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Thursday, April 14, 2005
  Robot Jockey's
Yahoo! News - Qatar Says Robots to Replace Child Camel Jockeys: "DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar plans to start using robots as riders in popular camel races after international criticism of the use of child jockeys, the Gulf Arab state's official QNA news agency reported on Wednesday.

It said the robot, developed by an unnamed Swiss company, had been tested successfully and that the energy-rich country was considering setting up a factory to build them.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani, the official in charge of the project, referred to United Nations concern over child jockeys and said Qatar was determined to save camel racing, which is popular among Arabs of Bedouin origin.

Nearby United Arab Emirates has also announced plans to introduce remote-controlled robots, which can be light enough to use as jockeys in the lucrative sport.

Rights groups say several thousand boys, some as young as four, work as camel jockeys in the oil-rich Gulf, many after being abducted or sold by their families mainly from the Indian subcontinent.

They say the boys are kept in prison-like conditions and underfed to keep them light so the camels run faster."
 
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