Saudi Arabia has highest number of active Twitter users in the Arab world

Updated 27 June 2014

Saudi Arabia has highest number of active Twitter users in the Arab world

Saudi Arabia has 2.4 million active Twitter users, the highest number in the region, according to a survey issued on Wednesday.
The sixth edition of the Arab Social Media Report was launched on Wednesday by the Governance and Innovation Program at the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government.
The Kingdom accounts for 40 percent of all active Twitter users in the Arab world. There are 5.79 million active Twitter users in the region as of March 2014. An “active user” is someone who logs in once a month, according to Twitter.
Saudi Arabia has more than twice the number of users than second-placed Egypt. However, Egypt gained the largest number of new users since last year, at 571,000, compared to Saudi Arabia’s 514,000.
According to the survey, 55 percent of respondents said they strongly support the government’s use of social media for the design and delivery of public services. Respondents also agreed that social media facilitates better accessibility to government and public sector officials.
A report entitled “Citizen Engagement and Public Services in the Arab World: The Potential of Social Media,” states that social media is still used in the Arab region as a one-way information source for the majority of those who use it to interact with government.
Only 2 percent of respondents reported visiting official government social media pages or using their personal social media accounts for sourcing information on public services.
Of the 63 percent who do use government social media pages, 74 percent only use it to access information on government services and entities, while giving feedback, sending complaints or new ideas to government ranked lower.
The report shows that the public sector in a majority of Arab countries continues to “suffer from mounting deficiencies in terms of quality, efficiency and accessibility of government services despite the continued growth of social media penetration in the Arab region and its increasing potential for governments to engage citizens on enhancing public services.”


Japan spacecraft starts yearlong journey home from asteroid

Updated 13 November 2019

Japan spacecraft starts yearlong journey home from asteroid

  • The spacecraft will travel 180 million miles on its journey back to Earth
  • It will bring back soil samples that provide clues to life in space

TOKYO: Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft departed from a distant asteroid on Wednesday, starting its yearlong journey home after successfully completing its mission to bring back soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar system, the country’s space agency said.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said the spacecraft left its orbit around the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) from Earth.
Hayabusa2 on Wednesday captured and transmitted to Earth one of its final images of Ryugu, or “Dragon Palace,” named after a sea-bottom castle in a Japanese folk tale, as it slowly began moving away from its temporary home, JAXA said. Hayabusa2 will continue its “farewell filming” of the asteroid for a few more days.
Then Hayabusa2 will adjust its position on around Nov. 18 after retreating 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the asteroid and out of its the gravitational pull. It will then receive a signal from JAXA to ignite a main engine in early December en route to the Earth’s vicinity.
Hayabusa2 made touchdowns on the asteroid twice, despite difficulties caused by Ryugu’s extremely rocky surface, and successfully collected data and samples during its 1½-year mission since arriving there in June 2018.
In the first touchdown in February, it collected surface dust samples. In July, it collected underground samples for the first time in space history after landing in a crater it had earlier created by blasting the asteroid surface.
Hayabusa2 is expected to return to Earth in late 2020 and drop a capsule containing the precious samples in the Australian desert.
It took the spacecraft 3½ years to arrive at the asteroid, but the journey home is much shorter thanks to the current locations of Ryugu and Earth.
JAXA scientists believe the underground samples contain valuable data unaffected by space radiation and other environmental factors that could tell more about the origin of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
Asteroids, which orbit the sun but are much smaller than planets, are among the oldest objects in the solar system and may help explain how Earth evolved. Hayabusa2 scientists also said they believe the samples contain carbon and organic matter and hope they could explain how they are related to Earth.