Saudi Arabia’s CST Launches Space Challenge Camp

The camp is part of CST’s role in enabling national human capabilities in the space field
The camp is part of CST’s role in enabling national human capabilities in the space field
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Saudi Arabia’s CST Launches Space Challenge Camp

The camp is part of CST’s role in enabling national human capabilities in the space field
The camp is part of CST’s role in enabling national human capabilities in the space field

The Communications, Space, and Technology Commission (CST) launched the "Space Challenge Camp” in the field of space science and engineering, which targets undergraduate students and fresh graduates.

The camp is part of CST’s role in enabling national human capabilities in the space field, with the aim of developing participants' knowledge and skills, introducing them to future opportunities, enhancing the capabilities of national competencies, and inspiring future generations to pursue scientific careers specializing in space sciences.

CST stated that the camp, which will span two weeks in October, consists of two phases: a virtual phase through the website, and an in-person phase at the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City (Misk) in Riyadh. The camp's activities will revolve around providing participants with an introduction to spaceflight, space program management, spacecraft systems, atmospheric re-entry approach, and landing techniques.

CST emphasized that the camp will contribute to the development of participants' skills and knowledge by training them in space program management, understanding the fundamentals of human spaceflight design, design skills, problem-solving, teamwork skills, and team management. The camp will also involve participants' competitions, where they will design innovative solutions to challenges faced by astronauts in human spaceflight missions.

CST clarified that joining the Space Challenge Camp is conditional on the applicant being a Saudi national who must currently be enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in a scientific or engineering major. For recent graduates, it is required to hold a bachelor's degree in a scientific or engineering field. Additionally, proficiency in spoken and written English is necessary, along with meeting the program's other requirements.

CST highlighted that the Space Challenge Camp will offer lectures based on experiential learning delivered by specialists and experts in the space field, and participants will receive certificates of attendance from the CST commission.



Asharq Al-Awsat Receives 3 Awards at Arab Media Forum in Dubai

Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid with the winners of the Arab Media Award. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid with the winners of the Arab Media Award. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Asharq Al-Awsat Receives 3 Awards at Arab Media Forum in Dubai

Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid with the winners of the Arab Media Award. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid with the winners of the Arab Media Award. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper proudly received two prestigious awards at the 2nd edition of the Arab Media Award (AMA) ceremony on Monday.

The ceremony, held on the opening day of the 21st edition of the Arab Media Forum (AMF), celebrates excellence in journalism across three key media sectors: Journalism, TV, and Digital Media.

Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid,attended the ceremony.

Asharq Al-Awsat's journalists Jamal Johar and Sawsan al-Abtah received the Investigative Reporting Award and Best Columnist Award respectively.

Kuwaiti thinker and renowned media figure Mohammed al-Rumaihi received the Media Personality of the Year award for his tremendous contributions to Arab media.

The Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG) won various categories, including the Best Economic Program Award for "al-Sabah Ma Siba", airing on the Asharq news channel, and the Digital Media Award category for Best Economic Platform: Argaam.

For the Best Sports Program Award, the winner was "Fi Al Marma," broadcast on the al-Arabiya news channel.

Hespress won the Best News Platform award in digital media, and FilGoal received the Best Sports Platform.

Furthermore, Magdi Abu al-Fotouh of Ashorouq newspaper received the Economic Journalism Award, and Ahmed Diab from al-Ahram al-Arabi won the Political Journalism Award.

Children's Media Award was presented to Asmaa al-Shamsi of Majid Magazine.

"Bil Khat a-Areed", on Lebanon’s LBCI channel, received the Best Social Program Award, while "Thakirato al-Rimal", broadcast on Sky News Arabia, won the Best Documentary Award.

The Arab Media Forum kicked off in Dubai held under the patronage of Vice President and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Organized by the Dubai Press Club, the two-day event will bring together over 3,000 distinguished attendees, including influential media personalities, ministers, and heads of leading local, Arab, and international media organizations, as well as thought leaders, intellectuals, and writers.

In opening remarks, Managing Director of Dubai Media Council and Chairperson of the Dubai Press Club Mona al-Marri congratulated all the winners and stressed that the award's distinguished status was a testament to years of hard work and constant encouragement.

She stressed that the future of Arab media depends on institutions' ability to adapt to these changes and embrace modern media tools.

Marri also highlighted artificial intelligence's integral role in shaping the future of media.


Likely Asteroid Debris Found upon Opening of Returned NASA Probe

The return capsule containing a sample collected from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is seen shortly after touching down in the desert at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range in Dugway, Utah, US September 24, 2023. (NASA/Keegan Barber/Handout via Reuters)
The return capsule containing a sample collected from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is seen shortly after touching down in the desert at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range in Dugway, Utah, US September 24, 2023. (NASA/Keegan Barber/Handout via Reuters)
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Likely Asteroid Debris Found upon Opening of Returned NASA Probe

The return capsule containing a sample collected from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is seen shortly after touching down in the desert at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range in Dugway, Utah, US September 24, 2023. (NASA/Keegan Barber/Handout via Reuters)
The return capsule containing a sample collected from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is seen shortly after touching down in the desert at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range in Dugway, Utah, US September 24, 2023. (NASA/Keegan Barber/Handout via Reuters)

After a seven-year wait, NASA scientists on Tuesday finally pried open a space probe carrying the largest asteroid samples ever brought back to Earth, finding black debris.

Researchers "found black dust and debris on the avionics deck of the Osiris-Rex science canister when the initial lid was removed today," the US space agency said, though without specifying whether they definitely belonged to the asteroid.

Scientists are eagerly awaiting researching the bulk of the sample, which will require "intricate disassembly" of the probe.

Osiris-Rex launched in 2016, landing on the asteroid Bennu and collected roughly nine ounces (250 grams) of dust from its rocky surface.

Even that small amount, NASA has said, should "help us better understand the types of asteroids that could threaten Earth."

It ended its 3.86-billion-mile (6.21-billion-kilometer) journey after touching down in the desert in the western state of Utah on Sunday, following a high-stakes, fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere.

The residue on the avionics deck found Tuesday was likely a result of issues during the collection, which NASA said were eventually solved, allowing the secure transfer of the sample.

The lid was opened in an airtight chamber at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

A news conference is scheduled October 11 in which the bulk of the sample will be revealed to the public.

The analysis of the asteroid, scientists believe, will help researchers better understand the formation of the solar system and how Earth became habitable.

Most of the sample will be conserved for study by future generations. Roughly one-fourth will be immediately used in experiments, and a small amount will be sent to mission partners Japan and Canada.


Longest, Fastest, Zaniest: Guinness World Records Celebrates the ‘Crazy, Fun, Inspiring’ 

Guinness World Records Adjudicator Michael Empric holds a certificate during the Guinness World Record Breaking Screening in support of "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie" at the Autry Museum of the American West on September 24, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Paramount Pictures and Best Friends broke the Guinness World Record for the "most dogs attending a film screening" with 219 dogs attending. (AFP)
Guinness World Records Adjudicator Michael Empric holds a certificate during the Guinness World Record Breaking Screening in support of "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie" at the Autry Museum of the American West on September 24, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Paramount Pictures and Best Friends broke the Guinness World Record for the "most dogs attending a film screening" with 219 dogs attending. (AFP)
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Longest, Fastest, Zaniest: Guinness World Records Celebrates the ‘Crazy, Fun, Inspiring’ 

Guinness World Records Adjudicator Michael Empric holds a certificate during the Guinness World Record Breaking Screening in support of "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie" at the Autry Museum of the American West on September 24, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Paramount Pictures and Best Friends broke the Guinness World Record for the "most dogs attending a film screening" with 219 dogs attending. (AFP)
Guinness World Records Adjudicator Michael Empric holds a certificate during the Guinness World Record Breaking Screening in support of "PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie" at the Autry Museum of the American West on September 24, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Paramount Pictures and Best Friends broke the Guinness World Record for the "most dogs attending a film screening" with 219 dogs attending. (AFP)

Do you know the highest average grossing movie franchise in history? That’s easy, “Avatar.” What about the record for the most balloons popped in one minute by a pogostick? Or the longest journey in a pumpkin boat?

These and many more superlatives are in the latest edition of the Guinness World Records, which for 2024’s edition has taken our watery world as its theme. That means there’s extra entries for aquatic record-breakers, the largest octopuses, largest hot spring and deepest shark among the 2,638 achievements.

“To me the best records are the ones that you tell your friends in the playground or your mates, or wherever it is, in the gym. You just say ‘Look I saw this amazing thing today.’ That to me, is the sign of a good record,” says Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday.

He estimates that 75% to 80% of the entries are new and updated, reflecting a huge oversupply of content. The Guinness World Record researchers get many more records approved than they can fit in a single book.

This year’s book is balanced between zany items — most hula hoops spun simultaneously on stilts — to serious science, like heaviest starfish. There are visits to history — pirate ships and shipwrecks — and pages devoted to record-breakers, like musician Elton John and tennis player Shingo Kunieda.

There’s a whole series of records just for kids and a new impairment initiative, which gives people with physical and mental challenges the chance to break records within their communities. It is all cleverly packed with facts, drawings and images and puzzles.

Glenday sees the annual book — initially conceived to settle bar arguments — as a fundamentally optimistic collection, one that celebrates ambition and record-breaking as very human things.

“We’re all striving to be a bit better at what we do and we enjoy the bit between life and death. So let’s just make the most of it. And I think that’s why it’s maintained its position over the last 70 years — it continues to just amuse and educate and inform and celebrate all these crazy, fun, inspiring things and people.”

The team at Guinness World Records get about 100 applicants a day and reject some 95%. Submissions, on the whole, must be measurable, breakable and provable. They may not impinge on someone else’s human rights or hurt an animal. And each book is curated annually, so twerking records, a thing just a few years ago, get replaced by TikTok records.

“We want things to be officially amazing. So is it amazing? Everything is a record. I could say I had couscous for lunch and I could document it, but no one cares. Where’s the superlative in it?”

Rejections are done diplomatically. If, for instance, an applicant hopes to land the record for most pretzels stuffed in their nose, researchers might gently say no, but prod the applicant to the grape-stuffing section. “If stuffing is your thing, we might have a category already created for you.”

First published in 1955, the book has developed into an international phenomenon published in more than 100 countries and 37 languages. The publication itself is listed as the world’s best-selling copyrighted book.

“It’s really aimed at reluctant readers. It’s lots of little chunks and trivia and nuggets. The designers agonize over every spread and they start from scratch every year. We throw the whole thing away in terms of the design,” says Glenday.

It started when Sir Hugh Beaver, then managing director of the Guinness Brewery, was invited to go game bird hunting in Ireland. He and his companions soon began to squabble over which was Europe’s fastest game bird. There was no quick way to solve the dispute.

“He said, ‘There must be in pubs all around the country people fighting and arguing over things that are simple and yet they can’t find an answer,’” Glenday says. Beaver dreamed up a pamphlet that could be sold to pubs alongside barrels of Guinness Stout.

He asked twins Norris and Ross McWhirter, who were fact-finding researchers, to compile something that would be different from the day’s encyclopedias, which were dry and very highly academic.

“What these guys did was create a book that says, ‘We’re going to reflect back what people are actually doing in the world.’ And so what they inadvertently created was an annual snapshot of the world.”

“It found this momentum, this life of its own, and took off and became much more than Sir Hugh ever imagined it could be because it was a unique way of thinking about the world.”

Glenday himself has been inspired to create categories. A few years ago, he was attending the X Games and saw a bulldog zip past him on a skateboard in the parking lot.

He found the owner of the dog, asked if he could chalk off 100 meters and invited the dog to skate. “We created a brand new record that became a thing, skateboarding dogs.”

“I’m fascinated just by the quirky and unusual and the slightly skewed view that Guinness World Records has on the world, so it’s been a perfect fit.”

He believes everyone has a record in them, whether it’s most sweaters worn, the loudest burp or baking the largest cake pop. And just striving for the record is rewarding, too.

“It’s very difficult to climb K2 in the fastest time. It’s very difficult and it will cost a fortune and you need years probably of training and acclimatization for weeks,” he says.

“But if you’re stuck at home with your kids and you think, ‘Let’s see how fast we can solve Mr. Potato Head,’ then you’ve got some bonding time with your child just trying to do Mr. Potato Head at the fastest time.”

One record is always up for the taking no matter who you are: oldest human. “Anyone can attempt the oldest age. I mean, that’s what we’re all attempting,” he says, laughing.


Axed: Rampant Logging Hits India's Batmakers for Six

A worker crafts a Kashmiri willow wood cricket bat at a factory in Kashmir's Sangam village, on August 19, 2023. Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP
A worker crafts a Kashmiri willow wood cricket bat at a factory in Kashmir's Sangam village, on August 19, 2023. Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP
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Axed: Rampant Logging Hits India's Batmakers for Six

A worker crafts a Kashmiri willow wood cricket bat at a factory in Kashmir's Sangam village, on August 19, 2023. Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP
A worker crafts a Kashmiri willow wood cricket bat at a factory in Kashmir's Sangam village, on August 19, 2023. Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP

When the Cricket World Cup opens in India next month several players will carry Kashmiri willow wood bats, but manufacturers say over-exploitation of trees means their craft faces ruin.

Unchecked logging without replanting has reduced swathes of woodland to scrub in the disputed Indian-administered Himalayan territory, and bat manufacturers face a bleak future, said AFP.

"It's a case of culling all the time and no sowing," said Irfan Ali Shah, a senior official in the government's forest service.

Willow grows far more slowly than the more commercially viable poplar, and bat-makers warn the entire industry -- a major employer -- is at risk.

"We have started searching far-off corners of the valley, but there is not much good willow to be found anywhere for making the best quality bats," said Fawzul Kabiir, whose GR8 bats are International Cricket Council-approved and sold worldwide.

"If the government doesn't help plant again soon on a large scale... we will run out of raw material in three to five years," he told AFP.

Found from Europe to central Asia, water-loving white willows -- scientific name Salix alba -- are deciduous trees growing up to 30 meters (100 feet) tall.

Numbers expanded enormously during the 19th century under British colonial rule, when plantations were laid for firewood during the freezing mountain winter.

The ready supply of willow -- the wood favored by cricketers -- also sparked a craft in bats.

Tendulkar, Kohli and Waugh
Willow has criss-crossing fibers that give it strength and tiny air pockets that reduce vibrations, making the wood light but powerful enough to smash a ball for six.

International big hitters have traditionally preferred willow from England, but the same tree grows in Kashmir and every year the region now produces three million "clefts" -- the rough-cut blocks of wood ready for shaping.

It is the bulk of global supply and bat-maker Kabiir, 31, insists: "The best Kashmir willow bat is at least as good as English willow."

GR8 says its customers include cricketing greats from Indian heroes Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli to Australia's Steve Waugh and South Africa's Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers.

Kashmir's bat-makers prospered over the decades as cricket's popularity grew -- demand surged after India's 1983 World Cup win and the sport now has more than a billion fans globally.

Today, the industry employs some 120,000 people across 400 workshops, according to manufacturers.

It is a key contributor to the economy of Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region claimed in full by both India and Pakistan but split between them, with the portion controlled by New Delhi roiled by a long-running insurgency.

- 'Near extermination' -

But supplies are vanishing fast.

Agricultural scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University have warned female willow trees -- the most suitable for bat-making -- are facing "near extermination" in Kashmir.

Nearly a million trees were logged in the past decade as the government removed plantations sucking up water from the shrinking Wular lake, protected under the United Nations Ramsar convention.

Elsewhere, willows have been hacked down to make space for farmland and rice paddies.

Demand for timber from other industries, including plywood and pencils, has meant some have replaced willow with swifter-growing poplar.

"A willow tree matures in 30 years and poplar in half the time, and it fetches the same price," said Feroz Ahmed Reshi, whose family has supplied willow wood to bat-makers for generations. "This year, we planted 300 poplars and about five willows."

'Our SOS'
The government banned cleft exports to the rest of India or overseas 25 years ago in a bid to control logging and boost industry in Kashmir.

But the law is repeatedly flouted with some 100,000 clefts illegally sent elsewhere annually, a bat-makers association official said.

"Smuggling of our precious raw material has not stopped," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic.

Authorities used to plant willow on state land to maintain firewood supplies but stopped decades ago as electricity and gas became available for heating.

Shah, the forestry official, believes bat-makers must "plant their own willow on their own land" to replace each tree felled.

But private land is scarce in Kashmir, and prices have surged since New Delhi suspended the region's semi-autonomous status and imposed direct rule in 2019.

That allowed Indians from elsewhere to buy land in Kashmir for the first time, a policy denounced by critics as "settler colonialism".

GR8's factory and showroom are in the small town of Sangam, the center of the bat industry, where tourists snap up bats from lines of stores, spending anything from $12 to $180.

"This is our SOS to the government," owner Kabiir said. "We cannot do it alone."


King Charles III and Queen Camilla to Welcome South Korea’s President for State Visit in November 

Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla pose at a plaque named after his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II at the Flower Market Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 in Paris. (AP)
Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla pose at a plaque named after his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II at the Flower Market Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 in Paris. (AP)
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King Charles III and Queen Camilla to Welcome South Korea’s President for State Visit in November 

Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla pose at a plaque named after his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II at the Flower Market Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 in Paris. (AP)
Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla pose at a plaque named after his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II at the Flower Market Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 in Paris. (AP)

King Charles III and Queen Camilla will welcome the president of South Korea for a state visit to the UK in November, the second such visit of the monarch’s reign.

The king and queen will host Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife, Kim Keon Hee, at Buckingham Palace on an as yet unspecified date in November, the palace said Tuesday.

Yoon, a conservative former prosecutor, has sought to strengthen South Korea’s military alliance with the United States, drawing an angry response from North Korea.

But Yoon, 62, has also showed the lighter side of his character. During a state dinner at the White House in April, he belted out the opening verse of one of his favorite songs, the 1970s folk-rock classic “American Pie,” at the request of President Joe Biden.

A state banquet at Buckingham Palace is unlikely to feature a moment of impromptu song. Such events are traditionally more composed affairs featuring tiaras, toasts and dinner for around 150 guests, with a string orchestra usually providing the musical backdrop.

State visits normally begin with a welcome from the king and other members of the royal family, with the visitors inspecting the guard of honor then riding to the palace in a procession of carriages accompanied by mounted soldiers.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was honored with the first incoming state visit of Charles’ reign when he visited the UK last November.


Sudan's Vital Date Industry Struggles in War-decimated Economy

Prices have collapsed in Sudan's date industry, the latest economic sector to become a casualty of war in the northeast African country. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP
Prices have collapsed in Sudan's date industry, the latest economic sector to become a casualty of war in the northeast African country. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP
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Sudan's Vital Date Industry Struggles in War-decimated Economy

Prices have collapsed in Sudan's date industry, the latest economic sector to become a casualty of war in the northeast African country. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP
Prices have collapsed in Sudan's date industry, the latest economic sector to become a casualty of war in the northeast African country. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

The lush palm groves of Karima are a long way from Sudan's battlefields, but the war's effects are all too present, leaving farmers struggling to find buyers for this year's harvest.

Prices have collapsed in the vital date industry, the latest economic sector to become a casualty of war in the northeast African country, said AFP.

Every autumn, until this September, date farmers in northern Sudan pulled their harvests down from palm trees, securing a living for months to come.

But five months into the war between Sudan's rival generals, the country's economic infrastructure has been destroyed and "buyers are scared", farmer Al-Fatih al-Badawi, 54, told AFP.
Sudan is the world's seventh-largest producer of dates, growing more than 460,000 tonnes per year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.
How much of that figure will be available this year remains to be seen, but farmers in northern Sudan are lucky they could manage a harvest at all.

In Karima -- a town on the Nile River about 340 kilometers (210 miles) north of the capital Khartoum -- the groves bustle with young men climbing date palms, dropping bunches of the brown fruit, beloved by Sudanese, onto white sheets below.

Farmers who depend on the date industry face colossal challenges moving their products across the country, as do those in other agricultural sectors.
Along with insecurity, wartime fuel shortages have severely hindered the ability to transport goods.

Before the war, nearly all trade in highly centralized Sudan went through Khartoum.

But constant air strikes, artillery blasts and street battles have left the capital largely off-limits to traders, who fear for their safety or are turned back by fighters at checkpoints.

"Our main market was Khartoum", Badawi said. Without it, trade is at a standstill and the price for his crop is in freefall.

Land left fallow
In Sudan, one of the world's most underdeveloped countries, dates and other agricultural products were a foundation of the pre-war economy.

The agriculture sector employed more than 80 percent of the workforce and accounted for 35 to 40 percent of gross domestic product, according to the United Nations.

But now, in much of the country including southeastern Gedaref state, known as Sudan's breadbasket, the land has been left fallow.
Processing factories have been razed or looted.

Smallholder farmers have no access to financing, traders have no guarantees of viable markets and industry heavyweights have given up.

In May, Haggar Group -- one of the agriculture sector's largest employers -- suspended operations and laid off thousands of laborers.

Even before the war began, one in three people were in need of humanitarian aid and the country's farmers -- unable to meet domestic food security needs -- struggled to break even.

The date sector in Karima had been in urgent need of "guidance and agricultural policy", as well as resources to reduce high rates of waste, said Al-Jarah Ahmed Ali, 45, another farmer.

Now the challenges have only worsened.

Since April 15, fighting between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, has torn Sudan apart.

Fighting has killed nearly 7,500 people, according to a conservative estimate from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

More than 4.2 million people -- most of them from the Khartoum area -- have been displaced within Sudan, and another 1.1 million have fled the country, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Agricultural workers are among those joining the exodus, and while they may find relative safety in northern Sudan, whether they can earn enough to survive in a collapsing date market is questionable.

Among them is Hozaifa Youssef, a 26-year-old radiologist who left Khartoum to rejoin his family in Karima, where he is helping with the date harvest.

"I was going to India to get my master's degree," but that goal is now on hold, Youssef said.

The veteran farmer, Badawi, has not lost hope.

"We're trying to find new markets, even though it's going to be more expensive. Hopefully, the price will adjust and it will all work out."


Old Airplanes Turned into Houses with Bedrooms, Livingroom, Showers

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial
photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US July 1, 2019.
(Reuters)
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US July 1, 2019. (Reuters)
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Old Airplanes Turned into Houses with Bedrooms, Livingroom, Showers

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial
photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US July 1, 2019.
(Reuters)
Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US July 1, 2019. (Reuters)

After losing her house to a fire, Jo Ann Ussery had a peculiar idea: to live in an airplane.
She bought an old Boeing 727 that was destined for the scrapyard, had it shipped to a plot of land she already owned, and spent six months renovating, doing most of the work by herself.
By the end, she had a fully functional home, with over 1,500 square feet of living space, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and even a hot tub – where the cockpit used to be. All for less than $30,000, or about $60,000 in today’s money.
Ussery – a beautician from Benoit, Mississippi – had no professional connection to aviation, and was following the suggestion of her brother-in-law, an air traffic controller.
She lived in the plane from 1995 to 1999, when it was irreparably damaged after falling off the truck that was moving it to a different location.
Although she wasn’t the first person to ever live in an airplane, her flawless execution of the project had an inspirational effect, according to CNN. In the late 1990s, Bruce Campbell, an electrical engineer with a private pilot license, said: “I was driving home and listening to the radio, and they had Jo Ann’s story, and it was amazing I didn’t drive off the road because my focus turned entirely to it.”
A 727 in the woods
Campbell has lived in his own plane – also a Boeing 727 – in the woods of Hillsboro, Oregon: “I still stand on Jo Ann’s shoulder and I’m grateful for the proof of concept. I would never live in a conventional home. No chance.” His project cost $220,000 in total (about $380,000 in today’s money), of which roughly half was for the purchase of the plane.
He says the plane belonged to Olympic Airways in Greece and was even used to transport the remains of the airline’s magnate owner, Aristotle Onassis, in 1975.
“I didn’t know the plane’s history at the time. And I didn’t know that it had an old, 707-style interior. It was really, really awful compared to modern standards. It was functional but it just looked old and crude. Maybe the worst choice for a home,” he said.
Campbell had to work on the plane for a couple of years before being able to live in it. The interiors are no-frills, with a primitive shower made out of a plastic cylinder and a futon sofa for a bed. During the harshest part of winter, Campbell traditionally retreats to a small apartment he owns in the Japanese city of Miyazaki. But the pandemic has made this difficult, and for the past three years he’s been living in the 727 year-round.
Intending to set up an airplane home in Japan as well, he almost bought a second aircraft – a 747– but the deal fell out at the last minute, because the airline decided to keep the aircraft in service for longer than expected.
Campbell frequently gets visitors and even offers lodging in the aircraft free of charge, while in the summer he hosts larger public events with funfair attractions: “Artists perform on the right wing, guests dance in front or behind the wing in the forest,” he added.
One plane isn’t enough
If you think living in an airplane is extravagant enough, how about living in two? That’s the plan for Joe Axline, who owns an MD-80 and DC-9, and plans to execute his grand plan “Project Freedom”, by placing the two planes next to each other in a plot of land in Brookshire.
Axline has lived in the MD-80 for over a decade and is planning to renovate the DC-8 and equip it with recreational areas such as a movie theater and a music room. “I’ve got less than a quarter of a million dollars in the whole project,” said Axline, who has very few running expenses because he owns the land and has built his own water well and sewer system: “The only thing that I have still left is electricity,” he added.
“Living in a house, you have a lot of space. My master bedroom is 5*3 meters. I’ve got two TVs in it, plenty of space to walk around. My living room is good-sized, the dining room seats four, I can cook enough food for a whole bunch of people if they come over. I also have a shower and a toilet. The only thing that I don’t have here is windows that open,” he explains, adding that he just opens the plane’s doors to let fresh air in.
Axline too was interested in a Boeing 747 – living in the “Queen of the Skies” is the airplane homeowner’s ultimate dream – but he gave up when he was confronted with the shipping costs: “The airplane itself was about $300,000, but the shipping cost was $500,000. Half a million dollars to move it. That’s because you can’t drive it through the roads, you’d have to tear it apart, cut it up, slice it and dice it and then put it back together.”
There are other notable examples of airplanes converted to homes. One of the earliest is a Boeing 307 Stratoliner once owned by billionaire and film director Howard Hughes, who spent a fortune remodeling the interior to turn it into a “Flying Penthouse.” After being damaged by a hurricane, it was turned into an extravagant motor yacht and eventually purchased in the 1980s by Florida resident Dave Drimmer. He lived in the plane-boat hybrid for 20 years, before eventually donating it to the Florida Air Museum in 2018.
American country singer Red Lane, who had a past as a plane mechanic, lived for decades in a converted DC-8 that he saved from the scrapyard in the late 1970s. “I have never, ever woken up in this place wishing I was somewhere else,” Lane revealed in a 2006 TV interview.
Those who want to experience a night or two in an airplane home have a few options in the form of hotels; in Costa Rica, the Costa Verde hotel boasts a fully refurbished Boeing 727 – complete with two bedrooms and an ocean view terrace.
In Sweden, Jumbo Stay is a hotel built entirely inside a Boeing 747, sitting on the grounds of Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.
And if you’re just looking to party, there’s another Boeing 747 that can be hired for events with up to 220 people, at Cotswold Airport in England, about 100 miles west of London.


Long Covid Patients at Higher Risk of Organ Failure, New Study Suggests

 A health care worker attends to a COVID-19 patient in an
intensive care unit at the General University Hospital in Prague on
Tuesday. | AP
A health care worker attends to a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at the General University Hospital in Prague on Tuesday. | AP
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Long Covid Patients at Higher Risk of Organ Failure, New Study Suggests

 A health care worker attends to a COVID-19 patient in an
intensive care unit at the General University Hospital in Prague on
Tuesday. | AP
A health care worker attends to a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at the General University Hospital in Prague on Tuesday. | AP

People living with long Covid after being admitted to hospital are more likely to show some damage to major organs, according to a new study.

MRI scans revealed patients were three times more likely to have some abnormalities in multiple organs such as the lungs, brain and kidneys.

Researchers believe there is a link with the severity of the illness.

It is hoped the UK study will help in the development of more effective treatments for long Covid.

The study, published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine, looked at 259 patients who fell so ill with the virus that they were admitted to hospital.

Five months after they were discharged, MRI scans of their major organs showed some significant differences when compared to a group of 52 people who had never had Covid.

The biggest impact was seen on the lungs, where the scans were 14 times more likely to show abnormalities.

MRI scans were also three times more likely to show some abnormalities in the brain - and twice as likely in the kidneys - among people who had had severe Covid.

There was no significant difference in the health of the heart or liver.

Dr. Betty Raman, from the University of Oxford and one of the lead investigators on the study, says it is clear that those living with long Covid symptoms are more likely to have experienced some organ damage.

"The patient's age, how severely ill they were with Covid, as well as if they had other illnesses at the same time, were all significant factors in whether or not we found damage to these important organs in the body," she added.

New treatments

The findings are part of a bigger study looking at the long-term effects of Covid on those who were hospitalized, known as the Phosp-Covid study.

The researchers found some symptoms matched up with signs of organ damage revealed by the MRI scans - for example, a tight chest and cough with abnormalities in the lungs. However, not all of the symptoms experienced by those living with long Covid could be directly linked to what was seen on the scans.

Dr. Raman says it also seems that abnormalities in more than one organ were more common among people who had been admitted to hospital and were still reporting physical and mental health problems after they had recovered from the initial infection.

"What we are seeing is that people with multi-organ pathology on MRI - that is, they had more than two organs affected - were four times more likely to report severe and very severe mental and physical impairment," she said.

"Our findings also highlight the need for longer term multidisciplinary follow-up services focused on pulmonary and extrapulmonary health (kidneys, brain and mental health), particularly for those hospitalized for Covid."

Prof. Chris Brightling, from the University of Leicester and who is leading the Phosp-Covid study, says the research is part of a wider effort to understand the group of different symptoms that make up the syndrome known as long Covid.

"This detailed study of whole-body imaging confirms that changes in multiple organs is seen months after being hospitalized for Covid," he said.

"The Phosp-Covid study is working on understanding why this happens and how we can develop tests and new treatments for long Covid," he concluded.


Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin Lit with Colors of Saudi Flag

The Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin was lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. SPA
The Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin was lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. SPA
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Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin Lit with Colors of Saudi Flag

The Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin was lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. SPA
The Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin was lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. SPA

The Irish capital celebrated Saudi Arabia's 93rd National Day by lighting the Samuel Beckett Bridge, one of the most important and oldest landmarks in Dublin, in the colors of the Saudi flag between 8 pm on Saturday and 12 am Sunday.

Saudi citizens and students at various Irish universities attended the event and expressed their pride in their homeland.


NASA's First Asteroid Sample Parachutes into Utah Desert

As the Sun rises recovery team members take off in helicopters flying into the Utah desert to participate in the asteroid sample return and recovery mission at Dugway, Utah, on September 24, 2023. (Photo by GEORGE FREY / AFP)
As the Sun rises recovery team members take off in helicopters flying into the Utah desert to participate in the asteroid sample return and recovery mission at Dugway, Utah, on September 24, 2023. (Photo by GEORGE FREY / AFP)
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NASA's First Asteroid Sample Parachutes into Utah Desert

As the Sun rises recovery team members take off in helicopters flying into the Utah desert to participate in the asteroid sample return and recovery mission at Dugway, Utah, on September 24, 2023. (Photo by GEORGE FREY / AFP)
As the Sun rises recovery team members take off in helicopters flying into the Utah desert to participate in the asteroid sample return and recovery mission at Dugway, Utah, on September 24, 2023. (Photo by GEORGE FREY / AFP)

A NASA space capsule carrying the largest soil sample ever scooped up from the surface of an asteroid streaked through Earth's atmosphere on Sunday and parachuted into the Utah desert, delivering the celestial specimen to scientists.

The gumdrop-shaped capsule, released from the robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx as the mothership passed within 67,000 miles of Earth hours earlier, touched down within a designated landing zone west of Salt Lake City on the US military's vast Utah Test and Training Range.

The final descent and landing, shown on a NASA livestream, capped a six-year joint mission between the US space agency and the University of Arizona. It marked only the third asteroid sample, and by far the biggest, ever returned to Earth for analysis, following two similar missions by Japan's space agency ending in 2010 and 2020.

OSIRIS-REx collected its specimen three years ago from Bennu, a small, carbon-rich asteroid discovered in 1999. The space rock is classified as a "near-Earth object" because it passes relatively close to our planet every six years, though the odds of an impact are considered remote.

Apparently made up of a loose collection of rocks, like a rubble pile, Bennu measures just 500 meters (1,600 ft) across, making it slightly wider than the Empire State Building is tall but tiny compared with the Chicxulub asteroid that struck Earth some 66 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs.

OSIRIS-REx is already chasing after the asteroid Apophis, and will reach it in 2029.

NASA’s plans to return samples from Mars are on hold after an independent review board criticized the cost and complexity. The Martian rover Perseverance has spent the past two years collecting core samples for eventual transport to Earth.