear if the casualties were passengers. Police wearing protective masks struggled to clear away crowds to allow a firetruck and an ambulance to move through the narrow streets toward the crash site, the air filled with dust and smoke. Police and soldiers cordoned off the area. A transmission of the pilot’s final exchange with air traffic control, posted on the website, indicated he had failed to land and was circling around to make another attempt. “We are proceeding direct, sir — we have lost engine,” a pilot said. “Confirm your attempt on belly,” the air traffic controller said, offering a runway. “Sir – mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,” the pilot said before the transmission ended. The aircraft arriving from the eastern city of Lahore was carrying 99 passengers and eight crew members, said Abdul Sattar Kokhar, spokesman Pakistan’s civil aviation authority. Pakistan had resumed domestic flights earlier this week ahead of the Eid-al Fitr holiday marking the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. Pakistan has been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Witnesses said the Airbus A320 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing in a residential area near Jinnah International Airport. The residential area on the edge of the airport, known as Model Colony, is poor and heavily congested. ADVERTISEMENT A resident of the area, Abdul Rahman, said he saw the aircraft circle at least three times, appearing to try to land before it crashed into several houses. Video circulated on social media appeared to show the aircraft flying low over a residential area with flames shooting from one of its engines. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted: “Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash… Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased.” Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the crash. The flight from the northeastern city of Lahore typically lasts about an hour and a half. Airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on Nov. 1, 2019. PIA’s chief engineer signed a separate certificate April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted. It said “the aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety” standards. Ownership records for the Airbus A320 showed China Eastern Airlines flew the plane from […]

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Ayelet Hashachar: Don’t forget our brothers

The Ayelet Hashachar organization calls on Israeli Jews to support their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora during this global crisis.This Shavuos we daven for you, our brothers and sisters in the diaspora.We will say a special Tefila for you from Eretz Yisroel. We pray for your health and an end this plague.We are One People with One Heart.Thanks to you, hundreds of jews will be able to learn all night and daven for you in one of the 47 shuls each build on a non-reliigious Kibbutz in Israel with your help, while shuls around the world remain closed.Thank you for always being there for us.Now we have the zchus to be here for you too.Learn more: the opening of synagogues in Israel, the Israel-based Ayelet HaShachar organization has sent out an emotional plea to all Israelis that they should not forget their fellow Jews in the Diaspora who are still denied synagogue worship and who are suffering in many ways due to the coronavirus.Rabbi Shlomo Ra’anan, the director of Ayelet Hashachar, said: “After years in which Diaspora Jewry supported us Israeli Jews – we must embrace them and give them support and express solidarity through constant connection between elementary school students with pen pals from overseas communities, as well as the use of our synagogues spread across the country at no cost to those who come to celebrate occasions [such as weddings or Bar Mitzvahs] in Israel, friendliness, prayers on their behalf, and more.”

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Over 4,300 Virus Patients Sent To NY Nursing Homes

More than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid criticisms it was accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreaks, according to a count by The Associated Press. AP compiled its own tally to find out how many COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals to nursing homes under the March 25 directive after New York’s Health Department declined to release its internal survey conducted two weeks ago. It says it is still verifying data that was incomplete. Whatever the full number, nursing home administrators, residents’ advocates and relatives say it has added up to a big and indefensible problem for facilities that even Gov. Andrew Cuomo — the main proponent of the policy — called “the optimum feeding ground for this virus.” “It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people,” Daniel Arbeeny said of the directive, which prompted him to pull his 88-year-old father out of a Brooklyn nursing home where more than 50 people have died. His father later died of COVID-19 at home. “This isn’t rocket science,” Arbeeny said. “We knew the most vulnerable — the elderly and compromised — are in nursing homes and rehab centers.” Told of the AP’s tally, the Health Department said late Thursday it “can’t comment on data we haven’t had a chance to review, particularly while we’re still validating our own comprehensive survey of nursing homes admission and re-admission data in the middle of responding to this global pandemic.” Cuomo, a Democrat, on May 10 reversed the directive, which had been intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases surged. But he continued to defend it this week, saying he didn’t believe it contributed to the more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York — more than in any other state — and that homes should have spoken up if it was a problem. “Any nursing home could just say, ‘I can’t handle a COVID person in my facility,’” he said, although the March 25 order didn’t specify how homes could refuse, saying that ”no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the (nursing home) solely based” on confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Over a month later, on April 29, the Health Department clarified that homes should not take any new residents if they were unable to meet their needs, including a checklist of standards for coronavirus care and prevention. In the meantime, some nursing homes felt obligated and overwhelmed. Gurwin Jewish, a 460-bed home on Long Island, seemed well-prepared for the coronavirus in early March, with movable walls to seal off hallways for the infected. But after the state order, a trickle of recovering COVID-19 patients from local hospitals turned into a flood of 58 people. More walls were put up, but other residents nonetheless began falling sick and dying. In the end, 47 Gurwin residents died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The state order “put staff and residents at great risk,” CEO Stuart Almer said. “We can’t draw a straight line from bringing in someone positive to someone catching the disease, but we’re talking about elderly, fragile and vulnerable residents.” The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, known as AMDA, […]

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Ban On Non-Israelis From Entering Israel Extended Until Mid-June

As the spread of the coronavirus in Israel continues to dramatically decrease, with only 18 new cases in the past 24 hours and no new fatalities, the ban on non-citizens from entering Israel that was imposed as the coronavirus pandemic began has been extended until at least mid-June. Israeli citizens returning from abroad will still be required to self-quarantine for two weeks until at least June 14 as well. The ban was originally set to last until May 30. The Israel Airports Authority informed airlines of its decision on Wednesday, a Globes report said. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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Food For Thought: Can Israel (Or Any Country) Establish “Food Security”?

When supermarkets around the world quickly ran out of toilet paper and other staples as the coronavirus pandemic began, many countries had to assess an important topic – were they capable of supplying their citizens with their basic needs if all international trade would grind to a halt? Judging by the way citizens of many countries began to overbuy and hoard various staples, it was clear that the average citizen didn’t believe so. Is it realistic that any country could provide its citizens with all its needs without relying on imports? Shlomo Ben-Eliyahu, the outgoing Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture, doesn’t think so, saying that: “Israel doesn’t and won’t have ‘food security.'” Ben-Eliyahu sent a letter of response to the chairman of the National Economic Council, Prof. Avi Simhon, addressing the demands of members of the agricultural caucus in the Knesset, to create a “local food security network during times of routine and emergency,” according to an Arutz Sheva report. “As a rule, Israel does not have and will not have food security in agricultural produce,” Ben-Eliyahu stated at the beginning of the letter, explaining that “the caucus stating that ‘the state’s responsibility to ensure that the citizen has a local food security network during times of routine and emergency in the present and future’ – is a worthwhile vision but impossible to implement.” “Each state, as well as the State of Israel would like all of its agricultural produce to be based on self-production rather than imports. However, Israel does not have the ability to act as indicated in their letter, as this requirement has no operative feasibility.” “Even countries such as Russia, China, India, European countries and others import agricultural produce because they can not rely solely on the agricultural produce that grows in their country, and they also have to import agricultural produce, so these countries also lack ‘food security.'” “Agricultural products are needed in Israel that aren’t grown here at all so there are no other options but to import them; such as rice, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, cashews, etc.” Ben-Eliyahu added that there is also agricultural produce of which the bulk is imported from abroad, and there is no way to satisfy the demand through products grown only in Israel. “For example: Beef – only 17% of the consumer demand in Israel can be supplied by Israeli farmers, with 83% of the meat imported from abroad, both frozen and fresh, through importing 600,000 calves and sheep for shechita in Israel.” “If we would intend to supply beef only through Israeli farmers, it would be necessary to divert all the agricultural areas – the orchards and the fields – to raising cattle and the food required to feed them and even then we would need to supplement [with beef] from abroad.” In summary, Ben-Eliyahu concluded that there is no possible way of supplying Israeli citizens with the food supplies they are accustomed to without imports from abroad. (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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What Did The Chabad Shaliach In Nigeria Give To Thousands Of Muslims? [VIDEOS & PHOTOS]

Over 3,400 Muslim teenagers and children stood in line this week in Nigeria to receive food boxes from Chabad shlichim for the holiday of Ramadan, COL reported. “It’s a sign of co-existence and mutual respect,” one of the shlichim explained to COL. According to the Collive website, this is not the first time that Chabad has helped impoverished residents of Nigeria. Rabbi Israel and Haya Uzan, co-directors of Chabad of Nigeria have established many humanitarian projects in Nigeria since establishing their Chabad House in 2013, including an eyeglass-distribution program, programs for children with special needs, technology classes for locals and assisting local orphanages. According to an interview with Rabbi Uzan a few years ago on Ynet in an article entitled: “In Nigeria, Chabad House Is Not For Jews Only,” the Jewish community in Nigeria is mostly comprised of Israelis who are working at Israeli companies or are there on business or humanitarian work. Rabbi Uzan said that from the time he arrived in Nigeria, helping the local residents became a major part of his mission. “From our first day in Nigeria, we decided it was very important not only to care for the Jews, but also to see what change we could bring to this place,” Rabbi Uzan said. “My insight was that if we want to be part of it, and really engage in Kiddush Hashem, we must look into ways to help. Nigeria is a very poor country, and there is no shortage of things that can be done. We looked for places we could integrate with the Chassidic spirit we bring with us.” When asked how Nigerians react to their chessed work, Rabbi Uzan said: “Nigeria is a country of believers. They see the ‘Chosen People’ (as they call the Jews) as very special people. It’s part of their Christian tradition, so they are very excited about it.” “We receive financial backing from a charity fund of the Waki family from France, together with Israeli companies which operate in the country, some in different security fields, like Eyal Mesika’s company, and they help fund these projects.” Rabbi Uzan also spoke about his work for the Muslim community, assisting refugees: “It’s for Muslim youth that flee northern Nigeria because of the terror of groups such as Boko Haram. There are many needy families.” “There is an existing humanitarian organization, and we are funding two projects through it: one, a basic roof, and the other, infant formula. Because of the security-related circumstances, it is important for us to fund projects for both religions, to make it clear that we support all the needy, regardless of their religion.” The Ynet interviewer expressed surprise that Rabbi Uzan was helping so many non-Jews, saying: “The Chabad House is supposed to be for Jews, isn’t it?” “That’s completely untrue,” Rabbi Uzan replied. “The Lubavitcher Rebbe addressed this issue explicitly and stressed the need to contribute to the local community. In this sense, we are no exception. There are Chabad Houses in other places that help the local community in different ways. It’s a Jewish value to help whoever needs it, regardless of whether they are Jewish or not, and there is of course a lot of Kiddush Hashem in it.” (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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