first_imgIndonesia has cancelled the haj pilgrimage this year for people in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation due to concerns over the coronavirus, the religious affairs minister said on Tuesday.Each year hundreds of thousands of Indonesians go on the haj to Saudi Arabia, where Islam’s two holiest sites — Mecca and Medina — are located. For many Indonesians, the religious pilgrimage is a once-in-a lifetime event, with the average wait time 20 years due to a quota system, according to the country’s cabinet secretariat.Saudi authorities have already said the haj and umrah pilgrimages — which attract millions of travellers from around the world — will remain suspended until further notice. Topics : Fachrul Razi, Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, said the decision to cancel hajj this year was made due to concerns over the coronavirus and ongoing travel restrictions.The quota for Indonesian pilgrims this year was 221,000, with more than 90 percent already registered to go, according to the religious affairs ministry website.Dewi, an employee of a telecommunications company in Jakarta and registered to perform the pilgrimage this year, told Reuters that while she had waited six years, she had made peace with the news.”If that is the decision, I will accept it,” said Dewi, who did not want to give her full name. “After all I believe that everything happens with God’s permission.” last_img read more

first_imgFull-back Lee Byrne dubbed it ‘the toughest game of our season’ after Clermont Auvergne fought their way past Munster and into their first ever Heineken Cup final. Clermont had to produce a character-building final 10 minutes to resist Munster’s late rally and finish as 16-10 winners of an absorbing semi-final clash in Montpellier. Delighted with Clermont’s progress to the Aviva Stadium final on Saturday, May 18, their Welsh back Byrne said: “It is a dream come true to finally reach a Heineken Cup final. It was the toughest game we’ve had all season and you’ve got to hold your hands up to Munster for that. They wore the famous red jersey with real pride.” He added: “We fully deserved to come through with the win. We had a few opportunities (to score a second try), but the ball didn’t stick. We got a bit nervy, but hopefully we will come back stronger for the final. “Whoever we face it will be another very tough challenge. We will do our homework and come out firing,” he added, with Saracens and Toulon meeting in the second semi-final on Sunday at Twickenham. Ronan O’Gara, the record points scorer and most-capped player in Heineken Cup history, would not be drawn afterwards on whether this was his final outing at this level. The Munster out-half had kicked the visitors in to an early lead and it was his perfectly weighted grubber kick that teed up Hurley for the only try of the second half. The raw emotion was etched on the 36-year-old’s face after the final whistle as the Irish province bowed out at the penultimate stage. “Defeat is extremely hard to take after you have put so much into a game like that. But it is winner takes all in a semi-final,” said O’Gara. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

first_img(REUTERS)-South Africa will not be using any racial quotas to pick the team to face New Zealand in the first Test later this week despite promising to formally introduce them to a bid to speed up transformation.Coach Russell Domingo said players would be selected on merit only for the first test in Durban, which starts on Friday.“We will continue to do what we’ve always done and that is pick our best eleven players. We are fortunate that it hasn’t been an issue for this particular team,” Domingo told reporters.His comments came three weeks after Cricket South Africa (CSA), which has been criticised by the government over the issue, said it would set a minimum number of black players to be selected in all their national teams.CSA president Chris Nenzani announced these “targets” would be calculated over a year after it had been determined what was realistic and sustainable.“There has been nothing officially recommended to me at the moment,” added Domingo as South Africa began preparations for a two-match series, their first test cricket since losing to England at home at the start of the year.CSA have already introduced quotas for the country’s domestic franchise competitions where teams must field at least six players of colour, including three black African players.South Africa’s sports minister Fikile Mbalula has been critical of what he says is the slow rate of transformation in the country’s major sports, apart from football.The country has seen greater participation among black players across most sports at junior level despite the challenge of providing adequate school facilities in poorer districts.But Mbalula wants to see this reflected quicker at national team level and in April slammed the federations from rugby, cricket, netball and athletics for failing to meet what he says were agreed targets on transformation.He banned them from bidding for or hosting international events like World Cups until they met their targets, with a review of this decision scheduled for next April.South Africa’s 15-man squad for the Tests against New Zealand has seven players of colour but just two black Africans in Temba Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada.last_img read more

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ No. 1 seed Syracuse (11-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) will play No. 4 seed North Carolina (6-7, 1-3) for the second time in as many weeks on Friday night in the ACC tournament. SU, the defending ACC tournament champion, needed to come back from down five last time to beat UNC. Here’s how The Daily Orange beat writers expect Friday night’s game to unfold.Charlie DiSturcoAchilles’ HeelsSyracuse 13, North Carolina 11Syracuse came from behind to defeat North Carolina despite playing on short rest a few weeks ago. Now that the Orange is fully rested, North Carolina will have its hands full. SU already has a game against Luke Goldstock under its belt and the defense will be much more prepared for the off-ball screens. Expect him to be a threat for UNC, but not to have the same success he did last time the two teams played. The game will be close, but ultimately Syracuse will pull away in the fourth quarter and advance to the championship game. Matthew Gutierrez Twice is niceSyracuse 14, North Carolina 10A slow start puts Syracuse down at the break. Then, like clockwork, Ben Williams gets hot at the X and SU’s senior offensive weapons produce down the stretch. Head coach John Desko said this time last year that what he feared most was playing the same team twice in as many weeks. A near loss to Binghamton provides the scare Syracuse needed to rebound and beat a formidable opponent on a bigger stage.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSam FortierCarolina bluesSyracuse 11, North Carolina 8The Tar Heels couldn’t hold a five-goal lead in 18 minutes at home against a team with the No. 1 ranking curse, two-and-a-half days rest and a travel flight. Now Syracuse is fully rested for a neutral site game against a historically troubling rival with a chance to end UNC’s season and its national title defense? It’s a convincing narrative for the Orange. Comments Published on April 28, 2017 at 1:08 amlast_img read more