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UAE launches ‘Hope’ mission to Mars on Japanese rocket

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(Last Updated On: July 21, 2020)

The UAE made history this week when it launched its Mars Mission called Hope – the first attempt to go interplanetary by any Arab country. 

Mars Hope blasted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center on a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket on Sunday night. 

About an hour after liftoff, the spacecraft separated from the rocket, which will take an estimated seven months to reach Mars. 

“Years of hard work and dedication have paid off in a big way,” Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba said shortly after the launch during a virtual watch party. 

“This is a huge accomplishment, but it’s just the beginning.”

“It’s hard to put the words together but honestly, watching that take off, knowing how hard it was, knowing how challenging it was, witnessing that success made me feel immense pride,” Al Otaiba said. 

“I think every Emirati on the face of the planet should go around feeling proud of what his country has managed to accomplish today.”

The US$200 million Hope mission, also called the Emirates Mars Mission, was designed to mark the nation’s 50th anniversary. 

Space.com reported that mission planners wanted a project that would kickstart the nation’s technology and science sectors as the country looks for an economic model that can sustain it beyond its oil wealth.

In line with this, the UAE targeted a Mars orbiter and stipulated that the mission needed to contribute internationally valuable science data. 

Mission scientists consulted Mars scientists from around the world and concluded that a feasible way to accomplish the goal was to design a probe that would gather comprehensive data about the Martian atmosphere. 

Scientists hope the spacecraft will give them the data they need to piece together how the weather on Mars changes over the course of a day and of a year at every spot on the globe, and how the planet is losing its atmosphere. 

Mars’ atmosphere, according to space.com, has been fragile for eons and is now dominated by carbon dioxide, but it was once much plusher and kept the planet’s water in place, and scientists want to know how that change took place.

In order to answer these questions, Hope is equipped with three different instruments, an imager, and two spectrometers. The first will provide detailed images of the planet’s surface while all three will gather data that lets scientists track what ingredients are located wherein the atmosphere of Mars.

Once Hope has reached Mars, it will spend almost two Earth years orbiting the planet and studying its atmosphere.

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Kazakhs told to leave streets to avoid ‘anti-terrorist actions’

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(Last Updated On: January 8, 2022)

A statement broadcast on Kazakh TV on Friday told Almaty residents to stay inside during the security operation in the city.

Video obtained by Reuters showed the broadcast statement, which said: “Respectable Inhabitants of Almaty! A counter-terrorist operation to destroy bandit groups is going on in Almaty. The main goal is to stop terrorists and safeguard the security of the city. If anti-terrorist activity takes place where you live, it is recommended you do not go near by windows or get out in the street. Hide in a safe place, do not leave children or the elderly without supervision.”

Almaty, Kazakhstan’s main city, has seen days of violence, with demonstrations that began as a response to a fuel price hike swelling into a broad movement against the government and ex-leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, the longest-serving ruler of any former Soviet state.

Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan’s main city on Friday after days of violence, and the Russian-backed president said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill to put down a countrywide uprising.

A day after Moscow sent paratroopers to help crush the insurrection, police were patrolling the debris-strewn streets of Almaty, although some gunfire could still be heard, Reuters reported.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said foreign-trained terrorists were responsible for the unrest, and the interior ministry said 26 “armed criminals” had been “liquidated”, while 18 police and members of the national guard had been killed, figures that appeared not to have been updated since Thursday. State television reported more than 3,700 arrests.

 

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Japan pledges $109 million to Afghanistan and its neighbors to ‘address crisis’

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(Last Updated On: December 21, 2021)

The Japanese government has pledged to donate a total of approximately $109 million to Afghanistan and its neighboring countries “to address the humanitarian crisis” in the country.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that Japan will provide assistance to directly address humanitarian needs in Afghanistan and its neighboring countries including Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

“The Government of Japan will provide assistance to directly address humanitarian needs in areas such as healthcare, food, and nutrition, protection, water, and sanitation, as well as livelihood improvement to Afghanistan and its neighboring countries,” the statement read.

According to the statement the assistance would be provided through 16 international organizations to improve the humanitarian crisis.

“The Government of Japan will continue to provide support and stand with the people of Afghanistan, and play an active role to realize stability in the region,” the statement added.

According to the statement, $100 million will be allocated for Afghanistan; $4.01 million to Iran; $3.72 million to Pakistan; $0.99 million to Tajikistan; and $0.43 million to Uzbekistan.

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COVID-19

Unvaccinated COVID patients flood French ICUs as cases surge

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(Last Updated On: December 18, 2021)

Pressure on French hospitals has been steadily mounting over the past few weeks as France battles a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, which has been filling up ICUs with unvaccinated patients.

Of the 20 COVID patients of the Mulhouse hospital ICU, only three are vaccinated while the youngest is aged 19 years old, head of the Emile Muller hospital ICU, doctor Khaldoun Kuteifan, told Reuters on Thursday.

“The Mulhouse hospital ICU is currently at full capacity as patients have been coming in for the past 20 days. Seventy percent of the ICU patients are positive COVID cases.”

France had recorded 60,866 new cases over the past 24 hours on Thursday night, while 78.1% of French people have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, according to the French Health Ministry website.

“The waves keep coming and hitting us, and the more it goes on, the more tired we get,” nurse Aurelie Multhaupt told Reuters.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday that the government expects to see around 4,000 patients in intensive care with COVID-19 by the Christmas holidays, Reuters reported.

Attal said new decisions on the reinforcement of border rules, the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and travel recommendations for the holidays could be announced in the coming days.

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