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#Lockdown: Iran to re-open mosques.

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      Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced Saturday that collective prayers will resume in mosques, even as confirmed new coronavirus infections rise again after a decline.

    “It has been decided to open the mosques across the country… giving worshippers the chance to perform their daily prayers while respecting the required (hygiene) rules,” Rouhani said in a televised speech. Iran, hit by the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the virus, began to loosen restrictions on human interaction in April, classifying areas as white, orange, and red – respectively indicating low, medium, and high risk for coronavirus infections. Rouhani said Saturday that the reopening of mosques for daily prayer “would not only be in white zones,” but did not elaborate on when the eased measures would take effect.

     Authorities had progressively closed mosques across Iran after confirming the first coronavirus infections in February. Mosques in areas falling into the white category were allowed to re-open their doors for prayer for the month of Ramadan — April 25 to May 24 – but only for individual prayer. For Eid el-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, collective prayer was permitted in some areas. A requirement that shopping centres close by 6.00 pm would be lifted, Rouhani added, again without specifying when this measure will take effect. The Iranian president also warned the population against believing that the country was rid of the virus, emphasising that it was here to stay. He urged citizens to respect the rules on social distancing fastidiously. A further 57 people who tested positive for the virus died over the last day, the health ministry said Saturday, taking the total confirmed death toll to 7,734.

        The official figures show a renewed acceleration in virus cases since early May.

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ASUU chapters at loggerheads after FG offer to end 8-month strike.

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The controversy generated by the ongoing strike between the federal government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is yet to abate despite the pleas from Nigerians.

The Nation reports that some branches of ASUU were divided over whether to accept the federal government’s offer and call off their eight-month-old strike. Legit.ng gathered that the union would harmonise the positions of zones and branches at a meeting in Abuja on Friday, November 27. The minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, addressing the leadership of ASUU in Abuja over the strike. The report said while some branches insisted that the government must meet all the demands before the strike is called off, the union may put the decision to a vote. It was learnt that the Ahmadu Bello University branch agreed with the government on the N40 billion Earned Academic Allowance (EAA).

The branch, however, called for payment of the allowance before the strike will be called off. The newspaper noted that the lecturers at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Delta state, said negotiations with the federal government must be concluded before the strike is called off. The chairman of ASUU at the university, Ezekiel Agbalagba, said the congress on Wednesday, November 25, accepted the EAA, but rejected the N25 billion for the revitalisation of the varsities.

He said:

“We are willing to suspend the strike, but some of those contending issues should be thrashed and thrashed once.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the authority of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) directed all non-teaching staff of the institution to resume work on Friday, November 27, with cutlasses, hoes, brooms, and buckets to clear overgrown grass, sweep offices as well as keep the environment clean.

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