UAE establishes $817 million fund for space sector

UAE establishes $817 million fund for space sector
UAE to develop and launch an advanced radar satellite constellation called "Sirb". (UAE Space Agency)
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Updated 17 July 2022

UAE establishes $817 million fund for space sector

UAE establishes $817 million fund for space sector

DUBAI: UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed announced an $817 million fund to support space sector in a post on Twitter early Sunday.

The president announced a new $817m national investment and development fund for the space sector, The National Space Fund. 

“The establishment of a dedicated fund to support the UAE’s burgeoning space programme and the launch of a new initiative to develop radar satellites are expected to expand our growing capabilities in this vital sector while accelerating innovation in environmental sustainability,” the president tweeted. 

The Fund’s first project to be launched to space will be a constellation of advanced remote sensing satellites using radar technologies to provide unparalleled imaging capabilities.

The constellation is to be named Sirb after the Arabic term for a flock of birds. 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE vice president, prime minister, and ruler of Dubai, said on Twitter the fund aims to supporting the establishment of national companies in the space sector and boost national strategic and research projects.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the “Sirb” project aims to develop the country's competitiveness in the space sector.

The planned satellites will be able to create highly detailed and complex radar ‘images’ of land use, ice cover, surface changes and characterisation, with a wide range of scientific, civil and commercial applications, state-run WAM reported. 

The statement on WAM said the project will contribute to UAE’s efforts to develop solutions to climate change, environmental sustainability and improved disaster management. 

The platform will contribute to monitoring the changes that occur on the planet due to climate changes and help find innovative solutions for environmental sustainability, it added.   


No end to pain of Gaza cancer patients

No end to pain of Gaza cancer patients
Updated 15 sec ago

No end to pain of Gaza cancer patients

No end to pain of Gaza cancer patients
  • Patients who cannot get treatment in Gaza need a medical referral from the Ministry of Health and an Israeli permit to travel to hospitals in the West Bank, Jordan and Israel
  • According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the travel bans and the delay in implementing treatment protocols for cancer patients led to the death of more than 3,000 people in the past five years

GAZA CITY: Ensaf Abu Jajouh’s suffering began in 2014 when she discovered that she had breast cancer.

Her treatment in Gaza was not easy, and the disease came back three times as she battled to get the medicine she needed, leading her to travel to Jordan for care in 2021.

“I was shocked when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had no knowledge of its nature or how to treat it. I didn’t know if I would survive it or if it was the way to the end,” Abu Jajouh, 45, a mother of two daughters, told Arab News.

“There was a shortage of medicine in the Gaza Strip, and after the disease emerged for the second time, I was unable to get treatment for four months, which brought the disease back again, the doctors in Jordan told me.”

Her story is similar to many others in Gaza, which suffers severe shortages of cancer medicines due to the Israeli blockade, and the political division between Hamas and Fatah.

Abu Jajouh was able to get help at the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan with the assistance of local institutions. But many others facing the same disease do not share her fortune.

She said: “A cancer patient suffers from physical pain, in addition to the hardships of the treatment journey, the fear of not being fully cured, and the agony in society. I separated from my husband because he did not accept my illness in the first year.

“I may be a little lucky in my latest treatment journey, but most women are not,” she added.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health recorded 363 cases of breast cancer in Gaza last year, which is 18.5 percent of the total number of cancer patients.

The disease is on the rise, with 300 cases in 2018, 309 in 2019, and 324 in 2020. The death rate has also risen, to 13 percent.

Iman Shanan, director of the Aid and Hope Foundation for Cancer Patients, told Arab News that the Gaza Strip lacked a comprehensive national program for breast cancer screening.

“Breast cancer patients in Gaza suffer from many problems, the most important of which is the lack of complete and regular treatment, and there is no radiation therapy in the Gaza Strip, in addition to the lack of plastic surgery.

“Awareness may increase among women, but there are no fixed campaigns and a clear program for all official and private institutions to educate women about early detection, not to mention the suffering of patients in obtaining treatment permits in hospitals in the West Bank or abroad,” Shanan said.

Patients who cannot get treatment in Gaza need a medical referral from the Ministry of Health and an Israeli permit to travel to hospitals in the West Bank or Israel. Less than half of those permits are granted, however, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories.

In a statement, the UN office said: “Patients referred for medical treatment in the West Bank or Israel and their companions accounted for approximately 7 percent of departures. A total of 2,067 applications for exit permits were submitted to attend medical appointments in August, but only 42 percent were approved in time.”

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the travel bans and the delay in implementing treatment protocols for cancer patients led to the death of more than 3,000 people in the past five years, including cases that were treatable and showing recovery signs.


Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women

Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women
Updated 6 min 49 sec ago

Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women

Swedish MEP cuts hair during speech in solidarity with Iranian women
  • "Until the women of Iran are free we are going to stand with you," Iraqi-born Abir Al-Sahlani said in the parliament in Strasbourg

BRUSSELS: A Swedish member of the European Parliament lopped off her hair during a speech in the EU assembly in solidarity with anti-government demonstrations in Iran ignited by the death in morality police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
“Until Iran is free, our fury will be bigger than the oppressors. Until the women of Iran are free we are going to stand with you,” Iraqi-born Abir Al-Sahlani said in the parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday evening.
Then, taking a pair of scissors, she said “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” — Kurdish for “Woman, Life, Freedom” — as she snipped off her ponytail.
Leading French actresses including Juliette Binoche and Isabelle Huppert have also cut locks of hair in protest over Amini’s death after she was arrested in Tehran on Sept. 13 for “inappropriate attire.”
Iran’s clerical rulers have been grappling with the biggest nationwide unrest in years since her death and protests have spread abroad including London, Paris, Rome and Madrid in solidarity with Iranian demonstrators.


Qatar emir in Prague for state visit

Qatar emir in Prague for state visit
Updated 21 min 47 sec ago

Qatar emir in Prague for state visit

Qatar emir in Prague for state visit
  • Czech Republic holds rotating presidency of EU

RIYADH: Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has arrived in Prague for a state visit to the Czech Republic, Qatar News Agency reported.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed, the Qatari ambassador to the Czech Republic, said that relations between the two countries had developed rapidly over the last two years and he noted the opening of the Czech embassy in Doha as an example.

An announcement is expected during Sheikh Tamim’s visit that Qatar will open an embassy in Prague.

The emir will discuss with Czech President Milos Zeman and senior officials the strengthening of bilateral cooperation in political, economic, and cultural fields as well as health, tourism, and sports, the QNA said.

Sheikh Tamim was greeted with a reception ceremony at the presidential residence in Prague Castle, where the Qatari and Czech national anthems were played.

Jan Zahradil, the first vice chair of the European Parliament’s committee on international trade, ​​emphasized the significance of Sheikh Tamim’s trip.

He said: “The visit comes in times where the Czech Republic holds the rotating presidency of the European Union and also in times where the Czech Republic and European Union as a whole are facing an unprecedented energy crisis.”


French actors cut hair in solidarity with Iranian women

French actors cut hair in solidarity with Iranian women
Updated 19 min 17 sec ago

French actors cut hair in solidarity with Iranian women

French actors cut hair in solidarity with Iranian women
  • Celebrities Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard join others in protest after death of Mahsa Amini

LONDON: More than 50 high-profile French actors, models, singers and other celebrities have filmed themselves cutting their hair in support of Iranian women amid protests against the country’s harsh hijab laws.

Actors Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Adjani and Isabelle Huppert have been joined by the Belgian singer Angèle in the hair-cutting videos of solidarity with Iranian women risking their lives to protest against the regime.

Singer Jane Birkin, her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg and actor Charlotte Rampling contributed their own clips alongside Julie Gayet, the wife of former French President François Hollande.

Cutting their hair “for freedom,” a compilation of the celebrities’ videos was produced with the soundtrack of a Persian version of the Italian folk song Bella Ciao.

Actress Juliette Binoche cuts her hair as a part of a protest following death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, in this still image obtained from a social media video. (Reuters)

The young Iranian singer Gandom has produced the cover of the iconic song, which was an anthem of the Italian resistance movement during the Second World War, now used regularly as an international cultural symbol for freedom and resistance to tyranny.

The videos were shared on Instagram with the hashtags #soutienfemmesiran (“Support Iranian Women”) and #HairforFreedom.

The videos reflect footage arising from Iran, where women have been removing their hijabs and cutting their hair in protest since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was murdered by a mob after she violated stricter hijab rules brought in my President Ibrahim Raisi.

The compilation on Instagram was shared with the caption: “It is impossible not to denounce again and again this terrible repression. The dead are already numbered in the dozens, including children. The arrests only add to the number of prisoners already illegally detained and too often tortured. We have therefore decided to respond to the call by cutting off some of our strands of hair.”

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A century ago, the autonomous sheikhdom of Arabistan was absorbed by force into the Persian state. Today the Arabs of Ahwaz are Iran's most persecuted minority
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Italy’s new ambassador to UAE takes office

Italy’s new ambassador to UAE takes office
Updated 05 October 2022

Italy’s new ambassador to UAE takes office

Italy’s new ambassador to UAE takes office
  • Lorenzo Fanara had been the Italian envoy to Tunisia and previously served as his country’s permanent representative to the EU in Brussels
  • Tunisian political leaders praised Fanara for his work representing Italy in Tunisia throughout the coronavirus pandemic

ROME: Italy’s new ambassador to the UAE, Lorenzo Fanara, on Wednesday officially took over his office in Abu Dhabi from predecessor Nicola Lener.

Prior to taking on the role, Fanara was the Italian envoy to Tunisia and previously served as his country’s permanent representative to the EU in Brussels, then Moscow, London, and Rome, where he was foreign affairs deputy head of cabinet.

Since March 2018, he has acted as Italy’s head of mission in the Tunisian capital Tunis where he was recently received by President Kais Saied and Prime Minister Najla Bouden. During the meeting, the Tunisian political leaders praised Fanara for his work representing Italy in Tunisia throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Fanara told Arab News: “I am honored to take up my duties in the United Arab Emirates, a dynamic and friendly country playing a crucial role for our prosperity and security.”

He pledged to, “relaunch bilateral relations and cooperate with a nation that has overcome several challenges and jointly realize long-term projects aimed at fostering innovation and sustainability.”

In a message to the Italian community in the UAE, the ambassador said he was convinced of the “fundamental importance of culture, an indispensable tool for fostering respectful dialogue and mutual knowledge.”

He also pointed out the need to boost collaboration between Italy and the UAE on scientific and technological matters.