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Wednesday,04-August-2021

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UAE’s Hope Probe enters Mars’ orbit

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Hope Probe, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Mars mission, has successfully entered the Red Planet’s orbit, making the country’s space agency the fifth in the world to achieve the feat, authorities announced here on Wednesday.

The Dubai-based Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced the probe entered the Mars orbit at 8.13 p.m. on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

After Hope Probe’s orbit entry, UAE scientists and engineers will spend two months testing the spacecraft and its on-board scientific instruments before the orbiter will transition to its science orbit, the MBRSC said.

In its capture orbit, Hope Probe’s nearest point above Mars’ surface is 1,000 km while its farthest point is 49,380 km.

“During this stage, the ground control at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai will conduct Three Transition to Science (TTS) manoeuvers to move the probe from its capture to science orbit by April,” Omran Ahmed Al Hammadi, head of the Science Data Centre for the probe, said.

Hope Probe’s science orbit is elliptical, between 20,000 km and 43,000 km above Mars’ surface and with an inclination of 25 degrees.

In this orbit, the spacecraft can complete one orbit of Mars every 55 hours and will capture a full planetary sample every nine days.

With its three scientific instruments, Hope Probe will map a complete portrait of the Martian atmosphere and study its seasonal and daily changes, while the more than one terabyte (1,000 GB) of new data the spacecraft is expected to collect will be shared with over 200 academic and scientific institutions worldwide for free, according to the MBRSC.

Hope was the first of three space missions sent toward the Red Planet during the July 2020 Mars launch window.

The other two missions were launched by the national space agencies of China (Tianwen-1) and the US (Mars 2020 and its Perseverance rover).

On Tuesday, the Hope Probe became the first of the three to enter the planet’s orbit.

International News

India and China militaries hold talks to resolve border dispute

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The twelfth round of top commanders-level talks between India and China are underway at Moldo on the Chinese side in the Ladakh region on Saturday.

The talks are happening after a gap of three months. Indian military delegates are discussing disengagement at friction areas like Hot Springs, Gogra and 900 square km Depsang plains.

Indian delegation is led by Leh-based XIV Corps chief Lt Gen P.G.K. Menon and Additional Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Naveen Srivastava.

The Chinese military delegation is led by Commander of the PLA’s Western Theatre Command Xu Qiling, who was appointed earlier this month.

The build-up in Depsang was not being considered part of the current standoff that started in May last year as escalation here took place in 2013. India has insisted during recent military commander meetings to resolve all issues across the Line of Actual Control.

“The initial attempt will be to resolve Gogra and Hot Springs. Finding a solution to Depsang might be tricky and take longer,” said the officer.

In April, during 11th round of Corps Commander level talk, the focus was disengagement on friction points at Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang. On February 20, Indian and Chinese militaries held 10th round of dialogue to de-escalate tension at the Line of Actual Control.

Till now, apart from 11 round of Corps Commanders-level talks, the two forces have also held 10 Major Generals level, 55 Brigadiers-level talks and 1,450 calls over the hotlines.

China has been enhancing military infrastructure across the Line of Control.

Looking at it, India has changed its posture towards China, unlike its previous defensive approach that placed a premium on fending on Chinese aggression, India is now catering to military options to strike back and has reoriented its military accordingly.

India has reoriented around 50,000 troops whose main focus will be the disputed border with China. The reorientation comes when China is refurbishing its existing air-fields in Tibetan Plateau that will allow twin-engines fighter aircraft to be stationed, sources said.

In addition, China has also brought troops from the Tibet Military region to the Xinjiang region that passes through Karakoram range down south Uttarakhand.

Further, they have deployed larger numbers of long range artillery and are rapidly building infrastructure in the Tibetan Plateau.

So far, the troops of two Himalayan giants have disengaged from both the banks of Pangong Tso in February this year.

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International News

Saudi Arabia approves security plan for Haj

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Saudi Arabia has approved the security plan for this year’s Haj pilgrimage, while taking into account precautions against Covid-19.

According to the plan issued on Sunday by the Interior Ministry that aims to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims, a fine of 10,000 Saudi Riyals ($2,666) will be imposed on anyone who attempts to enter the ritual sites without permission, reports Xinhua news agency.

The ministry calls on all citizens and residents to obey the special regulations of this year’s Haj season.

Meanwhile, police officers will be deployed on all routes leading to the Grand Mosque and holy sites.

Saudi Arabia announced last month that the 2021 Haj season would be limited to domestic pilgrims only and allows a maximum of 60,000 individuals.

It will be the second Haj season with no foreign pilgrims in order to prevent the further spread of the pandemic.

More than 13 million worshippers wearing masks and observing physical distancing rules have visited the mosques since the seven-month prayer and Umrah suspension was lifted last October.

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Sindh High Court issues notice as Pakistan political worker abducted

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The Sindh High Court (SHC) in Pakistan on Friday issued notices to the Sindh police chief, Sindh Rangers director-general, the provincial government and the Federation of Pakistan on a petition seeking the recovery of a missing Awami Workers Party (AWP) activist, dawn has reported.

Seengar Noonari was allegedly taken away from his home in Naseerabad in Sindh last week, following which his wife filed a petition in the SHC to seek his production.

Fozia Seengar claimed in the petition that they were asleep in their house on the night between June 25 and 26 when, at around 3 a.m., about 15-20 people, including some wearing security personnel uniforms, forcibly entered into the house by breaking open the main door with weapons and also fired shots “to spread terror”, the report said.

According to the petition, the individuals wearing uniforms blindfolded the AWP worker and took him away along with books and other material, while his brother was left at home.

The petitioner’s lawyer informed the court that she had submitted an application regarding Seengar’s alleged abduction in the Naseerabad police station.

The plea requested the court to order the respondents and officials working under them to produce the activist before the court and order his immediate release.

Taking up the petition, the SHC ordered the issuance of notices to the respondents, including the Sindh police and Rangers chiefs and the station house officer of the Naseerabad Police Station, as well as the deputy attorney general and additional attorney general, seeking their response to the application by July 13.

The petitioner’s counsel was also directed to file a copy of the CNIC or other official identification documents of the “missing person”.

Seengar is the labour secretary in the national committee of AWP, while Fozia is the finance secretary of the party’s women’s wing, the Women Democratic Front.

Fozia said her husband had also remained the chairman of the ‘Shehri Ittehad’ in Naseerabad highlighting civic issues and was elected as a councillor as well. He had also contested on a seat for the provincial assembly from Naseerabad, the report said.

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