Saudi Arabia to send first woman into space
Saudi Arabia will send its first-ever woman astronaut on a space mission later this year, state media has reported, in the latest move to revamp the kingdom’s ultra-conservative image.
Rayyanah Barnawi will join fellow Saudi male astronaut Ali Al-Qarni on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) “during the second quarter of 2023”, the official Saudi Press Agency said on Sunday.
The astronauts “will join the crew of the AX-2 space mission” and the space flight will “launch from the USA”, the agency said.
The oil-rich country will be following in the footsteps of the neighbouring United Arab Emirates which in 2019 became the first Arab country to send one of its citizens into space.
At the time, astronaut Hazzaa al-Mansoori spent eight days on the ISS. Another fellow Emirati, Sultan al-Neyadi, will also make a voyage later this month.
Nicknamed the “Sultan of Space”, 41-year-old Neyadi will become the first Arab astronaut to spend six months in space when he blasts off for the ISS aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Gulf monarchies have been seeking to diversify their energy-reliant economies through a plethora of projects.
Saudi de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also been trying to shake off the kingdom’s austere image through a push for reforms.
Since his rise to power in 2017, women have been allowed to drive and to travel abroad without a male guardian, and their proportion in the workforce has more than doubled since 2016, from 17 per cent to 37 per cent.
Saudi Arabia’s foray into space is not the first, however.
In 1985, Saudi royal Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, an airforce pilot, took part in a US-organised space mission, becoming the first Arab Muslim to travel into space.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia set up a space programme and last year launched another to send astronauts into space, all part of Prince Salman’s Vision 2030 agenda for economic diversification.
29 African Migrants trying to cross to Italy die as Boat Sinks in Tunisia
A boat carrying 29 African migrants trying to cross to Italy has capsized. Tunisia’s coast guard recovered 10 bodies from the migrant boat which sank near the coast, the second vessel to sink within hours off Tunisia, bringing the death toll to 29, according to a security official. According to Al Jazeera, Houssem Jebabli, a national guard official, said that the boat sank off the coast of Mahdia, without giving further details. Earlier on Sunday, a human rights group said at least 19 refugees and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa had drowned off the coast of Tunisia while trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach Italy. Romdhane Ben Amor, an official at the Forum for Social and Economic Rights (FTDES), told the Reuters news agency that the deaths also occurred when a boat carrying the refugees and migrants sank off the coast of Mahdia after a journey that started from Sfax beaches. He said the Tunisian coast guard was able to rescue five people from the boat. Tunisian authorities were not immediately available for comment. Reports of the deaths came as Italy’s ANSA news agency said more than 2,000 asylum seekers had arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa within 24 hours. The agency described the arrivals on Saturday as a “record”. In the last four days, at least five boats carrying refugees and migrants have sunk off the southern city of Sfax, leaving 67 missing and nine dead. The coast guard previously said it had stopped about 80 boats heading for Italy in the past four days and detained more than 3,000 people, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries. The coast near Sfax has become a major departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East in the hope of a better life in Europe. The latest disaster comes amid a campaign of arrests by Tunisian authorities of undocumented sub-Saharan Africans. According to United Nations data, at least 12,000 people who reached Italy this year set sail from Tunisia, compared with 1,300 in the same period of 2022. Previously, Libya was the main departure point for refugees and migrants.
Three arrested over murder of South African Rapper, AKA
Three suspects have been arrested over the murder of South African rapper, Kiernan Forbes, popularly known as AKA. Recall that he was gunned down on February 10, 2023 around Florida Road. Confirming the devastating development, the police in Durban said the rapper was killed in a drive-by shooting on Florida Road by persons in two cars around 10 pm on Friday. It was reported that AKA was standing outside the Wish Restaurant when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting. Reports, however, emerging in the last week of March, revealed that after investigations into AKA’s killing, the police in Cape Town arrested three people on Sunday after monitoring them during the week. According to reports, the suspects, now in police custody, would be brought to Durban, where they are expected to be charged. Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel André Traut, while addressing journalists referred questions about the arrest to the KwaZulu-Natal police. “It is a KZN case; should we get any information, it will be sent to them. You should contact them for information,” he reportedly told the local publication, The South African.
Why Messi is my toughest opponent ever – Ex-Real Madrid Defender, Marcelo
Marcelo, a former Real Madrid defender, has named his toughest opponent.The footballer named Lionel Messi as the toughest opponent he has faced in his career.Marcelo, who played 15 seasons with the LaLiga champions, came face-to-face with Messi when the Argentine played for Barcelona.He has now admitted it was difficult facing the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.“Messi is incredible, the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced.“We all know the quality he has even now, aged 35, and before it was the same. El Clasico has always been one of the best games to watch and play.“I was lucky enough to have featured in one of the best eras of Clasicos. But it wasn’t just Messi. There were other players who were also incredible,” Marcelo told The Athletic.
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