UAE reveals its first ever astronauts for International Space Station mission

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The astronauts will join a mission to the International Space Station. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 03 September 2018
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UAE reveals its first ever astronauts for International Space Station mission

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said the duo will “raise the bar of ambitions for future Emirati generations”
  • UAE has already announced plans to become the first Arab country to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars

DUBAI: The UAE on Monday named its first two astronauts to go on a mission to the International Space Station.
Emiratis Hazza Al-Mansouri, 34, and 37-year-old Sultan Al-Neyadi were selected from more than 4,000 candidates who applied for the UAE astronaut program.
The UAE’s Vice President and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said the duo will “raise the bar of ambitions for future Emirati generations.”
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said: “Just as there is no limit to space, there is no limit to our ambitions. We have great confidence in our sons in carrying on excellence.”

Sultan Al-Neyadi and Hazza Al-Mansouri were selected from 4,000 applicants to teh UAE atronaut program. (WAM)


The two men were among nine candidates chosen for a final evaluation phase after they underwent an “intensive assessment” in Russia, by experts from the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
The UAE’s state news agency WAM hailed the step as a “historic achievement for all Arabs.”
One of the astronauts will fly into space in April, on a 10-day Russian mission to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft. The second astronaut will be in reserve.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid last year vowed to send four Emirati astronauts to the space station within five years.

“We also have Dh20 billion investments in the space sector. More importantly, we have human resources whose limits are higher than the sky,” Sheikh Mohammed said in Monday’s announcement.
The UAE has already announced plans to become the first Arab country to send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars by 2021, naming it “Hope.”
The astronaut program would make the UAE one of only a handful of states in the Middle East to have sent a person into space, as it looks to make good on a pledge to become a global leader in space exploration.
The first Arab in space was Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud, who flew on a US shuttle mission in 1985. Two years later, Syrian air force pilot Muhammed Faris spent a week aboard the Soviet Union’s Mir space station.

 


Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

Updated 46 min 55 sec ago
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Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

  • Heads of state, officials from EU and Arab League member countries to attend summit today
  • Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries

CAIRO: Egypt on Sunday will host heads of state, government officials and representatives from EU and Arab League member countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Bahrain’s King Hamad.

Refugees and illegal immigration will top the agenda amid the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Syrians constitute the largest refugee population in Europe, followed by Eritreans then Afghans. 

According to unofficial statistics, Syrians are also the largest refugee population in the Arab world, followed by Yemenis, Libyans and Sudanese.

Hossam El-Khouli, secretary-general of the Egyptian Nation’s Future Party, said: “The EU … should call for the repatriation of refugees if conditions are appropriate.”

He said: “As for the right of asylum … a number of countries have granted asylum to criminals who have committed violent crimes against their own people and homelands.”

Summit participants intend to debate the necessity of combating this kind of migration, especially given its impact on the security and economy of many countries. 

Margaret Azer, an Egyptian lawmaker, said a country’s economic conditions are one of the main drivers of illegal immigration. 

“The decline of political conditions in several countries is (also) contributing to the rise in numbers of people seeking illegal immigration,” she told Arab News. 

“For example, we see that the biggest percentage of immigrants in Europe are from countries like Syria and Libya. The reason could also be religious or sectarian persecution, as is the case in Myanmar.”

Frontex President Fabrice Leggeri said although the number of migrants arriving in Europe dropped to 150,114 in 2018 compared to 204,750 in 2017, the agency continues to support border controls by providing more workers and technology.