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Chennai: Along with India and EU, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently became successful in inserting a spacecraft into orbit around Mars on the first try. The mission was announced in 2014 and the Hope probe succeeded in entering the planet’s orbit on 9 February.

Leading the science mission as deputy project manager is Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, a computer engineer and also the country’s first Minister of State for Advanced Sciences.

Al Amiri, 33, is also the chairperson of UAE’s space agency Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, which developed the Hope orbiter (or Al Amal), in conjunction with University of Colorado Boulder, University of California-Berkeley and Arizona State University.

The Iranian-born Al Amiri is one of the youngest ministers worldwide and is also the youngest to lead a space agency.

She subsequently obtained an M.Sc. in computer engineering in 2014 from the same university, while also simultaneously working as the Head of Space Science at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, where she set up the research and development unit and functioned as its director.

As a part of the organisation, she worked towards the country’s goal of developing a “knowledge-based economy”. The goal includes plans to build a human settlement on Mars by 2117. To facilitate training and research, the country plans to build a ‘science city’ in the deserts of Dubai to simulate Martian conditions.

In 2014, Al Amiri became the programme manager for advanced aerial systems in the country’s space centre. She was responsible for putting together the engineering team for the space agency.

She was then appointed the head of the Emirates Science Council in 2016.

Ministry and guest appearances

On 19 October 2017, Al Amiri became the country’s first Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, a position she continues to hold. In August 2020, she became the Chairperson of the UAE Space Agency.

She was invited by the World Economic Forum to speak at Davos 2019, and also became the first citizen of UAE to speak at an international TED event.

Al Amiri was also covered by BBC’s 100 Women, a documentary series that examines the role and lives of women in the 21st century globally.

In her country, Al Amiri goes by the title “Her Excellency” due to her ministerial position.


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Mumbai (PTI): Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, who is among the 12 Rajya Sabha suspended recently for their "unruly" conduct in the House, on Sunday said she has stepped down as the anchor of the Sansad TV's show "Meri Kahaani".

Chaturvedi, in a letter, dated December 5, to Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, said, "After my arbitrary suspension, that has totally disgraced established parliamentary norms and rules, to stifle my voice, my party's voice inside the chamber, I am unwilling to continue taking space on Sansad TV when my primary oath to the Constitution is being denied to me."

The 12 opposition MPs -- six from the Congress, two each from the Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena, and one each from the CPI and CPI(M) -- were suspended from the Rajya Sabha on Monday for the entire Winter Session of Parliament for their "unruly" conduct in the previous session in August.

The Opposition has termed the suspension as "undemocratic and in violation of all the Rules of Procedure" of the Upper House.

In her letter to Naidu, Chaturvedi said, "That this suspension also chose to disregard my parliamentary track record and my contribution beyond the call of duty so as to give a platform to women parliamentarians to share their journey, I believe injustice has been done but as it is considered valid in the eyes of the Chair, I must respect it."

"I believe it is my duty that when today the highest number of women MPs have been suspended in the recorded history of the Rajya Sabha for an entire session for speaking up for the people of this country, then I need to speak up for them and stand in solidarity for them, she said.

Also, not to forget that 12 MPs being suspended for an entire session for their conduct in the previous session has "never happened in Parliament's history," the Sena leader said.