Australian Prime Minister expresses gratitude to Baha’i community

SYDNEY — It is a hundred years since the arrival of the first two Baha’is in Australia, Clara and Hyde Dunn. As the country’s Baha’i community prepares to celebrate this centenary in a manner appropriate to current circumstances, it has received a warm message of appreciation and encouragement from the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison.

Sent in anticipation of the Baha’i Ridvan festival later this month, the message expresses gratitude for the contributions the Australian Baha’i community has made to society over the last century.

It also calls attention to the role the Baha’i community can continue to play “in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis” that requires the collaboration of all Australians. “During this time of challenge, I know you can draw strength from the Baha’i teachings—and its commitment to the well-being of humanity, especially the most vulnerable.”

Quoting from a statement recently made by the Universal House of Justice about humanity’s “inherent oneness and interdependence”, the Prime Minister echoes its sentiments: “The world is more in need than ever of the hope and strength of spirit that faith imparts.”

In its forthcoming statement on Friday marking the start of the year-long centenary period, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia acknowledges the Prime Minister’s message and calls for an intensification of the spirit of service.

“While, at this uncertain time, we may not be able to gather together in person, or travel long distances,” the Assembly writes, “we can pray for the well-being of all, we can look for new and creative ways to serve our neighbors and friends and continue the community building process.”

Webinar: Emerging Evidence for COVID-19 Spread and Treatment

You are invited to hear current information on the COVID-19 virus by virtually attending the third COVID-19 Conversations webinar, Thursday, April 9, 11:30am – 1pm Central.

Please register early here.

The webinar will discuss emerging evidence on SARS-CoV-2 surface and aerosol transmission and stability; emerging and promising treatment modalities for COVID-19, including convalescent plasma and hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine; and the ethical implications and considerations for treating those who are ill with therapeutics approved via an emergency use authorization.

The webinar’s panel of expert speakers:

  • Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg, MD (Moderator) – Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Medicine, and former FDA Commissioner
  • John-Martin Lowe, PhD – Assistant Vice Chancellor for Interprofessional Health Security Training and Education and Associate Professor of Environmental, Agricultural, and Occupational Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD – Chair, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • R. Alta Charo, JD – Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Speaker presentations will be followed by a Q&A session with the webinar audience.

Also available are free recordings of webinars focused on “The Science of Social Distancing.” Slide presentations are also available for both webinars.- Part 1– Part 2

Flowers Brighten Spirits In Times Of Uncertainty

“Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.” – Bahá’u’lláh

In this time of great uncertainty, every act of kindness is essential to lifting the hearts and spirits of those around us. Field and Forage Flower Farm (Facebook page) in their great generosity, partnered with the Bahá’ís of Huntsville to deliver vases of fresh flowers to the residents of Millenium Senior Living in north Huntsville.

Due to the COVID-19 quarantine policy in place for the protection of these residents and others, flowers were delivered in the entranceway and received with smiles and gratitude by the selfless employees serving the needs of the residents. A huge thank you to Field and Forage for this generous donation!

Children in Luxembourg send love and encouragement to healthcare professionals

ESCH-SUR-ALZETTE, Luxembourg — Children in Luxembourg participating in moral education classes offered by the Baha’i community have been learning about being of service to one’s society. In an expression of this theme, they have been moved to do what they can for those who are making sacrifices during the current health crisis. Many have sent messages of love and appreciation to healthcare professionals and others who are carrying out essential services.

The teacher of a children’s class called Les petites pierres précieuses (Little Gemstones) in Esch-sur-Alzette says, “Our class, which has been meeting online, had the idea of making cards and drawings expressing thanks to those working in essential services during this crisis: doctors, hospital and laboratory personnel, staff of pharmacies and grocery stores, sanitary workers, etc.”

The teacher sent digital copies of the drawings and cards to a hospital and to the National Health Laboratory in neighboring Dudelange along with a message of encouragement. The laboratory shared its joyful response on social media: “This weekend, the National Health Laboratory team received a big message of encouragement from the hands of little artists, coming to us from Esch-sur-Alzette.”

A message posted on Twitter by the National Health Laboritory in Dudelange, Luxembourg, in appreciation for cards and drawings sent by children who participate in a Baha’i moral education class.

Another group of children similarly prepared cards conveying their gratitude and recognition of the selfless acts of those performing vital services. Local doctors and staff of pharmacies and grocery stores warmly received the messages, and many of the recipients were moved to tears.

Houthi authorities order the release of all Baha’i prisoners in Yemen

NEW YORK—In a general television address Wednesday in Yemen, Mr. Mahdi al-Mashat, President of the Supreme Political Council in Sana’a, ordered the release of all Baha’i prisoners as well as a pardon for Hamed bin Haydara, whose death sentence was upheld three days ago by an appeals court in Sana’a. 

The Baha’i International Community welcomes this announcement and calls for its immediate implementation. The six Baha’is to be released—who have been wrongfully imprisoned in Sana’a for several years on the basis of their religious beliefs and made to face a series of baseless charges—include Mr. Hamed bin Haydara, Mr. Waleed Ayyash, Mr. Akram Ayyash, Mr. Kayvan Ghaderi, Mr. Badiullah Sanai, and Mr. Wael al-Arieghie. 

Today’s order must lead to the lifting of the 2018 charges against a group of over 20 Baha’is, the returning of all Baha’i-owned assets and properties, and the functioning of Baha’i institutions. Like all other Yemeni citizens, Baha’is should be permitted to practice their faith freely, in keeping with the universal principles of freedom of religion or belief. The Baha’is of Yemen have and will continue to contribute to the life of their country and their fellow citizens.

Naw-Ruz around the world brings hope and spiritual renewal

KUWAIT CITY — During this time of a global health crisis, Baha’is around the world are finding creative means of marking Naw-Ruz—their new year and the first day of spring—while strictly adhering to public health measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This day is a symbol of renewal, an occasion when all can reflect on their spiritual reality and how they can contribute to the well-being of their society.

A group of youth in Kuwait have created a short video exploring how Naw-Ruz has been a unifying event across several religions and cultures.

SLIDESHOW
A group of youth in Kuwait marked Naw-Ruz by creating a short video exploring how the Holy Day has been a unifying event across several religions and cultures.

Individuals in other countries are recording songs and other media, and bringing joy to those around them in many other ways.

More than 180 people across Belgium and Luxembourg held a celebration together online, all connecting from their homes. This was one of countless such events that took place today across the world. One young man, who was able to connect despite the technical limitations of the refugee facility where he lives, said, “It’s my pleasure to be beside you and other lovely friends. I wish you the best in the new year, I’m so glad for having such friends.”

SLIDESHOW
More than 180 people across Belgium and Luxembourg held a celebration together online, all connecting from their homes.

These efforts are a response to the message from the Universal House of Justice marking this special occasion, which states:

“However difficult matters are at present, and however close to the limits of their endurance some sections of societies are brought, humanity will ultimately pass through this ordeal, and it will emerge on the other side with greater insight and with a deeper appreciation of its inherent oneness and interdependence.”

The News Service will continue to cover stories on how communities around the world are responding constructively to the current difficult circumstances.

Alabama Public Health: If You Suspect You Have COVID-19

(NOTE: see Alabama Public Health: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/cov-testing.html)

If a person has questions about being tested for COVID-19, they should call their healthcare provider to make arrangements for testing. It is important to call your healthcare provider’s office before going in to let them know you may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep others from getting infected or exposed to COVID-19.

If you do not have a healthcare provider, please call 1-888-264-2256, starting March 14 at 8:00 a.m. In the event the line is busy, please try to call again.

ADPH is no longer requiring patients meet a certain criteria in order to be tested for COVID-19. However, healthcare providers are the only persons who can perform specimen collections and request testing be completed by our State Lab. Healthcare providers evaluating patients should visit COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers.

Testing Process

Healthcare providers in the state of Alabama who want to test someone for COVID-19 have the option of contacting ADPH for testing through the State Lab, or contacting a commercial laboratory to conduct the testing.

Any person that a physician determines should be tested qualifies for testing. We are recommending that those at the highest risk seek testing for COVID-19.

If testing will be conducted through ADPH, the healthcare provider takes a swab from the nose, using the same kind of swab used for flu tests. The specimen is then put in a viral transport media – again, the same thing used to transport specimens being tested for flu and other viruses. The specimen is shipped overnight to the State Lab, where a COVID-19 test kit provided by the CDC is used to check for the virus. Confirmatory testing is done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Results are sent to your healthcare provider.

Information on what type of collection materials healthcare providers should use, and how to package and ship specimens, is available on COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers (see Specimen Collection Guidance for Novel Coronavirus).

The State Lab has the ability to conduct testing on 150 COVID-19 specimens each day. The average time frame to conduct testing at the State Lab is between 24 to 72 hours.

Tests are being “batched” which means more than one specimen is tested whenever possible to reserve the limited supplies we have in order to be able to test more people.