Ahmadinejad says ready to be Iran’s first spaceman

Updated 04 February 2013
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Ahmadinejad says ready to be Iran’s first spaceman

TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday he is ready “to be the first man in space” under Iran’s ambitious program which aims to send a human being into orbit by 2020.
“Our youth are determined to send a man into space within the next four, five years and I’m sure that will happen,” he said during a ceremony in Tehran where two new Iranian-made satellites were unveiled, according to ISNA news agency.
“I’m ready to be the first Iranian to be sacrificed by the scientists of my country and go into space, even though I know there are a lot of candidates,” Ahmadinejad quipped.
He added to the buoyant atmosphere, saying he was willing to “auction (himself) and donate” the money to the Iran’s space program, which has shrunk because of international economic sanctions over Tehran’s controversial nuclear drive, ISNA reported.
Iran, which last week announced it had successfully sent a small monkey into space, has said it wants to send a man into orbit by 2020.
Ahmadinejad unveiled on Monday two small satellites, named “Nahid” and “Zohreh” (“Venus” in Farsi and Arabic, respectively).
Nahid, an observation satellite equipped with solar panels, is intended to orbit at an altitude of between 250 and 370 kilometers (155 to 230 miles). Iran has put three other small satellites into the same orbit since 2009.
Zohreh is a geostationary communications satellite that will be placed at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers (22,370 miles), something Iran has never tried before.
No launch date was given.
Iran’s space program deeply unsettles Western nations, which fear it could be used to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads they suspect are being developed in secret, despite denials from Tehran.
The technology used in space rockets can also be used in ballistic missiles. The Security Council has imposed an almost total embargo on the export of nuclear and space technology to Iran since 2007.
Tehran denies its space program has any link with its alleged nuclear ambitions.
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South Sudan surgeon wins UN prize for treating war-hit refugees

Updated 25 September 2018
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South Sudan surgeon wins UN prize for treating war-hit refugees

  • South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has been ravaged by civil war since 2013 after clashes erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar
  • At least 50,000 people have been killed and one in three South Sudanese have been uprooted from their homes

NAIROBI: A South Sudanese surgeon, who has spent two decades helping the sick and injured in the war-torn east African nation, was on Tuesday announced the winner of a UN prize for treating tens of thousands of people forced to flee violence and persecution.
Evan Atar Adaha — a 52-year-old doctor who runs the only hospital in northeastern Maban county — was given the 2018 Nansen Refugee Award for his “humanity and selflessness” where he often risked his safety to serve others, the UN said.
“I feel very humbled. I hope this award can help draw attention to the plight of refugees especially here in Africa where they are often forgotten about,” Adaha told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.
“You may hear and read about them, but it’s only when you are face-to-face with people who have left everything and are sick with malaria, or are malnourished, or have a bullet wound that you realize how desperate the need for help is.” Nansen Refugee Awardees are recognized by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) for dedicating their time to help people forced from their homes. Former awardees include Eleanor Roosevelt and Luciano Pavarotti.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has been ravaged by civil war since 2013 after clashes erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
The government recently signed a peace agreement with rebels, but the five-year-long war has had a devastating impact.
At least 50,000 people have been killed and one in three South Sudanese have been uprooted from their homes. The country also hosts around 300,000 refugees fleeing violence in neighboring Sudan, according to the UN.
Adaha, known locally as Dr. Atar, has been running Maban hospital — which was once an abandoned health clinic — in the northeastern town of Bunj since 2011.
When he first arrived, he said there was no operating theater and he had to stack tables to create a work area.
Over the years, he has transformed the hospital and created a maternity ward and nutrition center, as well as training young people as nurses and midwives.
The 120-bed hospital now serves around 200,000 people living in Maban county — 70 percent of whom are refugees from Sudan — and conducts about 60 operations weekly but under very difficult circumstances.
Adaha said the only x-ray machine is broken, the operating theater has only one light, and electricity is provided by generators that often break down.
Although the hospital receives support from UNHCR, Adaha said a lack of funds remains his biggest challenge to treating everyone who needs help. “In the hospital, we will treat anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a rebel, government soldier, refugee or a local person. We have pregnant women, malnourished children and even people who are wounded by bullets,” Adaha said.
“The one rule we have is that no weapons are allowed in the hospital. If you bring a weapon, then we will not treat you. Sometimes it is difficult, but most people now agree.”
The Nansen Refugee Award ceremony takes place on Oct. 1 in Geneva, and the winner will receive $150,000 to fund a project complementing their work.