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China’s spacecraft crew steps into space station.

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The Shenzhou XIII mission crew entered the Tiangong space station on Saturday morning, embarking on their six-month journey inside the station in the country’s longest spaceflight.

The three-member crew — mission commander Major General Zhai Zhigang, Senior Colonel Wang Yaping and Senior Colonel Ye Guangfu — floated into the station’s core module, named Tianhe, or Harmony of Heavens, at 9:58 am, around three hours after their spacecraft docked with the module, which is the first and central section of the permanent space station — Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace.

Their Shenzhou XIII spacecraft was lifted by a Long March 2F carrier rocket that blasted off at 12:23 am at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi Desert.

During their flight, the astronauts are tasked with a wide range of assignments, such as performing two to three spacewalks to install a small robotic arm onto a larger one; verifying key procedures and technologies like manual control of the robotic arms and robotic arm-assisted movement of station modules; checking the performance and capability of devices inside the station; and testing support instruments for astronauts’ life and work in long-term flights, according to Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency.

The astronauts will conduct scientific experiments and technology demonstrations in space medicine, microgravity physics and other fields. They will also deliver educational lectures that will be televised for Chinese students, the official said.

Shenzhou XIII is the fourth spacecraft to visit the Tiangong station and the second crewed ship to transport astronauts to the orbiting outpost.

Screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Oct 16, 2021 shows China’s Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship docking with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe. China’s Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship successfully docked with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, according to the China Manned Space Agency. [Photo/Xinhua]

The mission is expected to become the longest crewed spaceflight by China, doubling the time spent in the Shenzhou XII mission. It will also see the first spacewalk by a Chinese woman.

Mother of a 5-year-old girl, Wang is China’s second female astronaut to take part in a spaceflight. She took part in the Shenzhou X mission in June 2013. In the Shenzhou XIII flight, she will become the first Chinese woman to enter a space station and also the first Chinese woman to carry out a spacewalk.

One of China’s most challenging and sophisticated space endeavors, Tiangong will eventually consist of three main components-the Tianhe core module attached to two large space labs-with a combined weight of nearly 70 metric tons. The entire station is set to operate for about 15 years in a low-Earth orbit about 400 kilometers above the planet.

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Uthuru Thila Falhu to reduce imports, ensure food security: Minister Saeed

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Minister of Economic Development and Trade Mohamed Saeed has emphasised the government’s endeavor to enhance food security through the Uthuru Thila Falhu project, aiming to curtail imports.

In an interview with a private media outlet, Minister Saeed underscored the significance of locally sourced products in ensuring food security for citizens. He also highlighted plans for island-level production.

Additionally, Minister Saeed outlined a upcoming initiative set to launch in Uthuru Thila Falhu, focusing on bolstering food security by cultivating ample fruits, vegetables, and seafood to cater to both resorts and residential areas across the nation. He said that the project aligns with President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s vision for the country, aiming to transform Uthuru Thila Falhu into a pivotal food hub.

Furthermore, Minister Saeed disclosed that the Maldives Industrial Development Free Zone has entrusted the China Harbour Engineering Company with reclaiming land and establishing an agricultural zone in Uthuru Thila Falhu. The project includes the creation of a specialized agricultural zone serving as a pivotal distribution center for agricultural products and inputs.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Six independent MP-elects sign with PNC

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Six independent candidates who were elected to the Parliament in the recent elections have signed with the main ruling People’s National Congress (PNC).

In the parliamentary elections held on Sunday, PNC had endorsed several independent candidates over those contesting on the party’s ticket.

A spokesperson from the PNC confirmed on Wednesday that six independent candidates have signed with the party.

All six joined PNC on Tuesday.

They are:

  • Dr. Anara Naeem: Huraa constituency
  • Hassan Zareer: Mathiveri constituency
  • Ahmed Zameer: Central Machangolhi constituency
  • Ahmed Riyaz: Thimarafushi constituency
  • Yaseen Abdulla: Naifaru constituency
  • Azim Abdul Azeez: Vilingili constituency

The PNC had secured a landslide victory in Sunday’s elections; winning 66 out of 93 seats. With the six MP-elects who signed on Tuesday, the ruling party will have 72 seats in the next parliamentary assembly.

This does not take into account the candidates from other parties backed by the government; Maldives National Party (MNP)’s leader Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim, Maldives Development Alliance (MDA)’s leader Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, and Mohamed Abbas – a political from MDA who won the Velidhoo seat.

The MP-elects who signed with PNC on Tuesday includes former party members who lost the PNC primaries held in January. They later ran in the elections as independent candidates, with the government backing their candidacy over that of the ruling party’s own candidates.

This includes Zameer and Ahmed Riyaz. Their rival PNC candidates had later dropped out of the race and backed their candidacy.

Meanwhile, Hassan Zareer, the incumbent Mathiveri MP, had won the 2019 elections on a ticket from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). But he, along with 13 other lawmakers from MDP, defected to PNC after MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih lost re-election.

In this year’s polls, Zareer ran for re-election as an independent candidate, but with the government’s backing.

The move by the six independent MP-elects to join PNC comes after the MDP-majority Parliament passed an anti-defection bill on April 1.

The bill, which stipulates that parliamentarians will lose their seat for floor crossing, was signed into law by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu last week.

Meanwhile, a separate bill to include anti-defection provisions in the constitution is in the works in the Parliament.

The 20th parliamentary assembly will be sworn in on May 28.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Abdul Raheem express confidence in retaining majority of Parliament

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Special Advisor to the President Abdul Raheem Abdulla has expressed confidence that the newly elected Parliament will be retained. The remarks were made during a programme aired on PSM News.

The ruling party, People’s National Congress (PNC) secured the super majority of the Parliament, following the parliamentary elections held on April 21. Abdul Raheem stated that the majority retained is close to 80 members, including 66 PNC candidates elected, who were endorsed by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. He affirmed that the new Parliament would strive to amend laws and regulations such that residents attain the maximum benefit, unlike previous Parliaments.

Abdul Raheem claimed to be aware of the reasons behind the incapacity of previous Parliaments of being retained, and revealed that he knew the stories behind the resignation of 12 parliamentarians during the tenure of Former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Hence, he claimed to be aware of the necessary initiatives and preparations to maintain the majority of the newly elected Parliament.

Additionally, Abdul Raheem disclosed that certain candidates who were elected had previously held senior parliamentarian positions. Therefore, he ensured that the majority elected by the residents will be retained, unlike previous Parliaments.

Source(s): PsmNews

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