Rabat – For the first time in the Arab world, the International Space Station (ISS) held a teleconference with Moroccan students of Morocco’s National School of Computer Science and Systems Analysis (ENSIAS) and astronauts on January 3.During the first of its kind contact, the International Space Station (ISS) on-orbit crew touched upon life on board the ISS and space industry.The school community, including the students, teachers, families and community members were informed by the ISS on the substantial benefits of human spaceflight and the exploration and discovery that occur on spaceflight journeys. Students also learned about space technologies and the technologies involved in space communications through exploration of amateur radio.“This contact will enable Morocco to be more involved in space exploration and sought to give ENSIAS the tools to develop cooperation on space technologies,” said Mohamed Essaaidi, director of ENSIAS.He added that the ISS agreed to hold this conference particularly because Morocco “enjoys a high level of credibility in the field of scientific research and space exploration.”The contact was held as part of the Amateur Radio program on the International Space Station (ARISS), in partnership with KSF Space, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Maroc Télécom.The teleconference, broadcasted live on the KSF Space’s social networks, took place in the presence of CEO of KSF Space, Mohamed Kayyali, and Director of ENSIAS, Mohamed Essaaidi, as well as representatives of NASA and ESA, several national and international researchers and scientists and Secretary of State for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khalid Samadi.The event comes a month after Morocco launched its first satellite, Mohammed VI-A, in November 8. This significant event made the kingdom the third African country with a reconnaissance satellite after Egypt and South Africa.The Moroccan satellite will be dedicated to Earth observation and will be able to map and take high-resolution images in any weather, night and day.Images collected by the satellite will help Morocco polish its green policies, in line with the country’s commitments to the fight against climate change and environmental protection.Morocco’s second reconnaissance satellite, Mohammed VI-B, is expected to be launched in 2018. Preparations for the launch will be announced in due time.
17 February 2010The head of the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) has called for a greater national response to the disease in Swaziland, which has the highest rate of HIV prevalence in the world, with more than one in every four people infected. The head of the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) has called for a greater national response to the disease in Swaziland, which has the highest rate of HIV prevalence in the world, with more than one in every four people infected.UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé has begun his visit to Southern Africa with a two-day stop in Swaziland to see first-hand the progress and challenges in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in a country where the infection rate is 26 per cent.The wider region is home to two thirds of the world’s HIV-positive population.The Southern African Development Community (SADC) set a target last year of halving new infections in the region by 2010. To meet this goal, the number of projected infections would have to fall from 1.15 million to about 575,000.Mr. Sidibé plans to see progress made, and explore options for joint UN action to intensify efforts to reduce new HIV infections.While in Swaziland, Mr. Sidibé met with Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamiani and the country’s health and finance ministers, who he urged to continue providing funding to AIDS programmes. UNAIDS reports that unless efforts are stepped up, three in every 100 people will be infected with HIV every year in Swaziland. In the 25-to-29 age group, one in two women are living with HIV, and so are nearly one in two men aged between 35 and 39.Mr. Sidibé also commended the King and the Queen Mother for their continued support of the HIV/AIDS effort.“There is also tangible evidence of progress in the HIV response in Swaziland,” Mr. Sidibé told King Mswati III. “This is particularly evident in the increase of numbers of people, notably pregnant women, who have access to treatment. Almost three out of four pregnant HIV positive women receive antiretroviral drugs to prevent transmitting the virus to their children. This is a significant achievement in Swaziland’s response to HIV.”Mr. Sidibé concluded his visit by meeting with civil society organisations, including representatives of groups of people living with HIV, women and youth organisations. He urged them to continue working closely with the Government to help mobilize resources and achieve further successes in the response to HIV.Mr. Sidibé heads next to Botswana and South Africa.