Afghan girls win European prize for solar-powered farming robot

Afghan girls win European prize for solar-powered farming robot
Members of the Afghan all-girls robotics team carry their robot onto the competition floor on July 17, 2017, during 2017 FIRST Global Challenge competitions at DAR Constitution Hall, in Washington, DC. (AFP)
Updated 30 November 2017

Afghan girls win European prize for solar-powered farming robot

Afghan girls win European prize for solar-powered farming robot

LONDON: An Afghan girls’ robotics team, which was temporarily denied entry to the United States earlier this year, has won an award at a prestigious competition in Europe.
The team’s winning entry was a solar-powered robot that would help small farmers carry out tasks including seeding and cutting crops like wheat, Afghanistan’s embassy in London told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Thursday.
Three teenage members of the team won the Entrepreneurial Challenge at Robotex, which bills itself as “Europe’s biggest robotics festival” and took place in the Estonian capital of Tallinn from November 24 to 26.
The category requires entries that involve “solving a real world problem” by a robot that “customers would want to buy.”
“They are an excellent example for people around the world of what can be accomplished by young Afghans if given the right support and the opportunity to excel in their education,” Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad said in an emailed statement.
“They are undeniably the future of Afghanistan.”
The team briefly found itself in the global spotlight last July when the United States denied four of its members visas to travel to an academic robotics competition.
After a public outcry, American officials reversed their decision and granted the girls an exemption, called a parole, that allowed them to travel.
Their win in Eastonia garnered a small cash prize, and they are also invited to take part in a larger US event in May where they will compete for investment money to start their own company, the embassy in London said.


Hong Kong records 107 new COVID-19 cases in latest spike

Hong Kong records 107 new COVID-19 cases in latest spike
Updated 18 January 2021

Hong Kong records 107 new COVID-19 cases in latest spike

Hong Kong records 107 new COVID-19 cases in latest spike
  • The Chinese special administrative region last recorded a triple digit figure on Dec. 19 with 109 cases

HONG KONG: Hong Kong reported 107 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest toll in nearly a month as authorities tested thousands of residents after an outbreak in an old residential building located in a busy commercial and residential area last week.
The Chinese special administrative region last recorded a triple digit figure on Dec. 19 with 109 cases. At its peak in July 2020 the city logged 149 new infections.
Dozens of infections were found last week in a densely packed apartment building in Yau Tsim Mong, a teeming district in the city’s Kowloon area.
Authorities thereafter ordered mandatory testing on hundreds of people living in the area and neighboring streets.
Hong Kong has recorded nearly 10,000 coronavirus cases and 162 deaths since the start of 2020.
Businesses are reeling from ongoing COVID-19 restrictions which have banned gatherings of more than two people and closed sport facilities, beauty salons and all restaurants for dining after 18:00 local time.