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US announces $225 million in emergency aid to Yemen

RABAT: Morocco has rapidly expanded its fleet of drones as it battles the coronavirus pandemic, deploying them for aerial surveillance, public service announcements and sanitization.“This is a real craze. In just weeks, demand has tripled in Morocco and other countries in the region,” said Yassine Qamous, chief of Droneway Maroc, African distributor for leading Chinese…

RABAT: Morocco has rapidly expanded its fleet of drones as it battles the coronavirus pandemic, deploying them for aerial surveillance, public service announcements and sanitization.“This is a real craze. In just weeks, demand has tripled in Morocco and other countries in the region,” said Yassine Qamous, chief of Droneway Maroc, African distributor for leading Chinese drone company DJI.Moroccan firms have been using drones for years and Qamous says it “is among the most advanced countries in Africa” for unmanned flight, with a dedicated industrial base, researchers and qualified pilots.But restrictive regulations have long limited civilian drones to specific applications such as filming, agriculture, monitoring solar panels and mapping.That changed rapidly as the novel coronavirus swept across the world.In recent weeks, authorities have employed drones to issue warnings, identify suspicious movement in the streets and disperse illegal rooftop and balcony gatherings.A strict lockdown imposed in March has not been uniformly respected, with local media reporting on nighttime gatherings of neighbors and collective prayers on roofs, beyond the view of street patrols.Last week local authorities in Temara, a town near the capital Rabat, launched a high-precision aerial surveillance system developed by local company Beti3D, which previously specialized in aerial mapping.Other countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East have also adopted technology deployed in China since the start of the pandemic, whether for tracking the movements of citizens, disinfecting public spaces or facilitating deliveries.“Drones have quickly emerged as a vital technology for public safety agencies during this crisis as they can safely monitor public spaces,” according to the website of DJI, by far the world’s top drone maker.Like most countries, Morocco primarily uses imported Chinese drones. But the emergence of new applications linked to the pandemic is also driving local production of specialized aerial vehicles.“There is real demand,” said Abderrahmane Krioual, the head of Farasha, a startup that has raised funds to produce drones for thermal surveillance and aerial disinfectant spraying.The aeronautics department of the International University of Rabat (UIR) offered its facilities, expertise and prototypes to authorities in March, deploying drones with loudspeakers or infrared cameras able to detect movement at night or spot individuals with high temperatures.Several projects are underway across the country ahead of the widespread deployment of various models of drones, said Mohsine Bouya, the university’s director of technology development and transfer.Teams are also developing tracking applications, but “we’ll have to wait for a change to the law” before launching them, he said.Moroccan authorities declined to comment on the use of drones or the numbers deployed since the start of the public health emergency in mid-March.Unlike in some countries, the use of surveillance drones has not sparked public debate in Morocco, where the kingdom’s authoritarian response to the pandemic is widely supported.Morocco closed its borders early and tasked law enforcement with imposing strict confinement measures on the population.They include movement restrictions and the compulsory wearing of masks, with a nighttime curfew since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — enforced by a heavy police presence.Those found guilty of violating lockdown measures face one to three months in prison, a fine equivalent to $125, or both.Officials say 59,000 people have been prosecuted for breaching lockdown measures.Authorities say the measures have limited transmission of the virus, with 5,382 COVID-19 cases reported including 182 deaths since the state of emergency was announced.But the kingdom’s high number of arrests — some 85,000 people by April 30 — has drawn criticism from Georgette Gagnon, director of field operations at the United Nations’ Human Rights Office.Last week she listed Morocco among countries where repressive coronavirus measures have created a “toxic lockdown culture.”Morocco disputed this, saying its measures were “in line with legal frameworks respecting human rights.”

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Emirati youth learning new skills to be ready for future of work

Local talent will be seen in action in the $3 million MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge. With the UAE investing in advanced technologies, Emirati youngsters are acquiring skills and education to be ready for the opportunities. Dr Arthur Morrish, CEO, Aspire, organising the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), is looking forward to seeing local…

Emirati youth learning new skills to be ready for future of work

Local talent will be seen in action in the $3 million MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge.

With the UAE investing in advanced technologies, Emirati youngsters are acquiring skills and education to be ready for the opportunities.
Dr Arthur Morrish, CEO, Aspire, organising the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), is looking forward to seeing local talent in action at this edition’s $3 million MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge.
“An overwhelming number of Emirati youth and professionals are showing keen interest in learning new technological skills to fit into the future workplace. This is becoming increasingly evident as the UAE undergoes this digital transformation and builds its knowledge economy continuing to position the country at the forefront of global technological innovation. However, achieving this goal requires a concerted effort from the public, private and education sectors,” Dr Morrish told Khaleej Times.
The three-phase global challenge is underway with the submission round of white paper till December 30, then there is simulation in August 2022 and live demonstration in June 2023.
“The competition is open to leading universities, research institutions, companies and individual innovators from all over the world, including the UAE. We’re really excited about the entries from the UAE and can’t wait for the local talent to showcase their skills on the global stage and test themselves against the world’s best.”
In the challenge, top universities, research institutions, companies and individual innovators from all over the world can participate. They are encouraged to collaborate and partner with the industry to form teams.
The competition focuses on finding real-world solutions to maritime safety and security challenges such as smuggling, human trafficking, illegal fishing, and piracy. Dr Morrish said robotics-based industries will play a key role in the future knowledge-based economy of the UAE.
Registrations to the challenge can be done through https://www.mbzirc.com
Aspire is the technology programme management pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), which is responsible for defining the emirate’s research and development strategy, consolidating funds for efficient investment, and driving policy and regulation.

Ashwani Kumar
I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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Woman dies after Alec Baldwin fires prop gun on film set

US actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that killed a cinematographer and wounded the director on a film set in New Mexico, US law enforcement officers said Thursday. The incident happened on the set of “Rust” in the southwestern US state, where Baldwin is playing the lead in a 19th-century western. Halyna Hutchins and…

Woman dies after Alec Baldwin fires prop gun on film set

US actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that killed a cinematographer and wounded the director on a film set in New Mexico, US law enforcement officers said Thursday.
The incident happened on the set of “Rust” in the southwestern US state, where Baldwin is playing the lead in a 19th-century western.
Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza “were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin,” the sheriff in Santa Fe said in a statement.
Hutchins, 42, was transported to hospital by helicopter but died of her wounds, while Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance and is receiving treatment.
No charges have been filed over the incident, which is being investigated, with witness interviews ongoing.
A spokesperson from the production told The Hollywood Reporter the “accident” involved the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.
A sheriff’s spokesman told the publication that the director was in “critical condition.”
The incident took place at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a production location near Santa Fe which is popular with Hollywood filmmakers.
Movie sets usually have stringent rules over the use of prop weapons, but accidents have happened.
Most famously, Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died during filming of “The Crow” after being shot by a gun that was supposed to fire blanks.
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India: Army recovers bodies of 5 trekkers trapped by snow

Slide Menus Show/Hide Left Slide Menu Show/Hide Right Slide Menu Show/Hide Top Slide Menu Show/Hide Bottom Slide Menu   ANI/Kinnaur Filed on October 22, 2021 Representational image: ANI Two people rescued, 4 still missing Indian army forces on Thursday recovered five bodies and rescued two people from snow in a rescue operation with Indo-Tibetan Border…

India: Army recovers bodies of 5 trekkers trapped by snow

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ANI/Kinnaur

Filed on October 22, 2021

Representational image: ANI

Two people rescued, 4 still missing

Indian army forces on Thursday recovered five bodies and rescued two people from snow in a rescue operation with Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), informed Abid Hussain Sadiq, Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur.
“ITBP & Army started rescue operations on Thursday for 11 trekkers who went missing. They had started their expedition from Uttarakhand. Army rescued two people & recovered five bodies from the snow at different places,” said Deputy Commissioner.
The Deputy Commissioner added that four out of the 11 trekkers are still missing.

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