Children in Syria’s Idlib hold their own World Cup

Children in Syria’s Idlib hold their own World Cup
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Children, including those in wheelchairs, pose by a mockup of the FIFA World Cup trophy on the pitch during the opening ceremony of the “Camps World Cup.” (AFP)
Children in Syria’s Idlib hold their own World Cup
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The mascot of the “Camps World Cup,” depicted as an olive and named “Hareef” (expert) is presented before the mascot of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup “La’eeb,” during the event’s opening ceremony. (AFP)
Children in Syria’s Idlib hold their own World Cup
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Youths pose by a mock-up of the FIFA World Cup trophy on the pitch during the opening ceremony of the “Camps World Cup” at the newly-reopened Idlib Municipal Stadium in Syria on Saturday. (AFP)
Children in Syria’s Idlib hold their own World Cup
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Children wearing the uniforms of the Qatar national football team pose for a photo during the opening ceremony of the “Camps World Cup” at the Idlib Municipal Stadium in Syria on Saturday. (AFP)
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Updated 19 November 2022

Children in Syria’s Idlib hold their own World Cup

Children in Syria’s Idlib hold their own World Cup
  • The excited children took part in the opening ceremony at the municipal stadium in Idlib
  • Children aged 10 to 14 have been training for months to take part in the "camps World Cup"

IDLIB, Syria: More than 300 children in rebel-held northwest Syria kicked off their own football World Cup on Saturday, with organizers hoping to shine a light on communities battered by 11 years of war.
The excited children took part in the opening ceremony at the municipal stadium in Idlib, some wearing the jerseys of this year’s World Cup teams, an AFP photographer said.
Their 32 squads correspond to the nations that have qualified for the World Cup, which starts Sunday in Qatar, and their competition opened with a match between the host country and Ecuador, reflecting the official schedule.
“I represent Spain and I hope we win the cup,” gushed 12-year-old Bassel Sheikho, who works in a garage.
While children from camps for displaced people in Idlib and surrounding areas make up 25 of the teams, the other seven are composed of children who work in industrial zones in the region.
Syria’s war has killed around half a million people and displaced millions more since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.
The Idlib region is home to about three million people, around half of them displaced.
Children aged 10 to 14 have been training for months to take part in the “camps World Cup,” said Ibrahim Sarmini from the NGO Violet, which organized the tournament.
He said the event aims to encourage children to participate in sports, and to “focus international attention on displaced youth and those who work,” who are among those most exposed to sometimes deadly risks.
The last pocket of armed opposition to President Bashar Assad’s regime includes large swathes of Idlib province and parts of the neighboring Aleppo, Hama and Latakia provinces.
The Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) militant group, led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate, is dominant in the area but other rebel groups are also active.
The “camps World Cup” matches will continue throughout the official tournament period, and the final will be organized in a camp in Idlib.
Sarmini noted that winter was set to begin in full force, with rains expected to once again bring misery to the ramshackle, poverty-stricken camps.
“I hope the whole world will turn their attention to the displaced and will support them so they can return to their homes as soon as possible,” he said.


NASA Orion spacecraft enters lunar orbit: officials

NASA Orion spacecraft enters lunar orbit: officials
Updated 26 November 2022

NASA Orion spacecraft enters lunar orbit: officials

NASA Orion spacecraft enters lunar orbit: officials
  • “The orbit is distant in that Orion will fly about 40,000 miles above the Moon,” NASA said

WASHINGTON: NASA’s Orion spacecraft was placed in lunar orbit Friday, officials said, as the much-delayed Moon mission proceeded successfully.
A little over a week after the spacecraft blasted off from Florida bound for the Moon, flight controllers “successfully performed a burn to insert Orion into a distant retrograde orbit,” the US space agency said on its web site.
The spacecraft is to take astronauts to the Moon in the coming years — the first to set foot on its surface since the last Apollo mission in 1972.
This first test flight, without a crew on board, aims to ensure that the vehicle is safe.
“The orbit is distant in that Orion will fly about 40,000 miles above the Moon,” NASA said.
While in lunar orbit, flight controllers will monitor key systems and perform checkouts while in the environment of deep space, the agency said.
It will take Orion about a week to complete half an orbit around the Moon. It will then exit the orbit for the return journey home, according to NASA.
On Saturday, the ship is expected to go up to 40,000 miles beyond the Moon, a record for a habitable capsule. The current record is held by the Apollo 13 spacecraft at 248,655 miles (400,171 km) from Earth.
It will then begin the journey back to Earth, with a landing in the Pacific Ocean scheduled for December 11, after just over 25 days of flight.
The success of this mission will determine the future of the Artemis 2 mission, which will take astronauts around the Moon without landing, then Artemis 3, which will finally mark the return of humans to the lunar surface.
Those missions are scheduled to take place in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

 


Singing street marshals are Qatar World Cup’s surprise stars

Singing street marshals are Qatar World Cup’s surprise stars
Updated 25 November 2022

Singing street marshals are Qatar World Cup’s surprise stars

Singing street marshals are Qatar World Cup’s surprise stars
  • The unofficial soundtrack of the World Cup in Qatar is fast becoming the incessant chanting of street marshals
  • They point visitors in the right direction on their search for public

DOHA: The World Cup 2010 in South Africa had Shakira. The 1998 tournament in France had Ricky Martin.
For many fans, the unofficial soundtrack of the World Cup in Qatar is fast becoming the incessant chanting of street marshals, better known as Last Mile Marshals.
Seated all over Doha on high chairs more commonly used by lifeguards at swimming pools, these migrant workers have become a staple of the Middle East’s first World Cup.
They point visitors flooding into this Arabian Peninsula nation in the right direction on their search for public transportation. It’s an important crowd control measure as some 1.2 million fans are expected to inundate Qatar, a country home to 3 million people.
The vast majority of the marshals come from Kenya and Ghana. They say they responded to job ads in August and September, ahead of the World Cup.
After a monotonous start, some marshals now sing or chant their instructions to fans. Bullhorns they carry blast out the recorded message again, and again, and again.


The instructions spark laughter among fans who often join in with the chants.
“Which way?” the fans chant.
“This way,” ushers respond, pointing a giant foam finger toward a station on Doha’s new massive underground metro built for the tournament.
The exchange then finds its rhythm and turns into almost a song: “Metro, metro, metro, this way, this way, this way.”
Abubakar Abbas of Kenya says it all started as a way of easing boredom during his first days of work.
“The fans were just passing by without any engagement,” Abbas said from his high chair outside the Souq Waqif metro station, “So I decided to come up with an idea where I can engage the fans and be interesting at the same time. That’s how I came up with the idea and thank God it is trending now.”
Qatar’s World Cup has already produced memorable moments on the pitch, including Argentina’s surprise defeat to Saudi Arabia and Germany’s loss to Japan.
Outside the stadiums, the marshals trance-like chant is stuck in people’s head.
“Even when I sleep at night, I hear ‘metro, metro, metro’ ringing in my head,” he said.


Huge horde of Celtic gold coins stolen from German museum

The Celtic-Roman Museum is pictured in the evening light, in Manching, Germany, Tuesday Nov. 22, 2022. (AP)
The Celtic-Roman Museum is pictured in the evening light, in Manching, Germany, Tuesday Nov. 22, 2022. (AP)
Updated 23 November 2022

Huge horde of Celtic gold coins stolen from German museum

The Celtic-Roman Museum is pictured in the evening light, in Manching, Germany, Tuesday Nov. 22, 2022. (AP)
  • The German news agency dpa reported that authorities estimate the value of the coins, which together weighed about 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds), at several million euros (dollars)

BERLIN: A huge horde of ancient gold coins dating back to around 100 B.C. has been stolen from a museum in southern Germany, police said Tuesday.
Bavarian state police said it was stolen early Tuesday from the Celtic and Roman Museum in Manching, 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Munich.
The 483 coins were discovered in 1999 during excavations of an ancient settlement in Manchning and are considered the biggest trove of Celtic gold found in the 20th century.
The German news agency dpa reported that authorities estimate the value of the coins, which together weighed about 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds), at several million euros (dollars).
“The loss of the Celtic treasure is a disaster,” it quoted Bavaria’s Minister of Science and Arts, Markus Blume, saying. “As a testament to our history, the gold coins are irreplaceable.”
He said the thieves had shown “incredible criminal energy.”
Police are appealing for witnesses who might have seen suspicious individuals near the museum or have other information that could lead to the recovery of the treasure.

 


Saudi-backed Lucid EV cars get global launch

Saudi-backed Lucid EV cars get global launch
Updated 23 November 2022

Saudi-backed Lucid EV cars get global launch

Saudi-backed Lucid EV cars get global launch
  • The Lucid Air has already been named the MotorTrend Car of the Year and honored as one of Time Magazine’s 200 Best Innovations of 2022

BEVERLY HILLS: Just a few weeks after Lucid Motors opened their first Middle East studio in Riyadh, and four years after the Saudi government made its initial investment of $1 billion, the vehicle manufacturer held the global launch event for their debut line of electric sedans. 

And Saudi support has been influential in bringing the vehicle to fruition, according to Derek Jenkins, senior vice-president of design at Lucid.

“We wouldn't be here today without the support from the Saudi Public Investment Fund,” he said. “It allowed us to really develop our technology, not just at a concept level, but all the way through the production and deliver it to customers worldwide.” 

The Lucid Air has already been named the MotorTrend Car of the Year and honored as one of Time Magazine’s 200 Best Innovations of 2022.

With the full line now launched and more planned for 2023, Lucid is working to stand out in the electric car market.

“It's a relentless obsession on efficiency as well as performance and taking the technology of electric cars to an entirely new level,” Jenkins said.

“The Lucid Air is really just the first step at that. Then we go into our SUV and then more mainstream models later on, and we really want to be at the very pinnacle of the technology.”

As they premiere their cars worldwide, Lucid has an eye on the Middle East, hoping to boost the prominence of electric vehicles in the region. They revealed plans in May for the construction of a world-class Lucid production factory in Saudi Arabia with a capacity of 155,000 electric vehicles. The plant will be located in the King Abdullah Economic City.

Jenkins continued: “The car looks amazing on the road over there. And we have a lot of people, not just from Saudi Arabia but all over the Middle East, that are fans of Lucid, and they're following Lucid very closely. So we're super excited about that.” 


NASA capsule buzzes moon, last big step before lunar orbit

This handout from NASA TV shows NASA's Orion spacecraft approaching the moon on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP)
This handout from NASA TV shows NASA's Orion spacecraft approaching the moon on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP)
Updated 22 November 2022

NASA capsule buzzes moon, last big step before lunar orbit

This handout from NASA TV shows NASA's Orion spacecraft approaching the moon on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP)
  • The capsule accelerated well beyond 5,000 mph (8,000 kph) as it regained radio contact, NASA said. Less than an hour later, Orion soared above Tranquility Base, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on July 20, 1969

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida: NASA’s Orion capsule reached the moon Monday, whipping around the far side and buzzing the lunar surface on its way to a record-breaking orbit with test dummies sitting in for astronauts.
It’s the first time a capsule has visited the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago, and represents a huge milestone in the $4.1 billion test flight that began last Wednesday.
The close approach of 81 miles (130 kilometers) occurred as the crew capsule and its three wired-up dummies were on the far side of the moon. Because of a half-hour communication blackout, flight controllers in Houston did not know if the critical engine firing went well until the capsule emerged from behind the moon, 232,000 miles (370,000 kilometers) from Earth.
The capsule’s cameras sent back a picture of the world — a tiny blue orb surrounded by blackness.
“Our pale blue dot and its 8 billion human inhabitants now coming into view,” said Mission Control commentator Sandra Jones.
The capsule accelerated well beyond 5,000 mph (8,000 kph) as it regained radio contact, NASA said. Less than an hour later, Orion soared above Tranquility Base, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on July 20, 1969.
“This is one of those days that you’ve been thinking about and talking about for a long, long time,” flight director Zeb Scoville said.
Earlier in the morning, the moon loomed ever larger in the video beamed back, as the capsule closed the final few thousand miles since blasting off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, atop the most powerful rocket ever built by NASA.
Orion needed to slingshot around the moon to pick up enough speed to enter the sweeping, lopsided lunar orbit. Flight controllers evaluated the data pouring back, to determine if the engine firing went as planned. Another firing will place the capsule in that elongated orbit Friday.
This coming weekend, Orion will shatter NASA’s distance record for a spacecraft designed for astronauts — nearly 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) from Earth, set by Apollo 13 in 1970. And it will keep going, reaching a maximum distance from Earth next Monday at nearly 270,000 miles (433,000 kilometers).
The capsule will spend close to a week in lunar orbit, before heading home. A Pacific splashdown is planned for Dec. 11.
Orion has no lunar lander; a touchdown won’t come until NASA astronauts attempt a lunar landing in 2025 with SpaceX’s Starship. Before then, astronauts will strap into Orion for a ride around the moon as early as 2024.
NASA managers were delighted with the progress of the mission. The Space Launch System rocket performed exceedingly well in its debut, they told reporters late last week.
The 322-foot (98-meter) rocket caused more damage than expected, however, at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad. The force from the 8.8 million pounds (4 million kilograms) of liftoff thrust was so great that it tore off the blast doors of the elevator.