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Muhammed Faris: The First Syrian to visit Space is now a Refugee in Turkey

In Turkey, Muhammed Faris now lectures in schools and conferences while his son runs a language school

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Muhammed Faris

The fighting that erupted in Syriya in the year 2011 led many homeless and most than 2 millions have made Turkey their new home. But, Muhammed Faris, who was a national hero back then in Syria is now tagged as a refugee in Turkey.

Muhammed Faris worked in the Syrian Air Force as a colonel. He participated in the Interkosmos program and was selected to be a part of the Navigation team for his space shuttle to the Space Station in July 1987. Faris was also awarded the most coveted titles of ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ and ‘Order of Linen’ for his stellar performance in his capacity as an astronaut.

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Today, Muhammed Faris has fled Syria and survives as a refugee in Turkey.

Faris is one of these 2 million refugees. Although he lives a much more comfortable life compared to the other, less fortunate refugees, he says he hopes to return to his home country one day.

MiG-23 of the Syrian Air Force on air base Hama. Image source: Syrian Airforce base camp on air base Hama
MiG-23 of the Syrian Air Force on air base Hama. Image source: sputniknews.com

In the two years that he spent in Russia to train for his missions, Faris developed a deep liking towards Russians. However, he blames Vladimir Putin for the destruction of children’s homes and inhuman slaughter of civilians.

According to Faris, Bashar Assed, the Syrian dictator, was inspired by Putin when he responded to a peaceful uprising in Syria with violent force, turning the whole ordeal into a civil war.

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Today, Muhammed Faris lectures in schools and conferences while his son runs a language school. Every time he interacts with the students, Faris always recounts that moment when he first saw the Earth from space. And for that reason, he urges his students to fight against wars and tyrants to save the blue Planet.

-by Saurabh Bodas

Saurabh is pursuing his engineering and is an intern at NewsGram. 

Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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By 2030, African Children to Make ‘Half of the World’s Poor’

African children are being left further and further behind and will make up more than half of the world’s poor by 2030

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Africa, Kids, Children, Poverty, Study
The United Nations reports more than a half million refugees have fled to neighboring countries to escape the ravages of war. Wikimedia Commons

African children are being left further and further behind and will make up more than half of the world’s poor by 2030, according to a new report.

The stark warning comes as more than 150 world leaders prepare to attend the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit in New York beginning Sept. 25 to work on tackling global poverty.

The United Nations has agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). No. 1 on the list is eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. But the world will fall well short of that target, according to the report by Save the Children and the Overseas Development Institute, which delivers a devastating verdict on global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty among children in Africa.

“On our projection, children in Africa will account for around 55% of all extreme poverty in the world by 2030,” said Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children UK.

An estimated 87 million African children will be born into poverty each year in the 2020s, according to the report, which also says about 40% of Africans still live on less than $1.90 a day.

Africa, Kids, Children, Poverty, Study
Children recovering from malnutrition play at the Children hospital in Bangui, Central African Republic. VOA

“On average, women are still having four to five children, and it’s the part of the world where poverty is coming down most slowly, partly because of slow growth but also because of very high levels of inequality,” Watkins said. “A child born into poverty faces greater risks of illiteracy; greater risks of mortality before the age of 5. They’re between two and three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday. They are far less likely to escape poverty themselves, which means that they will become the transmission mechanism for poverty to another generation.”

The report criticizes African governments for failing to develop coherent policies, and also warns that the IMF, the World Bank and other donors are failing in their response.

ALSO READ: World is Decades Behind Schedule to Achieve Ambitious Goals to Fight Poverty, Inequality and Other Ills

Watkins said dramatic changes in approach are urgently needed.

“Transferring more monetary resources to children who are living in poverty has to be part of the solution,” Watkins said. “But we also know that money is not enough. It’s critically important that these children get access to basic nutritional services, the basic health interventions, and the school systems that they need to escape poverty.”

The report warns that if poverty reduction targets are not met, the world will also fall short on other sustainable development goals in education, health and gender equality. (VOA)