TIME UAE

UAE Plans First Arab Spaceship to Mars in 7 Years

(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) — The United Arab Emirates, already home to the world’s tallest tower, is now reaching for the stars. The energy-rich country on the eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula announced plans Wednesday to establish a space program to send the first Arab spaceship to Mars in 2021.

The ruler of the UAE’s emirate of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said the mission will prove the Arab world is still capable of delivering scientific contributions to humanity, despite the many conflicts across the Middle East.

“Our region is a region of civilization. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilize,” said Al Maktoum, who is also UAE’s vice president, in a statement.

For years, the UAE has been pushing Arab League nations to create a pan-Arab space agency similar to the European Space Agency.

A UAE Cabinet statement said the unmanned space probe is also aimed at diversifying the country’s economy and building up its local talent in the technology and aerospace fields.

The government did not say how much the program is expected to cost, but said the space agency would report to the Cabinet and be financially and administratively independent otherwise.

The UAE, which is comprised of seven emirates, says that its investments in space technologies already exceed 20 billion dirham, or roughly $5.4 billion. That includes investments in satellite data, mobile satellite communications and earth mapping and observation.

The Cabinet statement said the space technologies industry is estimated to be worth around $300 billion globally, and is increasingly important to the security of nations.

For hundreds of years up until the mid-13th century, Islamic advancements in science and technology experienced a golden age, but later fell behind. The ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and UAE President Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan said the Mars probe “represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration.”

Several Muslim-majority nations such as Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey Indonesia, Pakistan and Iran already have space agencies or programs.

Iran sent a monkey into space for the second time last year, returning it safely to earth, and says it aims to send an astronaut into space.

There have also been several Muslim astronauts from around the world. Saudi-born Prince Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud became the first Muslim and Arab to travel to space in 1985.

Meanwhile, Egypt became the first Arab country to launch its own communications satellite in 1998, dramatically transforming the broadcasting landscape in the region.

The Dubai ruler said his country chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because it inspires and motivates.

“The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward,” he said.

TIME Dubai

Dubai to Build World’s First Temperature-Controlled Indoor ‘City’

In Dubai's latest attempt to cement its place as the economic hub of the Islamic world, Sheik Mohammed announces plans to build the world's first temperature-controlled "city," which will double as the world's largest mall

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Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has unveiled plans for the Mall of the World — a 48 million-sq.-ft. (4.5 million sq m) shopping center, to be the world’s largest, which will also form the world’s first temperature-controlled “city.”

Designed by developers Dubai Holding, the complex will be modeled on the cultural district around New York’s Broadway and Oxford Street in London, and is expected to draw 180 million visitors to the city annually — even during the sweltering 104°F (40°C) summer. (The complex will be opened to the elements during tamer winter months to allow fresh air to circulate.)

“The growth in family and retail tourism underpins the need to enhance Dubai’s tourism infrastructure as soon as possible,” Sheik Mohammed said in a statement. “This project complements our plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the 2 billion people living in the region around us; and we are determined to achieve our vision.”

The ambitious project will include the world’s largest indoor amusement park and shopping mall, 100 hotels and serviced apartment complexes, an entertainment center to host 15,000 people, and a 3 million-sq.-ft. (300,000 sq m) “wellness district” for medical tourism. Buildings in the city will be connected by promenades stretching 4.5 miles (7 km). The plan is Dubai’s latest attempt to mark itself as the economic hub of the Islamic world; the UAE’s most populous city already boasts the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,722 ft. (829.8 m).

In addition, as countries around the world struggle to reduce their greenhouse emissions, the project could lead the way for environmentally responsible urban planning. Ahmad bin Byat, chief executive officer of Dubai Holding, said in a statement that technology used will “reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint, ensuring high levels of environmental sustainability and operational efficiency.”

The cost and timeline of the project have yet to be released, but it is expected to be a highlight at the UAE World Expo trade fair in 2020.

TIME India

Airline Passenger Attempts Suicide During Flight

The 30-year-old man, who works as a draftsman in Dubai, was on a flight to the Indian industrial hub of Hyderabad.

A passenger on an Emirates flight from Dubai to India attempted to commit suicide in the aircraft’s lavatory, the airline and police said Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Crew members found the passenger bleeding heavily shortly before the descent into Hyderabad, India. They administered treatment on board the aircraft before giving the passenger to a medical team on the ground.

The 30-year-old man, who works as a draftsman in Dubai, had wounds on his neck, ankles and wrists. He was in stable condition at an area hospital Monday. It’s still unclear what he used to injure himself or why he attempted suicide.

Emirates said the plane returned to Dubai without passengers for maintenance.

[AP]

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