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CAIXIN MEDIA / SINA NEWS (China) CHINA TIMES (Taiwan)

BEIJING - China officialy has its first female taikonaut, as "astronaut" is called in Chinese. Liu Yang (below) will be on board for Saturday's launching of the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, scheduled for 18:37 local time, Chinese official media have confirmed.

Liu, a native of Henan province, was one of two female candidates who had been chosen to train for the mission, and was eventually selected for the honor over Wang Yaping. Both women are pilots with China's national Air Force, and have participated in numerous combat readiness exercises. Both were born in 1978 and are married with one child, Caixin Media reports.

"The criteria for female astronaut selection are similar to those of the male astronauts, including factors such as physical fitness, flight experience and mental readiness.", said Zhang Jianqi, former Deputy Commander of China's manned space program, Sina News reports. "The only difference is that married women are favored. In general, they must be 25 years old and already have children. This is to ensure that they are physically and psychologically mature."

According to Chinese media, the physical selection for a female taikonaut was particularly rigourous. Flawless teeth are required, and foot calluses or scars are not tolerated. Nor should they have bad breath or body odor. "In space, the tiniest flaw could lead to trouble or even turn into a catastrophe. Hash conditions may cause scars to bleed, while the closed compartment will aggravate any body odor or bad smell", according to Zhang Jianqi.

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Geopolitics

In Sudan, A Surprise About-Face Marks Death Of The Revolution

Ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was the face of the "stolen revolution". The fact that he accepted, out of the blue, to return at the same position, albeit on different footing, opens the door to the final legitimization of the coup.

Sudanese protesters demonstrating against the military regime in London on Nov. 20, 2021

Nesrine Malik

A little over a month ago, a military coup in Sudan ended a military-civilian partnership established after the 2019 revolution that removed President Omar al-Bashir after almost 30 years in power. The army arrested the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and, along with several of his cabinet and other civil government officials, threw him in detention. In the weeks that followed, the Sudanese military and their partners in power, the Rapid Support Forces, moved quickly.

They reappointed a new government of “technocrats” (read “loyalists”), shut down internet services, and violently suppressed peaceful protests against the coup and its sabotaging of the 2019 revolution. During those weeks, Hamdok remained the symbol of the stolen revolution, betrayed by the military, detained illegally, unable to communicate with the people who demanded his return. In his figure, the moral authority of the counter-coup resided.

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