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21 Jan
2019

Blood Moon on show for much of the world

SPACE (WNF) - For just over an hour, the Moon will turn red for viewers in all of North and South America, and a few areas of Western Europe and Africa. It is the last of three consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2018 and 2019, each one separated by six months. The good news is that, unlike a solar eclipse, the spectacle will be safe to look at.
The whole show, which begins with a slight darkening of the surface of the Moon, lasts some five hours.

Mauritania and Western Sahara will be the only African countries to see the total eclipse, but all of Africa except Madagascar will see at least a partial eclipse. Areas from the Middle East to about half of Afghanistan should see something. Much of Asia will miss out because the event will take place during daylight hours there when the Moon is not visible.

The Earth will come between the Sun and the Moon in just the right way so that the Earth’s shadow is cast entirely across its moon.

Astronomy Magazine’s senior editor Michael Bakich says the Moon is always safe to look at because, “just like objects here on Earth, we see it because it reflects sunlight.” During an eclipse, the Moon is in Earth’s shadow, so there’s even less light coming from it. #22773 Published: 11/05/2018

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22 Jan
2019

Academy announces nominations for Oscars

UNITED STATES (WNF) - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its 2019 nominations for February’s Oscars ceremony. Eyes are on A Star is Born, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, to see if it can live up to the buzz it has created since its release.
Forbes Magazine describes it as the movie to beat. A top rival will be Vice, described as an angry comedy about Dick Cheney’s rise to power as United States vice president under George W. Bush. Both films garnered Golden Globe nominations in January, and Vice won one more than its nearest rivals.

Green Book also did well with Golden Globe nominations, with the movie in the lineup for Best Picture-Comedy or Musical and both of its stars receiving acting nominations. The Peter Farrelly’s 1960s-set biopic – which follows classical pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his New York City-born driver Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) as they tour the American South – won the Toronto International Film Festival’s prestigious People’s Choice Award in 2018. Entertainment magazine points out that winners of the award have won Best Picture Oscars or Oscar nominations nine times in the last 10 years.

Eyes are also on the nominations to see if Damien Chazelle’s First Man, snubbed at the Golden Globes, attracts the attention of Oscar juries. Released the year before the 50th anniversary of the historic occasion it depicts, it was expected to make the cut.

The 24 awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry recognize excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy’s voting membership. #22906 Published: 12/10/2018

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22 Jan
2019

Globalization 4.0 on agenda for world and business leaders meeting at Davos

SWITZERLAND (WNF) - World and business leaders gather for the 2019 World Economic Forum at Davos, a favored destination for world leaders with an appeal or a message, to work on Globalization 4.0. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has been pleading for help to ward off Russia, and Davos is a logical next stop.
Globalization 4.0 marries the integration of national economies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, described by the Forum as a “fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” The formal theme of the meeting is 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential “to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world,” according to a WEF essay that explores its positives and negatives, but implementing Globalization 4.0 requires grappling with negatives that include inequality. The essay cites economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, who point out that the revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labor markets.

Poroshenko has taken his latest Russia crisis to the United Nations, and is likely to be looking for support from European and other leaders at Davos. On Nov 25 Russia seized three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors in the Kerch Strait in the first direct military confrontation between the two countries since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Russia also has blockaded Ukraine ports, a potentially crippling economic setback for Kiev.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken on a role as a mediator in the Ukraine-Russia dispute, opening the possibility that he, and even President Vladimir Putin, might add Davos to their agenda.

As noted by the Financial Times in 2011, “political leaders from all over the world tacitly agree to set aside their differences and to speak a common language” at Davos. They campaign to attract foreign investment and trade, and even the most intractable differences are temporarily smothered by the globalization consensus, according to the newspaper. #22892 Published: 12/11/2018

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22 Jan
2019

Movers and shakers gather in Davos for World Economic Forum

SWITZERLAND (GN) - The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, the foremost event on the calendars of the rich and powerful, will draw thousands of political leaders, business magnates and other trailblazers to the Alpine resort of Davos to discuss the most pressing issues on the global agenda.
With trade wars threatening to dent global growth, the theme of this year’s meeting is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.”

“America first doesn’t mean America alone,” U.S. President Donald Trump declared at Davos 2018. But his words were not followed by action – throughout 2018 he escalated a trade war with China over what he alleged were its unfair trading practices, boasting on Twitter that trade wars are “good” and “easy to win.”

Chinese business tycoon Jack Ma warned that a trade war could have the same implications as a physical war. “It’s so easy to launch a trade war, but it’s so difficult to stop the disaster of this war,” Ma said at Davos. “When you sanction the other country, you sanction small businesses, young people, and they will be killed, just like when you bomb somewhere. If trade stops, war starts.”

The spotlight also turned on big technology firms at Davos 2018, with billionaire investor George Soros opining that tech giants such as Facebook and Google had become “obstacles to innovation”. In July, Google was fined a record $5bn by the EU for breaking competition rules.

Apple and Amazon are likely to face increased scrutiny at this year’s meeting after becoming the first public companies to soar to valuations of $1 trillion.

Although the tech sector generates vast fortunes and a substantial number of jobs, critical questions remain over the impact companies with such staggering valuations could have on competition in the broader marketplace. #22858 Updated: 12/16/2018 DUPLICATE

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22 Jan
2019

Young Catholics flock to Panama for World Youth Day 2019?

PANAMA (WNF) - Pope Francis has invited young people from around the globe to Panama for World Youth Day, but he can’t count on the usual rapturous crowds. The pedophile priests scandal appears to be taking a toll on both his popularity and on the Catholic Church.
Some Catholics have criticized the Pope for what they describe as an insufficient response to the pedophile crisis, and his views on doctrine have set him in the crosshairs of conservatives in the church hierarchy.

The relatively meager attendance at the World Meeting of Families in Ireland in 2018 offered a foretaste of the pope’s potential reception in Panama. The Dublin organizers anticipated that some 300,000 people would attend the culminating event, an open-air mass celebrated by the pontiff. An emergency services official estimated attendance at 130,000.

The scandal has intensified since the last two World Youth Days, which drew an estimated three million young people to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013, and approximately the same number to Krakow, Poland, in 2016.

Pope John Paul II initiated World Youth Day in 1985. #22774 Published: 11/05/2018

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Jan
2019

Egypt opens Sphinx International Airport to accommodate returning tourists

EGYPT (WNF) - Egypt’s vital tourism sector receives a boost with the official opening of Sphinx International Airport. It is located some 45 km (29 miles) west of Cairo on the doorstep of the Pyramids and Sphinx on the Giza Plateau. (January 2019
The popularity of even those eternally-iconic marvels declined in the aftermath of the political upheaval known as the Arab Spring. When Islamic extremists ISIS bombed a Russian airliner in 2015, killing more than 200 holidaymakers shortly after take-off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the tourism sector took another blow.

The Financial Times reports that tourism is finally recovering across Egypt, helped by cheaper prices and an improved security situation. The new airport boasts thermal monitoring cameras and X-ray detectors.

Tourist numbers in the first quarter of 2018 were up 30 per cent over the previous year, according to the British publication, which cited industry data, and hotel occupancy rates were at their highest since 2010.

Al-Monitor notes that the new airport is also near the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), which will open fully in 2020 and house tens of thousands of unique artifacts and archaeological finds, including the 21st-century resting place of King Tut. #22762 Updated: 11/15/2018 DATE UPDATED TO REFLECT LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

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25 Jan
2019

Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh in Park City for Slamdance Festival award

UNITED STATES (WNF) - Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh receives the Founders Award at the rebel indie-fest in Park City called Slamdance. The award marks the 30th anniversary of Sex, Lies and Videotape, a feted Soderbergh film that made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in the Utah mountain city.
Sex, Lies and Videotape won the Palme d’Or in 1989. It was added to the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 2006.

Soderbergh received an Academy Award for Best Director in 2001 for Traffic. His new film, High Flying Bird, will be screened at the festival. His Schizopolis and And Everything Is Going Fine have previously screened at Slamdance.

The festival will open with the world premiere of Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story. A documentary, it tells the story of a ski bum turned filmmaker who died at 93 in 2018.

According to the Slamdance web, the festival began when a group of subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. #22914 Published: 12/16/2018

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26 Jan
2019

Suleman octuplets turn 10 years old

UNITED STATES (WNF) - The Suleman octuplets in California turn 10, a remarkable milestone that sees their mother, Nadya Suleman, on the way to shedding notoriety.
Time appears to be altering her public image. Recent news coverage of the family – which includes the eighth birthday party of the octuplets and an expedition for their 2017 Christmas tree – leaves the impression of a family that is being given space to thrust a difficult past behind. The photo essay of Noah, Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Jonah, Makai, Josiah, and Jeremiah and their mother in US Magazine issues a tacit invitation to credit Suleman for surmounting extreme odds to raise her family of 14 children. The notorious aspects of her story are becoming a footnote.

Suleman set the Guinness World Record for Most Children Delivered At Birth To Survive. Dubbed Octomom, she became notorious on Jan 26, 2009, when she ignored the advice and gave birth in Bellflower, California to six boys and two girls via IVF and donor sperm. She was already the mother of six children and living on public assistance. Suleman drew ire again for working as a stripper and appearing in an adult film. On occasion, condemnation and death threats have sent the family into hiding.

The photo essays suggest the Sulemans are out of hiding. #22542 Published: 03/09/2018

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27 Jan
2019

74th Auschwitz liberation anniversary sees controversial Polish law in spotlight

POLAND (WNF) - International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2019 marks the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. The anniversary sees Poland unapologetic about passing a controversial law in Jan 2018 that distances it from wartime Nazi atrocities on Polish soil.
The government decriminalized the offense five months later because of the outcry from Europe, Israel and the United States. It is now a civil offense.

Israel marks the Holocaust each year in April.

While it was occupied by the Third Reich, Poland was the site of Nazi-run concentration camps in which millions of Jews, Slavs and Communists were killed. In the five years it was open, an estimated 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz, around 90 per cent of whom were Jewish. Many Poles actively resisted the Germans and were killed, but other accounts reveal Poles were complicit in the atrocities. Poland has long objected to phrases that suggest shared responsibility for Nazi Germany's actions.

The January bill established prison terms for anyone who besmirches the nation’s good name by using the phrase “Polish Concentration Camp,” or suggests that Poles were culpable during the Holocaust. The legislation drew wide condemnation from Israel, Europe and the United States. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party argued that the measure was intended to protect the country’s reputation and clarify its history. #22507 Published: 02/09/2018

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