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U.S. strikes deal for military bases with Philippines

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Newswise — The United States is expanding its presence in Southeast Asia with an agreement to establish four bases in the Philippines, as part of an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The move is widely viewed as a means to deter China’s influence in the region. 

Tom Pepinsky is a professor of government and director of the Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University. Pepinsky says the deal is a major development in U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy.

Pepinsky says:

“The recent military agreement between the Biden and Marcos administrations, which establishes new military presence in the Philippine islands for the first time in three decades, is a major development in the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy.

“It also has significant implications for Philippine politics, representing a return to closer government ties with a former colonial power and treaty ally.

“The administration of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. looks to establish itself as a reliable partner of the United States, representing a break from his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte whose uneven political style and repressive domestic policies created significant headaches for U.S. foreign policy.” 

Source: Cornell University

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Asteroid Apophis: An Exciting Encounter with Earth

Get ready for an exciting and safe encounter with asteroid Apophis as it zooms past Earth in 2029! Don’t miss this celestial event! #Apophis2029

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In just five years, on April 13, 2029, the world will witness the close encounter of a rather infamous asteroid named Apophis. This grand event, visible to the naked eye, has sparked curiosity among astronomers and captured the attention of the public. However, rest assured, there is no reason for alarm. Let’s delve into the fascinating story of the asteroid Apophis and shed light on its journey through the cosmos.

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Asteroid Apophis: An Exciting Encounter with Earth https://stmdailynews.com/category/science/

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Asteroid Apophis: An Exciting Encounter with Earth

Location, Location, Location:
Apophis is an asteroid measuring about 1,100 feet (340 meters) in diameter. Extensive calculations have revealed that it will safely pass by Earth both in 2029 and 2036. During the 2029 flyby, Apophis will come within a nominal distance of 19,662 miles (31,643 km) from our planet’s surface, closer than the moon and many satellites in Earth’s orbit. As it traverses through Earth’s gravitational field, the passage of Apophis might even cause subtle asteroid-quakes and slightly alter its orbit.

Spectacular Viewing Opportunities:
Although not observable from everywhere, lucky viewers in Australia, southern Asia, southern Europe, and Africa will have a front-row seat to witness Apophis at its brightest in 2029. As the asteroid gradually moves away from Earth and dims, it will become visible in eastern South America. Furthermore, as evening falls along the east coast of North America, telescopes will reveal Apophis located approximately 15 degrees north of the Pleiades. An ephemeris for the asteroid can be found on our website to help astronomers and enthusiasts track its celestial journey.

The Discovery of Apophis:
On the remarkable evening of June 19, 2004, astronomers at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona made a thrilling discovery. Dave Tholen, Fabrizio Bernardi, and the late Roy Tucker stumbled upon an asteroid, later designated as 2004 MN4. What made this discovery even more extraordinary was the fact that the asteroid was unusually close to the sun, only 57 degrees away. Further observations revealed that Apophis had an orbit different from most asteroids, resembling that of an Aten-class asteroid.

Narrowing the Probability of Collision:
Initially, calculations showed that Apophis had a 2.7% chance of colliding with Earth on April 13, 2029, a date marked with superstition. This resulted in a media frenzy surrounding the potentially hazardous asteroid. However, over several years, astronomers meticulously observed Apophis, taking into account the influence of other celestial bodies and the Yarkovsky effect caused by sunlight. By 2006, these studies dispelled the notion of a collision in 2029, relieving the world of any imminent danger.

No More Worries for the Future:
Many eagerly awaited the subsequent close approach of Apophis in 2036. However, in 2013, after conducting radar observations using the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex and the Green Bank Observatory, NASA definitively ruled out any potential impact in 2036 and for the next 100 years. Apophis is now no longer on the Sentry Impact Risk Table, which lists potentially dangerous objects near Earth.

Unlocking the Scientific Opportunities:
With the new knowledge that Apophis poses no threat, astronomers can fully embrace the upcoming close encounter as a fantastic scientific opportunity. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, known for its historic mission to bring samples from asteroid Bennu back to Earth, is now en route to rendezvous with Apophis in April 2029. Renamed OSIRIS-APEX (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Apophis Explorer), this mission will unlock further insights into the asteroid’s composition and characteristics.


As we eagerly anticipate the visit of the asteroid Apophis in 2029, let us celebrate the wonders of our universe. Apophis serves as a reminder of the dynamic nature of our cosmic neighborhood and the continuously advancing knowledge of our exceptional astronomers. So mark your calendars and join the world in witnessing this extraordinary celestial event, which promises to be a captivating spectacle for all.

https://earthsky.org/space/asteroid-99942-apophis-encounters-2029-2036-2068/?mc_cid=52a3b9aa14&mc_eid=3304aabd10

https://stmdailynews.com/category/science/

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Putting Jobs First: California High-Speed Rail Crosses 13,000 Construction Jobs Milestone

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California High-Speed Rail construction site with workers in hardhats.
Artistic rendering of a CAHSR high-speed train running in the Central Valley. California High-Speed Rail.

In a significant milestone for the nation’s first high-speed rail project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced that it has successfully created over 13,000 construction jobs since 2015. This accomplishment not only signifies progress for the ambitious high-speed rail system but also highlights the positive impact it has had on the local Californian workforce.

California High-Speed Rail Crosses 13,000 Construction Jobs Milestone

Central Valley Takes the Lead:
With over 70 percent of these jobs going to residents of California’s Central Valley, the project has played a vital role in providing employment opportunities for individuals in the region. It is worth acknowledging the efforts of nearly 1,400 workers dispatched each day to various high-speed rail construction sites. These jobs have injected economic vitality and growth into communities across the Central Valley.

Regional Breakdown:

  1. Fresno County: 4,222 jobs
  2. Kern County: 2,538 jobs
  3. Tulare County: 1,282 jobs
  4. Madera County: 580 jobs
  5. Kings County: 462 jobs
  6. Merced County: 189 jobs
  7. Remaining California Counties: 3,387 jobs
  8. Out-of-State: 369 jobs

A Decade of Strong Partnerships:
The Authority has had a longstanding partnership with the California State Building Trades, which has facilitated the creation of thousands of good-paying union jobs. Notably, during the past five years alone, over 10,000 construction positions have been generated through these collaborative efforts. Moreover, a significant focus has been placed on directing employment opportunities towards individuals from disadvantaged communities, further promoting inclusivity and economic upliftment.

California Jobs First Council:
To bolster job creation even further and ensure economic prosperity for all Californians, the California Jobs First Council was established. This council aims to align economic resources, expedite job creation, and enhance opportunities throughout the state. With particular focus on the Central San Joaquin Valley, this initiative serves as an impetus for creating more jobs, rapidly, in every community.

Future Expansion and Construction Progress:
Looking ahead, the Authority is resolute in extending the current 119-mile high-speed rail network to span 171 miles, reaching from Merced to Bakersfield. The construction has already commenced on this expansion project. Presently, more than 25 dynamic construction sites are active within the Central Valley. As a testament to its commitment to environmental stewardship, the Authority has obtained full environmental clearance for 422 miles of the high-speed rail program, stretching from the Bay Area to Los Angeles County.

Stay Updated:
For the latest developments and information about the high-speed rail construction, interested individuals are encouraged to visit the official website: www.buildhsr.com. On the website, visitors can access recent videos, animations, photographs, press center resources, and the latest renderings of the project. All files are available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s achievement of surpassing 13,000 construction jobs is undoubtedly a cause for celebration. By focusing on job creation and prioritizing the local workforce, this landmark project is making a positive difference in the lives of Californians, particularly those in the Central Valley. With continued progress and future expansions, the California High-Speed Rail project not only brings efficient transportation but also provides a substantial economic boost that benefits communities and individuals alike.

https://hsr.ca.gov/2024/03/19/putting-jobs-first-california-high-speed-rail-crosses-13000-construction-jobs-milestone/

Source: California High-Speed Rail Authority

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13k+ jobs created! 🚄 California High-Speed Rail breaking records and boosting the economy! jobs infrastructure https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

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What is California High-Speed Rail?

The California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR) is a state-funded project led by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Currently under construction, Phase 1 is planned to cover 494 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, passing through the Central Valley. There are plans for Phase 2, which would extend the system to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 776 miles. Authorized by a 2008 ballot, this ambitious project aims to connect major urban areas, significantly reducing travel times. The goal for Phase 1 is to achieve a travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes between San Francisco and Los Angeles, a vast improvement from the existing Amtrak service, which takes around nine hours.

Construction of Phase 1 began in the Central Valley back in 2015. The project is being built in sections due to limited funding. The state aims to complete a 171-mile (275 km) long Initial Operating Segment (IOS) connecting Merced and Bakersfield by 2024. The IOS is expected to begin its revenue service as a self-contained high-speed rail system between 2030-2033, at an estimated cost of $28–35 billion. CAHSR trains running along this section would be the fastest in the Americas, with a top speed of 220 mph (350 km/h).

Between January 2015 and December 2023, a whopping amount of $11.2 billion was spent on the IOS project, which includes 119 miles (192 km) currently under construction, alongside upgrades to the existing rail lines in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles. The plan is that Phase 1 will share tracks with conventional passenger trains. However, the Authority has not yet secured funding to connect the Central Valley section with either the Bay Area or Los Angeles, which involves crossing several major mountain passes. As of 2024, it is estimated that Phase 1 will cost a total of $106.2 billion.n.

Supporters of the California High-Speed Rail project emphasize the potential benefits it offers, including the reduction of air traffic and highway congestion, decreased pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and the promotion of economic growth by connecting inland regions to coastal cities. However, opponents argue that the project is too expensive and advocate for directing funds to other transportation or infrastructure initiatives. The choice of route and the decision to initiate construction in the Central Valley, rather than more densely populated areas, have been points of contention. The project has encountered notable challenges such as delays and cost overruns due to management issues, legal disputes, and a lack of complete funding commitment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_High-Speed_Rail#

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

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Community Fundraiser Hosted by CFC in Support of Infertility Awareness Week

Canadian Fertility Consulting and Fertility Matters Canada Unite for Virtual Paint Night Fundraiser

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TORONTO (Newswire.com) – Canadian Fertility Consulting is proud to announce a Virtual Paint Night Fundraiser in support of Infertility Awareness Week, scheduled for April 28, 2024. This event aims to raise awareness about infertility issues while supporting Fertility Matters Canada, a national charity dedicated to assisting those struggling with fertility challenges.

The virtual paint night will be led by the talented Jenny Hughes of Oceanside Art Studios, offering participants the opportunity to unleash their creativity while supporting a meaningful cause. Taking part is simple – join from the comfort of your home via Microsoft Teams, and we will provide all the necessary paint materials, conveniently shipped directly to your door.

“We are thrilled to host this virtual paint night fundraiser to support Infertility Awareness Week and Fertility Matters Canada,” said Janet Harbick, Administrative Specialist at Canadian Fertility Consulting. “It’s an opportunity for our community to come together, express themselves artistically, and raise vital funds for a cause that impacts so many lives.”

Participants are encouraged to register by April 12, 2024, to ensure timely delivery of the paint supplies. Registration and payment are required to secure your spot in this event.

The theme for the evening is to paint a beautiful hatching embryo, with each participant adding their own unique interpretation. No prior painting experience is necessary, as guidance will be provided throughout the virtual session.

Infertility affects one in six Canadians, leading many to explore alternative paths to parenthood. Statistics show that 40% of infertility cases are attributed to female factors, 30% to male factors, and 30% to joint infertility or remain unexplained. Additionally, various factors such as sexual orientation, genetic diseases, gynecological issues, and career considerations contribute to the complexity of infertility challenges faced by individuals and couples across every demographic and economic group.

Canadian Fertility Consulting is Canada’s largest surrogacy and egg donation agency, committed to assisting couples and individuals in their journey to parenthood. With a mission to build families with love, we provide guidance and support throughout the process of exploring alternative methods of family building.

Join us for a night of creativity and compassion as we come together to support Infertility Awareness Week and Fertility Matters Canada. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by infertility.

For more information and to register for the Virtual Paint Night Fundraiser, visit Paint Night Event Registration.

About Canadian Fertility Consulting:

Canadian Fertility Consulting is Canada’s largest surrogacy and egg donation agency, dedicated to helping couples and individuals navigate the challenges of infertility. With a focus on compassion and support, we assist in building families through surrogacy and egg donation arrangements.

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