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James J. Williams

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James is a professor in Science. His writing skills brought him to BelleNews. He enjoys writing articles for the Science and Technology category. James often finds himself reading about the latest gadgets as the topic is very appealing to him. He likes reading and listening to classical music.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

NASA will send two new missions to Venus in order to examine the planet’s atmosphere and geological features.

The missions, which have each been awarded $500 million in funding, are due to launch between 2028 and 2030.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said the missions would offer the “chance to investigate a planet we haven’t been to in more than 30 years”.

The last American probe to visit Venus was the Magellan orbiter in 1990.

However, other spacecraft – from Europe and Japan – have orbited the planet since then.

The missions were picked following a peer review process and were chosen based on their potential scientific value and the feasibility of their development plans.

“These two sister missions both aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world, capable of melting lead at the surface,” Bill Nelson said.

Venus is the second planet from the sun and the hottest planet in the solar system with a surface temperature of 500C – high enough to melt lead.

NASA Releases Videos of Perseverance Rover Landing on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Successfully Lands on Mars

The Davinci+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) mission will measure the planet’s atmosphere to gain insight into how it formed and evolved. It will also aim to determine whether Venus ever had an ocean.

Davinci+ is expected to return the first high resolution images of the planet’s “tesserae” geological features. Scientists believe these features could be comparable to continents on Earth and could suggest that Venus has plate tectonics.

The second mission, Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy), will map the planet’s surface to understand its geological history and investigate how it developed so differently than Earth.

It will use a form of radar to chart surface elevations and discover whether volcanoes and earthquakes are still happening.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk has said his rocket company SpaceX will now accept the meme-inspired cryptocurrency dogecoin as payment.

In a tweet he said SpaceX will launch the “DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon” early next year.

His announcement came as dogecoin continued to fall after he said on TV that dogecoin was a “hustle”.

Last month, Elon Musk tweeted that SpaceX was going to put a “literal Dogecoin on the literal moon”.

Canada’s Geometric Energy Corporation announced the dogecoin-funded mission on May 9, although the statement did not reveal its financial value.

“This mission will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce,” SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales Tom Ochinero was quoted as saying in the statement.

Elon Musk’s tweets in recent months have helped to turn the once-obscure digital currency, which was started as a social media joke, into the world’s fourth-biggest cryptocurrency.

Dogecoin has soared by more than 800% over the last month, with its total market value rising above $70 billion, according to cryptocurrency data tracker CoinGecko.com.

However, dogecoin lost more than a third of its price on May 9, after Elon Musk called it a “hustle” while he was hosting the Saturday Night Live show.

Long March 5-B: China Rocket Debris Crashes into Indian Ocean Near Maldives

In February, electric carmaker Tesla, where Elon Musk is chief executive, said it bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and was planning to accept the cryptocurrency as payment for its vehicles.

The announcement was seen as another major step towards the mainstream acceptance of bitcoin and helped to boost the price of the cryptocurrency to a fresh record high of nearly $62,000.

Last month, Tesla announced that its profits for the first three months of the year were $438 million, up from $16 million last year, bolstered by sales of Bitcoin and environmental credits.

Elon Musk also revealed on Saturday Night Live that he has Asperger’s syndrome.

People with Asperger’s interpret the environment around them differently to other people.

It is thought to be the first time Elon Musk has spoken about his condition.

Image source: Twitter

According to Chinese media, debris from the Long March-5b rocket booster that had been hurtling back towards Earth has disintegrated over the Indian Ocean.

The bulk of the Chinese rocket was destroyed during the re-entry, but parts landed at a location 72.47° East and 2.65° North, China’s state-run media reported.

The point lies west of the Maldives.

US and European tracking sites had been monitoring the uncontrolled fall of the Long March-5b vehicle.

Chinese state media said parts of the rocket re-entered the atmosphere at 10:24 Beijing time on May 9.

US Space Command said in a statement that it could “confirm the Chinese Long March-5b re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula”. It was “unknown if the debris impacted land or water,” the agency said.

Ahead of the rocket’s re-entry there were fears that debris could come down in an inhabited area. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said China had been negligent in letting the rocket fall out of orbit.

However, space experts had predicted that the chances of anyone actually being hit by a piece of space junk were very small, not least because so much of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, and huge land areas are uninhabited.

Iridium-1: SpaceX Resumes Rockets Launch

SpaceX’s Falcon-9 Rocket Explodes on Launch Pad at Cape Canaveral

The main segment from the Long March-5b vehicle was used to launch the first module of China’s new space station last month.

At 18 tonnes it is one of the largest items in decades to have an undirected dive into the atmosphere.

The US said last week it was watching the path of the object – but had no plans to shoot it down.

The experts predicted that most of the vehicle would burn up during its final plunge through the atmosphere, although there was always the possibility that metals with high melting points, and other resistant materials, could survive to the Earth’s surface.

When a similar core stage returned to Earth a year ago, piping assumed to be from the rocket was identified on the ground in Ivory Coast, Africa.

China has bridled at the suggestion that it has been negligent in allowing the uncontrolled return of so large an object.

Commentary in the Chinese media had described Western reports about the potential hazards involved as “hype” and predicted the debris would fall somewhere in international waters.

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Choosing the right research paper topic can be tedious and time-consuming. In the worst-case scenario, you can choose the topic, start doing your research on it, and then it can get rejected by your tutor. So, how do you make sure it won’t happen like that while writing your research papers?

For this reason, we’ve created a list of actionable tips on how you can pick the appropriate research paper topic without any hassle. Alternatively, you can pay someone online to write your research paper for you.  For example, you can ask savvy research paper experts from the DoMyEssay service “Please, do my research paper for me”.

No matter what way of doing your research paper you choose, picking the right research paper topic is the first and probably most important step that you need to make. However, no worries! Here are the tips that are going to help you nail the process.

Brainstorm Ideas for Your Research Paper Topic

This is a no brainer, right? However, many students ignore this step. As a result, they choose the topic that is not good, relevant, or of no scientific value. Make sure you devote enough time to brainstorm the ideas for your research paper topic. The more ideas you have, the better as you’ll have a wider choice of topics to choose from.

While brainstorming your ideas for a research paper, keep in mind that  your research paper topic should be

  • of scientific value
  • arguable
  • match your area of interest

We’ll discuss each of these key points in detail below.

Spark Your Imagination: Have a Look at Research Paper Samples

Brainstorming is not that easy for everyone as it may seem to be. If you feel stuck with generating engaging and appropriate topics for your research paper, don’t fall into panic. Instead, feel free to have a look at the samples of research papers that were written by other students. It may give you an idea and angle for coming up with the right ideas for your own research paper.

You can find a lot of research paper examples online. Just do the search on Google and you’ll get dozens of sites with research paper samples. Look through as many research paper examples as possible. You may also want to look through their contents as it may give you ideas for your own research paper topic as well.

Filter Your Ideas and Choose the Best Ones

Now, give yourself a break. The next step is going to be filtering all the ideas. You need to have a fresh mind for this. That’s why we suggest you have a break after looking through dozens of research paper samples. Don’t go for a topic just because you like it and you think it sounds good. It can be a false belief that will lead you nowhere.

Take your time to check if your research paper topics are of scientific value. How many sources can you use while developing this or that topic? Are they relevant and up-to-date? Use scholarship search engines to check this out. If you have a list of 15-20 ideas, you need to eliminate most of them. So at the end of the day, you should have 3-5 strong reach paper topics that are good to go.

Your Topic Should Be of Scientific Value

Now, it’s time to dig even deeper. How many people have already written research papers on the same topic? Is your research paper going to have any scientific value? That’s where we highly recommend you to double-check it with your tutor and get their opinion on your reach paper topics. In this way, you can save tons of time and hassle before you make the next steps and start writing your research paper.

Pick the Topic That is Arguable

This is another vital criterion while choosing your research paper topic. Make sure it’s not obvious and it can provoke a decent discussion. It’s always good to present both sides: the pros and cons in your research paper.

Don’t forget to back up all pros and cons with appropriate arguments. You can’t just claim something without showing the actual evidence otherwise it won’t match the set high standards of academic writing. On the contrary, if you manage to provide strong arguments for the pros and cons, your reach paper will be engaging and provoke discussion. Tutors like that.

Your Research Paper Topic Should Match Your Area of Interest

Of course, your research paper topic should evoke your interest otherwise if you choose a topic that looks boring for you, you won’t be motivated to write up a winning paper. It’s really that simple. That’s why you need to make sure the topic of your reach paper matches the area of your interest.

This one tip can make or break your reach paper. So don’t ignore it if you want to come up with a decent reach paper that deserves an A or A+.

Get Approval for Your Research Paper Topic from Your Tutor 

Finally, don’t forget to show all the topics to your tutor and get their approval for the one that you want to go for. Here’s the biggest mistake that students can make. They start doing reach on the topic. They start writing their research paper. And then, at some point, it turns out their reach paper topic is not appropriate and is rejected by their tutor.

Don’t make the same mistake. Bring clarity into this matter before you start working on your paper.

Image source: NASA

Former Florida Senator and one-time astronaut Bill Nelson has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be the next head of NASA.

He is seen as a moderate Democrat, and his nomination on March 19 drew bipartisan praise.

The 78-year-old will need to be confirmed in the Senate before he can take up the role.

Bill Nelson said he was “honored” to be picked to lead the US space agency, adding that he would “help lead NASA into an exciting future”.

In a statement, the White House said he was “known as the go-to senator for our nation’s space program” for many years.

“Almost every piece of space and science law has had his imprint,” the statement said.

The Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, said: “I cannot think of anyone better to lead NASA.”

In a statement, Bill Nelson said NASA’s workforce “radiates optimism, ingenuity and a can-do spirit.”

He added: “The NASA team continues to achieve the seemingly impossible as we venture into the cosmos.”

NASA Releases Videos of Perseverance Rover Landing on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Successfully Lands on Mars

Bill Nelson was a driving force behind NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which was conceived in the wake of an Obama-era overhaul of the US space program.

He will succeed Jim Bridenstine, who led the agency for almost three years under the Trump administration.

Jim Bridenstine earned widespread praise for his efforts to promote NASA programs – in particular, its Artemis venture, which will see astronauts return to the Moon in the 2020s before mounting a mission to Mars.

Bill Nelson was among those who initially criticized Jim Bridenstine’s confirmation in 2018, saying: “The administrator must be a leader who has the ability to bring us together… on a shared vision for future space exploration.”

The Oklahoma Congressman had no formal qualifications in science and engineering, and there were concerns he would politicize the non-partisan agency.

However, following Jim Bridenstine’s successful tenure at NASA, the Biden administration has opted to appoint another politician as the agency’s head – albeit a former astronaut with a long history of working on space issues.

Bill Nelson served in Florida’s state legislature during the 1970s, representing the district that’s home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

After his election to the House of Representatives in 1978, he became the second sitting member of Congress to travel into space when he flew as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1986.

After he won election to the Senate in Florida in 2000, Bill Nelson continued to be closely involved in formulating space policy.

He lost his last re-election bid and his Senate term ended in 2019.

Image source: NASA Twitter

NASA has unveiled stunning videos of its Perseverance rover landing on Mars.

The videos cover the final minutes of last week’s hair-raising descent, up to the point where the rover’s wheels make contact with the ground.

The sequences show a whirl of dust and grit being kicked up as the vehicle is lowered by its rocket backpack to the floor of Jezero Crater.

Perseverance was sent to Mars festooned with cameras, seven of which were dedicated to recording the landing.

Their imagery represents vital feedback for engineers as they look to improve still further the technologies used to put probes on the surface of the Red planet.

All the cameras employed in the descent and landing were off-the-shelf, ruggedized sports cameras, with next-to-no modifications.

The cameras were positioned to capture key hardware events – from the release of the supersonic parachute, through the jettisoning of the entry capsule’s heatshield and flight of the backpack, or “sky crane”, all the way through to touchdown and the backpack’s disposal.

This corresponded to roughly the final four minutes of the rover’s seven-minute descent to the surface.

One of the three cameras looking up at the parachutes failed, but the other six cameras worked flawlessly. NASA had hoped also to record the sound of the descent with a microphone, but unfortunately this didn’t succeed.

However, the team has managed to get a mic operating on the ground so there is the possibility of hearing Perseverance go about its exploration duties in the coming weeks. Already, the muffled sound of the wind in Jezero Crater has been played back.

Videos have been made at Mars before, but these were low frame-rate affairs – more what you might call “stop motion” action. The Perseverance offering on the other hand is simply jaw-dropping in its clarity and detail.

At the weekend, Perseverance’s navigation mast, which had been stowed flat since leaving Earth last year, was raised into the vertical.

This allowed the main science cameras at the mast’s top, the Mastcam-Z system, to begin building a panorama of the surrounding terrain in Jezero and of the deck of the rover itself. The latter mosaic is wanted to look for any damage that might have been inflicted by flying stones at the time of landing.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Successfully Lands on Mars

Controllers will this week perform the critical task of transitioning Perseverance away from the software that got it safely down to the surface of Mars to one that enables the robot to rove and use equipment such as its robotic arm.

This is likely to take four Martian days, or Sols (a Martian day lasts 24 hours and 39 minutes). We might see a wheel wiggle and the first test drive of a few meters come the weekend.

A NASA satellite, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has already identified and photographed the discarded hardware from landing.

Perseverance’s landing spot is in a 1.2km by 1.2km quadrangle that the science team has informally called Canyon de Chelly after the National Monument in Arizona.

Image source: NASA Twitter

NASA’s Perseverance rover has ended end of its seven-month journey from Earth.

The six-wheeled robot in a deep crater near the planet’s equator called Jezero.

Engineers at NASA’s mission control in California erupted with joy when confirmation of touchdown came through.

The robot will now spend at least the next two years drilling into the local rocks, looking for evidence of past life.

Jezero is thought to have held a giant lake billions of years ago. And where there’s been water, there’s the possibility there might also have been life.

It’s got to put itself down safely on the Red Planet – a task that has befuddled so many spacecraft before it.

If Perseverance is successful, it has an amazing opportunity to find signs of past life on Mars.

Never has a science mission gone to the planet with so sophisticated a suite of instruments; never has a robot been targeted at so promising a location.

Jezero Crater bears all the hallmarks in satellite imagery of once having held a giant lake. And where there’s been abundant water, perhaps there’s been biology as well.

Schiaparelli Lander Did Not Behave as Expected during Mars Descent

NASA Mars Simulation Ends After One Year

Red Dragon: Elon Musk Plans Mars Landing by 2018

Perseverance will sift and drill into the sediments to look for traces of ancient microbial activity. The most propitious examples will be packaged for return to Earth by later missions.

Matt Wallace, NASA’s deputy project manager for Perseverance, said: “But before we can get that surface mission going, we have to land on Mars and that is always a challenging feat.

“This is one of the most difficult maneuvers we do in the space business. Almost 50% of the spacecraft sent to the surface of Mars have failed, so we know we have our work cut out to get down safely at Jezero.”

The signal alerting controllers that Perseverance was down and safe arrived at 20:55 GMT. In the past they might have hugged and high-fived but strict coronavirus protocols meant they had all been separated by perspex screens. A respectful fist bump was about all they could manage. The robot’s protective capsule will do most of the work of scrubbing off the entry speed but a supersonic parachute and a rocket jetpack, or “Sky crane”, will be needed for the last three minutes of braking and surface placement.

Of the 14 landing attempts at the planet, eight have been successful – all of them American. Indeed, NASA has only got it wrong once, way back in 1999.

Engineers will be following proceedings at mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Telemetry from the rover during its descent will be relayed by an overflying satellite – the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The team will also be listening to a series of low-data tones coming back direct from the robot itself.

Image source: Twitter

Dr. Anthony Fauci has been awarded Israel’s prestigious Dan David $1million prize for his commitment to science.

The US top infectious diseases expert, who was often at odds with former President Donald Trump over how to handle the pandemic, was given the Dan David Prize for “defending science”.

The 80-year-old was also praised for advocating for Covid vaccines, and for his leadership on HIV research and AIDS relief.

Dr. Fauci has advised seven US presidents.

He was recognized for “courageously defending science in the face of uninformed opposition during the challenging Covid crisis”, the awards committee said in a statement.

He “is the consummate model of leadership and impact in public health,” it added.

Coronavirus: Dr Anthony Fauci Responds to White House Attacks

Coronavirus: President Donald Trump Clashes with Dr Anthony Fauci

Coronavirus: Dr Fauci and Other Members of White House Task Force Self-Isolate

The Dan David Prize Twitter account wrote: “Congratulations to Dr. Anthony Fauci, global leader in research and control of infectious diseases and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases @NIAIDNews and Public Health hero, for being awarded the 2021 @DanDavidPrize in Public Health @TelAvivUni

“As the Covid-19 pandemic unraveled, [he] leveraged his considerable communication skills to address people gripped by fear and anxiety and worked relentlessly to inform individuals in the United States and elsewhere about the public health measures essential for containing the pandemic’s spread.

“In addition, he has been widely praised for his courage in speaking truth to power in a highly charged political environment.”

Anthony Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.

He helped to found George W. Bush’s US government AIDS initiative in Africa and now serves as explainer-in-chief to the public amid the Covid-19 outbreak of the Trump and now Biden eras.

The Dan David Prize was established in 2000 by the late international businessman Dan David. It gives $1 million awards in three categories each year for contributions addressing the past, present and future.

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Image by PublicDomainImages from Pixabay

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has launched an investigation after a manatee in Florida was discovered with the word ‘Trump’ scraped on its back.

The marine mammal was spotted on January 10 in Florida’s Homosassa River, with the president’s surname on its body.

According to officials, the animal does not appear to be seriously injured, and the word was scraped onto algae growing on its skin.

But a video of the West Indian manatee has led to public outcry.

Manatees, nicknamed “sea cows,” are protected under US law, and anyone found guilty of harassing them faces up to a year in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Images of the manatee were first shared by the Citrus County Chronical, a local newspaper, and have been widely shared on social media.

The Centre for Biological Diversity, a conservation charity, is also offering a $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.

Neopalpa Donaldtrumpi: California Moth Becomes First Creature Named after Donald Trump

Amphibian Named After President Donald Trump

The manatee is a large, slow-moving mammal which has become an unofficial mascot for Florida. According to the USFWS, there are around 6,300 currently in the state.

The animals typically gather in warmer waters around the state during the winter time as temperatures drop.

However, their numbers have fallen in recent years due to habitat loss, algae blooms and strikes by fast-moving boats.

They are also vulnerable to attacks by humans while they congregate in the shallow water of local rivers and canals.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 637 manatees died in 2020, 90 of which were victims of boat collisions. Another 15 were killed by other interactions with humans.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

China has become the second nation to plant its flag on the Moon, more than 50 years after the US first planted its flag there.

The pictures from China’s National Space Administration show the flag holding still on the windless lunar surface.

The pictures were taken by a camera on the Chang’e-5 space probe before it left the Moon with rock samples on December 3.

Two previous Chinese lunar missions had flags on the crafts’ coatings – so neither could be affixed to the moon.

The US planted the first flag on the Moon during the manned Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Five further US flags were planted on the lunar surface during subsequent missions up until 1972.

Chang’e-4: China Mission Lands on Moon’s Far Side

Jade Rabbit: China’s First Moon Mission Shuts Down After 31 Months

In 2012, NASA cited satellite images as showing that five of the flags were still standing, but experts quoted in media reports say they are likely to have been bleached white by the sun’s glare.

The first flag was said by astronaut Buzz Aldrin to have been placed too close to the Apollo lunar module and was, he said, probably blown away when the module blasted off.

The state-run Global Times newspaper said the Chinese flag was a reminder of the “excitement and inspiration” felt during the US Apollo missions.

The fabric flag was unfurled by the Chang’e-5 lander vehicle just before its ascender vehicle took off using the lander as a launchpad.

It has taken soil and rock samples to China’s lunar orbiter 9 miles above the lunar surface – which will then be enclosed in a module that will be aimed at China’s Inner Mongolia region.

The Chinese flag is 2m wide and 90cm tall and weighs about a kilogram. All parts of the flag have been given features such as protection against cold temperatures, project leader Li Yunfeng told the Global Times.

“An ordinary national flag on Earth would not survive the severe lunar environment,” project developer Cheng Chang said.

China’s national flag was seen on the Moon during its first lunar landing mission, Chang’e-3 in photographs taken by the lander and rover of each other. The Chang’e-4 lander and rover brought the flag to the dark side of the moon in 2019.

However, in both cases the flag was on the crafts’ coating rather than being an actual fabric flag on a pole.

The Chang’e-5 mission is China’s third successful landing on the Moon in seven years.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Teenagers who enroll at Elevations RTC are looking for a way to get their lives back on track. Every individual has a story to tell, and on the road to recovery, there is a need for all types of support. There are numerous ways to get help from different areas, but this program’s major selling point is living on campus.

Like attending a small college or going away for camp/boarding school, living on campus in a remote location in Utah with limited distractions can provide numerous benefits. Having a closed campus living situation also helps with receiving proper support. Is it the right decision for all students considering a residential treatment center? The success of graduates speaks for themselves.

A sense of community

Trouble teenagers often find themselves feeling isolated at times. With no one to turn to who might adequately understand what they have been through, teenagers are tempted to go to a dark place.

While on campus, the focus of every single staff member is on setting students up for success. Teachers are fully accredited and bring years of experience working with troubled teens dealing with all sorts of issues. The medical staff keeps track of how students progress based on their initial assessment when they first arrive on campus. Medical assistance or mental health needs are addressed as quickly as possible, never allowing students to have that isolated feeling.

Community goes beyond the staff, as every student has the opportunity to interact with others and create friendships while on campus. All students live in residential halls, and they take advantage of many activities outside of the classroom. Seeing the same people every day can fast forward friendships and allow students to lean on each other in many cases. For some teens, this is the first time they have an opportunity to talk with someone else going through a challenging point in their life. Having someone relatable can give teens a different perspective that helps provide a clearer picture for themselves.

Embracing individualism

It is encouraged to socialize and receive support from peers and staff on campus, but a campus that feels too small and intertwined can have a negative impact. As important as emotional and social support is for students, Elevations RTC also understands that supporting individual time is essential.

Students are encouraged to find areas of focus that are interesting to them. They never have to feel like they must fit in a specific box to have success. Some students might get into music, while others enjoy the arts. Finding a passion that can last a lifetime is one of the best ways to stay on the right track towards long-term success.

Protected from distractions

The campus at Elevations RTC is large enough that students never feel like they are trapped. Some residential treatment centers do not have the resources necessary to give students the necessary options. Without options, eliminating distractions while staying on campus can backfire because there is not enough to do.

Elevation RTC’s campus is close enough for accessibility to Salt Lake City but far enough away that it can feel like its own world for teenagers. This type of isolation can allow for a stronger focus on the significant task at hand. A big goal at Elevations RTC is to create new habits that a person can work with back home. The lack of distractions surrounding the learning process speeds up the capability of forming these habits.

Creating a turning point in life

Teens heading to Elevations RTC have likely tried other methods to turn their life around. It rarely becomes the first option, but eventually, families realize that it is necessary to make a real impact. As soon as a student moves in on campus, it creates a new stage in life.

Living on campus is a way to create a turning point in a teenager’s life. It might not be something apparent initially, but it is a massive decision for a family to send a loved one away for such a long time. When reality sets in, students tend to realize that it is time to be serious.

It is natural for some to be less than thrilled on campus initially, but it becomes what most need as time goes on. Living on campus provides a unique perspective that just can’t be replicated at home, going to therapy, or getting treatment a few hours at a time. This is a fully immersed way of turning life around and getting the necessary help to progress socially and academically.

The time away from home is tough on the family and the teen, which is why Elevations RTC offers different ways for loved ones to stay connected. Even if they are thousands of miles away, they can feel like they are part of the learning process thanks to modern technology. Everything from phone calls with teachers to weekly group meetings with other families provides excellent opportunities to stay engaged.

Moving in at Elevations RTC

The thought of a teenager moving into Elevations RTC seems intimidating at first, but most families wonder why they waited so long to start the process. Having the time to focus on a better life socially and academically can pay enormous dividends in adulthood in a relatively short amount of time. Addressing it sooner rather than later is always best.

Image by LCEC from Pixabay

Solar power is becoming an increasingly popular option for powering homes and businesses; however, numerous questions and concerns are associated with making the switch to solar power. Some of the questions include; why solar? Is solar power a good investment? Here we explain some of the reasons you should consider when making the switch to solar power.

Carefully evaluate important issues to guarantee it’s the perfect choice for you.

Here are 6 common questions about solar power answered:

Question #1: How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels are arranged on rooftops or large outdoor areas and constructed of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing, special film, and wiring.

During the daylight, photovoltaic cells, otherwise referred to as solar cells, absorb sunlight. Each cell contains a semiconductor, which energizes the cell and creates an electrical current when affected by light. Once the energy is converted into usable electricity using an inverter, power is distributed to the electrical panel and throughout a home or business.

A proper solar panel system can efficiently power a home using the sun’s free energy and advanced photovoltaic technology.

Question #2: How Do I Install Solar Panels?

Determine the number of solar panels necessary for your home or business by calculating the kilowatt-hours of power needed to fulfill your energy consumption. Typically, a homeowner needs 28-34 solar panels to completely cover energy usage.

Once you select the number and type of solar panels, choose an installation method for mounting and wiring the solar power system.

If you possess basic construction and electrical skills, consider a DIY approach to save money on labor. Otherwise, hire a specialty contractor to properly and easily install the system.

Question #3: Do I Have to Go Off-Grid?

Going off-grid isn’t required for installing solar panels.

Living off-grid involves utilizing batteries to store collected electricity. Unfortunately, batteries for solar panels are incredibly expensive, inefficient, and underdeveloped.

Staying connected to the grid is a more convenient and cost-effective method for harnessing solar power. Electricity generated through your solar panels is transferred to the local power grid, meaning if you overproduce or underproduce electricity, you’ll be benefitted or covered by the utility company.

Enjoy reliable solar power by staying on the grid.

Question #4: What is the Billing Process?

Billing for solar power involves a practice known as net metering. Net metering is a system designed to compensate solar power system owners for distributing energy to the utility grid.

Electricity generated by your solar panels and consumed by your home is measured using an electric meter. Excess electricity produced is accounted for and delivered to the power grid and local utility. The electricity you provide to the utility company is deducted from your electric bill through credits.

Understand the billing process to learn about the money-saving advantages.

Question #5: What are the Benefits of Solar Power Compared to Traditional Electricity?

Solar power provides numerous benefits compared to traditional forms of electricity.

Solar power offers many advantages including:

  • Cleaner environment: Avoids emitting harmful gases into the atmosphere during production to combat global warming
  • Improves public health: Reduces the number of pollutants reduced in the air and water to limit sickness
  • Immense savings: Receive monthly savings by offsetting your electric bills by 70-90% for utilizing solar power
  • Tax incentives: Earn 25-30% of the installation costs back on federal taxes through supportive policies
  • Renewable resource: Offers a sustainable and inexhaustible alternative to traditional, finite energy sources

Reap the environmental and financial benefits of solar power by installing solar panels at your home or business.

Question #6: What is Community Solar?

Community solar refers to a group of people sharing energy generated through collective solar panels. Community solar is also known as shared solar, energy sharing, and solar farms or gardens.

Shared solar works by a third party installing numerous solar panels in a certain area. Energy is converted into electricity and delivered to the local power grid. The utility company then distributes the electricity to homes and businesses.

Joining a community solar project is as simple as finding a local option and subscribing to the service. Becoming a solar farm member is a perfect alternative to personal solar panels for people unable to afford or install the system.

Locate a New York community solar project to benefit the environment and earn guaranteed savings.

Before switching to solar power, review these 6 commonly asked questions to discover if it’s the right option for your home or business.

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Image source Wikipedia

The US has become the first nation in the world to formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump announced the move in June 2017, but UN regulations meant that his decision only takes effect today, the day after the US election.

The US could re-join it in future, should a president choose to do so.

The Paris deal was drafted in 2015 to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.

It aims to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C.

The delay is down to the complex rules that were built into the Paris agreement to cope with the possibility that a future US president might decide to withdraw the country from the deal.

Previous attempts to put together a global pact on climate change had foundered because of internal US politics.

The Clinton administration was unable to secure Senate backing for the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997.

So in the run up to the Paris climate talks, President Barrack Obama’s negotiators wanted to ensure that it would take time for the US to get out if there was a change in leadership.

Even though the agreement was signed in December 2015, the treaty only came into force on November 4,2016, 30 days after at least 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions had ratified it.

No country could give notice to leave the agreement until three years had passed from the date of ratification.

Even then, a member state still had to serve a 12-month notice period on the UN.

So, despite President Trump’s announcement in June 2017, the US was only able to formally give notice to the UN in November last year. The time has elapsed and the US is now out.

While the US now represents around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it remains the world’s biggest and most powerful economy.

So, when it becomes the only country to withdraw from a global solution to a global problem it raises questions of trust.

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For the past three years, US negotiators have attended UN climate talks while the administration has tried to use these events to promote fossil fuels.

While on the campaign trail, Joe Biden said he would seek to re-join as soon as possible – if he was elected President.

Under the rules, all that is required is a month’s notice and the US should be back in the fold.

However, even if the US chose to re-enter the agreement, there would be consequences for being out – even for a few months.

President Trump made leaving Paris a key part of his election platform in 2016, tying it into his vision of a revitalized US with booming energy production, especially coal and oil.

Donald Trump’s perspective on the Paris agreement was that it was unfair to the US, leaving countries like India and China free to use fossil fuels while the US had to curb their carbon.

Image source: Pexels

For more than a century, fossil fuels have been the source of the world’s power. The only thing about it is that it has been harming the environment in the process, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, carbon emissions, and climate change. And as more and more people become aware of the harmful impact of fossil fuels, they’re looking into safer, alternative energy sources to do their part in helping the environment.

Unfortunately, in their efforts to make positive changes, it’s going to lead to misconceptions in conducting research. This can then sway decisions, and that’s okay… It’s natural to have questions about how renewable energy works and why it’s the better option over fossil fuels because if you’re going to make the switch, you need to understand what you’re switching to.

There are, of course, different ways to generate renewable energy, so it’s understandable to want to know if solar power is the best way to generate clean energy over hydropower or if making the switch really will save on your electric bill… But in searching for answers to those questions, you’re also going to run into mistruths and falsehoods that simply aren’t true…

As you know, you can’t believe everything you see or read online, so to set the record straight, if you’re planning on switching to renewable energy or just considering it, here are some common misconceptions you want to avoid.

Misconceptions About Renewable Energy to Avoid

1. Renewable Energy Sources Can’t Provide Enough Electricity For Your Needs

There is a great concern among skeptics that wind and solar energy can’t meet the world’s growing needs for electricity, especially during certain seasons and times of the day. Well, the funny thing about this particular skepticism is that wind and solar power are infinite resources that can be used all the time; non-renewable sources are actually deteriorating in supply.

According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), not only is renewable energy feasible but it’s making the grid more reliable as well. In fact, the US could reach an 80% renewable energy penetration rate by 2050. So to say that renewable energy can’t provide enough electricity to meet the world’s needs is pure blasphemy.

2. Renewable Energy is Expensive

One of the biggest draws to switching to renewable energy is because it lowers your electric bill! Why else do you think people are having solar panels installed on their roofs? To speak further on that, people who aren’t able to have solar panels installed are still able to reap the benefits of renewable energy simply by switching to alternative electricity.

People in Texas are switching electricity providers and are now able to find the least expensive energy rates in TX. It’s cheap because it’s a natural resource that doesn’t require any manmade efforts. People don’t have to invest millions of dollars for the sun to rise or for the wind to blow, therefore, renewable energy is a great way to not only help the environment but also lower your electric bill.

3. Renewable Energy Kills Birds

It’s been said that clean energy kills birds, and that’s just not true. Now, it’s important to note that wind turbines have caused some bird deaths by flying into the turbines but not the way people are making it out to be. According to the National Audubon Society, bird deaths are more likely due to cats, tall buildings, and the greenhouse effect of excessive pollution.

4. Renewable Energy Isn’t a Reliable Source

This myth is more so directed towards solar and wind energy. The theory is that because sun and wind can’t be produced around the clock that it isn’t reliable. Well, this is where people go wrong. Wind and solar energy actually go hand-in-hand.

Wind speeds tend to pick up at night and solar energy is produced during the day but just because they’re not sources that are produced around the clock doesn’t mean that they’re unreliable. Things like batteries and other energy storage sources have made wind and solar energy very reliable sources, giving you the flexibility to use the power whenever you need it.

So, just because the wind isn’t blowing or if the sun isn’t visible to you, that doesn’t mean your house will shut down. Both wind and solar energy are abundant sources. Biomass, hydropower, and geothermal are energy sources that indeed do produce electricity around the clock.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Amy Coney Barrett, a long-term academic, appeals court judge and mother of seven was the hot favorite for the Supreme Court seat.

Donald Trump – who as sitting president gets to select nominees – reportedly once said he was “saving her” for this moment: when elderly Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and a vacancy on the nine-member court arose.

It took President Trump just over a week to fast-track the 48-year-old conservative intellectual into the wings. This is his chance to tip the court make-up even further to the right ahead of the presidential election, when he could lose power.

Amy Coney Barrett’s record on gun rights and immigration cases imply she would be as reliable a vote on the right of the court, as the Notorious RBG was on the left, according to Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University.

Judge Barrett’s vote, alongside a conservative majority, could make the difference for decades ahead, especially on divisive issues such as abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act (the Obama-era health insurance provider).

Her legal opinions and remarks on abortion and gay marriage have made her popular with the religious right, but earned vehement opposition from liberals.

However, as a devout Catholic, Amy Coney Barrett has repeatedly insisted her faith does not compromise her work.

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Amy Coney Barrett lives in South Bend, Indiana, with her husband, Jesse, a former federal prosecutor who is now with a private firm. The couple have seven children, including two adopted from Haiti. She is the oldest of seven children herself.

Known for her sharp intellect, Amy Coney Barrett studied at the University of Notre Dame’s Law School, graduating first in her class, and was a clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, who, in her words, was the “staunchest conservative” on the SCOTUS at the time.

Like her mentor Scalia, Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, which is a belief that judges should attempt to interpret the words of the Constitution as the authors intended when they were written.

Many liberals oppose that strict approach, saying there must be scope for moving with the times.

Amy Coney Barrett has spent much of her career as a professor at her alma mater, Notre Dame, where she was voted professor of the year multiple times.

She was selected by President Trump to serve as a federal appeals court judge in 2017, sitting on the Seventh Circuit, based in Chicago. She regularly commutes to the court from her home – more than an hour and half away.

Amy Coney Barett’s confirmation hearing for the appeals court seat featured a now-infamous encounter with Senator Dianne Feinstein, who voiced concerns about how her faith could affect her thinking on the law. Defiant Catholics adopted the phrase as a tongue-in-cheek slogan on mugs.

Judge Barrett has defended herself on multiple occasions.

“I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge,” she once said.

LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign has voiced strong opposition to Barrett’s confirmation, declaring her ”an absolute threat to LGBTQ rights”.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization, declined comment on Judge Barrett specifically, but said appointing any new conservative Supreme Court justice would “be devastating for sexual and reproductive health and rights”.

To secure the position on the Supreme Court – a lifelong job – Amy Coney Barrett will still have to pass a grueling confirmation hearing, where Democratic senators are likely to take a tough line, bringing up many of their voters’ concerns.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

The number of postal votes for the US presidential election is expected to rise significantly this time round due to public health concerns over coronavirus.

Ellen Weintraub, commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, has said: “There’s simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud.”

There have been isolated cases of postal ballot fraud, such as in the 2018 North Carolina primary, which was re-run after a consultant for the Republican candidate tampered with voting papers.

There was also a case this year in New Jersey which saw two Democratic councilors charged with alleged fraud in relation to postal voting, after hundreds of ballots were found stuffed in a post box.

However, according to a 2017 study by Brennan Center for Justice, the rate of voting fraud overall in the US is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%.

According to a research by Charles Stewart, a political scientist at the MIT, postal ballots are more likely to go missing.

He calculated that the number of votes lost through the vote-by-mail system in the 2008 election may have been as many as 7.6 million, or one in five individuals who attempted to post their ballots.

All postal voting states still have in-person voting options for certain reasons.

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George Washington University professor Jessica Krug, who said she lied about being black, will not teach classes this semester, the university has confirmed.

The white associate professor whose work focuses on Africa and the African diaspora admitted in a blog post that she was in fact a white Jewish woman from Kansas City.

The post read: “I have built my life on a violent anti-black lie.”

Jessica Krug’s colleagues said they were “shocked and appalled” by her admission.

In a Medium post published on September 3, Jessica Krug said she had falsely assumed identities “that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness”.

Image source: GWU

In a statement, George Washington University said Jessica Krug would not teach classes and acknowledged “many students, faculty, staff and alumni are hurting.” It said it was “reviewing” the case.

Jessica Krug’s employment status at the university is unknown. She has not commented.

Her colleagues at GWU’s Department of History released a joint statement calling for her to resign from her post or for the university to remove her tenure.

The statement said: “She has betrayed the trust of countless current and former students, fellow scholars of Africana Studies, colleagues in our department and throughout the historical discipline, as well as community activists in New York City and beyond.

“The discipline of history is concerned with truth telling about the past. With her conduct, Dr. Krug has raised questions about the veracity of her own research and teaching.”

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A student at GWU who was due to start Jessica Krug’s class on Latin American history on September 7 told the Washington Post: “It just breaks my heart that these students came in, very bright-eyed and eager, to learn about Latin heritage and the history. We all placed a lot of trust in her.”

Jessica Krug’s academic work includes the 2018 book “Fugitive Modernities: Kisama and the Politics of Freedom”, focuses on the politics and culture of African and African diaspora societies.

Her case bears strong parallels to race activist Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who claimed to be black. After her parents outed her in 2015, she said she “identified as black”.

Jessica Krug described her behavior as “the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures”. She added that she had continued the pretence even in her personal relationships.

She cited mental health issues and trauma experienced in her early years, although she said this was not an excuse for her actions.

According to media reports, Jessica Krug also used the name Jessica La Bombalera as an activist. In one video posted earlier this year, she berated white New Yorkers for failing to “yield their time for Black and Brown indigenous New Yorkers”.

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Life in the age of COVID-19 means that each day is more difficult to predict than the next. Whether students and educators will return to the classroom this fall still remains uncertain. Those already planning to return should expect a different classroom setting than they left behind. Many schools are even considering staggered learning schedules, all while navigating each student’s anticipated social and emotional adjustments to a classroom environment.

Michael Horn is the founder of the Christensen Institute, a non-profit partisan think tank that promotes “disruptive innovation” for understanding society’s most pressing issues, including education. Horn recently sat down with Joel Rose, co-founder of Teach to One: Math. Rose advocates for educational reform and presents Teach to One as a logical, data-driven approach to individualized math education. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on what K-12 schools might look like this fall, Rose argues that now is the time to transition away from the factory model classroom and toward the techniques implemented by Teach to One.

What does a Teach to One: Math classroom look like?

Horn opened the interview with a question about what Teach to One: Math looks like in action. Rose describes a TTO classroom as a large open space with several stations. Each station will tackle an instructional modality. Some modalities facilitate group learning, while some facilitate one-on-one lessons. Each student is placed, according to Rose, based on “where they are and where they need to be.”

Teach to One: Math is administered by a nonprofit called New Classrooms, which is located in New York City. Every day, each student exits the classroom after completing a daily assessment. These assessments are then sent to the organization to inform the design of the next day’s personalized lessons. Since each student’s curriculum is designed on the basis of their individual strengths and weaknesses, TTO’s tactics pivot students toward mastery.

What are Teach to One: Math’s policy limitations?

Since Teach to One disrupts the norms of traditional classroom learning, its implementation faces large policy barriers. Rose discusses these policy barriers in an essay titled “The Iceberg Problem.” The essay includes a case study of a seventh grader who enters their first day of math class without remembering any skills from both fourth- and fifth-grade math. How did these skill gaps go unnoticed by previous math educators? Rose argues that state testing requires schools to prioritize assessment preparation. Test preparation means that teachers do not have time to go back and review more than a year’s worth of material. The resulting “maximum exposure to grade-level content,” Rose finds, perpetuates gaps in math education.

Rose also points out that educators tend to interpret student growth in a restrictive manner. Educators typically assess a student’s growth by comparing how said student performs on the seventh-grade standardized test compared to the eighth-grade standardized test. This, Rose believes, is “too granular.” As a result, teachers continue to teach skills that their students either do not truly know, are not ready to learn, or already know. By failing to evaluate mathematical growth adequately, students continue to fall behind.

Where does Teach to One: Math fit into an educator’s post-quarantine concerns?

It is common sense for teachers to expect wider educational gaps heading into the 2020-2021 school year than in ordinary years. Rose is hopeful that this will catalyze thinking “about learning loss much more holistically.” For schools that were already using TTO prior to stay-at-home orders, teaching math at a distance was not a difficult concept to grasp. “Their delivery model was already evolved,” Rose concludes, which created space to promote the personalization that students required to stay on track.

A student’s mathematical mastery will be harder to assess this year. “We’re not gonna know how kids did after this year,” says Rose, pointing out that many schools were not able to carry out their math curriculum as planned. In response, Rose says that timing is everything. Diagnostics will not be effective if they are implemented before students feel safe and connected at school. This might mean waiting for one, two, three, or even more weeks before beginning the math curriculum. However, waiting is necessary if students are not yet adjusted.

How did Teach to One: Math come about?

In 2011, Rose founded New Classrooms Innovation Partners, a New York-based nonprofit. New Classrooms: Innovation Partners administers Teach to One: Math (TTO) as a school-based approach that integrates multiple learning modalities. The organization assists with the implementation of algorithms and classroom-specific information to organize a daily math curriculum for 10,000 students per day. The outcome is teacher-led mathematical learning experiences catered to each student’s individualized progress.

Gaps in math education pose serious threats to college preparedness and long-term educational success. Fortunately, Teach to One was designed with these gaps in mind. At the end of every lesson, a student completes an exit slip. The student’s performance on that exit slip determines whether the student will proceed to the next lesson. This approach demonstrates the flexibility to go back and spend time filling gaps without sacrificing state-level assessment preparation.

SpaceX will make a second attempt in the coming hours to get NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken into orbit.

On May 27, the Dragon capsule’s flight to the International Space Station (ISS) was postponed because of poor weather at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

Forecasters say conditions on May 30 will probably be touch and go again.

It follows the spectacular explosion on May 29 of a rocket prototype at SpaceX’s R&D facility in Texas.

SpaceX has been trialing a new design for a future vehicle it calls Starship. The latest model was destroyed in the blast.

The development work at Boca Chica, close to the Mexican border, is entirely separate from SpaceX’s commercial crew activities with NASA.

Doug Hurley’s and Bob Behnken’s lift-off at Kennedy is scheduled for 15:22 EDT.

There’s huge focus on their mission because it will mark the first time that the US has been able to launch its astronauts to the ISS since the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles in 2011.

It will also be the first occasion that NASA has used a private company to transport one of its crews to orbit.

Image source: NASA

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However, people were wrong if they thought this attention added to the pressure to get the astronauts off the ground, said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“We will launch when we are ready,” he told reporters.

“I’ll tell you, the President and the Vice President were proud of the NASA team and the SpaceX team for making the right call for the right reasons.”

The first launch attempt in the week was scrubbed just 16 minutes before the designated launch time. There had been much electrical activity in the air throughout the day, and controllers concluded it wouldn’t be prudent to proceed with the flight.

At the moment of postponement, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were sitting in their Dragon capsule atop its Falcon rocket with the booster fuels being loaded below them.

The frustration was that the countdown was going so smoothly; engineers had seen no technical issues of concern. The vehicles were in perfect shape to begin their ascent.

On May 30, they will follow exactly the same routines. The astronauts will head out to the pad about three hours prior to 15:22 EDT. A SpaceX “close out” team will help them strap into their capsule seats, and then it will be a case of running through the pre-flight checks with controllers.

If the launch goes ahead, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have about a 19-hour flight to the ISS. They’ll use that time to try out systems onboard the Dragon capsule, including having a go at manual flying. They’ll also need to get some sleep after what will have been a long day.

The astronauts are expected to stay at the ISS for between one and four months before returning to Earth.

SpaceX, which is run by the tech billionaire Elon Musk, has a $2.6 billion contract with NASA to provide six crew flights to the space station. The first of these is scheduled for the end of August, assuming nothing untoward happens on Doug Hurley’s and Bob Behnken’s demonstration.

Boeing has a similar contract, but it is a year at least behind SpaceX in its development timeline.

Orthodox Christians from all over the world are celebrating the most important festival in their calendar this weekend amid a series of restrictions and bans on traditional observance.

Authorities in Eastern Europe and the Middle East have said congregations must not attend services.

However, in Georgia, worshippers will still be able to attend churches.

Russia’s Orthodox Church has agreed to break from its annual traditions and is urging millions of believers not to attend church. Worshippers usually attend late-night processions to receive blessings. This year Mass will only be held in the presence of priests and other clergy.

In Greece, restrictions on movement have so far been widely praised for curbing the spread of coronavirus.

This Easter authorities have banned attendance of church services, which would normally attract hundreds of thousands of worshippers.

When the Holy Fire arrives in Athens on Saturday evening it will be taken to the Jerusalem patriarchate in Athens and unusually will not be distributed to churches elsewhere.

The Church has backed the ban and thousands of police have been deployed to prevent Greeks using the holiday to visit relatives or second homes.

Image source: kremlin.ru

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In Romania, people have been told they will not be allowed to leave their homes to receive the Holy Fire on Easter night or take bread splashed with holy water and wine, as is traditional. However, the Holy Light will be distributed to the homes of believers who request it.

The neighboring country, Bulgaria, has imposed a curfew on the capital Sofia to stop traffic in and out of the city to stop people heading off on holiday.

Churches in Serbia and Montenegro have told worshippers to celebrate Easter at home.

However, North Macedonia’s Orthodox Church says it will not use force to prevent people going to church.

InUkraine, officials have said riot police will be deployed if believers start gathering at churches in big numbers.

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II held a Good Friday service without a congregation at a monastery north-east of Cairo. The service was televised live on Coptic Orthodox TV channels and showed deacons and priests gathered with gaps between them to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Holy Flame was taken on Saturday, April 18, to the Church of the Holy Nativity in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

The traditional Holy Fire ceremony went ahead in a near-deserted Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The church was closed last month and only a handful of Orthodox clergy, some of them wearing black masks, were allowed in for the ceremony.

A candle is traditionally lit with the Holy Fire in the crypt of the Holy Sepulchre by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus.

Instead of the flame being passed on to thousands of pilgrims, this time the ceremony was attended by the Armenian Orthodox patriarch, four assistants and Coptic and Syrian archbishops, Israeli media report.

The church bells tolled and the flame was carried out of the church by Theophilos III and others to be taken to Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv and flown to 10 countries.

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Speaking at his Easter vigil service in an almost empty St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis has urged people not to “yield to fear” over coronavirus, calling on them to be “messengers of life in a time of death”.

Members of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholic community could follow a live stream of the service.

Lockdown measures are still in place across Italy, hard hit by the pandemic.

Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte praised the leader of the Roman Catholic Church for his “gesture of responsibility” in marking Easter without a congregation.

Catholic Christians around the world are celebrating Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar, despite the restrictions that have left hundreds of millions confined to their homes. Many priests are conducting services in churches without congregations.

Image source: Vatican Media

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Pope Francis recalled the Biblical account of a woman finding Jesus’s tomb empty on the day Christians believe he rose from the dead.

He said: “Then too, there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour.”

“Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: this is the message of hope. It is addressed to us today,” the Pope added.

The Pope’s service, normally held in front of thousands of worshippers, was attended by only around a couple of dozen people. Several traditional features were also scaled back, including the baptism of converts.

On April 12, the Pope will give his Easter Sunday address at a ceremony behind closed doors. Historically it has been given to crowds in St Peter’s Square.

Speaking at his Easter vigil service in an almost empty St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis has urged people not to “yield to fear” over coronavirus, calling on them to be “messengers of life in a time of death”.

Members of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholic community could follow a live stream of the service.

Lockdown measures are still in place across Italy, hard hit by the pandemic.

Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte praised the leader of the Roman Catholic Church for his “gesture of responsibility” in marking Easter without a congregation.

Catholic Christians around the world are celebrating Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar, despite the restrictions that have left hundreds of millions confined to their homes. Many priests are conducting services in churches without congregations.

Pope Francis recalled the Biblical account of a woman finding Jesus’s tomb empty on the day Christians believe he rose from the dead.

He said: “Then too, there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour.”

“Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: this is the message of hope. It is addressed to us today,” the Pope added.

The Pope’s service, normally held in front of thousands of worshippers, was attended by only around a couple of dozen people. Several traditional features were also scaled back, including the baptism of converts.

On April 12, the Pope will give his Easter Sunday address at a ceremony behind closed doors. Historically it has been given to crowds in St Peter’s Square.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

As part of measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the Holly Mount Athos, Greece, announced on March 19 that it will not be receiving any visitors or pilgrims until March 30.

The all-male Orhodox enclave comprises several monasteries and hermitages, some of the oldest in the country, occupying the easternmost section of the Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece.

Mount Athos is an enclave of 20 monasteries. Women have been banned for over 1,000 years.

Greece and Russia are both largely Orthodox Christian countries and have close religious ties.

Mount Athos is an autonomous and self-governed territory of Greece. It occupies the whole of the third peninsula of Halkidiki Greece, covering an area of 130 sq mile.

The Mount is the largest area in the world from which women, and female animals, are banned.

Each day, 100 Orthodox and 10 non-Orthodox male pilgrims are admitted for a three-night stay in one of the peninsula’s 20 monasteries. Mount Athos has barred women for more than 1,000 years – they are not allowed within 0.3 miles of the coast.

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The NASA study revealed that West Antarctica’s key glaciers are in an irreversible retreat
Image source: NASA

The temperature in Antarctica has exceeded 20C for the first time.

Researchers logged a temperature of 20.75C on Seymour Island off the coast of the continent.

Brazilian scientist Carlos Schaefer told AFP they had “never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica”.

However, the scientist warned the temperature, logged on February 9, was just one reading and not part of a long-term data set.

Antarctica also hit a record last week, with a temperature reading of 18.3C on the Antarctic Peninsula.

This latest reading was taken at a monitoring station on Seymour Island, part of a chain of islands off the same peninsula, at the northernmost point of the continent.

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Although the temperature is a record high, Carlos Schaefer emphasized that the reading was not part of a wider study and so, in itself, could not be used to predict a trend.

He said: “We can’t use this to anticipate climatic changes in the future. It’s a data point.

“It’s simply a signal that something different is happening in that area.”

According to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), temperatures on the Antarctic continent have risen by almost 3C over the past 50 years, and that about 87% of the glaciers along its west coast have “retreated” in that time.

Over the past 12 years the glaciers have shown an “accelerated retreat” due to global warming, it adds.

January 2020 was also Antarctica’s warmest January on record.

Scientists have warned that global warming is causing so much melting at the South Pole, it will eventually disintegrate – causing the global sea level to rise by at least 10ft over the coming centuries.

The previous record for the entire Antarctic region – which includes the continent, islands and ocean that are in the Antarctic climatic zone – was 19.8C, logged in January 1982.

In July 2019, the Arctic region hit its own record temperature of 21C, logged by a base at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Greta Thunberg should go away and study economics before lecturing investors on fossil fuels.

Steven Mnuchin said Greta Thunberg’s call for investors to divest fossil fuels showed a lack of understanding about the economy and jobs.

He said at the World Economic Forum in Davos: “After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”

President Donald Trump said that campaigners were too pessimistic and should concentrate their fire on countries where emissions are rising. He did not say which countries.

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On January 23, Steven Mnuchin continued the criticism. In response to a question about Greta Thunberg’s call for fossil fuels to be scrapped, he said: “Is she the chief economist?”

The treasury secretary added: “For people who call for divestment, there are significant economic issues – issues with jobs.”

Greta Thunberg joined other young climate activists to speak to world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 21.

The World Economic Forum is a massive event where entrepreneurs, scientists, business leaders and politicians come together to talk about how to tackle world problems.

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Image source Wikipedia

Congress can remove a president from office before the end of their term.

Impeachment is the first part – the charges – of a two-stage political process by which Congress can remove a president from office.

While it’s commonly used to mean removing someone from office, it actually refers to the filing of formal charges in Congress.

These charges then form the basis of a trial.

How does the impeachment process begin?

It has to be started by the House of Representatives, which is one of the two chambers of Congress. (The other is the Senate).

A simple majority (51%) needs to vote in favor of articles of impeachment for the process to move to the next stage.

If the House of Representatives votes to pass articles of impeachment, the Senate is forced to hold a trial.

What happens next?                  

A Senate vote requires a two-thirds majority to convict and remove the president – unlikely in this case, given that President Donald Trump’s party controls the chamber.

A team of politicians from the House of Representatives act as prosecutors. The president has their own defense lawyers and senators act as the jury.

The chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over proceedings and the president is tried.

Only two US presidents in history – Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson – have been impeached, but neither was convicted.

President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.