Tuesday, 15 October 2019

NASA HQ News: NASA Announces Changes to Spacewalk Schedule, First All-Female Spacewalk

October 15, 2019
MEDIA ADVISORY M19-109


NASA Announces Changes to Spacewalk Schedule, First All-Female Spacewalk

 

NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 4:30 p.m. EDT today to discuss this week’s first all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website.

Kenny Todd, manager of International Space Station Operations Integration, and Megan McArthur, deputy chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office, will talk to and take questions from media about recent changes to the agency’s spacewalk schedule and moving forward with efforts to upgrade the space station’s power system.
To participate in today’s teleconference, media must call 281-483-5111 by 4:20 p.m. for dial-in information.

 
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
Credits: NASA
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture outside the space station at 7:50 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 or Friday, Oct. 18. Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Space station managers have postponed three spacewalks previously scheduled for this and next week to install new batteries in order to first replace a faulty battery charge/discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU failed to activate following the Oct. 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s truss. The three spacewalks previously planned to continue the installation of additional lithium-ion batteries will be rescheduled.

The BCDU failure has not impacted station operations, safety of the crew, or the ongoing experiments aboard the orbiting laboratory, many in preparation for future human missions to the Moon and Mars. The station’s overall power supply, which is fed by four sets of batteries and solar arrays, remains sufficient for all operations. However, the faulty power unit does prevent a set of batteries installed earlier this month from providing increased station power.

The BCDU’s regulate the amount of charge put into the batteries that collect energy from the station’s solar arrays to power station systems during periods when the station orbits during nighttime passes around Earth. Two other charge/discharge units on the affected 2B power channel did activate as planned and are providing power to station systems.

This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first. Watch video of the two discussing the possibility of conducting a spacewalk together at:

Follow Koch on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow Meir on Twitter and Instagram.

Learn more about International Space Station research, operations, and its crew at:

-end-

President Akufo-Addo Must Stop The Planned Destruction Of The Atewa Forest Reserve - And Turn It Into A National Park Instead.

When Ghana's President Akufo-Addo was sworn into office in January 2017, he admonished Ghanaians to be active citizens, not passive citizens - so as to hold their elected leaders to account by implication. The time has come for Akyems who care about their natural heritage,  to be active citizens -  and condemn in no uncertain  terms, Hon.Yaw Osafo Marfo, the Senior Minister, and Vice President Bawumia, who went to China to sell the birthright of Akyems,  without our permission. They sods.

Those two geniuses then returned home  to tout that egregious betrayal, as a new public-sector funding model, to be used  to finance the  expansion and modernisation of Ghana's infrastructure - to save face for a forked-tongued-ruling-party that when in the political wilderness, and campaigning to win power again, constantly criticised the then President Mahama's National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration,  for borrowing heavily.

Yet, as we all know, during the campaign for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections,  the New Patriotic Party  (NPP), gave Ghanaians the distinct  impression that if voted into office, unlike the then ruling NDC regime of former  President Mahama , if voted into power, a New Patriotic Party  (NPP) administration would not add to Ghana's massive debt stock under any circumstances. Many voted for the NPP for that key implied assurance alone.

That is why younger generation Ghanaians must rise up against the Sino-Hydro deal that sacrifices the all-important and priceless Atewa Forest Reserve, for a paltry U.S.$2.5 billion loan agreement, with the state-owned Chinese company,  SinoHydro.

The sensible thing a wise government would do, to spare the Atewa Forest Reserve, at a time when global warming is impacting the Ghanaian countryside so negatively,  would be to plan instead for a West African integrated aluminium industry that sources it's bauxite supplies from  Guinea,  Liberia and Sierra Leone, to be processed  and smeltered by VALCO, at Tema.

Ghana's younger generations must demand that the Sino-Hydro deal is cancelled immediately  - because in the climate change era, it is the height of stupidity and foolishness  to destroy a unique and biodiversity-rich upland evergreen rainforest,  which is the watershed for the three major river systems that the populations of most of the southern half of Ghana's towns and cities'  treated water supply, is sourced  from. 

The time has now come for Ghana's younger generations to draw inspiration from their counterparts across the world, who, as we speak, are now staging regular public street demonstrations to demand action from governments worldwide, to halt global warming from reaching the tipping point. The active citizens of an African democracy, whose leader is the co-chairperson of the Eminent Persons appointed by the UN Secretary General to oversee the worldwide implementation of the UN SDGs,  must ask President Akufo-Addo to the  stop the planned destruction of the Atewa Forest Reserve,  and demand  that it is turned into a national park instead. Yooooo. Hmmmm.  Haaba.


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Reuters/Steve Holland and Humeyra Pamuk: Scrambling to limit damage, Trump tells Turkey to stop its Syria invasion

October 14, 2019 / 8:17 PM / Updated 3 hours ago

Scrambling to limit damage, Trump tells Turkey to stop its Syria invasion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday demanded Turkey stop its military incursion in Syria and imposed new sanctions on the NATO ally as Trump scrambled to limit the damage from his much-criticized decision to clear U.S. troops from Turkey’s path.
Vice President Mike Pence said Trump had told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call on Monday to agree to an immediate ceasefire. He also said he would travel to the region soon to try to mediate the crisis.
Pence said Trump had been firm with Erdogan on the phone.
“The United States of America simply is not going to tolerate Turkey’s invasion in Syria any further. We are calling on Turkey to stand down, end the violence and come to the negotiating table,” Pence told reporters.
Turkey launched a cross-border operation into northern Syria on Wednesday just days after Erdogan told Trump in a phone call that he planned to move ahead with a long-planned move against America’s Kurdish allies in the region.
Trump abruptly announced a redeployment of 50 American troops from the conflict zone to get them out of harm’s way, dismissing criticism that this would leave the Kurds open to attack. This was widely seen as giving Erdogan a green light for his operation.
With lawmakers in the U.S. Congress moving to impose sanctions of their own, Trump issued an executive order authorizing sanctions against current and former officials of the Turkish government for contributing to Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria.
In a statement, Trump said he had increased tariffs on imports of Turkish steel back up to 50 percent, six months after they were reduced, and would immediately stop negotiations on what he called a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey.
“Unfortunately, Turkey does not appear to be mitigating the humanitarian effects of its invasion,” said Trump.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States had imposed sanctions on Turkey’s ministers of defense, interior and energy, as well as their departments.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses conservative activists at the Family Research Council's annual gala in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The scenes of carnage from Turkey’s assault have exposed Trump to harsh criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for abandoning the Kurdish allies who were instrumental in the U.S. battle against Islamic State militants in Syria.
As Congress has vowed to act if he will not, Trump said Turkey’s action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and “setting conditions for possible war crimes” but he made clear he had no plans to reverse his decision to withdraw.
“As I have said, I am withdrawing the remaining United States service members from northeast Syria,” said Trump.
Slideshow (8 Images)
U.S. troops coming out of Syria will stay in the region to monitor ISIS and a small footprint will remain at the Tanf base in southern Syria, he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican allied with Trump, expressed his displeasure with the president’s decision in a statement.
“Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria would recreate the very conditions that we have worked hard to destroy and invite the resurgence of ISIS,” he said.
A statement from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic senators Robert Menendez and Jack Reed said the only person who is able to “immediately stop this tragedy unfolding is the president himself.”
“The first step when Congress returns to session this week is for Republicans to join with us in passing a resolution making clear that both parties are demanding the president’s decision be reversed,” they said.
Trump said his executive order would enable the United States to impose sanctions on those current or former Turkish officials who may be involved in human rights abuses. He said it will authorize sanctions such as blocking of property and barring entry into the United States.
Turkey’s lira, which had weakened some 0.8% in the day, reacted minimally to Trump’s announcement. It stood at 5.9300 at 2018 GMT, from 5.9260 beforehand.
Reporting by Steve Holland, Lisa Lambert, Eric Beech, Humeyra Pamuk, Patricia Zengerle and Jan Wolfe; Editing by Sandra Maler and Sonya Hepinstall
Reuters News Now
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  • Reuters: California governor demands PG&E accountability for mismanaging power shutoffs

    October 14, 2019 / 9:30 PM / Updated 4 hours ago

    California governor demands PG&E accountability for mismanaging power shutoffs

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday that utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co should be held accountable for mismanaging last week’s widespread power shutoffs and urged the company to provide credits or rebates to affected customers.
    FILE PHOTO: California governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference as he signs SB 113, which will enable the transfer of $331million in state funds to the National Mortgage Special Deposit Fund in San Diego, California, U.S. October 9, 2019. REUTERS/ Mike Blake
    The utility, a unit of PG&E Corp (PCG.N), cut off electricity to more than 730,000 homes and workplaces in northern California last week in a bid to reduce wildfire risks posed by extremely windy, dry weather.
    The precautionary shutdown, unprecedented in its scope, has been widely criticized as being haphazardly conducted on too large a scale with insufficient advance notice to affected customers.
    On Thursday, the governor said the power outage followed years of mismanagement by the utility and branded its handling as “unacceptable.” PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson publicly acknowledged that day that his company had fallen short in its preparations for the outage.
    On Monday, Newsom said he had sent a letter to California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer, confirming that the agency will conduct a comprehensive inquiry and review of PG&E's planning, implementation and decision-making process failures. (here|ze7pzanwmhlzgt|16yyb9u0kwpik66&_ce=1571085648.ee92e440fc7f2af3430833dc25a37ebd)
    “Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E’s greed and neglect,” Newsom said. “We will continue to hold PG&E accountable to make radical changes – prioritizing the safety of Californians and modernizing its equipment.”
    Newsom also urged the company to provide affected customers an automatic credit or rebate of $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business as compensation.
    Separately, Batjer sent PG&E executives an eight-page letter on Monday directing the utility outlining seven “major areas where immediate corrective actions are required,” the commission said in a statement.
    “Failures in execution, combined with the magnitude of this (power shutdown) event, created an unacceptable situation that should never be repeated,” Batjer wrote.
    “Loss of power is not a mere inconvenience - it endangers lives and property, especially those individuals who are reliant on power for medical reasons,” the letter said.
    Several of the corrective actions the commission ordered dealt with website crashes and an overwhelming surge in call center activity the utility experienced during the power shutdown.
    PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, citing potential civil liabilities in excess of $30 billion from major wildfires linked to its transmission wires and other equipment.
    Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin
    Reuters News Now
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  • National Review/Tobias Hoonhout: Fort Worth Police Officer Resigns after Fatally Shooting Woman Through House Window


    National Review
    (Pixabay)
    A Fort Worth, Texas police officer resigned Monday morning after fatally shooting a 28-year old black woman through the window of her mother’s home this past weekend.
    Police chief Ed Kraus said in a press conference that he had intended to fire Aaron Dean, the officer who shot Atatiana Jefferson early Saturday morning, but Dean resigned first.
    The announcement came after a department review of body camera footage — portions of which were also released to the public — found that the officer did not announce himself as a police officer before firing.
    In the footage, Dean is shown prowling around outside the house, before going to a window and yelling, “Put your hands up. Show me your hands.” He then suddenly fires through the window at Jefferson.
    Officers were responding to a nonemergency call from a neighbor who saw an open front door and lights on at the house. In their initial statement, police said Dean fired after “perceiving a threat.”
    Jefferson’s family held a press conference Monday and called for an independent investigation into a “reckless act.”
    “She was enjoying a life in her home, where no one would have expected her life to be in harm’s way, especially not at the hands of a civil servant who has taken an oath to serve and protect,” Jefferson’s sister Ashley Carr said.
    Family attorney Lee Merritt said that Jefferson had been playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew, and approached the window to investigate a noise outside when Dean fired.
    Merritt also lambasted the police department’s decision to release blurred still frames of a gun inside a bedroom along with the body cam footage. Officials have not said whether Dean thought Jefferson was holding a gun, nor whether the gun was found near her. Fort Worth Lieutenant Brandon O’Neil refused to comment to reporters Sunday on why police released images of the gun, which was legally owned by Jefferson.
    News of the tragedy comes only weeks after the murder trial of Amber Guyger in another high-profile police shooting. Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison after being found guilty of murdering Botham Jean in his own home.

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