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Efforts to Rebuild Raqqa Continue After Islamic State

Sirwan Kajjo & Reber Kalo

More than one year after its recapture from Islamic State (IS) militants, Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate, is still struggling to recover from a war that devastated all aspects of normal life. Efforts are underway, though, to rebuild the city’s major bridges.

Raqqa was liberated from the terror group by U.S.-backed forces in October 2017.

During the 3-month-long battle, the city’s infrastructure was mostly destroyed, including dozens of bridges vital for traffic and transportation of goods.

Reconstruction efforts are focusing on one major bridge over the Euphrates River, which will reduce traffic congestion by more than 50 percent, experts said.

“The project is expected to be completed on Jan. 1, 2019,” Abdulrahman Hasan, an engineer who oversees the reconstruction progress of al-Hukoumiya Bridge, told VOA.

“Hopefully by then the bridge will be safe for pedestrians and traffic. It will carry loads up to 4 tons,” he added.

Boats and makeshift bridges

Raqqa residents hope that other bridges also will be rebuilt soon. But for now, they rely on boats and makeshift bridges to cross the river and channels.

“Most people go to the other side of the city through the river,” Mohammed Saho, a Raqqa resident, told VOA as he was preparing to get on a small boat with other passengers. “But crossing the Euphrates with these old boats is very risky. A lot of people have drowned in the past few months.”

He added that “transportation fees are expensive, especially since most people don’t work so they can’t afford these fares.”

Local officials say the damage that has been done to the bridges is so severe that it will take a long time to rebuild them.

“Repairing the bridges is actually beyond the capabilities of our council,” said Abdullah al-Aryan of the Raqqa Civil Council, the civilian body that is now responsible for running the city.

“There are about 37 bridges across the city over channels and two big ones over the Euphrates River,” Aryan told VOA.

Infrastructure damage

While rebuilding bridges is seen as an important step, it is not the only obstacle hindering Raqqa’s recovery, according to experts.

“Nearly 80 percent of Raqqa’s infrastructure was destroyed during the liberation battle,” said Jowan Hemo, a Syrian economist who closely follows the stabilization process in the city.

“It could be possible to implement projects, such as rebuilding residential houses, hospitals and schools, in a relatively short period. It would be a lot harder to take on bigger projects such as the power sector,” Hemo said.

The United States in August announced that it was cutting about $230 million in stabilization funding to northeast Syria, saying it would instead rely on financial contributions from countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and other members of the anti-ISIS global coalition.

But despite those cuts, the U.S. remains one of the main donors in the recovery of Raqqa. U.S. stabilization efforts have helped 150,000 Raqqa residents return to their homes, U.S. officials say.

Mahmoud A., a program coordinator at the Early Recovery Team, U.S.-funded organization that operates in Raqqa, said his group hasn’t been affected by the U.S. funding cuts, “although many local organizations panicked when the announcement was first made.

“Our projects are still ongoing in many parts of Raqqa. We have three main priorities at the moment, which include purifying drinking water, repairing the sewage system, and improving the environment for the education system to recover,” he told VOA.

Long-term stabilization

As the war on IS dwindles, the focus in Raqqa and elsewhere should be on long-term stabilization efforts, U.S. officials say.

“We talked about transitioning to a new phase, really focusing on the stabilization and sustainment effort,” Brett McGurk, U.S. special envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, told reporters in October during an annual meeting in Washington on countering violent extremism.

In November, the Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF), a multidonor initiative that includes the U.S. and several European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries, approved a $3 million project as part of its stabilization efforts in Raqqa.

“The assistance will benefit beneficiaries in Raqqa Governorate, complementing ongoing SRTF support to farmers in the same area,” the SRTF said in a statement.

“The intervention will benefit 2,000 households in the targeted area, increasing health and WASH services to the civilians recovering from the destruction caused during the conflict with Daesh,” the group added, using an Arabic acronym for IS.(VOA)

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India News Brief

 29 May, 2020

Railways is fully committed to help our worker brethren reach their home states. We will schedule Shramik Special Trains on the same day as we get demand from originating state and we will run the train on the next day itself, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav Said.

According to him, only 1.85% of total 3,840 trains were diverted, and that too for only 4 days

Nearly 80 percent of Shramik Special passengers were to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar

Probable Guidelines for Lockdown 5.0.

More travel routes are likely to open in Lockdown 5.0.

From June 1, the Railways will operate 100 pairs of mail or express trains, bookings have already begun. Then AC class services will resume.

Some states have already begun intra-state buses. Other states may  begin intra-tate bus services after June 1.Metro  services may begin in a limited manner, with lesser passenger capacity, social distancing norms and longer stops at each station.

Shops selling non-essential items were allowed to open during Lockdown 4.0.. More shops may open in Lockdown 5.0 even in markets.But no confirmed news regarding opening of shopping malls.Now many shops that have re-opened in market areas are operating on an odd-even basis.

Some cities have already allowed salons and beauty parlours to open with strict social distancing guidelines and wearing protective gear is a must.In containment areas the same rule may prevail in Lockdown 5.0.

 

The Human Resource Development Ministry of India will soon announce the guidelines of   schools reopening.

Single Day COVID-19 7,400 Cases 
The Tally in Mumbai Crosses 35,000 Mark 

COVID:19:  Total Cases: 165,799 Total Deaths: 4,711: JHU

Limited Lockdown 5.0 is on the Card for 2 weeks with stringent measures in 11 cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Pune, Thane, Jaipur, Surat and Indore) is on the Card.Metro Rail,Shopping malls may be open: Reports 

India's Most Affected States:

Maharashtra: Total Positive Cases:59,546 Total Deaths: 1,982

Gujarat: Total Positive Cases: 15,572 Total Deaths: 960

Madhya Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 7,261 Total Deaths: 333

West Bengal: Total Positive Cases: 4,536 Total Deaths: 295

Delhi: Total Positive Cases: 16,281 Total Deaths: 316

Rajasthan: Total Positive Cases: 8,067 Total Deaths: 179

Uttar Pradesh: Total Positive  Cases: 6,991 Total Deaths: 182

Tamil Nadu : Total Positive Cases: 19,372  Total Deaths: 145

Andhra Pradesh: Total Positive Cases: 3171 Total Deaths: 58

Telengana: Total Positive Cases: 2,098 Total Deaths: 63

Karnataka: Total Positive Cases: 2,533 Total Deaths: 47

Punjab: Total Positive Cases: 2,158 Total Deaths: 40

Jammu and Kashmir: 2036 Total Deaths: 26

How to identify Fake News or Messeges on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines

www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on viral social media messages such as Coronavirus Infected Indian Currencies of Rs.500 and Rs.2,000 Notes Found, Muslim Man Spit in Food At Indian Restaurant.....Always Check Authentic Sources.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

 

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us info@crimeandmoreworld.com or Whats App:+919073399779

COVID-19 Related Conspiracy Theories:
https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/china-covid19

 

 

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