What does your 5 year plan look like?

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Today’s Essentials – This week…


How Do Children Learn Respect for Others?

Westerners use rules and punishment to shape children. Indigenous peoples traditionally provide extensive support and do not interfere in a child’s wayfinding in life.

List of Wikipedias

Started in 2001, it currently contains 6,169,933 articles. Many other Wikipedias are available; some of the largest are listed below.

Languages:English·Ænglisc·العربية·беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎·български·Banjar·বাংলা·català·کوردی·Zazaki·Ελληνικά·Esperanto·español·euskara·فارسی·français·galego·ગુજરાતી·עברית·हिन्दी·հայերեն·Bahasa Indonesia·italiano·日本語·Jawa·한국어·lietuvių·македонски·मराठी·Bahasa Melayu·Mirandés·မြန်မာဘာသာ·مازِرونی·Bân-lâm-gú·नेपाली·नेपाल भाषा·occitan·ਪੰਜਾਬੀ·پښتو·português·română·سنڌي·Soomaaliga·தமிழ்·Türkçe·ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche·اردو·vèneto·中文

Alemannisch (als) · azərbaycanca (az) · čeština (cs) · словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ (cu) · Deutsch (de) · suomi (fi) · Gaeilge (ga) · magyar (hu) · 日本語 (ja) · ქართული (ka) · қазақша (kk) · 한국어 (ko) · Кыргызча (ky) · Limburgs (li) · latviešu (lv) · Malagasy (mg) · Bahasa Melayu (ms) · Bân-lâm-gú (nan) · polski (pl) · português (pt) · русский (ru) · српски / srpski (sr) · shqip (sq) · 

NOTE: Addressing and balancing Mental Health will not always be palatable.


Gold winner for ‘Best international digital transformation of a TRAINING PROGRAM in response to COVID-19′

We are thrilled to share our COVID-19 learning response work has been recognized internationally.

World Health Organization

#MetKids is made for, with, and by kids—wherever we may be. Check out this week’s roundup of favorite #MetKids videos and activities, all inspired by The Met collection. 
CREATE Create an Optical Toy: ThaumatropeFollow along with Durga, age 11, and learn how to make a thaumatrope, an optical toy that was popular in the 1800s. Roughly translated from Greek, the word thaumatrope means “wonder turn.”Watch → 
Q & A Is There More Than One Way to See a Work of Art?Explore new ways of looking with Nestor, age 10, and see art in a new way!Watch → 
STORYTIME Storytime with The Met: Dreamers by Yuyi MoralesLook, listen, sing, and have fun with Storytime from home! Join us every Thursday for a picture-book reading and an activity connected to The Met collection. In this edition, Met educator Josefa reads Dreamers and connects it to M.
Recommended for families with children ages 18 months to 6 years.Watch →
Send your artwork to metkids@metmuseum.org for a chance to be featured on #MetKids!
Explore the Map!
Hop in the Time Machine
Watch Video

  1. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction 

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction


Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Drug Addiction

For much of the past century, scientists studying drugs and drug use labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When scientists began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people with an addiction were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. Those views shaped society’s responses to drug use, treating it as a moral failing rather than a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punishment rather than prevention and treatment.

Today, thanks to science, our views and our responses to addiction and the broader spectrum of substance use disorders have changed dramatically. Groundbreaking discoveries about the brain have revolutionized our understanding of compulsive drug use, enabling us to respond effectively to the problem.

As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a medical disorder that affects the brain and changes behavior. We have identified many of the biological and environmental risk factors and are beginning to search for the genetic variations that contribute to the development and progression of the disorder. Scientists use this knowledge to develop effective prevention and treatment approaches that reduce the toll drug use takes on individuals, families, and communities.

Despite these advances, we still do not fully understand why some people develop an addiction to drugs or how drugs change the brain to foster compulsive drug use. This booklet aims to fill that knowledge gap by providing scientific information about the disorder of drug addiction, including the many harmful consequences of drug use and the basic approaches that have been developed to prevent and treat substance use disorders.

At the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), we believe that increased understanding of the basics of addiction will empower people to make informed choices in their own lives, adopt science-based policies and programs that reduce drug use and addiction in their communities, and support scientific research that improves the Nation’s well-being.

Nora D. Volkow, M.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse

PDF (16.06 MB)


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Has a Bold, New Look

The 30-foot NASA logo, nicknamed


What’s Causing Sea-Level Rise? Land Ice Vs. Sea Ice Students learn the difference between land ice and sea ice and make a model to see how the melting of each impacts global sea level.TAGS: Science Grades 2 – 8 Earth and Space Science


NASA’s Earth Minute This white-board animation video series explains key concepts about Earth science, missions and climate change.TAGS: Science Grades 6 – 12 Earth and Space Science


Thermal Expansion ModelStudents build a model that demonstrates an important contributor to sea-level rise – how water volume increases when the temperature of the water increases.TAGS: Science Grades 4 – 12 Physical Sciences



Your Weekly Escape
Extraordinary people, discoveries, and places in a time of turmoil
Here’s what’ll happen when plate tectonics grinds to a halt We may only have another 1.45 billion years to enjoy the dynamic action of Earth’s geologic engine. That’s well before the sun is expected to swell into a red giant and consume us in its death throes.
A ‘compelling’ clue may solve the mystery of the Lost ColonyIt’s one of America’s oldest mysteries: What happened to the 115 men, women, and children abandoned on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island in 1587? Pieces of broken pottery may finally provide an answer.
Egypt’s last pharaoh was the ‘love child’ of Caesar and CleopatraCaesarion embodied his mother’s alliance with Rome, but assassination and war would bring about his death at age 17, ending Ptolemaic rule in Egypt.
The forgotten Soviet space shuttle that could fly itselfThe Soviet shuttle bore a striking resemblance to its American counterpart for good reason: Its designers had acquired American shuttle specifications through espionage.
QUOTE: Actually, I’ve loved quite a few people, and by that I mean I really feel happy in their company. That’s pretty much it—the joy of someone’s company. That’s what I call love.

Joni Mitchell, singer and composer
From “I’m a fool for love” 
These are the dinosaurs that didn’t die More than 10,000 species still roam the Earth. We call them birds.

Astronomy•Astrophysics•Behavioral Science•Biochemistry•Biotechnology•Black Hole•Cancer•Cassini-Huygens Mission•Cell Biology•Climate Change•Cosmology•COVID-19Disease•Ecology•European Southern Observatory•European Space Agency•Evolution•Exoplanet•Genetics•Geology•Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics•Harvard University•Hubble Space Telescope•Images•Infectious Diseases•JPL•Mars•Materials Science•Max Planck InstituteMedicine•MIT•Nanoscience•Nanotechnology•NASA•NASA Goddard Space Flight Center•Neurology•Neuroscience•Paleontology•Particle Physics•Planetary Science•Popular•Public Health•Quantum Physics•Virology•Yale University

What is Power?



Follow Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich in Real Time As It Orbits Earth

Screenshot of Sentinel-6 as it appears on NASA's Eyes visualization tool
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California on Nov. 21. NASA’s Eyes visualization tools lets you track the spacecraft as begins its mission to measure sea level height as it orbits Earth. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Larger view

With NASA’s Eyes on the Earth web-based app, you can tag along with the U.S.-European satellite as it orbits the globe, gathering critical measurements of our changing planet.

When Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich was encapsulated in the payload fairing of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, it was the last time human eyes would have a close-up look at the satellite. But now that the spacecraft is in orbit after launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California on Nov. 21, NASA’s Eyes on the Earth is keeping track.

The app provides a 3D visualization of the sea-level-monitoring satellite, letting you see where it is right now as it glides over the cloud-covered globe.

https://eyes.nasa.gov/apps/orrery/#/sc_sentinel_6 👀

Find out more about Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich as it orbits Earth to collect critical sea level and atmospheric data. Click anywhere on the image to take it for a spin. View the full interactive experience and fly along with the mission in real time at Eyes on the Solar System. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Rendered in stunning detail, the spacecraft’s avatar even includes the instruments it will use to measure sea level height and gather atmospheric data. With the click of a mouse, you can rotate the satellite to see it from any angle, watch it fly above Earth in real-time, or speed it up to see its entire five-and-a-half-year mission unfold over a few minutes.

“What we create for Eyes is an engineering model of the real thing. You can get lost in the detail – not just in how the sunlight reflects off the spacecraft’s solar panels but how you can track its exact location in orbit,” said Jason Craig, visualization producer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “We have data streaming from space missions near and far, and we’ve put that data to work. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is only the latest spacecraft to be added to the growing number of missions.”

UNICEF/DesjardinsTwo boys at the Loda IDP camp in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The camp houses around 1,500 under-17 children but has no school or child safe spaces.Humanitarian Aid

Source: Humanitarian Action for Children 2021 | Overview

Mechanical Engineering

is an engineering branch that combines engineering physics and mathematics principles with materials science to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering branches.

NamesMechanical engineer
Activity sectorsapplied mechanicsdynamicsthermodynamicsfluid mechanicsheat transfer, production technology, and others
Competenciestechnical knowledge, management skills, design (see also glossary of mechanical engineering)
Education requiredSee professional requirements below
Fields of

The mechanical engineering field requires an understanding of core areas including mechanicsdynamicsthermodynamicsmaterials sciencestructural analysis, and electricity. In addition to these core principles, mechanical engineers use tools such as computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and product lifecycle management to design and analyze manufacturing plantsindustrial equipment and machineryheating and cooling systemstransport systems, aircraftwatercraftroboticsmedical devicesweapons, and others. It is the branch of engineering that involves the design, production, and operation of machinery.

Mechanical engineering emerged as a field during the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 18th century; however, its development can be traced back several thousand years around the world. In the 19th century, developments in physics led to the development of mechanical engineering science. The field has continually evolved to incorporate advancements; today mechanical engineers are pursuing developments in such areas as compositesmechatronics, and nanotechnology. It also overlaps with aerospace engineeringmetallurgical engineeringcivil engineeringelectrical engineeringmanufacturing engineeringchemical engineeringindustrial engineering, and other engineering disciplines to varying amounts. Mechanical engineers may also work in the field of biomedical engineering, specifically with biomechanicstransport phenomenabiomechatronicsbionanotechnology, and modelling of biological systems. …CONTINUE READING

NEW YORK TIMES:Tracking the Coronavirus ›

Where cases per capita are highest

▪︎U.S. hot spots ▪︎›College cases ▪︎›Worldwide ›


TOPICS:Genetics ▪︎Immunology ▪︎Infectious Diseases ▪︎Public Health ▪︎Virology


Super Spreader Virus Event Concept

“Super-spreader” events and extensive person-to-person contact propelled an outbreak of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in a small village in Argentina from 2018-2019, according to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

In the paper, an international scientific team reports the genetic, clinical, and epidemiologic features of the outbreak caused by the Andes virus, a member of the hantavirus family. The group’s analysis could aid clinicians and public health officials in managing outbreaks of other viral diseases with similar transmission patterns, including COVID-19.

Andes virus is carried by wild rodents native to South America, and people can be infected through exposure to infected animals or their droppings. Like other hantaviruses, Andes virus infection can lead to a severe and often fatal respiratory disease in humans, called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Importantly, Andes virus is the only hantavirus known to spread person to person. Those who come into direct contact with an infected individual or their body fluids, or who spend time in close proximity to an ill person, may also become infected. Currently, no licensed vaccines or drugs are available to treat the disease.

According to the study, led by scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and Administracion Nacional de Laboratorios e Institutos de Salud Dr. Carlos G. Malbran (ANLIS), large social events and high viral load in infected individuals fueled person-to-person transmission of the Andes virus during the outbreak. Researchers teamed up with local health authorities to piece together a near-complete epidemiological “picture” reconstructing specific transmission events for the 34 confirmed cases. They traced the outbreak’s origin to a single spillover event, and documented a 32 percent case fatality rate overall….CONTINUE READING


20 Simple and Real Ideas to Add to Your Self-Care Routine

By Megan Nicole O’Neal 

Let me start by saying a couple of things self-care is not. Self-care isn’t:

  1. An excuse to continually be unhealthy: A cheat day every once and a while is fine (encouraged even, because balance), but you can’t use “self-care” to justify poor habits
  2. Spending excess money on yourself that you don’t have: Debt has never done a body good #TreatYourSelfResponsibly
  3. Selfish

Maybe we should repeat that last one because I want it to sink in for everyone. Self-care is not selfish. Nor is it a waste of time. The world spins deceivingly fast; if you don’t step aside and check in with yourself every now and again, you might wake up to find you’re standing in a very different place than where you intended. (Cue those drives home when you look up and realize you don’t remember passing through the last three stoplights.)

Related: 8 Reasons Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Worthwhile self-care requires a bit of a two-pronged approach: both assessing your mental, emotional and physical health (on a scale of 1 – 10, how am I doing?) and selecting an activity that will inch you closer to a 10. Despite what some argue, there are such things as bad days, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot if some days you’re stuck at a 6.5. (Also, note shooting your own foot would likely slide you down to a -3, so it is unadvised nonetheless.)

Self-care isn’t about perfection or tricking yourself. It’s an honest internal dialog, which is where the challenge lies as most of us aren’t accustomed to giving a truthful answer to the “how are you?” questions at the water cooler.  The other hurdle to self-care is that to be effective, it’s going to be a little different for everyone. While I like to go on sunset runs to clear my mind, for others the thought of running causes stress.

To help gather self-care activities real people do regularly, I turned to the Interwebs with a simple question: “What is something you do for self-care that most people wouldn’t think of?” And the answers were fascinating! Here are some ideas ranging across different hobbies and interests to add to your self-care routines:

1. Don’t check your email or social media channels within one hour of waking.

2. Meditation or yoga, even just 10 minutes each morning or night.

3. Sign up for boxing classes. – Matt Linder and Amanda ReCupido

4. Take a 10-15 minute walk during the workday. – Charlotte Moore

5. Get more sleep—there are several studies that also support this one!

6. Set yourself a reminder on your phone (or Alexa device) saying, “You’re amazing!” – Pamela Sommers

7. Take a long ride on your bike or motorcycle. – Erik Huckleberry

8. Say no to events or gatherings that stretch you too thin.

9. Clean and declutter your desk—a polished desk is a polished mind. – Kalina Halatcheva

10. Take a bath. – Adabela Seuss

11. Listen to an audiobook. – Courtney Rose

12. Cuddle with your dog/cat—or play with your friends’ pets. – Rachel De Jesus

13. Light a candle in your favorite scent. Extra points if you do this while at your desk to make your workspace more inviting.

14. Cook yourself a nice meal. Eating = self-care. – Tamara Van Horne

15. Watch a nature documentary.

16. Create a safe space at home that’s meant only for pure relaxation. – Shaina V. Destine

17. Wake up without using an alarm clock one day this week.

18. Write yourself a “well-done” list at the end of the day to celebrate your achievements, however big or small


pantone color of the year 2021


Take free online math courses from MIT, ASU, and other leading math and science institutions. Get introductions to algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus and calculus or get help with current math coursework and AP exam preparation. Select a course to learn more.

Algebra | Calculus | Geometry | Linear Algebra | Logic | Pre-Algebra | Pre-Calculus | Probability | Regression | StatisticsMaster’s in Data Analytics

BBC News

Atlantic discovery: 12 new species ‘hiding in the deep’

By Victoria Gill Science correspondent, BBC News

Image captionEpizoanthus martinsae lives on black corals at depths of almost 400m

Almost five years of studying the deep Atlantic in unprecedented detail has revealed 12 species new to science.

The sea mosses, molluscs and corals had eluded discovery because the sea floor is so unexplored, scientists say.

Researchers warn that the newly discovered animals could already be under threat from climate change.

Carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean is making it more acidic, causing coral skeletons in particular to corrode.

Deep sea coral on a seamount
Image captionCorals are the foundations of the cities of the deep, providing shelter and food for many species

The scientists involved stressed it was “not too late to protect these special species” and the important habitats they occupied.

Some key Atlantic discoveries from the mission:

  • New species: “At least” 12 new deep-sea species. The team also found approximately 35 new records of species in areas where they were previously unknown
  • Climate change: Ocean warming, acidification, and decreasing food availability will combine to significantly shift and reduce the availability of suitable habitats for deep-sea species by 2100
  • Hydrothermal vents: Scientists discovered a field of these sea-floor hot springs in the Azores. Hydrothermal fields are important areas of relatively high biological productivity that host complex communities in the midst of the vast deep ocean

Cities of the deep

As Prof George Wolff, an ocean chemist from the University of Liverpool who was involved in the project pointed out: “We can still say we have better maps of the surface of the Moon and Mars than of the sea floor.”

Newly discovered coral species
Image captionAntropora gemarita feeds on particles of food suspended in the water

“So whenever you go to the deep ocean, you find something new – not just individual species but entire ecosystems.”

Prof Murray Roberts from the University of Edinburgh led the Atlas project , as it is called. He told BBC News that nearly five years of exploration and investigation had revealed some “special places” in the ocean and worked out “how they tick”.

Underwater robot
Image captionUnderwater robotics allowed exploration at depths that would crush human divers

“We found whole communities formed by sponges or deep ocean corals that form the cities of the deep sea,” he explained. “They support life. So really important fish use these places as spawning grounds.

“If those cities are damaged by destructive human uses, those fish have nowhere to spawn and the function of those whole ecosystems is lost for future generations.

“It’s like understanding that the rainforest is an important place for biodiversity on the land; the same is true of the deep sea – there are important places that need to be protected and, crucially , they are all connected.”

Slowing ocean currents

The project involved researchers from 13 countries around the Atlantic – combining ocean chemistry and physics, as well as biological discovery, to work out how the ocean environment is changing as the world warms and as humans exploit more of the deep sea for fishing and mineral extraction.

Research ship in icy North Atlantic water
Image captionResearchers carried out more than 40 Atlantic expeditions to explore the deep ocean in detail

Studying ocean currents and depositions of fossils on the seabed revealed that the major currents in the North Atlantic have slowed dramatically in response to climate change.

“The implications of that are complicated, but potentially the connections between ecosystems are being reduced,” Prof Roberts explained, because ocean currents are the highways that link different habitats together in the vastness of the deep ocean.

Out of sight

Newly discovered coral species
Image captionA bryozoan named Microporella funbio was discovered in an undersea mud volcano off the Spanish coast

“The value of all this knowledge is that it enables us to understand what we might risk losing,” said Prof Claire Armstrong, a natural resource economist from the University of Tromsø.

“The deep ocean can be so out of sight and out of mind that we’re not really aware of what we’re doing to its environments and the consequences of what we do.”

With a growing global population, increasing pollution and emerging areas of commercial activity in the deep sea, including prospecting for medically and industrially useful products, marine scientists say it is vital to fill the gaps in our ocean knowledge.

The ocean is not an endless resource, Prof Armstrong added. “Conserving and knowing what we might need in the future is really, really difficult.”


‘Baby universes’ branching off of our Universe shortly after the Big Bang appear to us as black holes. Image credit: Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe.

Is All Dark Matter in Universe Made of Primordial Black Holes?


Hamilton et al. studied the composition of Almahata Sitta 202 to determine that it likely originated from a previously unknown parent asteroid. Image credit: Hamilton et al., doi: 10.1038/s41550-020-01274-z.

Almahata Sitta Meteorites Came from Ceres-Sized Asteroid, Study Shows

Planetary Science

Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii). Image credit: Elliott Devries.

Weddell Seals Can Produce Ultrasonic Vocalizations: Study


This Hubble image shows the central region of NGC 2217, a barred spiral galaxy some 83 million light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. This image is made up of observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) in the optical part of the spectrum. It was colorized with data from the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / J. Dalcanton / Judy Schmidt, www.geckzilla.com.

Hubble Spots Nearly Face-On Barred Spiral Galaxy: NGC 2217


USDA and HHS Just Released the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

Check Out the Guidelines and Related Resources

Updated jointly by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years, the Dietary Guidelines provides science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, help reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 is the first set of guidelines that provide guidance for healthy dietary patterns by life stage, from birth through older adulthood, including pregnant and lactating women.   

To develop the Dietary Guidelines, the Departments built upon the previous edition of the Dietary Guidelines with updates grounded in the scientific review of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, along with comments from the public and input from Federal agencies. 

Check out the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 along with companion pieces:

NSF Science Matters

Learning at home

Remote learning resources 

NSF’s efforts to support innovative STEM education took on added importance, as students across the U.S. had in-person learning interrupted by the pandemic. NSF-funded online learning opportunities have helped students and teachers keep up with fundamentals;  provided additional opportunities to supplement instruction; helped parents relearn subjects so they could help at-home students understand the material; and provided NSF-funded virtual field trips.


UN News


We all have a role to play for a better tomorrow, UN Assembly President says in New Year message


Online Events

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#climate change

Need a car? Buy a $5 Raffle Ticket, as many as you’d like, and try your chances at winning a Smart Car, or other great prizes that will help you to achieve SDGs goals for the future.

(Other prizes include Driving lessons, Flying lessons, Mountain bike, ipad school pack, VR, Solar panel pack, Fruit and Nut Trees, Heirloom seeds,) .





u s department of health and human services - office of minority healthHealth Equity Link Banner 2020
A Happy and Healthy New Year!
National Hypertension Control Initiative
Preparing for the COVID-19 Vaccine
National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
Glaucoma Awareness Month
Healthy Weight Week
Knowledge Center

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UN News


Make 2021 ‘safer, healthier world for children’, UNICEF chief urges

© UNICEF/Seyba KeïtaMidwife lifts one of the very first babies born in Mali in 2020 at a Health Center in Segou, central Mali.Women

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday that more than 371,500 children would be born on the first day of 2021. 

“The children born today enter a world far different than even a year ago, and a New Year brings a new opportunity to reimagine it”, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said

Sorting logistics 

As always, the Pacific island nation of Fiji will welcome the first baby of the new year and the United States the last one. 

Over half of these global births are estimated to take place in the 10 countries of India – 59,995; China – 35,615; Nigeria – 21,439; Pakistan – 14,161; Indonesia –12,336; Ethiopia – 12,006 – US (10,312), Egypt – 9,455; Bangladesh – 9,236; and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – 8,640. 

In total, UNICEF estimates an 84-year average life expectancy for the 140 million children it projects will be born throughout 2021. 

More to celebrate  

The year will also mark the 75th anniversary of UNICEF.  

Over the course of 2021, UNICEF and its partners will be commemorating the milestone anniversary with events and announcements celebrating three-quarters of a century of protecting children from conflict, disease and exclusion, and championing their right to survival, health and education.  

“Children born today will inherit the world we begin to build for them today”, reminded the UNICEF chief.  

“Let us make 2021 the year we start to build a fairer, safer, healthier world for children”, she added. 

COVID challenges 

Meanwhile, as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to soar, so do the needs of children and their families, the UN agency said.  

From delivering life-saving health supplies, to building water and hygiene facilities, to keeping girls and boys connected to education and protection, UNICEF is working to slow the spread of the pandemic and minimize its impact on children worldwide.  

Make 2021 ‘safer, healthier world for children’, UNICEF chief urgesThe UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday that more than 371,500 children would be born on the first day of 2021. Women

OCHA/Giles ClarkeYemen: Fatal airport attack ‘potentially amounts to a war crime’ – UN envoy On the last day of a year that has continued to brutalize the war-torn people of Yemen, UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths condemned a “despicable attack” on the country’s newly formed government as they arrived at Aden airport on Wednesday. Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

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Article Search



Showing 813 results for geology …

Sort by:  Relevance Recently Updated CITY OF ROCKS NATIONAL RESERVE Geology Word Search

  • Type: Article

Junior Ranger Geology Word Search Activity

GEOLOGIC RESOURCES DIVISION Geology and the Scientific Method

  • Type: Article

The scientific method is an important process to understand. The scientific method is used in geology to strive to find the best answer to questions about Earth’s materials, processes, systems, and history.


  • Type: Article

Bringing massive amounts of precipitation in the form of heavy snows to the Alaskan coastline, arctic storms can span larger than hurricanes and re-create coastlines with their energy.


  • Type: Article

A history of the geology of Minute Man National Historical Park and the geological implications for the battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775

CITY OF ROCKS NATIONAL RESERVE Cool Geology Hike in Castle Rocks

  • Type: Article

Join Ranger Tara as she takes you to see some awesome geologic features in Castle Rocks.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK Virtual Activity: Geology and Art

  • Type: Article

Follow the path a glacier took to shape Acadia’s landscape over geologic time through a series of drawing activities.

Anchorage  6°F

Nancy Lord

Nancy Lord is a Homer-based writer and former Alaska writer laureate. Her books include “Fishcamp,” “Beluga Days,” and “Early Warming.” Her latest book is “pH: A Novel.”

In the 1940s, 2 naïve, unprepared kids paddled down the Yukon River. The story of what happened is an Alaska classic.

Book review: “We Live in Alaska,” republished in 2019, is a fascinating adventure story and account of Alaska in the ‘40s as experienced by a naïve, curious, spirited woman who was also a gifted writer.Nancy Lord | Alaska books

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List of religions and spiritual traditions

Further information: Major religious groupsReligious denomination, and History of religionThis is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness.

In all that exists in the worlds and universe, only one thing has remained consistent and true, without compromise or fault…GOD. In whatever language to speak the name. GOD!

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion used in religious studies courses defines it as aReligious symbols in clock-wise order from top: JudaismChristianityIslamBaháʼí FaithHinduismTaoismBuddhismSikhismSlavic neopaganismCeltic polytheismHeathenism (Germanic paganism)Semitic neopaganismWiccaKemetism (Egyptian paganism)Hellenism (Greek paganism)Italo-Roman neopaganism.

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.

A critique of Indian model by Tulsidas categorized religion as “an anthropological category.” Many religions have narrativessymbolstraditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive moralityethicsreligious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, which at some point in the future will be countless.

The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with “faith” or “belief system”, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayerholy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrificesfestivalsfeaststranceritualsritesceremoniesworshipinitiationsfuneralsmarriagesmeditationinvocationmediumshipmusicartdancepublic service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiencesnear-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.

Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus believes that religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.oki


1/4 –

Virginia Tax Preparer Sentenced to More Than Two Years in Prison for Preparing False Returns01/04/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Newport News, Virginia, tax return preparer was sentenced to 27 months in prison for preparing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia.

California Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime for Threatening to Bomb Catholic Prep School01/04/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that Sonia Tabizada, age 36, of San Jacinto, California, pleaded guilty in federal court to intentionally obstructing persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs by threatening to bomb the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 247. 

Ready-Mix Concrete Company Admits to Fixing Prices and Rigging Bids in Violation of Antitrust Laws01/04/2021 12:00 AM EST
Argos USA LLC, a producer and seller of ready-mix concrete headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, was charged with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate markets for sales of ready-mix concrete in the Southern District of Georgia and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.

Fire Extinguisher Manufacturer Ordered to Pay $12 Million Penalty for Delay and Misrepresentations in Reporting Product Defects01/04/2021 12:00 AM EST
A federal judge today ordered Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Inc. (Kidde) to pay a $12 million civil penalty in connection with allegations that the company failed to timely inform the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about problems with fire extinguishers manufactured by the company, the Department of Justice announced.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Pentagon: Carrier USS Nimitz will stay in Middle East after threats from Iran
(USNI News) Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and its strike group will remain in the Middle East in the wake of threats from officials in the Iranian government on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. killing of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, the Pentagon announced late Sunday.
  2. The time to question election results has passed, all living defense secretaries say
(Washington Post) The time to question election results has passed, and there is no role for the military in changing them, all of the living former defense secretaries said.
  3. Congress overrides Trump veto of defense bill
(The Associated Press) Congress has overridden President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill, a first by lawmakers since he took office nearly four years ago.
  4. US conducts 2 New Year’s Day airstrikes on Somalia as troop withdrawal continues
(Military.com) The U.S. conducted the first airstrikes of the New Year in Somalia as a sign of continuing support for the Mogadishu government against al-Shabaab insurgents as U.S. troops continue to pull out of the country, officials with U.S. Africa Command said.
  5. Marines prepare for rising challenge from China’s military with island training
(Wall Street Journal) The Marine Corps is stepping up training in Japan for island-based conflict in the Western Pacific, putting it at the leading edge of a pivot by the U.S. to face the military challenge from China.

2019 U.S. Mental Health Spending Topped $225 Billion, With Per Capita Spending Ranging From $37 In Florida To $375 In Maine – OPEN MINDS Releases New Analysis



GETTYSBURG, Pa., 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In 2019, the U.S. mental health market spending reached $225 billion, accounting for nearly 5.5% of all health spending. Spending in the mental health market has increased by 52.1% since 2009—over the same decade, the U.S. population increased by 7% and the U.S. medical inflation rate increased by 34%. This was one of the findings from The U.S. Mental Health Market: $225.1 Billion In Spending In 2019: An OPEN MINDS Market Intelligence Report.

OPEN MINDS Chief Executive Officer Monica E. Oss explained in her analysis (see Mental Health Spending Now & After The Pandemic) that “An increase in demand does not necessarily translate into an increase in spending, given that mortality in the COVID-19 crisis is heavily skewed toward already vulnerable consumers. Then there is the rising proportion of the U.S. population that is uninsured and we know the uninsured population in the U.S. does not get the basic services they need for any type of health care.”

The report provides an overview of trends in spending in the U.S. mental health market—with a breakdown of spending by payer and by care setting. The report also provides an estimate per capita of mental health spending by state. According to the report findings, public spending on mental health service has increased, and private spending on mental health services has decreased—likely because of the increased number of individuals with serious mental illness. In 2019, public payers accounted for the majority (62.7%) of mental health spending at $149.5 billion, while private payers accounted for the remaining $88.9 billion (37.3%). In 2009, public payers accounted for the majority (60%) at $88 billion, while private payers accounted for the remaining $59 billion (40%).

The report, The U.S. Mental Health Market: $225.1 Billion In Spending In 2019: An OPEN MINDS Market Intelligence Report, is available at no charge to Premium and Elite members of The OPEN MINDS Circle and can be purchased in the OPEN MINDS shop for $495.

Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies

Explore how entrepreneurship and innovation tackle complex social problems in emerging economies.

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Starts Jan 4

  • Length: 6 Weeks
  • Effort: 3–5 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
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  • Institution: HarvardX
  • Subject: Business & Management
  • Level:Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

This business and management course, taught by Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna, takes an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding and solving complex social problems. You will learn about prior attempts to address these problems across the emerging markets, identify points of opportunity for smart entrepreneurial efforts, and propose and develop your own creative solutions. The focus of this course is on individual agency—what can you do to address a defined problem? The creative process starts with immersion in the problem-at-hand and the harnessing of diverse perspectives.

The course then touches on issues related to financing, scaling up of operations, branding, the management of property rights, and the creation of appropriate metrics for assessing progress and social value, in the fast-growing but institutionally compromised settings of emerging markets.

The settings are diverse, sectoral (healthcare, online commerce, fintech, infrastructure) and geographic (India and South Asia, China, Africa, Latin America). But the emphasis is less on comprehensive coverage than on developing a way of thinking with a bias-to-action.



UN News


World Braille Day highlights importance of accessible information

UNICEF/Michele SibiloniA child reading Braille at a high school in Uganda.Human Rights

The United Nations is commemorating World Braille Day on Monday, highlighting the importance of the universal touch-based communication system for the full realization of human rights for blind and partially sighted people. 

People with vision impairment are more likely to experience higher rates of poverty, neglect and violence. The coronavirus pandemic and its consequent impact, such as lockdowns, has worsened their challenges, isolating them further. 

According to World Health Organization (WHOestimates, around 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented, or is yet to be addressed. 

Braille and COVID-19 

The pandemic has also underscored the importance of making information available in more accessible formats – including in Braille and on audio platforms – to that everyone can access vital information to protect themselves and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

UN Video | Argentina: Digital Library for All.

The UN , for its part, has implemented several good practices to promote an inclusive response to the pandemic. 

In Malawi, for instance, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) produced 4,050 braille products on spreading awareness and prevention of COVID-19, while in Ethiopia, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) published audio information, education and communication materials, to media professionals, and developed them in Braille formats.  

Similarly, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) produced guidance notes in multiple languages and accessible formats, including Braille, on considerations for children and adults with disabilities in the response to COVID-19. 

The World Day 

Observed annually on 4 January, World Braille Day was established by the UN General Assembly in December 2018. The date also marks the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, who at the age of 15, invented the tactile system for reading and writing for use by people who are blind or visually impaired.  

Braille is read by passing one’s fingertips over an arrangement of between one to six embossed dots, which represent letters, numbers as well as musical and mathematical symbols. Braille can be written using a Braillewriter, a device similar to a typewriter, or by using a pointed stylus and a Braille Slate to punch dots on paper. 

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) cites the universal system as a means of communication; and regards it as essential in education, freedom of expression and opinion, access to information and social inclusion for those who use it. 

It has been tweaked over the years and as early as 1949, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) took the initiative to promote a survey of problems aimed at establishing Braille uniformity. 

UN denounces attacks on villages in western NigerThe United Nations Secretary-General has strongly condemned Saturday’s attack by unidentified gunmen on two villages in western Niger, which reportedly left about one hundred people dead, while hundreds of survivors fled the scene on foot. Peace and Security

UNICEF/Michele SibiloniWorld Braille Day highlights importance of accessible informationThe United Nations is commemorating World Braille Day on Monday, highlighting the importance of the universal touch-based communication system for the full realization of human rights for blind and partially sighted people. Human Rights
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

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U.S. Government Collects $7 Million in Iranian Assets for Victims of Terrorism Fund01/05/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced the United States has collected $7 million of Iranian funds that will be allocated to provide compensation to American victims of international state-sponsored terrorism.

Michigan Restaurant and Strip Club Owner Sentenced to Two Years n Prison for Tax Crimes01/05/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Walled Lake, Michigan, business owner was sentenced today to two years in prison, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Statement Regarding Federal Civil Rights Investigation Into Shooting of Jacob Blake01/05/2021 12:00 AM EST
Eric S. Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and Matthew D. Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin released the following statement related to the Aug. 23, 2020, shooting of Jacob Blake:

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Trump directed Pentagon to reverse decision and keep aircraft carrier in Middle East amid Iran tensions
(CNN) President Donald Trump directed acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller to reverse course and order a U.S. aircraft carrier to return to the Middle East following a White House meeting Sunday, according to a senior defense official.
  2. DC National Guard activated for protests as mayor urges calm
(The Associated Press) Bracing for possible violence, the nation’s capital has mobilized the National Guard ahead of planned protests by President Donald Trump’s supporters in connection with the congressional vote expected Wednesday to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory.
  3. The military wants volunteers to test another COVID-19 vaccine candidate
(Military.com) A military hospital at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has been selected to participate in research on a new coronavirus vaccine that uses a stabilized form of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to generate an immune response.
  4. USAF begins basing MQ-9s in Romania
(Air Force Magazine) Air Force MQ-9s have a new permanent home in Romania.
  5. VA’s coronavirus deaths have now surpassed totals from Iraq, Afghanistan wars
(Military Times) The coronavirus pandemic has been deadlier for American veterans than the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars combined.

How to Learn Online

Learn essential strategies for successful online learning

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Starts Jan 5

How to Learn Online
  • Length: 2 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–3 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD
  • Institution: edX
  • Subject: Education & Teacher Training
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

Designed for those who are new to elearning, this course will prepare you with strategies to be a successful online learner.

The edX learning design team has curated some of the most powerful, science-backed techniques which you can start using right away and on any learning platform.

The Verified Certificate for this course is free. Use the following coupon code before March 31, 2021 to upgrade at no cost to you: Y5ZADM5NU2AN5JU7

This course will help you answer the following questions:

  • How do I take notes during live or recorded instruction? What’s the difference?
  • What’s the point of discussions and how should I participate in them to get the most value?
  • What can I do if I have trouble concentrating or lack time to complete assignments?
  • What is the ideal study environment?

More about this course

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Self-care techniques that will help you maintain a healthy mind for effective online learning.
  • Time management with the help of some common technology.
  • Key learning strategies backed by research from edX partners.
  • Build strong connections with fellow learners and your instructors.
  • Setup your work area in order to focus and be a successful online learner.

Expand what you’ll learn



Welcome – We start with opportunities to meet your instructors and fellow learners.

Self-care for Learning – In this module, we then explore baseline self-care strategies that will help you maintain a healthy mind for effective online learning, the connections between memory and learning, and the importance of sleep.

Space, Time, and Technology – In this module we address the challenges involved with creating a space for learning, including managing your technology. We also cover techniques for time management and keeping a routine.

Learning Strategies – This module will help you get the most out your online learning experience. We cover effective study strategies and practices, making plans and setting priorities, and practicing self-regulation skills.

Communication and Community – In this module, we talk about the importance of social learning. We cover strategies for communication, collaborating, and building connections with your instructors and fellow learners.

What’s Next? – Get started learning online!

AI for Everyone: Master the Basics

Learn what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is by understanding its applications and key concepts including machine learning, deep learning and neural networks.

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Starts Jan 5

This course is part of a Professional Certificate

AI for Everyone: Master the Basics
  • Length: 4 Weeks
  • Effort: 1–2 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD
  • Institution: IBM
  • Subject: Computer Science
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

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About this course

About this course

In this course, you will learn what AI is and understand its applications and use cases and how it is transforming our lives. You will explore basic AI concepts including machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks as well as use cases and applications of AI. You will be exposed to concerns surrounding AI, including ethics, bias, jobs and the impacts on society.

You will take a glimpse of the future with AI, get advice for starting an AI related career, and wrap up the course by demonstrating AI in action with a mini project.

This AI for Everyone course does not require any programming or computer science expertise and is designed to introduce the basics of AI to anyone whether you have a technical background or not.More about this course

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Understand what is AI, its applications and use cases and how it is transforming our lives
  • Explain terms like Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Neural Networks
  • Describe several issues and ethical concerns surrounding AI
  • Articulate advice from experts about learning and starting a career in AI


Geology is at a Crossroads

Geology is changing, but have colleges and universities caught up with that change?

Rocky Planet iconRocky Planet By Erik Klemetti

Earthquake damage to Glenn Highway at Mirror Lake

Earthquake damage to Glenn Highway at Mirror Lake in Alaska on November 30, 2018. Credit: Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

Geology was a discipline built to find the resources of our planet. The first real geologic map, crafted by William Smith in 1815, was part of a quest to find the fuel for the Industrial Revolution. Smith used his work as a springboard to develop ideas that are essential to our understanding of geologic time. However, at its roots, the study of the Earth was linked to the search for resources.

Things have changed a lot over the past 200 years. The study of our planet, better described as Earth Sciences these days, has evolved to be more than just the search for oil, metals, coal. We study the planet to better understand natural hazards, to map out the Earth’s climate history and future, to examine the intersection between life and the solid planet, to hypothesize about the origin of life and to really just learn more about where we live.

Of course, the search for resources hasn’t ended either. Some of the largest companies on the globe today are ones built on resource extraction: ExxonMobil, BP, BHP, Newmont, Chevron and more. In total, they are worth trillions of dollars and it is through the work of generations of geologists that the world is what is it today: industrialized, swimming in cheap energy and technologically advanced.

Changing Resources

That is not without consequence. Quite obviously, climate change is the biggest. The extraction and use of petroleum, coal and natural gas have lead to humans radically changing the Earth’s climate to our detriment. Mining has done irrepariable (on human timescales) harm to delicate ecosystems. They have also lead to exploitations of people and nations for the sake of the enrichment of others. These are crosses that modern Earth Sciences must bear.

Yet, even today, we need these resources … and we need people to find new sources of oil, copper, gold, aluminum, rare earth elements and more. This is now balanced with the dire necessity to change what resources we use. Hydrocarbons like petroleum, coal and natural gas will have to be phased out as much as possible in order to stop the hurtling subway of climate change. Those lucrative jobs in the oil industry that has sustained many geology programs at colleges and universities are going away.

Oil Rig

Oil Rig. Credit: Earlean Mckendrick

The New York Times recently threw a spotlight on this. For many geology students, the idea of a very lucrative and (somewhat) stable career in the oil industry had significant appeal. In how many industries can undergraduates and Masters’ students can realistically get hired at starting wages close to or over $100,000? You can see the appeal when you are 23 trying to make your way in the world.

Like any industry, oil had ups and downs. When oil prices are high, there was the tendency to see more students gravitate towards geology degrees. When prices dropped, they didn’t. Oil companies would let the most recent hires go during those downturns but scoop up many new graduates once the price rebounded.

Oil Dries Up

Suddenly (or maybe not so suddenly), the landscape has changed. Instead of having the backstop of the oil industry for geology graduates, the double whammy of extended low oil prices and the need to move away from petroleum has meant that jobs in “the industry” have gone away. Unfortunately, the academic ranks have not really caught up with this sea change.

…And I find this perplexing. I would venture to say that when most high school students are asked about geology, many think the only jobs that you can get with such a degree are in oil or mining. That’s because that is likely all they really hear about in their pre-college experience. It most of it isn’t good (and likely rightly so).

That’s why the whole field is at a crossroads — and not only in what we call ourselves. In many ways, geology has become a bit of a dirty word with its close link to resource extraction. It also doesn’t really reflect what an education and career studying the Earth does anymore ... or what it should be doing.

Many faculty and institution still cling to the ideas that have been central to geology for at least a century. This is in content, skills and job advice we offer our students. Most of this is centered on careers that are resource focussed because, as many a geology faculty has said, “you can always get a job in oil.

The New, Old Study of the Earth

This isn’t the case, both practically and ethically. Instead, we need to rebrand and retool.

Mountains in Mongolia

Mountains in Mongolia. Credit: Rachel White, Imaggeo.

Earth Sciences” is much closer to what people who study the Earth do today. It is about linking all the processes happening above, on and within our planet. It is about revealing how we can better realize the repercussions of resource use. It is about understanding and protecting people from the consequences of climate change and natural hazards. It is about finding the resources we need to drive the planet on green energy.

The skills students need to do this are different, yet also very similar to what a geologist 50 years ago might learn. You still need to know about rocks and minerals. You still need to know how the interior of the Earth works and plate tectonics. You still need to understand how rocks are made and destroyed. You very much still need to see rocks in the field and realize what they are telling you.

However, you also need to know how to interpret the planet in new ways. Earth scientists need to be comfortable with big data and with geographic information on a global scale. We need to know how to do lab analyses and how to interpret whether data collected is robust and reliable. Gone are the days where you can make a career from merely mapping the Earth’s surface.

On top of this, we need to humanize the Earth Sciences. More students in the field need to understand the economic, anthropologic and social ramifications of Earth processes (natural and human-driven) past and present. We need to realize that there are different ways to understand the planet than a resource-focussed objective. We need to understand how the Earth impacts lives.

This means that many departments at colleges and universities, both graduate and undergraduate, need to rethink their focus and curriculum. Sometimes disciplines tend to stagnate, especially when so much money was coming from such specific part of the field. Universities are eliminating geoscience/geology programs due to low enrollment — and some (or maybe a lot?) of that drop in enrollment reflects how the discipline isn’t in synch with what students want from the Earth Sciences.

Our students want to go into careers about sustainability, renewable energy, climate change resilience, natural disaster preparedness, human interactions with the planet. Our curriculum should begin to reflect these changes. I’m not saying we abandon the central tenets of an Earth Science (geologic) education, but rather critically consider what it means to be an Earth Scientist in 2021.

It is hard to pick a new path. We’ve reached that crossroads. If the discipline doesn’t adapt, it will quickly follow the path that leads it to the same place as the dinosaur.


How the Inca Road System Tied Together an Empire and Facilitated Its Fall

PLANET EARTH: How the Inca Road System Tied Together an Empire and Facilitated Its Fall

The Origins of Plate Tectonics May Stretch Further Back in Earth's History

PLANET EARTH: The Origins of Plate Tectonics May Stretch Further Back in Earth’s History

We Haven't Discovered "Alaska's Yellowstone"

PLANET EARTH: We Haven’t Discovered “Alaska’s Yellowstone”

First Evidence of a Recently Active Volcano on Mars

THE SCIENCES: First Evidence of a Recently Active Volcano on Mars


A New NASA Space Telescope, SPHEREx, Is Moving Ahead

This animation shows the preliminary design for the spacecraft, including hexagonal sun shields that will help keep the instruments cool
This animation shows the preliminary design for the spacecraft, including hexagonal sun shields that will help keep the instruments cool. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Larger view

The observatory will map the entire sky to study the rapid expansion of the universe after the big bang, the composition of young planetary systems, and the history of galaxies.

NASA’s upcoming space telescope, the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer, or SPHEREx, is one step closer to launch. The mission has officially entered Phase C, in NASA lingo. That means the agency has approved preliminary design plans for the observatory, and work can begin on creating a final, detailed design, as well as on building the hardware and software.

Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, SPHEREx is scheduled to launch no earlier than June 2024 and no later than April 2025. Its instruments will detect near-infrared light, or wavelengths several times longer than the light visible to the human eye. During its two-year mission, it will map the entire sky four times, creating a massive database of stars, galaxies, nebulas (clouds of gas and dust in space), and many other celestial objects.

About the size of a subcompact car, the space telescope will use a technique called spectroscopy to break near-infrared light into its individual wavelengths, or colors, just like a prism breaks sunlight into its component colors. Spectroscopy data can reveal what an object is made of, because individual chemical elements absorb and radiate specific wavelengths of light. It can also be used to estimate an object’s distance from Earth, which means the SPHEREx map will be three-dimensional. SPHEREx will be the first NASA mission to build a full-sky spectroscopy map in near-infrared, and it will observe a total of 102 near-infrared colors.

“That’s like going from black-and-white images to color; it’s like going from Kansas to Oz,” said Allen Farrington, the SPHEREx project manager at JPL.

Before entering Phase C, the SPHEREx team successfully completed a preliminary design review in October 2020. During this multiday process, the team had to demonstrate to NASA leadership that they can make their complex, cutting-edge mission design a reality. Usually, the review is done in-person, but with COVID-19 safety precautions in place, the team had to adjust their presentation to a new format.

“It felt like we were producing a movie,” said Beth Fabinsky, SPHEREx’s deputy project manager at JPL. “There was just a lot of thought put into the production value, like making sure the animations we wanted to show would work over limited bandwidth.”

Three Key Questions

The SPHEREx science team has three overarching goals. The first is to look for evidence of something that might have happened less than a billionth of a billionth of a second after the big bang. In that split second, space itself may have rapidly expanded in a process scientists call inflation. Such sudden ballooning would have influenced the distribution of matter in the cosmos, and evidence of that influence would still be around today. With SPHEREx, scientists will map the position of billions of galaxies across the universe relative to one another, looking for statistical patterns caused by inflation. The patterns could help scientists understand the physics that drove the expansion.

The second goal is to study the history of galaxy formation, starting with the first stars to ignite after the big bang and extending to present-day galaxies. SPHEREx will do this by studying the faint glow created by all the galaxies in the universe. The glow, which is the reason the night sky is not perfectly dark, varies through space because galaxies cluster together. By making maps in many colors, SPHEREx scientists can work out how the light was produced over time and start to uncover how the first galaxies initially formed stars.

Finally, scientists will use the SPHEREx map to look for water ice and frozen organic molecules – the building blocks of life on Earth – around newly forming stars in our galaxy. Water ice gloms onto dust grains in cold, dense gas clouds throughout the galaxy. Young stars form inside these clouds, and planets form from disks of leftover material around those stars. Ices in these disks could seed planets with water and other organic molecules. In fact, the water in Earth’s oceans most likely began as interstellar ice. Scientists want to know how frequently life-sustaining materials like water are incorporated into young planetary systems. This will help them understand how common planetary systems like ours are throughout the cosmos.

Multiple mission partners are beginning construction on various hardware and software components for SPHEREx. The telescope that will collect near-infrared light will be built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. The infrared cameras that capture the light will be built by JPL and Caltech (which manages JPL for NASA). JPL will also build the sun shields that will keep the telescope and cameras cool, while Ball will build the spacecraft bus, which houses such subsystems as the power supply and communications equipment. The software that will manage the mission data and make it accessible to scientists around the world is being built at IPAC, a science and data center for astrophysics and planetary science at Caltech. Critical ground support hardware for testing the instruments will be built by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), a science partner on the mission in Daejeon, South Korea.

The SPHEREx team is scheduled to spend 29 months building the mission components before entering the next mission phase, when those components will be brought together, tested, and launched.

SPHEREx is managed by JPL for NASA’s Astrophysics Division within the Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The mission’s principal investigator, James Bock, has a joint position between Caltech and JPL. The science analysis of the SPHEREx data will be conducted by a team of scientists located in 10 institutions across the U.S., and in South-Korea.

For more information about the SPHEREx mission visit:https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/spherex/



WHO chief begins 2021 with plea for ‘less politicking’ over healthIn a race to “save lives, livelihoods and end this pandemic”, the head of the UN heath agency said on Tuesday that it was important to remember COVID-19 was just one of a number of major disease outbreaks facing communities across the world.Health©

WFP/Leni KinzliUNHCR relocates victims of Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict to new site in SudanA second refugee camp has opened in Sudan for people fleeing violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region carrying “little more than the clothes on their backs”, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), said on Tuesday.Humanitarian Aid

World Bank/Paul SalazarWorld Bank expects global economy to expand by 4% in 2021The World Bank Group on Tuesday issued a guarded growth forecast for the global economy this year, saying that a four per cent overall expansion was likely, although the recovery will likely be a “subdued” one.Economic Development©

UNHCR/Mohamed JertilaSyria: ‘Identified gaps, inconsistencies’ raise questions over elimination of chemical weapons“Identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies” that remain unresolved, have brought into question the true extent of the elimination of chemical weapons during Syria’s bloody conflict, the UN disarmament chief told the Security Council in her briefing on Tuesday. Peace and Security

UNDP Eurasia/Danil UsmanovFROM THE FIELD: Weathering a tourist downturn in KyrgyzstanThe residents of a small traditional village high in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, which once attracted a steady stream of visitors, are learning how to adapt to the reality of a world where the COVID-19 pandemic has all but frozen out the opportunities provided by tourism.Economic Development

MINUSCA/Leonel GrotheCentral African Republic: Respect final results of the election, UN and partners urgeSenior officials from the United Nations and regional organizations have called on all political actors in the Central African Republic (CAR) to respect the final results of the recent presidential elections, and to settle any disputes peacefully and in accordance with the country’s laws. Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/6 –

Vivint Smart Homes Inc. to Pay $3.2 Million to Resolve Allegations of False Statements to Federally Insured Bank01/06/2021 12:00 AM EST
Vivint Smart Home Inc. (Vivint), based in Provo, Utah, has agreed to pay the United States $3.2 million to resolve allegations under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) that Vivint employees made false statements to secure financing for customers’ purchases of Vivint’s home monitoring products, the Justice Department announced today. FIRREA imposes civil penalties on any person or entity that violates certain predicate federal statutes

Justice Department Applauds the Passage and Enactment of the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 202001/06/2021 12:00 AM EST
On Jan. 5, 2021, President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 8354, the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020, a bill to permanently establish the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative, or “SVI”, within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

Department of Justice Statement on Solarwinds Update01/06/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice Spokesman Marc Raimondi issued the following statement:

Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen Regarding the Overrunning of the U.S. Capitol Building01/06/2021 12:00 AM EST
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen issued the following statement: “The violence at our Nation’s Capitol Building is an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy.  From the outset,  the Department of Justice has been working in close coordination with the Capitol Police and federal partners from the Interior Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Guard, as well as the Metropolitan Police and other local authorities.  Earlier this afternoon, the Department of Justice sent hundreds of federal law enforcement officers and agents from the FBI, ATF, and the U.S. Marshals Service to assist the Capitol Police in addressing this unacceptable situation, and we intend to enforce the laws of our land.”

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. US intelligence community says Russia is ‘likely’ behind major cyberhacks of federal agencies
(Washington Post) The U.S. intelligence community stated Tuesday that Russia is “likely” behind a major and ongoing series of cyberhacks of federal agencies and private companies — its first official indication of blame.
  2. New law expands VA loan eligibility for Guard, COVID-19 vets
(Military Times) Early career National Guard troops who supported COVID-19 response this year may soon be eligible for Veterans Affairs home loan benefits, thanks to a provision in this year’s Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act.
  3. Navy SEAL pleads guilty in strangulation death case of Army Green Beret staff sergeant
(Army Times) A third defendant charged in the strangulation death of a Green Beret staff sergeant while deployed to Mali in 2017 has agreed to plead guilty.
  4. SECNAV ‘not sure’ when Nimitz strike group will come home
(Navy Times) In the midst of a tumultuous week for the sailors of the aircraft carrier Nimitz and its strike group, the Navy’s top civilian leader said Tuesday that he doesn’t know when those sailors will get back from an extended deployment that’s about to enter its eighth month.
  5. Biden to tap more Obama vets to fill key national security roles
(Politico) President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team have begun to fill out top positions on the incoming National Security Council and at the State Department, with key roles like deputy national security adviser and deputy secretary of State going to veterans of the Obama administration.

Cyber Security Basics: A Hands-on Approach

Learn how to think like a hacker, but behave as a security expert.

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70,653 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 6

  • Length: 6 Weeks
  • Effort: 5–7 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD
  • Institution: UC3Mx
  • Subject: Computer Science
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time


Users with basic knowledge of computer networks and operating systems. No prior knowledge of computer security is necessary.

About this course

About this course

Are you tired of hearing that your computer has a virus? Or that your email account has been hacked? Now, is the time for you to protect yourself by understanding the basics of cyber security.

This computer science course presents an introduction to cyber security showing different aspects of this discipline. You will learn what the main existing cyber security threats are and how to protect yourself against them. The course presents a practical approach in which all required material will be provided to allow you to better understand attacks and establish appropriate countermeasures.

Taught by instructors with years of experience in the field of computer security, this course will pave the way to the security area of IT-related professions.Collapse about this course

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Cyber security landscape
  • Reverse engineering
  • Managing and monitoring network cyber security attacks
  • Computer forensics
  • Malware and advanced persistent threats
  • Vulnerability management and pentesting

Collapse what you’ll learn



Lecture 1. Cybersecurity: an overview
This lecture introduces the impact of cybersecurity nowadays, as well as some examples of cyberthreats that motivate the relevance of this area of study. Types of cyberthreats, such as cybercrime or cyberwarfare, are later described, together with an overview of the current cyberthreat landscape. Finally, some well-known cybersecurity events are presented.

Lecture 2. Computer forensics
This lecture introduces computer forensics, that is the technique focused on the analysis and preservation of evidences in a particular computer device after an attack occurs. Common forensic traces are defined, namely traces left by deleted files, hidden data and fake emails.

Lecture 3. Assembly programming: towards reversing
This lecture introduces the main concepts of reverse engineering, that is, the ability to take an executable element and try to figure out how it works. The definition of this technique is introduced. After some theoretical knowledge, examples of disassembling C codes and decompiling codes in different languages, namely Java and C, are presented.

Lecture 4. Cyberdefense
This lecture introduces the main concepts of cyberdefense together with common applied tools. After presenting this topic, firewalls are outlined. The following part involves the description of Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs). Security Information and Event management (SIEM) systems, which refer to a general approach to manage cyberdefense, are finally presented.

Lecture 5. Malware and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
This lecture explains the main concepts related to malware and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), together with the main techniques to achieve their identification. The definition and types of malware, APTs and some real cases are introduced.

Lecture 6. Vulnerabilities and exposures
This last lesson presents vulnerabilities description and management. It describes and gives examples of the most common vulnerabilities at software, network and web level. The definition, use and application of penetration testing (pentesting) are also presented, as well as some examples applying the well-known tool Metasploit. Repositories of vulnerabilities are finally introduced.

Cybersecurity and Privacy in the IoT

Learn about the security and privacy implications of the IoT and how to design a secure system.

Curtin University Logo

22,224 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 6

This course is part of a MicroMasters® Program

Cybersecurity and Privacy in the IoT
  • Length: 5 Weeks
  • Effort: 4–6 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $199 USD
  • Institution: CurtinX
  • Subject: Computer Science
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

Associated Programs:




edX Prize 2020 Finalist

About this course

About this course

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow so will the number of privacy and security concerns and issues. As a professional working in the field, it is essential to understand the potential security risks and how to best mitigate them.

In this course, you will learn about security and privacy issues in IoT environments. We’ll explore the organizational risks posed by IoT networks, and the principles of IoT device vulnerabilities. We’ll also look at software and hardware IoT Applications for industry.

With billions of devices tracking our every move, privacy is a critical issue. We will explore and discuss the social and commercial implications the IoT brings to society.Collapse about this course

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Identify and analyse IoT security and privacy risks
  • Concept design for secure hardware and software
  • Analyse the social and privacy impacts of the IoT.

Cybersecurity for Critical Urban Infrastructure

Preparing city officials, agency staff and a new generation of students seeking to serve as cybersecurity consultants to understand, help prevent and manage cyberattacks on vulnerable communities across America.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Logo

7,032 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 6

  • Length: 4 Weeks
  • Effort: 3–5 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $100 USD
  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Computer Science
  • Level: Advanced
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

Critical urban infrastructure including energy, transportation, waste management, emergency service and communication systems are being hacked remotely by cyber attackers. These hackers use ransomware to encrypt the data cities need to run; then, they demand that public agencies pay a ransom to get their own data back. The costs associated with cyber attacks are substantial, extending to tens of millions of dollars to recreate data that are lost, and undermine the reputation of city governments across America.

This course will prepare anyone who wants to work with agencies that are worried about their vulnerability to cyberattack. Topics include:
• Who are the attackers and what are their methods?
• What are the “defensive social engineering” moves cities can use to protect themselves?
• What are the minimum security standards that all public agencies need to meet?
• Who should have responsibility for overseeing cybersecurity in a public agency?
• Should cities be willing to pay the ransoms demanded by hackers?
• What should a city do after it has been attacked?
• What are the most important lessons drawn by cities that have already been attacked?

Through a series of explanatory videos (prepared by industry experts), case studies of an actual attack, role play simulations and debriefings, and short assigned readings, you will learn what cities can and should do to reduce their vulnerabilities. The course also includes checklists of various kinds that cybersecurity vulnerability assessors need to ask and answer.Collapse about this course

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Questions you need to ask to prepare a vulnerability assessment.
  • Ways to interact with public agency staff who might feel it is wrong to reveal evidence of a cyber attack.
  • The rules of confidentiality that apply to studying cybersecurity breaches.
  • The scale, scope and impact of cyber attacks that are already happening.


7 Things to Know About the NASA Rover About to Land on Mars

In a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on Dec. 17, 2019
In a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on Dec. 17, 2019. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Full image and caption

The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, which has started its approach to the Red Planet, will help answer the next logical question in Mars exploration.

With only about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers) left to go in its 293-million-mile (471-million-kilometer) journey, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is nearing its new planetary home. The spacecraft has begun its approach to the Red Planet and in 43 days, on Feb. 18, 2021, Perseverance will blaze through Mars’ atmosphere at about 12,100 mph (19,500 kph), touching down gently on the surface about seven minutes later.

“We’re working on our last adjustments to put Perseverance in perfect position to land in one of the most interesting places on Mars,” said Fernando Abilleira, deputy mission manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “The team can’t wait to put these wheels in some Martian dirt.”

This illustration shows NASA’s Mars 2020 spacecraft carrying the Perseverance rover as it approaches Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Catech
› Full image and caption

Built and managed by JPL for NASA, Perseverance will be joining another rover and lander currently at work on Mars, with several orbiters in the skies above. What sets this six-wheeled robot apart?

1. Perseverance is searching for signs of ancient life.

While the surface of Mars is a frozen desert today, scientists have learned from previous NASA missions that the Red Planet once hosted running water and warmer environments at the surface that could have supported microbial life.

“We want Perseverance to help us answer the next logical question: Are there actually signs of past microbial life on Mars?” said Katie Stack Morgan, deputy project scientist at JPL. “This demanding goal means sending the most sophisticated robotic scientist yet to Mars.”

To tackle this question, which is key in the field of astrobiology, Perseverance carries a new suite of cutting-edge science instruments. Two of them will play a particularly important role in the search for potential signs of past life: SHERLOC (short for Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), which can detect organic matter and minerals, and PIXL (short for Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), which maps the chemical composition of rocks and sediments. The instruments will allow scientists to analyze these features together at a higher level of detail than any Mars rover has achieved before.

Perseverance will also use some instruments to gather science data from a distance: Mastcam-Z‘s cameras can zoom in on rock textures from as far away as a soccer field, while SuperCam will use a laser to zap rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) to study their composition in the resulting vapor. RIMFAX (short for Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment) will use radar waves to probe geological features underground.

2. The rover is landing in a place with a high potential for finding these signs of past microbial life.

Terrain that is interesting to scientists can be challenging to land on. Thanks to new technologies that enable Perseverance to target its landing site more accurately and to autonomously avoid landing hazards, the spacecraft can safely touch down in a place as intriguing as Jezero Crater, a 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide) basin that has steep cliffs, sand dunes, and boulder fields.https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?v=tITni_HY1Bk&list=PLTiv_XWHnOZqCrMU2ppcLjRn1zlDkNx3q&index=1

NASA’s Perseverance rover completes its journey to Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. To reach the surface of the Red Planet, it has to survive the harrowing final phase known as Entry, Descent, and Landing. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

More than 3.5 billion years ago, a river there flowed into a body of water about the size of Lake Tahoe, depositing sediments in a fan shape known as a delta. The Perseverance science team believes this ancient river delta and lake deposits could have collected and preserved organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life.

3. Perseverance is also collecting important data about Mars’ geology and climate.

Context is everything. Mars orbiters have been collecting images and data from Jezero Crater from about 200 miles (322 kilometers) above, but finding signs of ancient life on the surface requires much closer inspection. It requires a rover like Perseverance.

This image shows the remains of an ancient delta in Mars’ Jezero Crater, as seen by the High Resolution Stereo Camera aboard the ESA (European Space Agency) Mars Express orbiter. Image credit: ESA/FU-Berlin
› Full image and caption

Understanding Mars’ past climate conditions and reading the geological history embedded in its rocks will give scientists a richer sense of what the planet was like in its distant past. Studying the Red Planet’s geology and climate could also give us a sense of why Earth and Mars – despite some early similarities – ended up so different.

4. Perseverance is the first leg of a round trip to Mars.

The verification of ancient life on Mars carries an enormous burden of proof. Perseverance is the first rover to bring a sample caching system to Mars in order to package promising samples for return to Earth by a future mission.

Rather than pulverizing rock the way the drill on NASA’s Curiosity rover does, Perseverance’s drill will cut intact rock cores that are about the size of a piece of chalk and will place them in sample tubes that it will store until the rover reaches an appropriate drop-off location on Mars. The rover could also potentially deliver the samples to a lander that is part of the planned Mars sample return campaign by NASA and ESA (the European Space Agency).

Once the samples are here on Earth, we can examine them with instruments too large and complex to send to Mars, providing far more information about them than even the most sophisticated rover could.

5. Perseverance carries instruments and technology that will help pave the way for human missions to the Moon and Mars.

Among the future-looking technologies on this mission that will benefit human exploration is Terrain-Relative Navigation. As part of the spacecraft’s landing system, Terrain-Relative Navigation will enable the descending spacecraft to quickly and autonomously comprehend its location over the Martian surface and modify its trajectory.

Perseverance will also have more autonomy on the surface than any other rover, including self-driving smarts that will allow it to cover more ground in a day’s operations with fewer instructions from engineers on Earth. This fast-traverse capability will make exploration of the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies more efficient for other vehicles.

In addition, Perseverance carries a technology experiment called MOXIE (short for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) that will produce oxygen from Mars’ carbon dioxide atmosphere. It will demonstrate a way that future explorers might produce oxygen for rocket propellant as well as for breathing.

Two other instruments will help engineers design systems for future human explorers to land and survive on Mars: The MEDLI2 (Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation 2) package is a next-generation version of what flew on the Mars Science Laboratory mission that delivered the Curiosity rover, while the MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer) instrument suite provides information about weather, climate, and surface ultraviolet radiation and dust.

Perseverance is also giving a ride to the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. A technology experiment separate from the rover’s science mission, Ingenuity will attempt the first powered, controlled aircraft flight at another world. If the helicopter is successful in its 30-Martian-day (31-Earth-day) demonstration window, the data could help future explorations of the Red Planet – including those by astronauts – by adding a new aerial dimension.

6. The Perseverance rover embodies the NASA – and the scientific – spirit of overcoming challenges.

Getting the spacecraft to the launch pad during a pandemic, searching for signs of ancient life, collecting samples, and proving new technologies are no easy feats. Nor is a soft touchdown on Mars: Only about 50% of Martian landing attempts, by any space agency, have been successful.

The mission team draws inspiration from the name of its rover, with particular awareness of the challenges the entire world is experiencing at this time. With that in mind, the mission installed a special plate to honor the dedication and hard work of the medical community and first responders around the globe. The team hopes to inspire the entire world, and future explorers, to forge new paths and make discoveries on which the next generation can build.

7. You will get to ride along.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission carries more cameras than any interplanetary mission in history, with 19 cameras on the rover itself and four on other parts of the spacecraft involved in entry, descent, and landing. As with previous Mars missions, the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission plans to make raw and processed images available on the mission’s website.https://eyes.nasa.gov/apps/orrery/#/sc_perseverance

Follow the Mars 2020 mission in real-time as it travels to the Red Planet. Zoom in and give the spacecraft a spin, or view the full interactive experience at Eyes on the Solar System. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

If all goes well, the public will be able to experience in high-definition what it’s like to land on Mars – and hear the sounds of landing for the first time with an off-the-shelf microphone affixed to the side of the rover. Another microphone on SuperCam will help scientists understand the property of rocks the instrument is examining and can also listen to the wind.

If you are among the 10.9 million people who signed up to send your name to Mars, your name is stenciled on one of three silicon chips embedded on a plate on the rover that carries the words “Explore as one” in Morse code. #CountdownToMars.

JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California.

For more about Perseverance, visit:



News Media Contact Jia-Rui Cook
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Alana Johnson / Grey Hautaluoma
NASA Headquarters



UN News


Security Council has critical role in addressing fragility and conflict: UN chief

UN Photo/Tobin JonesThousands of people in Somalia continue to be displaced by floods and conflict.Peace and Security

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has underlined the critical role of the Security Council in addressing links between fragility and conflict, two of the greatest obstacles to achieving sustainable development across the world. 

Mr. Guterres was speaking on Wednesday during a high-level virtual debate of the Council to examine the challenges of maintaining peace and security in fragile or conflict-affected countries. 

“By acting early and preventively, by engaging strategically to address the root causes of conflict, and speaking with one voice, the Council can mobilize the international community’s political and financial support, shed a spotlight on critical areas of need, and foster the commitment of conflict actors where needed”, he said in French, speaking through an interpreter. 

The UN chief stressed that breaking the cycle of poverty and conflict calls for recognizing peace and sustainable development are interdependent, while also promoting inclusion. 

“Guaranteeing equal opportunities, protection, access to resources and services and participation in decision-making are not simply moral and legal obligations. They are a necessary condition if countries are to truly break out of the conflict trap”, he said. 

Appeal from the Sahel 

The linkages between conflict and fragility have been particularly visible in Africa, including in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, the Secretary-General continued.  Climate change, terrorism, transnational organized crime and the proliferation of armed groups have only worsened the situation. 

Last Saturday, gunmen killed more than 100 villagers in western Niger, which the UN strongly condemned.  The country’s President, Mahamadou Issoufou, was among leaders participating in the virtual meeting. 

“The international community must mobilize to help the countries in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin to move on from this fragile context, the primary victims of which are women and children,” President Issoufou said in French.  He expressed hope that these regions will figure prominently in the Security Council’s agenda.  

Support African Union initiatives 

The UN has been working with the African Union (AU) and regional bodies to prevent and resolve conflicts, and to boost countries’ resilience.  

However, the Secretary-General said AU peace support operations continue to require predictable and sustained financing, and he urged the Council to address the issue. 

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the AU Commission, pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic and its “devastating” health and socio-economic impacts represent a further threat to fragile nations. 

“States’ fragility remains a major obstacle to development in Africa, and overcoming these challenges is an absolute priority for the African Union, and it remains one of the pillars of our international agenda,” he said, also in French. 

Global ceasefire 

The UN chief told ambassadors that just a month ago, he had co-chaired the fourth UN-AU Annual Conference, which provided an opportunity to once again express support for the AU’s Silencing the Guns initiative, aimed at addressing the root causes of conflict across the continent. 

“My call for a global ceasefire, goes hand-in-hand with this flagship initiative”, said Mr. Guterres, highlighting his months-long plea to all engaged in violence, to direct their fire instead at the common enemy – COVID-19. 

‘New and bold steps’ needed 

Looking to the promise of the New Year, Liberia’s former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said the Council debate must lead to “new and bold steps” towards ending conflict, displacement and despair. 

The Nobel Peace Prize winner recalled that the UN commemorated its 75th anniversary last year, a period which saw the Secretary-General advocating for climate action and the ceasefire during the pandemic. 

Although the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, will celebrate the same milestone this year, “its continued existence is a mark on our collective conscious”, she stated.  “It means that we have not pursued peace, not addressed fragility.”  

Ms. Johnson Sirleaf said the UN and its many organs, especially the Security Council, were established to spearhead global development and global equity. 

“The United Nations must continue to represent more than hope”, she said.  “It must be an active mechanism for peace and scale-up support for the fragile nations that for too long have been left behind.”

Security Council has critical role in addressing fragility and conflict: UN chiefUN Secretary-General António Guterres has underlined the critical role of the Security Council in addressing links between fragility and conflict, two of the greatest obstacles to achieving sustainable development across the world. Peace and Security

WFP/Khudr AlissaDeadly car bomb attacks ‘tragic reminder’ of price civilians pay in SyriaThe killing of civilians in separate car bomb attacks in northern Syria on Saturday has been condemned by top UN humanitarian officials for the country. Peace and Security

IMO/Pankaj Gautham‘An unwanted prison sentence’ for seafarers stuck at home and stranded at seaHundreds of thousands of seafarers have been on board for many months longer than planned, stranded at sea due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Six months after the problem was first revealed, many of them are still struggling to cope with the ongoing uncertainty.Health©

UNOCHAFROM THE FIELD: Port explosion which ‘burnt hearts’ of Beirut residentsFive months on from the devastating port explosion that killed over 200 people, and injured thousands more, the UN has invited Beirut residents to share their hopes and fears for the future of the city, and for Lebanon, which remains in crisis.Humanitarian Aid

Stephane DujaricUN chief welcomes declaration on resolving the ‘Gulf rift’The United Nations Secretary-General has welcomed the al Ula declaration on “solidarity and stability”, announced at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit on Tuesday, aimed at strengthening peace and prosperity in the region. Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/7 –

Justice Department Announces Civil Investigation into Chemical Restraint Use at Two Nevada Juvenile Facilities01/07/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that it has opened an investigation into the use of pepper spray at two juvenile correctional facilities run by the Nevada Juvenile Justice Services Agency: the Nevada Youth Training Center and the Summit View Youth Center.  The investigation will examine whether staff at the two facilities use pepper spray in a manner that violates youth’s rights under the Constitution.

Boeing Charged with 737 Max Fraud Conspiracy and Agrees to Pay over $2.5 Billion01/07/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Boeing Company (Boeing) has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) in connection with the FAA AEG’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane

Bangladeshi National Sentenced for Conspiracy to Bring Aliens to the United States01/07/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Bangladeshi national formerly residing in Monterrey, Mexico, was sentenced to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in a scheme to smuggle aliens from Mexico into the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband Announces Departure from Civil Rights Division01/07/2021 12:00 AM EST
Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division announced his departure from the department, effective Jan. 8, 2021.  Dreiband has served as Assistant Attorney General since Nov. 1, 2018. 

Health Care Company Indicted for Labor Market Collusion01/07/2021 12:00 AM EST
A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Surgical Care Affiliates LLC and its related entity (collectively SCA), which own and operate outpatient medical care centers across the country, for agreeing with competitors not to solicit senior-level employees, the Department of Justice announced today. These are the Antitrust Division’s first charges in this ongoing investigation into employee allocation agreements.

Statement of Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen01/07/2021 12:00 AM EST
“Yesterday, our Nation watched in disbelief as a mob breached the Capitol Building and required federal and local law enforcement to help restore order. The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law. Our criminal prosecutors have been working throughout the night with special agents and investigators from the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI, ATF, Metropolitan Police Department and the public to gather the evidence, identify perpetrators, and charge federal crimes where warranted. Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law.”

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Entire D.C. Guard activated after pro-Trump protestors storm Capitol building
(Military Times) More than 1,000 District of Columbia National Guard troops have been ordered to report to their armory after pro-Trump protestors pushed through police barricades and broke through windows to swarm the building as senators met to certify the 2020 election.
  2. Former defense secretaries Mattis, Esper decry attack on the Capitol and Trump’s rhetoric
(Military Times) Former Defense Secretaries Jim Mattis and Mark Esper both condemned both Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol building by rioters and President Donald Trump.
  3. A Fort Lee instructor is the 15th service member, 2nd active-duty soldier, to die from COVID-19
(Military Times) An Army senior noncommissioned officer based at Fort Lee, Va., is the third active-duty service member to die after contracting the novel coronavirus, an Army spokesman confirmed to Military Times.
  4. Woman fatally shot in US Capitol was an Air Force veteran, family says
(San Diego Union-Tribune) The woman shot and killed inside the U.S. Capitol Building during a violent pro-Trump siege Wednesday was a resident of San Diego’s Ocean Beach, according to her extended family and media reports.
  5. Pentagon, lambasted for heavy response in the past, on sideline during Capitol melee
(Washington Post) The Pentagon scrambled to deploy more than a thousand National Guard forces to help protect the Capitol on Wednesday after they had remained on the sidelines during a limited early deployment while rioters stormed Congress.


New Genetics Research Reveals How Earth’s Oddest Mammal Got to Be So Bizarre

TOPICS:EvolutionGeneticsUniversity Of CopenhagenZoology


Platypus young in Victoria, Australia.

Often considered the world’s oddest mammal, Australia’s beaver-like, duck-billed platypus exhibits an array of bizarre characteristics: it lays eggs instead of giving birth to live babies, sweats milk, has venomous spurs and is even equipped with 10 sex chromosomes. Now, an international team of researchers led by University of Copenhagen has conducted a unique mapping of the platypus genome and found answers regarding the origins of a few of its stranger features.

It lays eggs, but nurses, it is toothless, has a venomous spur, has webbed feet, fur that glows and has 10 sex chromosomes. Ever since Europeans discovered the platypus in Australia during the late 1700’s, the quirky, duck-billed, semiaquatic creature has baffled scientific researchers.

Modern day researchers are still trying to understand how the platypus — often considered to be the world’s oddest mammal — got to be so unique. Their understandings have now advanced, to a great degree. For the first time, an international team of researchers, led by University of Copenhagen biologists, has mapped a complete platypus genome. The study has been published in the scientific journal, Nature.

Frederick Nodder’s illustration from the first scientific description in 1799 of “Platypus anatinus.”

“The complete genome has provided us with the answers to how a few of the platypus’ bizarre features emerged. At the same time, decoding the genome for platypus is important for improving our understanding of how other mammals evolved — including us humans. It holds the key as to why we and other eutheria mammals evolved to become animals that give birth to live young instead of egg-laying animals,” explains Professor Guojie Zhang of the Department of Biology.

The platypus belongs to an ancient group of mammals — monotremes — which existed millions of years prior to the emergence of any modern-day mammal.

“Indeed, the platypus belongs to the Mammalia class. But genetically, it is a mixture of mammals, birds and reptiles. It has preserved many of its ancestors’ original features — which probably contribute to its success in adapting to the environment they live in,” says Professor Zhang.

Platypus, shown by a zoologist near the Barwon River, in Geelong (Victoria, Australia). Credit: TwoWings (CC BY-SA 3.0)

…Continue Reading

Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice

Learn how to protect children from violence, exploitation, and neglect through law, policy, and practice in a human rights framework.

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Starts Jan 7

Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice

  • Length: 16 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–6 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD
  • Institution: HarvardX
  • Subject: Social Sciences
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

About this course

About this course

Across the world, children are at riskfrom violence, abuse, exploitation, and neglect. Conflict and natural disasters have forced millions to flee their homes and confront the dangers of migration and displacement. Commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, child labor, and child marriage are problems in many countries. At-risk children and adolescents need their rights enforcedif we are to protect them from harm and to ensure that they develop to their full potential.

Led by Jacqueline Bhabha, Research Director of the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, this course will teach you the causes and consequences of child protection failures. You will consider the strategies, international laws, standards, and resources required to protect all children. You will be able to link legal frameworks and child-rights approaches to the work of policymakers, lawyers, health workers, educators, law enforcement, and social workers. Learners will come to understand how they can ensure the protection of children and apply child protection strategies to their own work.

Join Harvard faculty, practitioners, and a global community of learners to master a child-centered systems approach to preventing and responding to violence, exploitation, and abuse against children.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • The origins of child protection in international human rights law
  • How to analyze global child protection issues and the diversity of actors involved in child protection
  • The impact of violence, exploitation, and abuse (VEA) on children’s emotional, social and physical development and strategies for preventing and responding to these harms
  • The standards of protection for children in conflict or in contact with the law
  • How to assess and strengthen a child protection system



  • Every Child’s Right to Protection
    • The Legal Foundation of Child Protection
    • Defining and Measuring Child Protection
  • Violence Against Children
    • Causes and Consequences of Violence
    • Strategies for Preventing and Addressing Violence
    • Examples of Preventing and Addressing Violence
  • Children and the Law
    • Children in Conflict with the Law
    • Children in Contact with the Law
    • Migrant Children and the Law
  • A System’s Approach to Child Protection
    • Components of a Child Protection System
    • Identifying Problems in Child Protection System
    • Global and Local Action to Strengthen Child Protection Systems

Injury Prevention for Children & Teens

Injuries are the #1 cause of death among children and teens. This course lays a foundation for the prevention of child and teen injuries.

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Starts Jan 7

Injury Prevention for Children & Teens
  • Length: 5 Weeks
  • Effort: 4–6 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD
  • Institution: MichiganX
  • Subject: Health & Safety
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

Injuries, such as motor vehicle crash, youth violence, and suicide, are the leading cause of child and adolescent death. However, almost all of these injuries can be prevented through the widespread application of evidence-based practices and policies.

Public health experts, nurses, physicians, social workers, teachers, child care providers, and parents all play a vital role in pediatric injury prevention. Despite its impact, very little training on injury prevention science currently exists.

This course lays a broad foundation for pediatric injury prevention and will increase your understanding of this major public health issue through powerful, concise, up-to-date lectures, interviews, and demonstrations from a multidisciplinary panel of nationally-recognized injury prevention experts.

This course is designed for multiple fields and levels of training, including healthcare, kinesiology, public policy, social work, pharmacy, dentistry, and psychology. The course is also appropriate for educators, coaches, child care providers, and parents.

As a learner, you will have the ability to select all modules or individual topics that interest you most. Comprised of 8 modules, this course may be taken from the comfort of your home or office, and you can learn at your own pace.

Physician/Nurse CME
The University of Michigan Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Michigan Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 25.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Please click this link for more information on FREE CME credits.

If you have any questions about the CME process, please email UMInjuryCenter@umich.edu.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Key concepts for successful injury prevention in children and teens, including Advocacy at both the local and national levels
  • Intentional injury prevention including Bullying, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, Firearm Injury, and Suicide Prevention
  • Transportation Safety, including child safety seats and teen driving
  • Sports Concussion
  • The Opioid Epidemic and Adolescent Substance Use



Module 1: Welcome

Module 2: Introduction to Child & Adolescent Injuries
Introduction to injury definition, social determinants of health, risk and promotive factors, injury theory, and theories of behavioral change

Module 3: Intentional Injuries
Peer violence and bullying, dating and sexual violence, firearm safety, suicide prevention, child maltreatment

Module 4: Transportation Safety
Infant and child passenger safety, teen driving, vulnerable road users

Module 5: Sports Injury Prevention
Concussion definition and incidence; the acute and persistent effects of concussion

Module 6: Adolescent Substance Use and Injury
Alcohol and cannabis use and injury among adolescents; the opioid epidemic

Module 7: Early Childhood Unintentional Injury
Factors, techniques, and messaging for burn prevention in children

Module 8: Injury Prevention Advocacy
Effective advocacy techniques and tools for policy change

Pediatric HIV Nursing

Learn pediatric HIV nursing care and treatment according to up-to-date World Health Organization clinical guidelines.

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Starts Jan 7

Pediatric HIV Nursing
  • Length: 8 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–3 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD
  • Institution: ColumbiaX
  • Subject: Medicine
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time


Diploma or bachelor degree in nursing or midwifery

About this course

About this course

Taught by leading experts in pediatric HIV clinical care and treatment, nursing, and global health, this course will equip nurses and midwives with the skills they need to provide quality clinical care to children living with HIV according to the latest clinical guidelines from the World Health Organization. The course is self-paced to accommodate individual schedules and learning needs.

ICAP at Columbia University has been a leader in international HIV care and treatment for over a decade. We have worked with governments and local organizations to help make HIV care and treatment widely available and patient centered. Through sharing lessons learned and insights from ICAP’s work, we hope to improve your knowledge and appreciation for pediatric HIV care and treatment and ultimately the care that children living with HIV receive.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Early infant diagnosis
  • Pediatric HIV case identification
  • Care and treatment of children infected with HIV
  • Care of adolescents infected with HIV
  • Pediatric tuberculosis and opportunistic infections
  • Psychosocial support and care
  • Adherence and retention 

International Women’s Health and Human Rights

This self-paced course provides an overview of women’s health and human rights, beginning in infancy and childhood, then moving through adolescence, reproductive years and aging. We consider economic, social, political and human rights factors, and the challenges women face in maintaining health and managing their lives in the face of societal pressures and obstacles.

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11,621 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 7

International Women's Health and Human Rights
  • Length: 10 Weeks
  • Effort: 1–5 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $50 USD
  • Institution: StanfordOnline
  • Subject: Social Sciences
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

About this course

About this course

We focus on critical issues, namely those that may mean life or death to a woman, depending on whether she can exercise her human rights. These critical issues include: being born female and discrimination; poverty; unequal access to education, food, paid work and health care; and various forms of violence. Topics discussed include son preference, education, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, violence in the home and in war and refugee circumstances, women’s work, sex trafficking, and aging.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

Our MOOC will have a special focus on creating an international network of engaged participants. We will ask participants to take part in interactive discussions to share their own experiences. We also ask participants to engage with the communities they live in, in order to deepen their understanding of the issues and tie academic ideas to real-life circumstances.

© UNICEF/Evgeniy MaloletkaWHO warns of COVID-19 ‘tipping point’ as cases rise across EuropeThe World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a “tipping point” in the fight against COVID-19, amid surging cases in Europe and the fresh challenge of a mutating virus. Health

Unsplash/Louis VelazquezTop UN officials saddened at mob violence during US Capitol breach; Bachelet decries ‘incitement’ by political leadersTop UN officials, including the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly have expressed sadness over the violence that erupted on Wednesday when supporters of President Trump stormed the US Capitol building, temporarily bringing to a halt the disputed certification of November’s presidential election result.Peace and Security

Unsplash/Ekrem OsmanogluSaudi Arabia: UN rights expert welcomes ‘positive first step’ toward détente in Gulf  Saudi Arabia’s action in lifting sanctions against Qatar is a “positive first step” towards normalized relations in the Gulf region, a UN independent human rights expert said on Thursday, urging the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt to follow suit. Human Rights

UN Photo/Manuel EliasCallamard calls for ‘clear, explicit and unambiguous standards’ to protect civilian planes during conflictsUrgent measures are needed to protect civilian aircraft flying over conflict zones or other areas where military tensions are high, a UN independent human rights expert said on Thursday. Human Rights

UNICEF/Mauricio BisolFood for Mozambicans struggling amidst violence and COVID-19, ‘will be compromised’ without more funding: WFPDespite increased insecurity and limited funding, the UN food relief agency is continuing to supply food for hundreds of thousands of people affected by conflict in northern Mozambique.Humanitarian Aid

Unsplash/Elton YungHong Kong: UN human rights office urges immediate release of arrested activistsThe UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Thursday voiced deep concerns over the arrests of over 50 individuals under the new National Security Law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, and called for their immediate release. Human Rights

WFP/Jonathan EngFROM THE FIELD: The genocide survivor helping others avoid starvationDuring the 1994 Genocide Against The Tutsi In Rwanda, Liberee Kayumba avoided starvation thanks to emergency rations from the World Food Programme (WFP). Today, she is helping to ensure that Burundian refugees in the country have enough to eat.Humanitarian Aid

OCHA/Ivo BrandauGuterres ‘shocked’ at massacre of civilians in eastern DR CongoThe United Nations Secretary-General has expressed shock at the massacre of civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/8 –

Statement of Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen on the Death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen issued the following statement:

Former Hamtramck, Michigan Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Federal Civil Rights Charge For Excessive Use of Force01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
Former Hamtramck police office Ryan McInerney, 44, pleaded guilty today in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan to using excessive force against a civilian arrestee and violating the arrestee’s civil rights. As a result of the assault, the victim, identified in court documents only as D.M., suffered broken facial bones and lacerations requiring stitches, among other injuries.

Thirteen Charged in Federal Court Following Riot at the United States Capitol01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
Thirteen individuals have been charged so far in federal court in the District of Columbia related to crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. In addition to those who have been charged, additional complaints have been submitted and investigations are ongoing.

Court Orders Georgia Defendants to Stop Selling Vitamin D Products as Treatments for Covid-19 and Other Diseases01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
A federal court entered a permanent injunction barring a Georgia company from selling unapproved vitamin D products touted as treatments for COVID-19, the Department of Justice announced today.

Man Arrested for Illegally Entering Office of Speaker of the House01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas was arrested today in Little Rock, Arkansas on multiple criminal charges related to his alleged unlawful activities earlier this week at the U.S. Capitol Building where he was photographed with his feet up on a desk in the Speaker of the House of Representatives’ office.

Owner of Seafood Processor Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Rhode Island man was sentenced to three years in prison today for tax evasion, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney Aaron L. Weisman for the District of Rhode Island, and Special Agent in Charge Kristina O’Connell of IRS Criminal Investigation.

Deutsche Bank Agrees to Pay over $130 Million to Resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Fraud Case01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (Deutsche Bank or the Company) has agreed to pay more than $130 million to resolve the government’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and a separate investigation into a commodities fraud scheme.

Two Quebec Men Extradited to North Dakota from Canada as Part of ‘Operation Denial’01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST

Florida Medical Doctor Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Falsify Clinical Trial Data01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Florida medical doctor pleaded guilty to conspiring to falsify clinical trial data regarding an asthma medication, the Department of Justice announced today.

North Carolina Nail Salon Owner Convicted of Forced Labor01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that after a five-day trial, a federal jury in Charlotte, North Carolina, found Thuy Tien Luong, 37, of Charlotte, North Carolina, guilty of forced labor after finding that Luong compelled the labor of one of her nail technicians at a nail salon she owned and operated in Davidson, North Carolina.

Three Foreign Nationals Charged with Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIS01/08/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that three Sri Lankan citizens have been charged with terrorism offenses, including conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS).  The men were part of a group of ISIS supporters which called itself “ISIS in Sri Lanka.”  That group is responsible for the 2019 Easter attacks in the South Asian nation of Sri Lanka, which killed 268 people, including five U.S. citizens, and injured over 500 others, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed today.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. This is why the National Guard didn’t respond to the attack on the Capitol
(Military Times) Hundreds of National Guard troops were posted in the streets of Washington, D.C., on Wednesday afternoon, but there was little they could do to respond as pro-Trump rioters overran the Capitol.
  2. ‘I thought I’d have to fight my way out’: Combat veteran lawmakers took action after Capitol stormed
(Washington Post) On Wednesday, after chemical irritants were fired in the Capitol to repel a pro-Trump mob, Rep. Ruben Gallego thought of the moment years ago when he entered a Marine Corps gas chamber.
  3. Army secretary: 6,200 National Guard troops to be in DC area ‘by the weekend’
(Army Times) By the end of the weekend, there will be 6,200 National Guard troops from six states and the District of Columbia deployed in the National Capitol Region, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in a Thursday press conference. The personnel will be on duty for “no less than the next 30 days,” said McCarthy.
  4. Biden won’t have his defense secretary in place on Day One
(Defense News) U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is pressuring Congress to quickly confirm his nominees for national security roles, but it appears the congressional calendar won’t permit his pick for defense secretary to be in place on Day One of the Biden administration.
  5. Exclusive: How the Space Force foiled an Iranian missile attack with a critical early warning
(C4ISRNET) One year ago on the night of Jan. 7, 2020, Americans were shocked to learn that Iran had launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.

Introduction to Electrical and Electronic Engineering – 電気電子工学入門 –

Learn fundamental knowledge about electrical and electronic engineering from Tokyo Tech instructors and engineers working in Japanese industry. 電気電子工学を日本語と英語で学んでみませんか。講師と学生ティーチングアシスタント、そしてこの講座のために描きおこしたアニメキャラクタがあなたの電気電子工学の学習をガイドします。

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26,300 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 8

  • Length: 4 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–3 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $50 USD
  • Institution: TokyoTechX
  • Subject: Electronics
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English, 日本語
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time


Secondary school (high school) mathematics, physics and chemistry

About this course

About this course

This course introduces fundamental topics in electrical and electronic engineering including a broad range of examples. Topics covered are solar cells (batteries) and portable cell phones, applications from Japanese companies, including the high speed railway, etc., plus advanced research being performed at high-tech laboratories in Japan.

By taking this course, you will gain knowledge about general aspects of electrical and electronic engineering from Tokyo Tech instructors and engineers working in Japanese industry. The topics covered flow from introductory materials, to fundamental research and their practical applications. The lecture videos in this course are spoken in Japanese with English transcripts and all materials (slides, quizzes and report) are provided in both Japanese and English.


What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

Basic knowledge in the following areas of electrical and electronic engineering:

  • Electrical Power, Energy and Environment
  • Electronics Materials
  • Electronic Devices
  • Wireless Communication


  • 電力・エネルギー・環境
  • エレクトロニクス材料
  • 電子デバイス
  • 無線通信



Week 0. Introduction
Week 1. Electrical Power, Energy and Environment
Week 2. Electronics Materials
Week 3. Electronic Devices
Week 4. Wireless Communication

第0週 イントロダクション 
第1週 電力・エネルギー・環境
第2週 エレクトロニクス材料 
第3週 電子デバイス 
第4週 無線通信

Feeding a Hungry Planet: Agriculture, Nutrition and Sustainability

How do we create a healthy and sustainable diet for the growing world population?

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11,450 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 8

Play Videofor Feeding a Hungry Planet: Agriculture, Nutrition and Sustainability

  • Length: 7 Weeks
  • Effort: 3–5 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD
  • Institution: SDGAcademyX
  • Subject: Environmental Studies
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English, Русский
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

Agriculture is more than waving fields of wheat; our ability to grow food from existing natural resources –and without decimating those resources –is key to sustainably feeding the world. In this course, learn about food security worldwide, the effects of malnutrition, how we manage ecosystems that provide food resources and more. You’ll emerge from this course with a clear answer to the question: What can I do to make food consumption and production more sustainable?

This course is for:

  • Graduate students and advanced undergraduate students in agriculture, economics, international development and other fields who are learning about the intersectional factors impacting agriculture and food production/consumption
  • Nutritionists, agriculture professionals and other practitioners interested in the latest developments in the field
  • Sustainable development practitioners –including those who work for international aid organizations and nonprofits in the realms of poverty, nutrition and agriculture – who want to understand the lifecycle of food production and food security
  • Private actors , such as those engaging in or investing in social entrepreneurship and the support of local agriculture


This course is supported by faculty based at Cornell UniversityJohns Hopkins UniversityRothamsted ResearchTufts University, and Wageningen University and Research.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • How the field has developed and shifted over time, and how recent developments like advanced technology impact farming.
  • What is food security? How do poverty, inequality and other factors affect the nutrition of not just individuals, but entire countries?
  • All about regulations influencing production, trade and other aspects of agriculture.
  • Examples from industries ranging from rice to livestock, and the experiences of smallholder farmers.



Module 1: The global challenges around food

  • 1.1 Introduction to this MOOC
  • 1.2 Global challenges around food
  • 1.3 Case study 1: Rice
  • 1.4 Case study 2: Smallholder farming
  • 1.5 Case study 3: Livestock
  • 1.6 Case study 4: Aquaculture

Module 2: Agriculture at the center of sustainable development

  • 2.1 Emergence of modern agriculture
  • 2.2 Risks under a Business-As-Usual scenario
  • 2.3 Agriculture & the Sustainable Development Goals

Module 3: Food systems for nutritional security and better health

  • 3.1 What is food security?
  • 3.2 Nutrition and health
  • 3.3 Consumption and diets
  • 3.4 Food losses and waste
  • 3.5 Socio-economic dynamics of food systems
  • 3.6 Pathways towards food security

Module 4: Sustainable intensification of agricultural systems – Part 1

  • 4.1 Sustainable agriculture intensification
  • 4.2 The importance of productivity growth
  • 4.3 Climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • 4.4 Breeding and genetics
  • 4.5 Nutrient management
  • 4.6 Soil fertility management

Module 5: Sustainable intensification of agricultural systems – Part 2

  • 5.1 Water management
  • 5.2 Crop protection
  • 5.3 Good agronomy
  • 5.4 Sustainable livestock systems
  • 5.5 & 5.6 Functional diversity I & II

Module 6: Rural development for poverty alleviation

  • 6.1 Rural economies and urban linkages
  • 6.2 Rural development
  • 6.3 Markets and supply chains
  • 6.4 International trade
  • 6.5 Development enhancing investments
  • 6.6 Food governance

Module 7: Action for change

  • 7.1 Pathways to change
  • 7.2 Monitoring change
  • 7.3 Mechanisms to stimulate change
  • 7.4 Investing in science
  • 7.5 What can I do?

Introduction to American Civics: Presented by Zero-L

Harvard Law School’s short introduction to American Law and Civics

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9,328 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 8

Introduction to American Civics: Presented by Zero-L
  • Length: 1 Weeks
  • Effort: 1–3 hours per week
  • Institution: HarvardX
  • Subject: Law
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

About this course

About this course

The hallmarks of our system of government are a written constitution with judicial review, federalism, and separation of powers. What do these involve, exactly? What are the differences between federal and state law, and how do they relate to one another? What is the relationship between a legislature and an administrative agency? What role does our centuries’ old federal Constitution play in the formulation, implementation, and interpretation of contemporary law?

Despite the fact that U.S. governments and U.S. laws shape the day-to-day life of every U.S. citizen and resident (and indeed the lives of people around the world), many do not fully understand key elements of these institutions. This course offers an introduction to them that is at once concise, clear, and sophisticated.

Topics covered include:

  • Distinguishing laws from other kinds of rules
  • The role of state versus federal law
  • Key differences among the many sources of U.S. law, such as the federal and state constitutions, and federal and state statutes, regulations, and court decisions
  • The legislative process
  • The distinctive features of the modern administrative state.
  • The principle of separated powers.
  • The changing place of the U.S. Constitution and the practice of judicial review over our nation’s history.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Understand the design of the U.S. government and the distinctive roles of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches.
  • Grasp the major sources of U.S. law: constitutions, statutes, regulations and court decisions.
  • Appreciate what is distinctive about the modern “administrative state” and the important role administrative agencies play in modern U.S. government.
  • Distinguish the roles of federal and state law in the U.S. legal system.
  • Recognize the centrality of the U.S. Constitution to the operation of our political and legal system, including major moments in U.S. constitutional history.



List of Modules:

  • Kinds of Law
  • What is Law?
  • Federal vs. State Law and Order of Authorities
  • How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • Introduction to the Separation of Powers
  • An Historical Overview of the Constitution
  • Law and History


Celebrate the Perseverance Rover Landing With NASA’s Student Challenge

The Mission to Mars Student Challenge provides a fun and engaging way for students everywhere to join NASA
The Mission to Mars Student Challenge provides a fun and engaging way for students everywhere to join NASA as the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover lands on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021.
› Larger view

The rover touches down on the Red Planet next month, and students are invited to join the excitement by designing, building, and landing their own Mars mission. NASA can help.

On Feb. 18, NASA will attempt to land the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on the surface of the Red Planet, and you can join the excitement with NASA’s Mission to Mars Student Challenge. Classrooms, informal education groups, families, and individuals can design, build, and land their own spacecraft – just like NASA scientists and engineers do. And for extra inspiration, there’s the handy Mars 2020 STEM toolkit filled with activities, videos, and more.

“We want to reach every classroom in America and beyond with the Mission to Mars Student Challenge. We want to share the not just the thrills of the Mars 2020 Perseverance landing itself but also of what goes into making achievements like these possible,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “We hope that students will be inspired by the Perseverance mission and one day become our next generation of NASA scientists and engineers.”

About the size of an SUV, Perseverance is carrying the small Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on its belly. While the helicopter is an experiment designed to attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet, it doesn’t play a role in the science that Perseverance will be conducting. A key goal of the rover’s mission is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. Perseverance will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect samples of Martian rock as well as regolith, which is broken rock and dust.

To do that, the rover first must land, and landing on Mars is hard. Only about half of all attempts by the world’s space agencies have succeeded – all of them by NASA. The last time a rover landed on the Red Planet was in 2012, with NASA’s Curiosity rover.

Like Curiosity, Perseverance must survive the “seven minutes of terror” – a fiery trip through the Martian atmosphere using a heat shield, parachute, and rockets. During the sky crane maneuver, the descent stage will lower the rover onto Mars with nylon cables.

But this latest landing involves an even higher level of difficulty: The most sophisticated rover ever built, Perseverance is the biggest and heaviest to attempt a Mars landing. And it will be testing new technologies as it touches down.https://www.youtube.com/embed/OmKGvMp8rjs

Take part in a worldwide “teachable moment” and bring students along for the ride as NASA lands the Perseverance rover on Mars February 18. Science communicator and host of “Emily’s Wonder Lab” on Netflix, Emily Calandrelli, shares how you can join the adventure with your students.

More About the Challenge

By participating in the Mission to Mars Student Challenge, you can land your own rover, too. Activities include:

  • A flexible, guided five-week education planfor elementary, middle, and high school students with standards-aligned STEM lessons and activities from NASA.
  • A weekly newsletterwith links to tips and resources related to the mission phase of the week.
  • Video conversationswith mission scientists and engineers highlighting how their work relates to what students are learning – plus, ideas to kick-start the weekly challenge.
  • Opportunities to participate in Q&As with mission expertsand to submit student questions and work that could be featured during NASA broadcasts leading up to and on landing day.

With the STEM toolkit in hand, you can learn more about the mission and have some fun while you’re at it. You’ll find:

  • Stories on the students who named Perseverance and Ingenuity.
  • Crisp animations highlighting the rover and helicopter.
  • Opportunities to code your own Mars-exploration games.
  • Make space-themed crafts.
  • And much, much more.

“The Mission to Mars Student Challenge provides a fun and engaging way for students everywhere to get excited and learn about this momentous landing on Mars and join NASA as we land on the Red Planet,” said Ota Lutz, who leads the STEM Elementary and Secondary Education Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “The challenge will feature fun and engaging activities for younger and older students who will have an opportunity to ask questions of NASA experts and have their work shared with a worldwide audience.”

You can watch the landing events broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, starting at 2:15 p.m. EST (11:15 a.m. PST) on Feb. 18, in English and Spanish. Touch down will take place at about 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST).

Do your students have questions about the mission? Share them on the Challenge website, and they may be read live during a NASA broadcast.

To read more about the Challenge:



NASA Extends Exploration for Two Planetary Science Missions

NASA has extended both the Juno mission at Jupiter through September 2025 (left) and the InSight mission at Mars through December 2022
NASA has extended both the Juno mission at Jupiter through September 2025 (left) and the InSight mission at Mars through December 2022. Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Larger view

The missions – Juno and InSight – have each increased our understanding of our solar system, as well as spurred new sets of diverse questions.

As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars, the agency’s quest to seek answers about our solar system and beyond continues to inform those efforts and generate new discoveries. The agency has extended the missions of two spacecraft, following an external review of their scientific productivity.

The missions – Juno and InSight – have each increased our understanding of our solar system, as well as spurred new sets of diverse questions.

An independent review panel, composed of experts with backgrounds in science, operations, and mission management, found the Juno and InSight missions have “produced exceptional science” and recommended NASA continue both missions.

The Juno spacecraft and its mission team have made discoveries about Jupiter’s interior structure, magnetic field, and magnetosphere, and have found its atmospheric dynamics to be far more complex than scientists previously thought. Extended through September 2025, or its end of life (whichever comes first), the mission will not only continue key observations of Jupiter, but also will expand its investigations to the larger Jovian system including Jupiter’s rings and large moons, with targeted observations and close flybys planned of the moons Ganymede, Europa, and Io.

The InSight mission is extended for two years, running through December 2022. InSight’s spacecraft and team deployed and operated its highly sensitive seismometer to expand our understanding of Mars’ crust and mantle. Searching for and identifying Marsquakes, the mission team collected data clearly demonstrating the robust tectonic activity of the Red Planet, and enhanced our knowledge of the planet’s atmospheric dynamics, magnetic field, and interior structure. InSight’s extended mission will focus on producing a long-duration, high quality seismic dataset. Continued operation of its weather station and burial of the seismic tether using the spacecraft’s Instrument Deployment Arm (IDA), will contribute to the quality of this seismic dataset. The extended mission may continue deployment (at low priority) of the spacecraft’s Heat Probe and Physical Properties instrument (HP3), which remains close to the surface.

“The Senior Review has validated that these two planetary science missions are likely to continue to bring new discoveries, and produce new questions about our solar system,” said Lori Glaze, director of the planetary science division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “I thank the members of the Senior Review panel for their comprehensive analysis and thank the mission teams as well, who will now continue to provide exciting opportunities to refine our understanding of the dynamic science of Jupiter and Mars.”

Extended missions leverage NASA’s large investments, allowing continued science operations at a cost far lower than developing a new mission. In some cases, the extensions allow missions to continue to acquire valuable long-duration datasets, while in other cases, they allow missions to visit new targets, with entirely new science goals.

NASA’s Planetary Science Division currently operates more than a dozen spacecraft across the solar system.

The detailed reports from the 2020 Planetary Science Senior Review may be found at:


More information about Juno is available at:


For more information about InSight, visit:




UN News


Citizens globally affirm belief in international cooperation

United NationsThe UN undertook a global crowdsourcing opinion campaign as part of its 75th anniversary celebrated in 2020.SDGs

People worldwide have overwhelmingly highlighted their faith in multilateralism to address global challenges, the results of a year-long survey by the United Nations have shown. 

The UN75 initiative was launched by Secretary-General António Guterres, in January last year, to understand the global public’s hopes and fears for the future, as well as their expectations and ideas for international cooperation, and for the UN in particular. More than 1.5 million people from 195 countries took part in the campaign through surveys and dialogues. 

UN Video | UN75: 2020 and beyond

“The UN75 global consultation showed that 97 per cent of respondents support international cooperation to tackle global challenges,” Mr. Guterres said on the results

“That represents a very strong commitment to multilateralism, and to the mission of the United Nations. Now it is up to us – Member States and the UN Secretariat – to meet the expectations of the people we serve,” he added. 

Unity across groups and regions 

Announcing the findings at the UN Office at Geneva on Friday, Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the commemoration of UN’s 75th anniversary, said that together with UN75 conversations and surveys, innovative methodologies and artificial intelligence analysis were employed to gauge world opinion, including through traditional and social media. 

In addition, two independent surveys were commissioned around the same questions to have a “reality check”, and the results were striking, he continued. 

Unity, across generations, regions income groups, and levels of education, was one such striking result, Mr. Hochschild highlighted, explaining that opinions were united when it came to people’s hopes and fears for their future, and their expectations of international cooperation. 

In the immediate priorities post-COVID-19, the world is united in wanting much better access to affordable basic services, healthcare, quality education, water and sanitation, and related is the world seeks much greater solidarity with the hardest hit communities and places, he added. 

Launched to mark the Organization’s 75th anniversary, the exercise was the UN’s most ambitious effort to date to gather input from the global public, and the largest survey on priorities for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. UN Barbados and the OECSA woman from St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean holds up a sign after completing the UN75 survey.

Short-term challenges 

With the coronavirus pandemic reversing progress in human development and widening inequalities, many respondents prioritized access to basic services and support to the hardest hit places and communities in the short-term, according to the results

The top immediate, short-term priority globally was universal access to healthcare. 

In addition, given the impact of the crisis on children and education, greater investments in education and youth programmes ranked high among respondents, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and central and southern Asia. 

Long-term challenges 

Similarly, while people expect access to health services to improve over the next 25 years, respondents in all regions identified climate change and environmental issues as the number one long-term global challenge. 

Other longer-term priorities vary according to income levels, but include rising concern with employment opportunities, respect for human rights and reducing conflict. 

Respondents in higher human development countries tended to give the highest priority to the environment and human rights, those in lower human development countries tended to accord the highest priority to less conflict and meeting basic needs, such as employment, healthcare and education. 

UN’s role 

Many respondents also looked to the United Nations to lead in international cooperation to address immediate and longer-term global challenges, the results showed, with many also want the Organization to innovate – to be more inclusive, engaged, accountable and effective. 

In surveys and UN75 dialogues held around the world, participants called on the UN for moral leadership; a more reformed, representative and agile Security Council; and an inclusive and participatory UN system, with improved understanding of the work of the Organization among citizens around the world, and which shows more care for the needs of the people. 

Vaccinating equitably ‘saves lives, stabilizes health systems’ – WHO chief Two billion doses of “safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines” have been secured by the international equitable vaccine alliance COVAX, and they will be ready for distribution as soon they are delivered, the UN health agency chief said on Friday. Health

United NationsCitizens globally affirm belief in international cooperationPeople worldwide have overwhelmingly highlighted their faith in multilateralism to address global challenges, the results of a year-long survey by the United Nations have shown. SDGs

Unsplash/Random InstituteUganda: ‘Deteriorating’ human rights situation in run-up to elections next weekThe UN human rights office, OHCHR, is urging authorities in Uganda to ensure elections next week are free and peaceful, noting that the arrest of opposition candidates and their supporters are among several “worrying” developments ahead of the vote. Human Rights©

UNHCR/Ghislaine NentoboCentral African Republic: Post-election violence triggers mass displacement  Amidst post-election violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), more than 200,000 people have fled for their own safety, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.    Migrants and Refugees

UN Photo/Kibae ParkViet Nam: UN rights office denounces ‘increasing clampdown’ on freedom of expressionThe UN human rights office (OHCHR), on Friday, voiced concerns over the use of “vaguely defined laws” in Viet Nam, to arbitrarily detain an increasing number of journalists, bloggers, commentators and rights defenders, amidst what appears to be part of an “increasing clampdown” on the freedom of expression in the country.  Human Rights
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.




COVID-19 makes universal digital access and cooperation essential: UN tech agency

‘Unprecedented’ financing needed to halt recession of ‘unparalleled proportions’: Mohammed

Identify and address ‘real needs’ to recover from COVID-19, UN rights expert urges


1/9 –

Statement on Misinformation on Social Media Regarding the Office of the Pardon Attorney01/09/2021 12:00 AM EST
“Please be advised that the information circulating on social media claiming to be from Acting Pardon Attorney Rosalind Sargent-Burns is inauthentic and should not be taken seriously.  “The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney does not have a social media presence and is not involved in any efforts to pardon individuals or groups involved with the heinous acts that took place this week in and around the U.S. Capitol.”

Navy kicks off Naval Community College pilot program for sailors, Marines and Coast GuardsmenAlmost 600 students are participating in the pilot program.

Introduction to Digital Humanities

Develop skills in digital research and visualization techniques across subjects and fields within the humanities.

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43,536 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 9

Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • Length: 7 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–4 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $149 USD
  • Institution: HarvardX
  • Subject: Humanities
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

As primary sources of information are more frequently digitized and available online than ever before, how can we use those sources to ask new questions? How did Chinese families organize themselves and their landscapes in China’s past? How did African slaves from different cultures form communities in the Americas? What influences informed the creation and evolution of Broadway musicals? How can I understand or interpret 1,000 books all at once? How can I create a visualization that my students can interact with? The answers to these questions can be explored using a wide variety of digital tools, methods, and sources.

As museums, libraries, archives and other institutions have digitized collections and artifacts, new tools and standards have been developed that turn those materials into machine-readable data. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), for example, have enabled humanities researchers to processvastamounts of textual data. However, these advances are not limited just to text. Sound, images, and video have all been subject to these new forms of research.

This course will show you how to manage the many aspects of digital humanities research and scholarship. Whether you are a student or scholar, librarian or archivist, museum curator or public historian — or just plain curious — this course will help you bring your area of study or interest to new life using digital tools.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • What the term “digital humanities” means in different disciplines.
  • How common digital tools work and examples of projects using them.
  • How various file types can be used to create, gather, and organize data.
  • How to use command-line functions to analyze text.
  • How to use free tools to create visual text analysis.



Lesson 1: Digital Humanities and Data

  • Explain the term “digital humanities,” and how it is understood across humanities disciplines.
  • Describe the research journey as a partnership between researcher and library collections and staff.
  • List examples of the limits of classification.
  • Describe the implicit and explicit hierarchies that are created when gathering and analyzing data.
  • Distinguish between what counts as data and what does not.
  • Identify different data formats and how they fit into a research workflow.

Lesson 2: Digital Humanities Projects and Tools

  • List tools of data analysis that can be applied to text in any language, space, networks, images, and statistical analysis.
  • Evaluate existing digital platforms based on features that can be used for data analysis within different fields such as literature, history, art, and music.

Lesson 3: Acquiring, Cleaning, and Creating Data

  • Identify the differences between unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data.
  • Distinguish between different file types, their definitions, and applications.
  • Apply intellectual property rights to the downloading and sharing of data.
  • Practice different ways of downloading or creating data.

Lesson 4: The Command Line

  • Understand how command line functions work.
  • Apply command line functions to text files.
  • Create smaller text files from larger files using command line prompts.

Lesson 5: Working with Tools – Voyant

  • Create data from multiple text files using Voyant.
  • Compare data results across text files using visualizationin Voyant.

Future Trends of Fashion and Textiles 時尚之未來趨勢(時尚之未来趋势)

[中文介紹在英文介紹之後; 中文介绍在英文介绍之后]

We intend to create this course as part of the management training program. We shall take you through a tour to the fashion retail, design, material, and manufacturing section of the fashion supply chain. After the tour, we shall debrief and review the fundamental drive of the changes in the coming future.

我們打算創建這個課程作為管理培訓計劃的一部分。我們將帶您參觀時尚供應鏈的時尚零售,設計,材料和制造部門。 參觀結束後,我們將總結和回顧未來變化的根本動力。

(我们打算创建这个课程作为管理培训计划的一部分。我们将带您参观时尚供应链的时尚零售,设计,材料和制造部门。 参观结束后,我们将总结和回顾未来变化的根本动力。)

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Logo


Starts Jan 9

  • Length: 6 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–6 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD
  • Institution: HKPolyUx
  • Subject: Business & Management
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts:中文, 中文
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time


Prepare for or started a new job in the fashion industry



About this course

About this course

[中文介紹在英文介紹之後; 中文介绍在英文介绍之后]

Everyone wishes to know the future!

Although we do not have the magic crystal ball to show us the future, we have interviewed more than forty (40+) international industrialists, academics, and business leaders. They are experts in their area and the drivers behind the industry. Our guests will share their views of the future and potential of the fashion industry with you.

During the interviews, we focused on the following questions:

What are the current challenges?

What are the new main directions in the coming five to ten (5 – 10) years?

What kind of new technologies will become popular?

Will there be any new business models (new ways of doing business)?

What role can a government play?

Will there be any ideology that may bring a big impact?

We fully understand that learners may face the obstacle of terminology and background. We will introduce the background of the fashion supply chain first. Then, we take the learners to attend the interviews week by week, sector by sector. Most importantly, the course content is bilingual in Chinese and English. Learners will enjoy our learning supports.

Suitable for students, consumers, anyone who is interested or working in the fashion business.

— 正體中文 —





未來五到十年(5 – 10)年中新的主要方向是什麼?







— 简体中文 —





未来五到十年(5 – 10)年中新的主要方向是什麼?







What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

[中文介紹在英文介紹之後; 中文介绍在英文介绍之后]

Understand how different sectors of the fashion supply chain attempt to tackle their challenges.

Some suggested highlights are as follow


Understand the importance and impact of sustainability in the fashion industry.

Understand the difficulties of adopting innovative technology in achieving sustainable production.


Understand the competition among physical stores, virtual stores, and unmanned stores.

Understand how a business can integrate sustainability objectives into profit-making business strategy


Preview the product traceability technology.

Preview the sustainable business model of Garment to Garment in fashion recycling.

Understand the impact and limitation of the robotic production system in apparel manufacturing.

We will take the learners on a magical trip from the consumers’ perspective. After we provide everyone a road map, survival handbook, and a briefing of the fashion supply chain, we will start our journey with the first stop of the fashion retailing industry. Then, we will go behind the scenes and witness the design houses, the material industry, and the manufacturing industry. Finally, we shall finish our tour with a debriefing of the topic of sustainability.

This is an orientation course. It is an enjoyable fashion sightseeing tour. We are prepared to support your learning with a roadmap, impact remark, and a new set of designed exercises for verified learners to capture the essences. We hope that you can feel the bright future of the fashion industry!

— 正體中文 —



可持續發展; 永續發展





了解企業如何將可持續 (永續) 發展目標納入業務戰略。





我們將帶領同學們從消費者的角度來進行一次神奇的旅行。首先提供路線圖,生存手冊和時尚供應鏈簡介,然後開始我們的旅程,第一站是時尚零售業。然後,我們將往幕後,參觀設計行業、材料行業和製造業。最後,我們以可持續(永續) 性作為主題,結束我們的旅程。

這是一門迎新課程,一個愉快的時尚觀光旅遊。 我們准備通過路參觀路線圖,影響力評估和一套新的設計練習來支持您的學習,以便驗證學生捕捉本質。 我們希望您能感受到時尚界的光明未來!

— 简体中文 —














这是一门迎新课程,一个愉快的时尚观光旅游。 我们准备通过路参观路线图,影响力评估和一套新的设计练习来支持您的学习,以便验证学生捕捉本质。 我们希望您能感受到时尚界的光明未来!



[中文介紹在英文介紹之後; 中文介绍在英文介绍之后]

Week 1: Introduction to the fashion supply chain and the potential trends

Week 2: Trends in Retailing

Week 3: Trends in Design: fashion, accessory, and shoes

Week 4: Trends in Textile Material and Processing

Week 5: Trends in Apparel Manufacturing

Week 6: Sustainable Future



第三周:設計趨勢: 時尚,配飾和鞋子






第三周:设计趋势: 时尚,配饰和鞋子




1/10 –

1/11 –

Justice Department Concludes Its Investigation of D.C.-Area Private High Schools’ Decision to Stop Offering Advanced Placement Courses01/11/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice announced today that it has completed its investigation into whether Georgetown Day School, Holton-Arms School, Landon School, Maret School, National Cathedral School, The Potomac School, St. Albans School, and Sidwell Friends School (jointly, “the Schools”) collectively agreed to stop offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses by 2022 in violation of the Sherman Act.  The Schools announced in June 2018 that they would eliminate AP courses from their curricula by 2022. 

Patient Recruiter Convicted in $2.8 Million Telemedicine Scheme Against Medicare01/11/2021 12:00 AM EST
The owner of an Orlando-area telemarketing call center was convicted for his role in a kickback scheme involving expensive genetic tests and fraudulent telemedicine services that resulted in the payment of approximately $2.8 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. At least 25 domestic terrorism cases have been opened after US Capitol breach, congressman says Army secretary told him
(CNN) At least 25 domestic terrorism cases have been opened in the wake of Wednesday’s US Capitol breach that engulfed the nation’s capital in chaos, Army secretary Ryan McCarthy told Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, according to a news release from the congressman’s office.
  2. Insurrectionist ‘Zip-Tie Guy’ identified as retired Air Force lieutenant colonel
(Military Times) A man photographed in tactical gear and carrying zip-tie handcuffs on the Senate floor on Wednesday is a former Air Force officer who told The New Yorker magazine he stormed the Capitol because he believed the president wanted him to be there as the 2020 election was being certified.
  3. Have gun, will travel. National Guard comes to DC armed and ready to protect
(Military Times) Standing across the street from the 7-foot tall black metal fence that now surrounds the U.S. Capitol building, National Guard soldiers shifted feet to brace themselves against the cold wind.
  4. Officer killed in Capitol attack was an Air National Guard vet
(Military Times) The Capitol Police officer killed in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters on Wednesday was an Air National Guard veteran with multiple overseas deployments, military officials confirmed on Friday.
  5. Pentagon begins process to purge Confederate names from military bases, property
(Military.com) The Pentagon is moving forward to satisfy a congressional directive in the 2021 defense policy bill that will result in the renaming of at least 10 Army bases and possibly two Navy ships that honor the Confederacy.

Making Government Work in Hard Places

Learn from people who have helped build better government in challenging settings around the globe, and develop your own ability to analyze and solve similar problems.

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10,601 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 11

  • Length: 8 Weeks
  • Effort: 3–5 hours per week
  • Institution: PrincetonX
  • Subject: Social Sciences
  • Level: Advanced
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

This course includes Burmese translations of most of the videos, case studies and quizzes.

Around the globe, there are public servants and civic leaders who want to create a better future for their fellow citizens. The challenge is how to deliver—how to create new practices, build new institutions, implement new policies, and transform incentives to sustain transformation.

This course is about the “hows” of generating institutional change in hard places. Each week we focus on a different kind of challenge. You will read a case study, examine a problem in detail, help create a “solutions” toolkit, and then apply these insights to a second case.

The course introduces concepts and insights from applied political economy and the science of delivery. Topics include:

  • Reducing delay, error, and diversion of funds in citizen services
  • Using citizen monitoring and community-driven projects to improve services in rural areas
  • Preventing conflicts of interest or self-dealing from blocking institutional reform; building trust and community and changing public expectations
  • Overcoming capacity traps (what to do when brain drain, political turbulence, or other problems de-skill government)
  • Facilitating coordination at the cabinet level
  • Developing a strategy and the incentives to sustain change.

Drawn from actual experience around the world, each case starts with the problems a reform leader faced and traces the steps taken to address these. You will have a chance to assess the process and decide whether the solutions might work in your own context, as well as offer new proposals.

Through quizzes and open response assignments, you will be able to share ideas with others and practice what you have learned.

No certificates or other credentials will be awarded in connection with this course.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • A conceptual vocabulary to help identify and analyze obstacles to building better government
  • A solutions tool-kit for solving several common yet difficult problems
  • Familiarity with some important contemporary reform leaders, their work, and their ideas
  • An introduction to some basic skills, including streamlining a process, project-management, and strategy development.

Holistic Financial Planning
Mondays: January 11 – February 15, 2021
If you’ve been struggling to make your farm operation profitable without driving yourself into the ground, this financial planning course is for you. You will learn how to make financial decisions toward farm and family values and goals.

Writing a Business Plan
Mondays: January 11 – February 15, 2021
Arm yourself with a business plan and you will have a guide to aid your farm decision-making and demonstrate to yourself and your family that your ideas are feasible. This course is designed to help you build your plan, including developing financial statements.

Logo for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.

Get the latest public health information from CDC: https://www.coronavirus.gov
Get the latest research information from NIH: https://www.covid19.nih.gov/
Get the latest shareable resources on coping with COVID-19 from NIMH: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/covid1

Showing Support for Basic Researchers

By Joshua Gordon 

In my professional life, I have held many different roles. I am a psychiatrist who cares deeply for my patients, who spend much of their lives struggling with the burden of mental illnesses. I am a neuroscientist, deeply interested in the inner workings of the brain. More recently, as Director of NIMH, I am also an administrator, helping shape the direction of mental health research, from the most basic science to mental health services and intervention research.

In holding these multiple roles, I’ve gained a unique perspective on the field of mental health as a whole—the one thing I’ve observed, time and again, is that basic science is the foundation upon which everything else is built. Every day, thanks to the hard work and dedication of thousands of neuroscientists, we learn more and more about function and dysfunction in the brain, leading to better treatments for mental illnesses.

Given the foundational role basic science plays in the bench-to-bedside pipeline, accomplishments in basic science should be celebrated. However, because basic science frequently involves animal models, researchers investigating basic science often come under attack by animal rights activists. Dr. Elisabeth Murray, my colleague at NIMH, is one such researcher whose work has recently been targeted for her use of non-human primates.

Few neuroscientists have done more to enhance our understanding of the prefrontal cortex and its role in the control of fear, value-based decisions, and action planning than Dr. Murray. Over the better part of the past four decades, Dr. Murray has conducted a remarkable series of experiments that has clarified the brain mechanisms underlying complex behaviors that go awry in mental illnesses. In particular, her lab has pioneered the methods necessary to study these behaviors in Macaca mulatta, a species of non-human primate with a prefrontal cortex that closely resembles that of humans, a key factor enabling a deeper understanding of human brain diseases. Dr. Murray’s work has been incredibly important in laying the foundation for efforts to translate neurobiological findings into solutions that will improve the lives of those who live with mental illnesses.

Members of special interest groups have recently engaged in an unrelenting campaign against Dr. Murray, posting misleading videos and alarming social media messages about her work on the web; holding protests in her neighborhood in the midst of the COVID pandemic; and harassing her and other NIMH scientists with a disruptive series of phone calls, emails, and other intrusive requests whose main purpose is to interfere with their ability to carry out their crucial research.

One might wonder: Why are mental health researchers, such as Dr. Murray, being targeted? To me, it is all too plain. These groups take advantage of the unwarranted stigma that is still associated with mental illnesses today. The reality is that mental illnesses are like any other medical conditions—they are disorders of biological systems that demand a thorough and complete research response, including supporting basic science research. My patients suffer every bit as much as those with other illnesses and they are deserving of every bit of knowledge that Dr. Murray and her colleagues can generate.

To transform our understanding and treatment of mental illnesses, we must continue to deepen our understanding of the brain and how it functions. Animal studies are critical to advancing this brain science and NIMH will continue to support the hard-working scientists, such as Dr. Murray, who are using model organisms to gain insight into the body’s most complex organ.


UN News


UN chief calls for ‘urgent transition’ from fossil fuels to renewable energy 

Unsplash/Karsten WürthA wind farm in Biedesheim, Germany.Climate Change

Building a global coalition for carbon neutrality by mid-century will be the UN’s “central objective”, the world body’s top official told a conference on climate action on Monday. 

“All countries need credible mid-term goals and plans that are aligned with this objective”, Secretary-General António Guterres said, addressing the virtual COP26 Roundtable on Clean Power Transition. “To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, we need an urgent transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy”. 

Energy for Africa 

Painting a picture of some 789 million people across the developing world without access to electricity – three-quarters of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa – the top UN official called it “both an injustice and an impediment to sustainable development”. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=UN_News_Centre&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1348687802431647750&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fnews.un.org%2Fen%2Fstory%2F2021%2F01%2F1081802&siteScreenName=UN_News_Centre&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

He signaled “inclusivity and sustainability” as key to support African countries, while underscoring that all nations need to be able to provide access to clean and renewable energy that prevents “the dangerous heating of our planet”. 

Mr. Guterres asked for a “strong commitment from all governments” to end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, shift taxation from people to pollution, and end the construction of coal-fired power plants. 

“And we need to see adequate international support so African economies and other developing countries’ economies can leapfrog polluting development and transition to a clean, sustainable energy pathway”, he added. 

Adaptation ‘ a moral imperative’ 

Against this backdrop, Mr. Guterres repeated his appeal to developed nations to fulfill their annual pledge for $100 billion dollars to support mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. 

Pointing to vulnerabilities faced by Africa – from prolonged droughts in the Sahel and Horn of Africa to devastating floods in the continent’s south – he underscored “the vital importance of adaptation” as “a moral imperative”. 

The UN chief said that while only 20 per cent of climate finance is earmarked for it, adaptation requires “equal attention and investment”. 

“The forthcoming climate adaptation summit on 25 January is an opportunity to generate momentum in this much neglected area”, he added. 

Reversing a dangerous trend 

Despite huge amounts of money that have been reserved for COVID-19 recovery and stimulus measures, the Secretary-General noted that “sustainable investments are still not being prioritized”. 

He outlined the need for an annual six per cent decrease in energy production from fossil fuels through renewables, transition programmes, economic diversification plans, green bonds and other instruments to advance sustainability. 

He reiterated the need to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, stating emissions needed to fall by 7.6 per cent every year between now and 2030. 

However, he noted that “some countries are still going in the opposite direction. “We need to reverse this trend”, he said. 

Aligning with Paris 

He said all public and private financing should support the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with training, reskilling and providing new opportunities that  are “just and inclusive”. 

He noted that a sustainable economy means better infrastructure, a resilient future and millions of new jobs – especially for women and young people, maintaining that “we have the opportunity to transform our world”. 

“But to achieve this we need global solidarity, just as we need it for a successful recovery from COVID-19”, the Secretary-General said, reminding everyone that “in a global crisis we protect ourselves best when we protect all”. 

“We have the tools. Let us unlock them with political will”, concluded the UN chief.https://news.un.org/en/sites/all/themes/bootstrap_un_news/localization/webcast-player/?videoId=6221904679001&autoplayparam=0#t=00h00m00s

Get COVID-19 vaccinations for ‘high-risk’ populations underway within 100 days worldwide, Tedros urgesThere needs to be a “collective commitment” to get vaccinations underway worldwide for health workers and others who are at high risk of catching COVID-19, within the next 100 days, said the UN health agency chief on Monday.Health

YPN for UNOCHASerious repercussions likely to follow US plan to designate Yemen combatants terrorists, UN warnsThe United States government’s decision to designate Ansar Allah, more commonly known as the Houthi rebel group in Yemen, as terrorists, is likely to have “serious humanitarian and political repercussions”, the UN spokesperson said on Monday.

Humanitarian AidUnsplash/Hédi BenyounesClose ‘disgraceful’ Guantánamo camp – UN experts urge incoming US administration Exactly 19 years after the Guantánamo Bay detention centre first opened, UN independent human rights experts on Monday urged the incoming United States administration of Joe Biden, to close the notorious military prison as soon as possible. Human Rights

Unsplash/Aaron BurdenCOVID-19 recovery offers ‘chance to change course’, Guterres tells One Planet SummitThe process of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic offers the chance to change course, and put humanity on a path on which it is not in conflict with nature, the United Nations Secretary-General said on Monday, urging greater efforts by everyone to protect biodiversity and step up climate action. Climate Change

UN Photo/Mark GartenGuterres to seek second five-year term as UN Secretary-GeneralAntónio Guterres confirmed on Monday that he will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.UN AffairsUnsplash/Karsten WürthUN chief calls for ‘urgent transition’ from fossil fuels to renewable energy Building a global coalition for carbon neutrality by mid-century will be the UN’s “central objective”, the world body’s top official told a conference on climate action on Monday. Climate Change

OCHA/Eve SabbaghWest Africa: Democracy ‘a constant process’ top UN official tells Security Council While elections are one-time events, “democracy is a constant process of deliberation and consultation” where dialogue provides an “important arena for the building of national consensus”, the top UN official in West Africa told the Security Council on Monday. Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/12 –

Seven North Carolina Tax Preparers Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the IRS01/12/2021 12:00 AM EST
Seven Charlotte, North Carolina tax return preparers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States by preparing and filing false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina, and Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

Insitu Inc. to Pay $25 Million to Settle False Claims Act Case Alleging Knowing Overcharges on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Contracts01/12/2021 12:00 AM EST
Insitu Inc., headquartered in Bingen, Washington, has agreed to pay $25 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly submitting materially false cost and pricing data for contracts with the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Department of the Navy (Navy) to supply and operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the Department of Justice announced today.

Acting AG and Five Country Statement on the Temporary Derogation to the ePrivacy Directive to Combat Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse01/12/2021 12:00 AM EST
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen joined the Home Affairs, Interior, and Security Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in issuing the following statement:

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of St. Louis to Ensure Polling Place Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities01/12/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department today reached a settlement under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of St. Louis to ensure that St. Louis polling places are accessible during elections to individuals with mobility and vision impairments. 

Owner of Bitcoin Exchange Sentenced to Prison for Money Laundering01/12/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Bulgarian national who was convicted by a federal jury for his role in a transnational and multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud American victims was sentenced today to 121 months in prison.Department of Justice Issues Positive Business Review Letter to Companies Developing Plasma Therapies for Covid-1901/12/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice announced today that it has no intention to challenge proposed efforts by Baxalta US Inc., Emergent BioSolutions Inc., Grifols Therapeutics LLC, and CSL Plasma Inc. (together, the “Requesting Parties”) to assist the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in designing quality standards for collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma.

Three Charged with Illegally Exporting Goods to Iran01/12/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department announced today that three individuals have been charged in an indictment with conspiracy to export U.S. goods to Iran in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), as well as conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States, and conspiracy to engage in international money laundering.


Defense ministers, industry leaders and analysts around the world make their predictions for the year.

Tech. Sgt. John Rodiguez provides security with a Ghost Robotics Vision 60 prototype at a simulated austere base during the Advanced Battle Management System exercise on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., on Sept. 1, 2020. (Tech. Sgt. Cory D. Payne/U.S. Air Force)

Due on Inauguration Day: An acquisition strategy for the Air Force’s next-gen battle management system

It will be up to the incoming Biden administration to decide whether to begin buying the first parts of the Advanced Battle Management System, or scrap the concept altogether.By: Valerie Insinna

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Leidos halt political donations in wake of Jan. 6 riot

So far, defense firms have avoided commenting on their donation plans for Congressmembers who voted against certifying the 2020 election results.By: Defense News staff

Introduction to Beekeeping
Tuesdays: January 12 – March 2, 2021
Whether you are currently keeping honey bees or are considering them for your farm, a basic knowledge of bee biology, diseases, pests, and setting up your colony are essential for success. This 8-week course will give you real-world experiences paired with academic concepts.

Season Extension with High Tunnels
Tuesdays: January 12 – February 16, 2021
Adding weeks to your growing season can mean attaining a premium for having products available well before (or long after) other local growers. This course will introduce you to unheated plastic-covered “high tunnels,” covering cost, management and more.

Woodland Mushroom Cultivation
Tuesdays: January 12 – February 16, 2021
With a bit of practice, mushrooms can be easily grown in the woods on many products. This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of farm-scale woodland mushroom production.


Explore NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory With the New Virtual Tour

From visiting mission control to seeing where space robots are built, the interactive tour lets online users explore the historic space facility from anywhere in the world.

Have you ever wondered were the rovers we send to Mars are built, or where spacecraft that explore the cosmos return their data to Earth? In a typical year, over 30,000 people visit NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in-person; now, for the first time ever, you can see the Southern California facility from anywhere in the world on a virtual tour.

The interactive tour takes visitors to several locations at the 177-acre laboratory, which together provide an overview of JPL’s rich history and its many space missions, past and present. Each location is embedded with dozens of points of interest – including videos, fun facts, and images. For example, you can drop by the control room for the Deep Space Network, where JPL staff communicate with every NASA spacecraft flying beyond the orbit of the Moon. Click on one of the embedded links to see in real-time which spacecraft are returning data to each of the three Deep Space Network facilities based around the world.

You can also visit the spacecraft assembly facility, where engineers and technicians are constructing future spacecraft inside a clean room. Dozens of orbiters, landers, and rovers have been assembled in this room since 1962. Logos for all missions built here adorn the far wall; click on them to learn more about each

In the von Kármán Auditorium and the lab’s Visitor Center Museum, you can learn about JPL’s early years, including its involvement in launching America’s first satellite, Explorer 1, which led to the formation of NASA. You’ll also find full-scale models of some of our most beloved spacecraft, including Voyager, Galileo, and the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity in these rooms.

“Seeing JPL from the inside is an amazing experience, and we hope this virtual tour creates the same sense of wonder,” said Veronica McGregor, manager of JPL’s Digital News and Media Office. “We plan to expand the tour with more locations later this year so people can return over and over.”

The virtual lab tour is a collaboration of the JPL Digital News and Media Office and the Public Services Office, which handles in-person tours and other visitor activities. The tour staff’s expertise, honed from ushering thousands of visitors through the lab each year, was invaluable in creating the dozens of points of interest included in each virtual tour stop. In-person tours at JPL have been suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

A next goal is to create hosted virtual tours for classrooms. “Our staff will now be working virtually with schools and teachers to help them navigate this new online tour of JPL,” said Kim Lievense, manager of the Public Services Office. “As with our in-person tours, specific points of interest were designed with grade-appropriate curriculum in mind.”Visit the JPL Virtual Tour

News Media Contact

Matthew Segal

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

UN counter-terrorism chief urges continued vigilance against ‘real’ ongoing threatDespite important strikes against terrorism over the past two decades, including in bringing perpetrators to justice and disrupting additional attacks, countries cannot afford to let down their guard, the UN’s counter-terrorism chief told a virtual meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday. Peace and Security©

UNICEF/Juan HaroUNICEF chief: Closing schools should be ‘measure of last resort’ The head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) underscored on Tuesday that “no effort should be spared” to keep children in school, as the coronavirus pandemic continues into a second year. Health

Patricio Lagos Bustamante / LaMula.pePeru: UN rights office decries excessive use of force in November protestsPolice in Peru used unnecessary and excessive force during protests in the capital last November challenging the legitimacy of the interim President, a report published on Tuesday by the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR has found. Human Rights©

UNHCR/José VenturaUN refugee agency calls for ‘new chapter for refugee protection’ across EuropeAs Portugal assumes the presidency of the European Union (EU), to be followed by Slovenia later this year, the UN refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday called on them to lead the effort to forge a better protection system for those seeking refuge across the continent and beyond.Migrants and Refugees

WFP/Tsiory AndriantsoaranaHumanitarian crisis looms in Madagascar amid drought and pandemicIn southern Madagascar, “famine-like conditions” have doubled the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance compared with last year, to more than 1.3 million. Successive droughts and a lack of jobs linked to COVID-19 restrictions are to blame, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.Humanitarian Aid

World Bank/Vincent TremeauUN agencies and partners establish global Ebola vaccine stockpileIn a major milestone in the fight against deadly diseases, United Nations agencies and humanitarian partners announced on Tuesday, the establishment of a global Ebola vaccine stockpile, to help control future epidemics by ensuring timely access to vaccines for populations at risk, during outbreaks. Health

OCHA Afghanistan/Fariba HousainiHumanitarians seek $1.3 billion to help millions in war-weary AfghanistanThe UN and humanitarian partners in Afghanistan are seeking $1.3 billion to assist almost 16 million people in need of life-saving assistance as a result of decades of conflict, recurrent natural disasters, and the added impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Humanitarian Aid
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/13 –

Introduction to Tree Fruit Production
Wednesdays: January 13 – February 17, 2021
Tree fruit are an important component of the agricultural and homeowner landscape. This course trains beginning tree fruit growers in fundamental concepts in orchard planning and management.

Vegetable Production II
Wednesdays: January 13 – February 17, 2021
This course continues where BF 120: Vegetable Production I (not a prerequisite) ends, covering vegetable production from transplanting to harvest, including: in-season fertility, integrated pest management, weed control, harvesting, and marketing.

1/14 –

Exploring Markets and Profits
Thursdays: January 14 – February 18, 2021
Have an idea for a farm enterprise but not sure if it’s feasible? This course will help you explore the potential markets and profitability of your ideas, picking up where BF 101: Starting at Square One (not a prerequisite) left off.

Sheep Production
Thursdays: January 14 – February 18, 2021
Have sheep or thinking about getting a flock? Producers of all experience levels will find something for them in this lively, wide-ranging course. There is no one right way to raise sheep — this course covers many of these different options.

Social Media & Online Marketing
Thursdays: January 14 – February 11, 2021
Are you struggling with questions like what do hashtags do, how to start selling online, are webpages still useful, and more? This new, 5-week course is designed to improve your understanding of social media, online marketing ideas, and tools that may increase sales and increase awareness about your business.

1/15 –

Federal Court Restrains Toledo Pharmacy and Two Pharmacists From Dispensing Opioids or Other Controlled Substances01/15/2021 12:00 AM EST

District Court Orders Washington State Company and its Owner to Stop Distributing Adulterated Juice Products01/15/2021 12:00 AM EST
A federal court permanently enjoined a Sunnyside, Washington, company from preparing, processing, and distributing adulterated juice and other food products, the Department of Justice announced today.

Remarks by Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim on the Future of ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees01/15/2021 12:00 AM EST
Good afternoon. Thank you very much to Vanderbilt Law School and in particular to the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law for hosting this event. I love Vanderbilt and I love Nashville, and I’m sorry not to be there in person with you today. Someday when COVID-19 is a memory and social distancing is something you do only with people you don’t like, I look forward to returning to Nashville and reconnecting with many of my old friends there. More importantly, I look forward to returning to some of my favorite honky-tonks and showing off my famous dance moves. I’ve been practicing at home in my free time, to make sure I’m ready.

Appeals Court Upholds 27 Month Prison Sentence Of Former Penn National Horse Trainer01/15/2021 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on Jan. 11, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed both the conviction and 27-month prison sentence of Murray Rojas, age, 54, of Grantville, Pennsylvania. That sentence was imposed by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo on May 6, 2019, after Rojas was convicted by a jury on multiple counts of causing prescription animal drugs to become misbranded in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), as well as conspiracy to commit misbranding.

Former Government Contractor Sentenced for Role in Bribery and Kickback Scheme01/15/2021 12:00 AM EST
A former government contractor was sentenced today for his role in a bribery and kickback scheme where he paid bribes to secure U.S. Army contracts.Compounding Pharmacy Mogul Sentenced for Multimillion-Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme01/15/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Mississippi businessman was sentenced today for his role in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud TRICARE, the health care benefit program serving U.S. military, veterans, and their respective family members, as well as private health care benefit programs.

Man Charged with $5 Million COVID-Relief Fraud01/15/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Texas man has been charged in the Eastern District of Texas with allegedly filing bank loan applications fraudulently seeking more than $5 million dollars in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Two Maui Men Charged With Hate Crimes For Racially Motivated Attack01/15/2021 12:00 AM EST
A federal grand jury in Honolulu, Hawaii, returned an indictment charging Kaulana Alo Kaonohi and Levi Aki, Jr. with a hate crime for their racially motivated attack on a Caucasian man who was attempting to move into the defendants’ Native Hawaiian neighborhood of Kahakuloa on Maui.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Norquist to serve as acting defense secretary; acting service secretaries named
(Defense News) David Norquist will serve as acting secretary of defense for the start of the Biden administration, Defense News has learned.
  2. In waning days, Trump shakes up CENTCOM to increase Arab-Israeli efforts against Iran
(Military Times) With just days left in his presidency and in a bid to solidify Arab-Israeli efforts against Iran before Joe Biden takes office, Donald Trump has shaken up the headquarters overseeing U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
  3. Long-withheld Pentagon survey shows widespread racial discrimination, harassment
(Reuters) Nearly a third of Black U.S. military servicemembers reported experiencing racial discrimination, harassment or both during a 12-month period, according to results of a long-withheld Defense Department survey that underscore concerns about racism in the ranks.
  4. Fearing specter of extremist violence, governors plan for National Guard at home
(Washington Post) Governors in multiple states moved Thursday to activate National Guardsmen to bolster security in their own jurisdictions through Inauguration Day, adding new wrinkles to a sprawling nationwide security plan spawned by the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.
  5. Army Guardsman, first known service member, arrested after Capitol riot
(Army Times) Two off-duty Virginia police officers who’ve served in the Army — including one who is still in the National Guard — and a former active duty airman have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Highlights Learning

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Tips on Celebrating Martin Luther King Day

illustration of people wearing masks while cleaning up a park

If you are celebrating the holiday with people outside your household, make sure you follow steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here are some activities that are safer to do.

  • Drop off a meal to a neighbor.
  • Make hygiene kits for local homeless shelters.
  • Send care packages to deployed troops.
  • Plan an outdoor activity with people who live with you, such as a park clean up or walk.
  • Attend a virtual speech or event, such as the annual religious ceremony.
  • Plan a celebration for the people you live with.
  • Reach out virtually to family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Watch a livestreamed celebration from your home.
  • Take care of yourself and do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or taking a walk.
  • Pick up a special meal from a local restaurant to share with your household or drop off to a neighbor.
  • Share CDC prevention messages with your friends and family.

Holiday Travel

A line of people is shown inside of an airport in front of a ticketing desk. The individuals shown are maintaining distance from each other.

Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.

If you are considering traveling for a holiday, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family.

Everyone Can Make Holiday Celebrations Safer

A family is shown sledding in the snow in a neighborhood. Each family member is wearing a mask.

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect others and yourself.
  • Wear your mask over your nose and mouth, secure it under your chin, and make sure it fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors.
  • In cold weather, wear your mask under your scarf, ski mask, or balaclava.
  • Keep a spare mask in case your mask becomes wet from moisture in your breath or from snow or rain.
illustration of a person and child wearing masks standing six feet apart from a young woman wearing a mask

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you

  • Indoors or outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
  • Remember that people without symptoms or with a recent negative test result can still spread COVID-19 to others.

Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces

  • As much as possible, avoid crowds and indoors spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.
illustration of a person wearing a mask washing their hands

Wash your hands

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and before eating.
    • Make sure to dry your hands completely using a clean towel or by air drying.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
A person is shown walking toward a door of a clinic that has a poster hung up that reads “FLU SHOTS.”

Get Your Flu and COVID-19 Shots

  • Get your flu and COVID-19 shots as soon as possible.
    • Do not get the shots at the same time. Get them at least 14 days apart.
  • The flu shot can help protect you and your family, friends, and community from getting and spreading flu.
  • By getting a flu shot, you can also help lower hospital visits and serious health problems from flu.

Safer Celebrations

Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this winter. If you do gather with people who don’t live with you, gatherings and activities held outdoors are safer than indoor gatherings.

In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make the holidays safer, take these additional steps if attending a gathering to make your celebration safer:

  • Have conversations ahead of time to understand expectations for celebrating together.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors.
  • Avoid shouting or singing.
A person is shown wearing a mask and carrying a basket filled with food and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

If Hosting

  • If you are sick or have been near someone who thinks they may have or have been exposed to COVID-19, cancel the gathering.
  • Provide single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like plates and utensils.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have extra unused masks available for your guests and encourage everyone to wear them inside and outside.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows.
  • Have a separate space for guests to wash their hands or provide hand sanitizer.

Other Holiday Activities

  • Host a virtual gathering with friends and family.
  • Drive or walk around your community to wave to neighbors from a safe distance.
  • Take a food or gift to family, friends, and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others, such as leaving them at the door.
  • Throw a virtual dance party and collaborate with friends and family on a playlist. Celebrate outside with neighbors and friends.
  • Volunteer to help others in need.
  • Attend a religious ceremony.
New Years Eve Family Dance


UN News


Child labour ‘robs children of their future’, scourge must end urges UN

IRIN/M. DeghatiA woman watches children working at a stone quarry, Zambia. (file)Human Rights

Although child labour has decreased significantly over the last decade, one-in-ten children are still caught up in harmful work, the UN’s labour agency said on Friday, kicking off a year-long bid to eradicate the practice.  

“There is no place for child labour in society”, said Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). “It robs children of their future and keeps families in poverty.”

Breaking down the stats 

While the number has dropped from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2016, ILO noted uneven progress across regions. 

It pointed to some 72 million children working in Africa, which account for almost half of the world’s total. This is followed by Asia and the Pacific, home to 62 million child labourers.  

ILO highlighted that 70 per cent of these children work in agriculture – mainly in subsistence and commercial farming and livestock herding – and almost half in occupations or situations considered hazardous to their health and lives. 

The COVID factor 

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has considerably exacerbated the situation by rendering everyone more vulnerable to exploitation, compounding poverty within defenseless populations and jeopardizing hard-fought gains in the fight against child labour.  

Furthermore, school closures have pushed millions more children into the labour market, so they can contribute to the family income.  

“With COVID-19 threatening to reverse years of progress, we need to deliver on promises now more than ever”, said the ILO chief. 

A year of action

On a positive note, ILO said that joint and decisive action can reverse this trend. 

In collaboration with the Alliance 8.7 global partnership, ILO launched the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour to encourage legislative and practical actions to eradicate child labour worldwide. 

Adopted by the General Assembly in 2019, the year aims to urge governments to work towards achieving Target 8.7  of the Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs). 

Target 8.7 calls for immediate measures to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking while also eliminating the worst forms of child labour, including use of child soldiers, and by 2025 ending child labour in all its forms. 

The 12-month campaign will also prepare the ground for the fifth Global Conference on Child Labour (VGC) in 2022, which will welcome additional commitments towards ending child labour in all its forms by 2025, and forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery by 2030. 

“This International Year is an opportunity for governments to step up and achieve Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals by taking concrete actions to eliminate child labour for good”.  

As COVID deaths pass two million worldwide, Guterres warns against self-defeating ‘vaccinationalism’With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the absence of a global coordinated effort has worsened the pandemic’s deadly impact.Health©

UNHCR/Ghislaine NentoboCentral African Republic: Displacement reaches 120,000, as another deadly attack leaves one UN peacekeeper dead“Worsening” election violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has forced 120,000 people from their homes, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday, as the UN Secretary-General also condemned another attack by combatants on a UN convoy, which left a peacekeeper from Burundi dead, and two others wounded.Migrants and Refugees

Mohamed YassinCOVID-19 committee stresses need for equitable vaccine access, more data sharingAs COVID-19 cases spike in parts of Europe, Africa and the Americas, and new variants of the virus emerge in some countries, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday called for greater global collaboration in ending the pandemic.  Health

Unsplash/Ismail Mohamed – SoviLeAir travel down 60 per cent, as airline industry losses top $370 billion: ICAOnew report from the UN’s air transportation agency confirms there was a “dramatic” fall in international air travel due to COVID-19, of around 60 per cent over the course of last year, to levels last seen in 2003.Economic Development

UN Photo/Evan SchneiderCameroon: Authorities urged to seek justice for recent deadly attacksUN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged authorities in Cameroon to take steps to prosecute perpetrators behind two recent deadly attacks in the Anglophone provinces of the country, his Spokesperson said on Friday. Peace and Security

IRIN/M. DeghatiChild labour ‘robs children of their future’, scourge must end urges UNAlthough child labour has decreased significantly over the last decade, one-in-ten children are still caught up in harmful work, the UN’s labour agency said on Friday, kicking off a year-long bid to eradicate the practice.  Human Rights

IOM/Muse MohammedPandemic curbs trend towards ever-increasing migrationTravel restrictions and other curbs to movement put in place in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, have put a significant dent in migration figures, but the overall trend shows 100 million more people living outside their countries of origin in 2020, compared to the year 2000, a new UN report revealed on Friday.Migrants and Refugees

Indonesian Red CrossDeadly earthquake hits Indonesia: Dozens killed, hundreds injured At least 35 people have been killed and hundreds of others injured after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the West Sulawesi Province of Indonesia on Friday morning, according to the UN humanitarian coordination office (OCHA). Humanitarian Aid

WFP BangladeshUN steps up support for thousands left homeless after fire at Rohingya refugee campUN agencies have stepped up efforts to help thousands of Rohingya refugees left without shelter after a devastating fire tore through a crowded refugee camp in south-eastern Bangladesh on Thursday. Migrants and Refugees
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/16 –

1/17 –


Abraham[a] (originally Abram)[b] is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including JudaismChristianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenant of the pieces, the special relationship between the Hebrews and God; in Christianity, he is the spiritual progenitor of all believers, Jewish or Gentile; and in Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in Muhammad.

Abraham Serving the Three Angels, by Rembrandt, 1646
In-universe information
FamilyAbraham’s family tree
RelativesTerah (father)Sarah (half-sister and wife)Haran (brother)Nahor (brother)Lot (nephew)Lot’s wife (niece)
Birth nameAbram
BirthplaceUr KaśdimMesopotamia
Death placeHebronCanaan
Resting placeCave of Machpelah
Resting place coordinates31°31′29″N 35°06′39″E
InfluencedAbrahamic religions

The narrative in the Book of Genesis revolves around the themes of posterity and land. Abraham is called by God to leave the house of his father Terah and settle in the land originally given to Canaan but which God now promises to Abraham and his progeny. Various candidates are put forward who might inherit the land after Abraham; and, while promises are made to Ishmael about founding a great nation, Isaac, Abraham’s son by his half-sister Sarah, inherits God’s promises to Abraham. Abraham purchases a tomb (the Cave of the Patriarchs) at Hebron to be Sarah’s grave, thus establishing his right to the land; and, in the second generation, his heir Isaac is married to a woman from his own kin, thus ruling the Canaanites out of any inheritance. Abraham later marries Keturah and has six more sons; but, on his death, when he is buried beside Sarah, it is Isaac who receives “all Abraham’s goods”, while the other sons receive only “gifts” (Genesis 25:5–8).

The Abraham story cannot be definitively related to any specific time, and it is widely agreed that the patriarchal age, along with The Exodus and the period of the judges, is a late literary construct that does not relate to any period in actual history. A common hypothesis among scholars is that it was composed in the early Persian period (late 6th century BCE) as a result of tensions between Jewish landowners who had stayed in Judah during the Babylonian captivity and traced their right to the land through their “father Abraham”, and the returning exiles who based their counterclaim on Moses and The Exodus tradition. …Continue Reading


The Abrahamic religions

also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism, are a group of Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites and the worship of the God of Abraham. The Abrahamic religions are monotheistic, with the term deriving from the patriarch Abraham (a major figure described both in the Tanakh and the Quran, recognized by JewsChristiansMuslims and others). The three major Abrahamic religions trace their origins to the first two sons of Abraham. For Jews and Christians it is his second son Isaac and for Muslims, his eldest son Ishmael.ChristianityIslam and JudaismSymbols of the three largest Abrahamic religions: the Christian cross, the star and crescent used to represent Islam, and the Jewish Star of David.

Abrahamic religions spread globally through Christianity being adopted by the Roman Empire in the 4th century and Islam by the Islamic empires from the 7th century. Today the Abrahamic religions are one of the major divisions in comparative religion (along with IndianIranian, and East Asian religions). The major Abrahamic religions in chronological order of founding are Judaism (the base of the other two religions) in the 7th century BCE,[4] Christianity in the 1st century CE, and Islam in the 7th century CE.

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are the Abrahamic religions with the greatest numbers of adherents. Abrahamic religions with fewer adherents include the Druze faith (sometimes considered a school of Ismaili Islam), the Baháʼí Faith, and Rastafari. …Continue Reading




Weekly Horoscope: January 17-23

See what the stars have in store for you.


illustration of person with sagittarius tattoo.

The cosmos aren’t fooling around with this weekly horoscope

1/18 –

American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This course looks at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life through the documents that have survived from the past.

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Starts Jan 18

American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Length: 11 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–4 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $50 USD
  • Institution: StanfordOnline
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time


This online course is open to learners from all backgrounds. All can benefit, including teachers, students, historians, and social activists who are passionate about American history.

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

About this course

About this course

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister turned civil rights activist known throughout the world as an inspirational orator and a passionate advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience. Yet what do we know about the inner workings of the man who inspired so many? How can we learn from his personal documents to better understand his hopes and fears as well as his drive?

During this captivating course, Professor Clayborne Carson will walk you through a journey of discovery, following Dr. King’s thoughts and steps through Atlanta, Albany, Selma, and Memphis. Each lesson will explore a few documents from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project — a comprehensive collection of King’s most significant correspondence, sermons, speeches, published writings, and unpublished manuscripts. You will learn an essential technique of historical analysis: the use of primary source documents as windows into the past.

You will also view on-location filming of places Dr. King spent time, bringing to life the stories of his journey with personal commentary from Professor Carson and eyewitness interviews. Follow Dr. King’s extraordinary path from the benches of Ebenezer Baptist Church to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and become re-inspired by the man, the minister, the leader.

Students can join by video chat at https://stanford.zoom.us/j/809831146. 

All are welcome.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • How Dr. King inspired the civil rights movement
  • How Dr. King’s public and private life influenced his view of the world and his legacy
  • How to use an essential technique of historical analysis
  • How to combine documents, facts, and context to gain a deeper understanding of history.

Meet your instructors

Stanford University

Clayborne CarsonMartin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor of History Stanford University

MLK Day I Will Serve 2021It’s not too late to serve on MLK Day

It’s MLK Day, the National Day of Service.

Thousands of people across our country are making today A Day ON, Not a Day OFF in service to others and so can you.
Try These Service Ideas
Check out virtual opportunities to serve. Is there snow on the ground? One of your neighbors could likely use some help removing it.
Check out what your local food pantry needs and make a delivery to them.
Find an organization you would like to volunteer with this year and sign up for future volunteer opportunities.
Is there a hospital nearby? Drop off thank you notes to staff who are caring for COVID patients. When is their shift change? Make thank you signs for health care workers and stand outside to thank them as they leave for the day.
Donate to your favorite charity…and sign up to volunteer with them at a later date. Organize your family and friends to clean up your street or neighborhood park. Check on or deliver care packages to isolated neighbors.
Donate blood to help those fighting health battles.
Share Your Service Story
Share our “I Served” graphic.Post photos of your service.Tag your social media posts #SelflessSelfie, #MLKDayON, #UnitedWeServe, #DayofService, and/or @AmeriCorps for the chance to be featured on our AmeriCorps social media accounts.
Inspire Others
When we can share the results of your service, it encourages others to get involved. Please take a moment at the end of the day to tell us your accomplishments.
Tune in at 8 p.m. ET tonight to celebrate service and honor Dr. King; you might even see AmeriCorps.No matter how you honor King Day, considering making a commitment to serving this year—our communities need your time and energy.

Political chief highlights crucial cooperation between UN and the Arab LeagueCooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States has been critical to addressing the ongoing war in Syria, the search for a two-State solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and other challenges, the UN’s political affairs chief told a virtual meeting of the Security Council on Monday. Peace and Security

Unsplash/ElevenPhotographsViolent attempt at US Capitol to ‘overturn’ election, shocking and incendiary: independent UN expertsA group of independent UN rights experts released a statement on Monday condemning the violent storming of the United States Capitol building in Washington DC on 6 January, which they described as a shocking and incendiary attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election.Peace and Security

UN Photo/Paulo FilgueirasUN rights office ‘deeply troubled’ by Russian activist Aleksei Navalny’s arrestThe UN human rights office (OHCHR) have raised alarm over the arrest of Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny and called for his immediate release.  The office said in a tweet that they were “deeply troubled” by the arrest and called on the Government to respect his right to legal due process.Human Rights©

UNICEF/Vinay PanjwaniWHO chief warns against ‘catastrophic moral failure’ in COVID-19 vaccine accessA “me-first approach” to COVID-19 vaccines on the part of some countries and manufacturers is putting equitable access to these lifesaving treatments at risk, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday. Health

UNSMILGuterres commends Libya forum for breakthrough on interim leadership dealThe UN Secretary-General has praised the breakthrough made by a key committee of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum at the weekend, over an interim political leadership deal, ahead of nationwide elections at the end of the year.Peace and Securit

yUNAMID/Hamid AbdulsalamUN chief calls for protection of civilians as violence spikes in Sudan’s West DarfurThe United Nations Secretary-General has voiced deep concern over escalating violence in West Darfur and called on the Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts” to end the fighting and protect civilians. Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/19 –

Statement of Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen Regarding Nationwide Safety and Security for Inauguration Day01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
Tomorrow, the Nation and the world will witness an orderly and peaceful transfer of power in the United States, as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court swears in President-Elect Biden.  Throughout our Nation’s proud history, this ceremony has served as a beacon of democracy and a testament to the enduring strength of our Constitution.

Political Scientist Author Charged With Acting As An Unregistered Agent Of The Iranian Government01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, also known as “Lotfolah Kaveh Afrasiabi,” with acting and conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Afrasiabi was arrested yesterday at his home in Watertown, Massachusetts, and will make his initial appearance this morning in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, before United States Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal.Jeffrey Lowe and Tiger King LLC Ordered to Relinquish Big Cat Cubs to United States for Placement in Suitable Facilities01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
On Jan. 15, 2021, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction in favor of the United States and against Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park LLC, and Tiger King LLC based on claimed violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.

U.S. Army Soldier Arrested for Attempting to Assist ISIS to Conduct Deadly Ambush on U.S. Troops01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Justice Department, along with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and U.S. Army Counterintelligence, announced today the arrest of Cole James Bridges, aka Cole Gonzales, a Private First Class in the U.S. Army, on federal terrorism charges based on Bridges’ alleged efforts to assist ISIS to attack and kill U.S. soldiers in the Middle East. 

Agricultural Developer Agrees to Pay Clean Water Act Fines, Mitigate Impacts to Sensitive Streams and Wetlands01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
A California agricultural developer has agreed to pay a civil penalty, preserve streams and wetlands, effect mitigation, and be subject to a prohibitory injunction to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) on property near the Sacramento River located in Tehama County, California, the Justice Department announced today.

Justice Department Joins Computational Antitrust Project at Stanford Law School01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice announced today that it will participate in the Computational Antitrust project, hosted by the Stanford University CodeX Center and created by Professor Thibault Schrepel. The project brings together academics from law, computer science, and economics as well as developers, policymakers, and antitrust agencies from around the world to discuss how technology and automation can improve antitrust enforcement.

United States Reaches Agreement with Midwest Can for Clean Air Act Violations01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement today that will require Midwest Can Company, one of the largest manufacturers of portable fuel containers in the United States, to pay a $1.7 million civil penalty to resolve Clean Air Act violations.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim Delivers Final Address01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
Thank you very much for that introduction, Matt. I am grateful to Duke University and Duke’s Center on Science & Technology Policy for the privilege of being with you today to share some thoughts about the future of antitrust policy.

Foreign-Language Training Companies Admit to Participating in Conspiracy to Defraud the United States01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
Two providers of foreign-language services, Comprehensive Language Center Inc. (CLCI), based in the Washington, D.C., area, and Berlitz Languages Inc. (Berlitz), based in New Jersey, were charged with participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating competitive bidding for a multi-million dollar foreign-language training contract issued by the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2017, the Department of Justice announced today.

Developer Agrees to Mitigate Impacts to Streams and Wetlands01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
A developer and his companies have agreed to effectuate $900,000 in compensatory mitigation, preserve undisturbed riparian areas, conduct erosion-control work on streams, and be subject to a prohibitory injunction to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) on property north of Houston, Texas, the Justice Department announced today.

Environment and Natural Resources Division Distributes Memorandum Summarizing Enforcement Policies and Priorities01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
On Friday, the Environment and Natural Resources Division publicly distributed a memorandum summarizing important principles and priorities for environmental enforcement. The memorandum, issued Jan. 14 by outgoing Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark, emphasizes that robust enforcement of our nation’s environmental laws remains one of the division’s highest priorities. It emphasizes that, when engaged in criminal and civil enforcement, it is important that the division continue to enhance the fair and impartial application of the law.

Former Construction Executive Sentenced to 38 Months in Prison01/19/2021 12:00 AM EST
A former senior New York construction official was sentenced to 38 months in prison today for tax evasion, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. FBI vetting Guard troops in DC amid fears of insider attack
(The Associated Press) U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.
  2. The Pentagon is investigating its response to the deadly Capitol riot
(Military Times) Engulfed by a cacophony of accusations and blame-assigning over the deadly Jan. 6 security situation at the Capitol building and the response to the mob who breached it, the Defense Department is examining its own role in offering National Guard support to federal law enforcement.
  3. More than 40 Guard troops in DC for Biden inauguration test positive for COVID; up to 25,000 troops now authorized
(Military Times) With more than 7,000 National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., and thousands more on the way to help protect the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden during a pandemic, it was only inevitable that some would be affected by COVID-19.
  4. US military says troop withdrawal from Somalia is complete
(The Associated Press) The U.S. military says its troop withdrawal from Somalia is complete, in one of the last actions of President Donald Trump’s presidency.
  5. Why veterans of the military and law enforcement joined the Capitol insurrection
(LA Times) An Air Force veteran from Southern California and ardent conspiracy theorist bent on war against the government. An Army psychological operations officer at Ft. Bragg, N.C. A decorated, retired Air Force officer of 18 years from Texas who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Managing Conflicts on Projects with Cultural and Emotional Intelligence

Great program managers understand and heal bad communication habits and conflicts that arise within project teams and stakeholders. Learn how by leveraging emotional and cultural intelligence using the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM).

The University of Maryland, College Park Logo
University System of Maryland Logo


Starts Jan 19

This course is part of a Professional Certificate

Managing Conflicts on Projects with Cultural and Emotional Intelligence
  • Length: 5 Weeks
  • Effort: 3–5 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $199 USD
  • Institutions: UMDUSMx
  • Subject: Business & Management
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

Associated Programs:

About this course

About this course

Every program and project has a social world. The program managers, project managers, project teams, and stakeholders mutually agree on roles and interact based on those roles.

Great program managers sense, manage, and influence the social worlds across their projects. They bring order and understanding through conflict management and conflict resolution. Success is not guaranteed, and often teams clash as a new social order is established on every project. They heal divides that can grow under the stress of projects and increase the team’s problem solving ability.

Dr. Pearce, the inventor of the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM), explains the social world as a “dance between the two faces of the communication process: coordinating actions and making/managing meaning. A social world is the site where speech acts, episodes and forms of communication, selves and forms of consciousness, and relationships and minds are made.”

Our cultural differences and emotions significantly shape our social worlds.

The program and project manager with good emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence (EI/CI) can better understand and navigate the social worlds of the project team and the stakeholders. High EI/CI also aids in creating understanding in program/project management communications. A program manager or project manager with high EI/CI is more adept at creating understanding because they are self-aware while understanding other’s emotions.Thus, the program manager or project manager can test if the recipient of his or her communication has the requisite know-what, know-how, and know-why understanding of the intended messages.

Program managers and project managers with high EI/CI will be perceived as having a high ethos. Team members will see the high emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence even in the manager’s nonverbal communication. Being more aware of our feelings and other people’s feelings helps enhance our connection to others and make us more credible. Program managers and Project managers with high EI/CI can use pathos more effectively and make the logos portion of their communication more effective. The right balance of ethos, pathos, and logos makes the project manager more persuasive.

Along with increasing the program manager or project manager’s EI/CI, this course will aid the manager in using the tools of CMM. Dr. Pearce created Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) in the mid-1970s. Over the years, CMM practitioners have created methods and tools to make the communication perspective visible. One such tool is SEAVA, which is an acronym for Storyboarding, Enriching, Analyzing, Visioning, and Acting. You can use the SEAVA tool to examine communication problems among your project team members and to generate a solution.

Understanding the different social worlds of your program and its project team members and stakeholders will help you create persuasive communications, have a positive impact, and increase understanding among the project team members and stakeholders. CMM will help you become a master of communication and persuasion.

What you’ll learn

  • Social worlds in the context of programs and projects.
  • Cultural intelligence and the four steps.
  • Emotional intelligence and its five components.
  • How to utilize cultural intelligence and emotional intelligence concepts to increase the effectiveness of your program or project management communication.
  • How to utilize the CMM tools to diagnose and manage communication problems.


Week One – Emotional Intelligence

Module One – Defining Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Module Two – EI Components One and Two – Self-Perception and Self-Expression

Module Three – EI Component Three – Interpersonal

Module Four – EI Component Four – Decision Making

Module Five – EI Components Five – Stress Management

Week Two – Cultural Intelligence

Module One – Defining Cultural Intelligence (CI)

Module Two – CI Component One – Drive

Module Three – CI Component Two – Knowledge

Module Four – CI Component Three – Strategy

Module Five – CI Component Four – Action

Week Three – The Coordinated Management of Meaning

Module One – What is CMM?

Module Two – Taking the Communication Perspective

Module Three – Social Worlds

Module Four – The Tools of CMM

Module Five – Preparing to Use CMM

Week Four – The CMM Tools

Module One – SEAVA – Part One: Storyboarding and Enriching

Module Two – The LUUUTT Tool for Enriching

Module Three – SEAVA – Part Two: Analyzing and Visioning

Module Four – SEAVA – Part Three: Acting Intentionally

Module Five – SEAVA In Action: Diagnosing a Team Conflict.

Meet your instructors

The University of Maryland, College ParkUniversity System of Maryland

Bill BrantleyFacultyUniversity of Maryland, College Park

A L L * A R T S
Stream the new American Masters documentary ‘How It Feels To Be Free’
John Legend, Garth Brooks and more will perform in Biden inauguration special
Beyond the Page
Quan Barry’s ‘We Ride Upon Sticks’ fuses witchcraft, field hockey and the 1980s
Need a minute? Take a short break with Bob Ross and his nature friends
New York’s Moynihan Train Hall welcomes travelers to Penn Station with art
What’s streaming today? An ongoing list of arts and culture events to watch
Art Challenge
How to make an envelope into a piece of mail art


UN News


UN agencies supporting mammoth India COVID-19 vaccine rollout

UNICEF/Vinay PanjwaniHealth workers pose with a vial of COVID-19 vaccine after receiving their shots at a hospital in India.Health

India has begun what is the world’s biggest COVID vaccination campaign so far, deploying hundreds of thousands of health workers, with the training and support of the UN World Health Organization (WHO). 

On 16 January, the first day of the campaign, 207,229 vaccine shots were given across the country, one of the worst-hit by COVID-19, with over 10 million COVID-19 infections and 150,000 deaths. 

“[We] provided technical assistance to the Government of India for the development of operational guidelines and other training materials for state and district programme managers and vaccinators, and establishing tracking and accountability frameworks”, Roderico H. Ofrin, WHO Representative in India said. 

“WHO field officers have facilitated the highest-level oversight through regular task force meetings at state and district levels, which are chaired by the Principal Secretaries (Health) at the state level, and District Magistrates at the district level”, he added. 

According to media reports, an estimated 10 million health workers are targeted to be vaccinated in the first round, followed by other front-line workers such as police, security forces and municipal staff, with plans to inoculate 300 million people by August. 

Supporting preparations 

Prior to the start of the campaign, UN agencies help with detailed preparations. 

For its part, WHO participated in dry-run simulations and provided feedback on management of vaccines, registration of beneficiaries, as well as reporting on vaccination coverage and adverse events following immunization. 

It also worked with the Government and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on real-time reporting and problem-solving when issues arose at the vaccination sites, according to Dr. Ofrin. 

At the provincial level, WHO also supported implementation and monitoring of health policy, such as developing standard operating procedures, preparing technical briefs, and providing best practices from other parts of the India as well as other countries. UNICEF India/Kuldeep RohillaDoctors and health workers are the first to receive the COVID vaccination in India.

Reliable information 

Similarly, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supported communication and advocacy efforts to ensure the dissemination of factual information to stakeholders and communities. The agency also helped train healthcare staff in infection control and prevention, and psychosocial support to children and caregivers.  

Aside from directly supporting vaccine rollout, UN agencies continued their programmes to assist the most vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19 and its socio-economic fallouts.  

For instance, the UN World Food Programme (WFPsupported NGOs in order to identify and register some 19,000 vulnerable households and distributed food packets; while the UN Population Fund (UNFPAconducted awareness raising programmes on sexual and reproductive health, and prevention of gender-based violence, on behalf of some 30 million vulnerable individuals.  

The three W’s  

Though vaccination programmes are underway, continued vigilance against COVID-19 and preventing its spread remain as important as ever. 

WHO’s Dr. Ofrin urged continued vigilance over tracking cases, cluster investigation, isolation and clinical care, and quarantining to break the chain of transmission. 

Alongside, he also highlighted the “three W’s – wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.” 

“These efforts must continue to stop the spread of COVID-19. We as individuals and communities must work with the Government to save lives and the economy by protecting health and livelihoods,” he added.

Two UN peacekeepers killed in Central African Republic ambush, as 2021 death toll rises to nine worldwideTwo United Nations peacekeepers were killed after their convoy was ambushed by members of the UPC and anti-Balaka armed groups in southern Central African Republic (CAR), the UN Mission in the country said on Monday, bringing the overall toll of ‘blue helmet’ deaths to nine so far this month. Peace and Security

IMF/Raphael AlvesIndependent panel finds critical early failings in COVID-19 responseThe global system for pandemic alert and response is “not fit for purpose”, highlighting the need for a new framework in the wake of COVID-19, experts appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) said in an interim report presented on Tuesday. Health

FAO/Sven TorfinnEast African countries better prepared, but desert locust threat ‘not over’Action to control unprecedented desert locust infestations in the Horn of Africa last year has protected crops and livelihoods, but funding is needed to sustain operations against new incursions, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday.Humanitarian Aid©

UNHCR/Hazim Elhag‘Swift action’ needed in Tigray to save thousands at risk, UNHCR warns Two months after conflict forced humanitarian workers to withdraw from the Tigray region of Ethiopia, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), on Tuesday, stressed the need for “swift action” to restore safe access to “save thousands of lives at risk”. Migrants and Refugees

MINUJUSTH/Leonora BaumannSpectre of unrest, violent repression looming over Haiti, warns UN rights officeIncreasing political tensions in Haiti coupled with insecurity and structural inequalities could result in protests followed by violent crackdowns by authorities, the United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) warned on Tuesday.Human Rights

UNRWA/Lara JonasdottirIsrael: ‘Halt and reverse’ new settlement construction – UN chief Israel’s decision to advance plans for some 800 new settlement units, most of which are located deep inside the occupied West Bank, has sparked the concern of UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Human Rights

UNICEF/Vinay PanjwaniUN agencies supporting mammoth India COVID-19 vaccine rolloutIndia has begun what is the world’s biggest COVID vaccination campaign so far, deploying hundreds of thousands of health workers, with the training and support of the UN World Health Organization (WHO). Health
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/20 –

Dow Chemical Company and Two Subsidiaries will Reduce Harmful Air Pollution at Four U.S. Chemical Plants01/20/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) announced a settlement with Dow Chemical Company and two subsidiaries, Performance Materials NA Inc. and Union Carbide Corporation, that will eliminate thousands of tons of air pollution from four of Dow’s petrochemical manufacturing facilities in Texas and Louisiana.

Connecticut Man Charged with Assaulting an Officer During U.S. Capitol Breach01/20/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Connecticut man was charged yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with assaulting an officer during the breach of the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021. He will be presented in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today, before appearing in Washington D.C.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Acting Defense secretary says ‘no intelligence’ indicating insider threat to inauguration
(The Hill) Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said Monday that while law enforcement officials are vetting National Guard troops stationed in the nation’s capital, authorities have “no intelligence indicating an insider threat” to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this week.
  2. Austin pledges to protect civilian leadership at Pentagon
(Defense News) President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for defense secretary used his Tuesday appearance in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee to push back against concerns about civilian control of the military, as Congress prepares for an upcoming waiver vote.
  3. Trump signs executive order for study of troops at ‘black goo’ base who got cancer
(McClatchy) In one of his final acts in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order late Tuesday directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study of all veterans who served at a toxic base in Uzbekistan after 9/11, a step toward making it easier for their medical costs to be covered.
  4. Here’s who will be running the Pentagon when Biden takes office
(Defense One) Dozens named in the most comprehensive roster published to date of who will be running DOD when the president-elect is sworn in.
  5. US Navy halts deliveries of Freedom-class littoral combat ship
(Defense News) The U.S. Navy has halted deliveries of Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-class littoral combat ship, citing a design flaw with the ship’s transmission.

Inauguration Day

*Special Edition* Inauguration Day:

The 59th inauguration is in Washington, DC. The 46th president will take the oath of office. The 1st inauguration was April 30, 1789 in New York City.

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The Science of Happiness

The first to teach positive psychology. Learn science-based principles and practices for a happy, meaningful life.

487,343 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 20

University of California, Berkeley Logo
  • Length: 11 Weeks
  • Effort: 4–5 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $169 USD
  • Institution: BerkeleyX
  • Subject: Social Sciences
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

“A free eight-week Science of Happiness course that will offer practical, research-backed tips on living a happy and meaningful life.” – The Huffington Post

We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. But not many of those ideas are based on science. That’s where this course comes in.

“The Science of Happiness” is the first to teach the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course will zero in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself–the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.

What’s more, “The Science of Happiness” offers students practical strategies for tapping into and nurturing their own happiness, including trying several research-backed activities that foster social and emotional well-being, and exploring how their own happiness changes along the way.

The course’s co-instructors, Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, are not only leading authorities on positive psychology but also gifted teachers skilled at making science fun and personal. They’ll be joined by world-renowned experts discussing themes like empathy, mindfulness, and gratitude–experts including Barbara Fredrickson, Paul Ekman, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Health professionals who register can earn continuing education units for their participation.

Consider signing up for this course with a friend or group – tweet about your registration, share it on Facebook, and use the buddy system to stay on track. Join the conversation on The Greater Good Science Center Facebook page, or in the BerkeleyX: GG101x The Science of Happiness Facebook group.

NOTE: This course is a self-paced course on edX.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • What happiness really means and why it matters to you
  • How to increase your own happiness and foster happiness in others
  • Why social connections, kindness, and community are key to happiness
  • Which mental habits are most conducive to happiness and how mindfulness can help

Meet your instructors

University of California, Berkeley

Dacher KeltnerDirector, Greater Good Science CenterUC Berkeley

Emiliana Simon-ThomasScience Director, Greater Good Science CenterUC Berkeley

e-Learning Course on Urban Rail Development

Appropriately planned and properly implemented as part of a larger public transportation network, urban rail systems can provide rapid urban mobility and vital access to city centers from surrounding districts. Improving transportation enhances quality of life by giving citizens access to employment opportunities, essential services, urban amenities, and neighboring communities.

World Bank Group Logo


Starts Jan 20

e-Learning Course on Urban Rail Development
  • Length: 7 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–3 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $5 USD
  • Institution: WBGx
  • Subject: Environmental Studies
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

About this course

About this course

Rising urban populations are putting pressure on urban transportation systems, which must expand to meet growing mobility and accessibility needs in cities around the world. To serve this increasing demand for mobility without the congestion, air pollution, road safety, and social exclusion associated with motorization, many cities are looking to rapid transit systems to provide high-capacity and high-quality transportation that is economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. When appropriately planned and properly implemented as part of a larger public transportation network, urban rail systems can provide rapid urban mobility and enhance quality of life. Therefore, urban rail projects must be carefully approached as development projects.

This e-learning course is based on The Urban Rail Development Handbook, a recent publication from the Transportation and Digital Development Global Practice of the World Bank that brings together the expertise of World Bank staff and numerous international specialists to synthesize international “good practice” for the development of urban rail projects.

This course is organized into 7 modules that walk through critical considerations at each stage of project development, empowering you to ask the right questions and introducing you to the key tools available to answer them: system and corridor planning, preliminary design, detailed design, procurement and financing, construction, and operations and maintenance.Collapse about this course

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

This course will help you navigate the critical considerations involved in each step of urban rail project development.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Assess whether urban rail is the most appropriate choice of rapid transit for a given corridor.
  • Build the institutional structure and management capacity to govern urban rail projects and harness the expertise of external consultants.
  • Identify appropriate analyses to ensure your urban rail project is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable during project implementation and operations.



This course consists of 7 weeks.

Week 1: Introduction

This module, defines urban rail systems and other urban rapid transit investments and introduces the steps involved in developing an urban rail project.

Week 2: Deciding Whether to Develop Urban Rail

This module, discusses how to decide which rapid transit alternative is the most appropriate choice given the needs of all residents of the city. This module presents a sequence of six steps that objectively and transparently guide decision-makers from diagnostic study through the evaluation of transportation alternatives to making an informed decision on whether or not to develop an urban rail project. This module covers the first two steps of the project development process: system planning and corridor planning. We will lay out an objective and transparent process by which decision-makers can come to an informed choice on whether or not to develop an urban rail project

Week 3: Governance and Project Management

This module, outlines the key institutional roles involved in urban rail governance and explains the fundamentals of project and risk management to control project cost, schedule, and scope.

Week 4: Addressing Critical Impacts of Urban Rail Development

This module, discusses the many potential environmental and social impacts of urban rail development. It briefly introduces the tools needed to assess these impacts and incorporate them into project planning and design.

Week 5: Design and Optimization

This module, addresses the significant complexity involved in designing urban rail systems and discusses the role of internal staff and external experts in project optimization.

Week 6: Procurement and Financing

This module, considers the many procurement strategies available for urban rail projects as well as the different options for funding and financing them.

Week 7: Financial and Operational Sustainability and Resilience

This module, discusses long-term operations and maintenance of the urban rail system, including the importance of continual improvement in service and infrastructure resilience.

Meet your instructors

World Bank Group

OLC and SURRBrought to you by the Open Learning Campus and Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice at The World Bank

E-commerce logistics and Last Mile

High demand in the E-commerce market and the transportation of products are very important factors in customer satisfaction. From the moment the product is picked up at the store until it reaches the final client, it goes through different stages where the utmost care is needed. It is a great challenge to ensure that delivery is timely and in keeping with the client’s expectations. Last mile logistics is vital for E-commerce.



Starts Jan 20

E-commerce logistics and Last Mile
  • Length: 5 Weeks
  • Effort: 3–6 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $25 USD
  • Institution: logycaX
  • Subject: Business & Management
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

About this course

About this course

This course focuses on organizations’ need to deliver their products at the hands of online consumers who purchase goods and services from websites, and who are even more demanding than customers who personally go to stores or department stores. Due to the impact of technology in every day life, customer satisfaction and quick delivery are more present than ever. In this course you will develop skills in logistic operations for last mile delivery and the current challenges facing all virtual sales. You will also learn about success cases of companies worldwide that face logistic operations every day in order to get every product purchased to the consumer’s door.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • Get to know the concept of E-commerce logistics and its impact on the consumer.
  • Identify the different stages of e-commerce logistic operation, from its design to the final delivery.
  • Identify the main challenges that currently face e-commerce logistics and worldwide trends.
  • Get to know e-commerce logistics cases worldwide and the innovations they have created facing the current situation.



MODULE 1: What is E-commerce logistics?

What is E-commerce logistics?

The E-commerce value network

Impact of E-commerce logistics on customers

MODULE 2: E-commerce logistical process

Operations design

Order supply

Last Mile logistics

MODULE 3: Challenges of E-commerce logistics

Logistical costs

Payment and billing


Storage nodes

Handling goods



Customer experience




MODULE 4: Success cases

Colombia Case

Latam Case

Global Case

Final recommendations

Meet your instructors


Cesar BecerraGerente LOGYCA INVESTIGACIÓN Antropólogo de la Universidad Nacional de ColombiaLOGYCA

Catalina Silva-PlataIngeniera Industrial, Magister en Emprendimiento Ambiental y PhD en Sostenibilidad Estudios Ambientales, actual investigadora posdoctoral en Sostenibilidad en LOGYCA.LOGYCA

Maria Camila Reinoso GálvezInvestigadoraLOGYCA

Nury RodríguezInvestigadoraLOGYCA

Andrés PolaníaAnalista de innovaciónLOGYCA


UN News


Secretary-General welcomes US return to Paris Agreement on Climate Change

UN Photo/Amanda VoisardFormer United States Secretary of State John Kerry, accompanied by his grand-daughter, signs the Paris Agreement at UN headquarters in April 2016Climate Change

Following the inauguration of United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General said he looks forward to an era of new leadership towards accelerating climate action, with the US back inside the landmark Paris Agreement.  

President Biden signed an executive order at the White House just hours after being sworn in, to reverse the previous administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord, which seeks to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

“I warmly welcome President Biden’s steps to re-enter the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and join the growing coalition of governments, cities, states, businesses and people taking ambitious action to confront the climate crisis”, the UN chief said in a statement

The US was among 194 countries that signed the Agreement in December 2015 under then President, Barack Obama.   

His successor, Donald Trump, announced three years later that the country would withdraw from the treaty, a decision which became effective last November. 

Long road to carbon neutrality 

The Paris Agreement requires governments to commit to increasingly ambitious climate action through plans known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). 

The Secretary-General recalled that countries producing half of all global carbon pollution committed to carbon neutrality, or net-zero emissions, following a summit held last month.  

“Today’s commitment by President Biden brings that figure to two-thirds. But there is a very long way to go”, he said. 

“The climate crisis continues to worsen, and time is running out to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and build more climate-resilient societies that help to protect the most vulnerable.” 

Climate crisis and COVID-19 

The Secretary-General underlined his commitment to work with the new US President and other world leaders to address the climate crisis and COVID-19 recovery. 

Last year, the UN was forced to postpone its latest global climate change conference, known as COP26, due to the pandemic.   

“We look forward to the leadership of United States in accelerating global efforts towards net zero, including by bringing forward a new nationally determined contribution with ambitious 2030 targets and climate finance in advance of COP26 in Glasgow later this year”, the statement said. 

In his inauguration speech, President Biden made it clear that addressing “a climate in crisis” was a priority, noting that “a cry for survival comes from planet itself”. 

Senior officials from across the UN system have congratulated the new administration in Washington. 

Inger Andersen, head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), tweeted that her agency looks forward to working closely with President Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris to strengthen climate action, “to address a planet in crisis, and to build a just and green transition for all.”UNITED STATES | PARIS AGREEMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE



Secretary-General welcomes US return to Paris Agreement on Climate ChangeFollowing the inauguration of United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General said he looks forward to an era of new leadership towards accelerating climate action, with the US back inside the landmark Paris Agreement.  Climate Change©

Sarah ScaffidiUN welcomes Biden administration commitment to refugee protectionThe UN Secretary-General on Wednesday welcomed the “positive steps” announced by the new US adminstration towards migrants and refugees, while the head of UN refugee agency (UNHCR) congratulated the new President and Vice President on taking office, pledging to work with them to strengthen global support for refugees. Migrants and Refugees©

UNICEF/Abdulaziz AldroubiDecade of conflict triggering ‘slow tsunami’ across Syria, Security Council hears After a decade of conflict, economic collapse compounded by COVID-19, corruption and mismanagement, the UN Syrian envoy told the Security Council on Wednesday that “a slow tsunami” is now “crashing across Syria”. Peace and Security

Frontex/Francesco MalavoltaUN calls for resumption of Mediterranean rescues, after 43 die in Libya shipwreckFollowing another deadly shipwreck off the coast of Libya that claimed 43 lives on Monday, the UN migration and refugee agencies have called for countries to re-activate search and rescue operations.Migrants and Refugees

IOM/Matteo Theubet‘Complex’ emergency unfolding in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, warn UN agenciesUN agencies voiced deep concern on Wednesday over the worsening humanitarian crisis in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, where attacks by armed groups have forced more than 565,000 to flee their homes. Humanitarian Aid

UNICEF/Siegfried ModolaOver 1.9 billion people in Asia-Pacific unable to afford a healthy diet: UN reportThe economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and surging food prices are keeping almost two billion people in Asia and the Pacific from healthy diets, United Nations agencies said on Wednesday.Health
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/21 –

Marine Corps Civilian Employee Pleads Guilty to Assaulting His Spouse01/21/2021 12:00 AM EST
A civilian employee working for the U.S. Marine Corps Community Association pleaded guilty today to assaulting his spouse while working in Iwakuni, Japan.

Man Convicted of Multiple Obscenity Crimes Involving Children01/21/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Texas man was convicted by a federal jury today for operating a website dedicated to publishing writings that detailed the sexual abuse of children.

Man Pleads Guilty to COVID-19 Relief Fraud Scheme01/21/2021 12:00 AM EST
A Washington man pleaded guilty today to perpetrating a scheme to fraudulently obtain COVID-19 relief guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Biden inaugurated commander in chief amid heavy military presence at Capitol
(Military Times) With thousands of armed National Guard troops patrolling nearby, former Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th commander in chief on Wednesday in a Capitol Hill ceremony stripped of most of its pageantry by security concerns and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  2. Trump administration official Norquist sworn in as acting Pentagon chief
(The Hill) A Trump administration official on Wednesday was sworn in to lead the Pentagon until President Biden’s official pick for the role is confirmed.
  3. ‘Really quite shocking’: Inside the ugly transition at the Pentagon
(Politico) The Pentagon blocked members of President Joe Biden’s incoming administration from gaining access to critical information about current operations, including the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, upcoming special operations missions in Africa and the Covid-19 vaccine distribution program, according to new details provided by transition and defense officials.
  4. The National Guard had a quiet day in DC standing post against threats they helped prevent
(Army Times) It was a quiet day for the roughly 25,000 members of the National Guard sent to defend Washington against a potential second insurrection attempt during President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
  5. 3 killed in National Guard helicopter crash in New York
(The Associated Press) Three National Guard members on a routine training flight were killed Wednesday when their helicopter crashed in a western New York town, an official said.

Climate Change Communication

This online course will provide educators and volunteers with information about the drivers, impacts, and solutions of climate change, as well as strategies for talking about climate change in an informal education environment.

The Smithsonian Institution Logo


Starts Jan 21

Climate Change Communication
  • Length: 5 Weeks
  • Effort: 1–3 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49.99 USD
  • Institution: SmithsonianX
  • Subject: Environmental Studies
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time

About this course

About this course

This course introduces the basics of climate science and communication strategies to help empower educators, volunteers and individuals to talk about climate change as a means to inspire action. This course is part of a climate communication training program for volunteers at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) that integrates content and strategies from NMNH, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Network for Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI), Visualizing Change, and the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE).

This self-paced course is divided into four lessons:

  1. Why we should communicate about climate change
  2. Climate science – Earth’s past climate, today’s drivers, climate change impacts and solutions
  3. How people perceive climate change
  4. Facilitation strategies

Each lesson takes approximately 20 minutes to 1 hour to complete and contains a short non-graded quiz. The first lesson introduces the need for climate change conversations in learning venue settings. The second lesson covers climate science concepts through an introduction to Earth’s past climate history, drivers of climate change, and examples of impacts and solutions. The lesson also features examples of Smithsonian climate work. The third lesson dives into the current research around public perceptions and beliefs of climate change, and how this perception has changed over time in the United States. The last lesson introduces several strategies for meaningful conversation about climate change.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

During this course, you will learn:

  • Why learning venues should play a role in climate change communication
  • About climate science and current research in climate science
  • About the drivers, impacts, and solutions for climate change
  • How to utilize effective communication strategies when talking about climate change

Meet your instructors

The Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of Natural HistoryEducatorSmithsonian Institution

A L L * A R T S
Art News
WORDSMeet Amanda Gorman, who made history as the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history

Workshop: Gene-based Therapeutics for Rare Genetic Neurodevelopmental Psychiatric Disorders

Date/Time: 11:00―4:00 PM ET

Location: Virtual

Join the National Institute of Mental Health for a virtual workshop that will provide insights into the potential challenges and opportunities for gene-based therapeutic strategies for individuals with rare genetic neurodevelopmental disorders. This workshop will bring together a multi-disciplinary group of experts from academia, government, and industry to provide a review of the current state of science in gene-targeted therapeutics and characteristics of suitable gene/molecular targets and mechanisms amenable to gene-based therapies. This workshop also will feature some of the gene-targeted approaches that are currently in the clinic or in development to highlight the scientific rationale for each treatment and the milestones for reaching key stages of therapeutics development, and the challenges and lessons learned along the way.


Registration is required for this free online event.

Paint Playful Botanical Scenes
Ohn Mar Win’s Guide to Painting Dandelions Practice illustrating in Ohn Mar Win’s step-by-step guide to painting dandelions with you. What botanical creations will you create?
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Organic Expressive Florals With Watercolor and InkLearn how to create stunning botanical illustrations with watercolors and ink in Ohn Mar Win’s latest class.
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6 Things to Know About NASA’s Mars Helicopter on Its Way to Mars

Ingenuity, a technology experiment, is preparing to attempt the first powered, controlled flight on the Red Planet.

When NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021, it will be carrying a small but mighty passenger: Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter.

The helicopter, which weighs about 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) on Earth and has a fuselage about the size of a tissue box, started out six years ago as an implausible prospect. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California knew it was theoretically possible to fly in Mars’ thin atmosphere, but no one was sure whether they could build a vehicle powerful enough to fly, communicate, and survive autonomously with the extreme restrictions on its mass.

Then the team had to prove in Earthbound tests that it could fly in a Mars-like environment. Now that they’ve checked off those objectives, the team is preparing to test Ingenuity in the actual environment of Mars.

“Our Mars Helicopter team has been doing things that have never been done before – that no one at the outset could be sure could even be done,” said MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity project manager at JPL “We faced many challenges along the way that could have stopped us in our tracks. We are thrilled that we are now so close to demonstrating – on Mars – what Ingenuity can really do.”

In this illustration, NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet's surface as NASA's Perseverance rover (partially visible on the left) rolls away.

In this illustration, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet’s surface as NASA’s Perseverance rover (partially visible on the left) rolls away. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Full Image Details

Ingenuity survived the intense vibrations of launch on July 30, 2020, and has passed its health checks as it waits to plunge with Perseverance through the Martian atmosphere. But the helicopter won’t attempt its first flight for more than a month after landing: Engineers for the rover and helicopter need time to make sure both robots are ready.

Here are the key things to know about Ingenuity as the anticipation builds:

1. Ingenuity is an experimental flight test.

The Mars Helicopter is what is known as a technology demonstration – a narrowly focused project that seeks to test a new capability for the first time. Previous groundbreaking technology demonstrations include the first Mars rover, Sojourner, and the Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats that flew by Mars.

The helicopter doesn’t carry science instruments and isn’t part of Perseverance’s science mission. Ingenuity’s objective is an engineering one: to demonstrate rotorcraft flight in Mars’ the extremely thin atmosphere, which has just around 1% of the density of our atmosphere on Earth.

Ingenuity will attempt up to five test flights within a 30-Martian-day (31-Earth-day) demonstration window. Its pioneering aspirations are similar to those of the Wright brothers’ Flyer, which achieved the first powered, controlled flight on Earth.https://www.youtube.com/embed/qwdfdE6ruMw?list=PLTiv_XWHnOZpzQKYC6nLf6M9AuBbng_O8

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will make history’s first attempt at powered flight on another planet in February. It is riding with the agency’s next mission to Mars (the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover). Perseverance, with Ingenuity attached to its belly, will land on Mars February 18, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

2. Mars won’t make it easy for Ingenuity to attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.

Because the Mars atmosphere is so thin, Ingenuity is designed to be light, with rotor blades that are much larger and spin much faster than what would be required for a helicopter of Ingenuity’s mass on Earth.

The Red Planet also has beyond bone-chilling temperatures, with nights as cold as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius) at Jezero Crater, the rover and helicopter’s landing site. These temperatures will push the original design limits of the off-the-shelf parts used in Ingenuity. Tests on Earth at the predicted temperatures indicate Ingenuity’s parts should work as designed, but the team is looking forward to the real test on Mars.

“Mars isn’t exactly pulling out the welcome mat,” said Tim Canham, Ingenuity’s operations lead at JPL. “One of the first things Ingenuity has to do when it gets to Mars is just survive its first night.”

3. Ingenuity relies on the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission for safe passage to Mars and for operations on the Red Planet’s surface.

Ingenuity is nestled sideways under the belly of the Perseverance rover with a cover to protect it from debris kicked up during landing. Both the rover and the helicopter are safely ensconced inside a clamshell-like spacecraft entry capsule during the 293-million-mile (471-million-kilometer) journey to Mars. The power system on the Mars 2020 spacecraft periodically charges Ingenuity’s batteries on the way there.

To reach the Martian surface, Ingenuity rides along with Perseverance as it lands. The rover’s entry, descent, and landing system features a supersonic parachute, new “brains” for avoiding hazards autonomously, and components for the sky crane maneuver, which lowers the rover onto Mars from a descent vehicle. Only about 50% of the attempts to land on Mars, by any space agency, have been successful.

Once a suitable site to deploy the helicopter is found, the rover’s Mars Helicopter Delivery System will shed the landing cover, rotate the helicopter to a legs-down configuration, and gently drop Ingenuity on the surface in the first few months after landing. Throughout the helicopter’s commissioning and flight test campaign, the rover will assist with the communications back-and-forth from Earth. The rover team also plans to collect images of Ingenuity.

4. Ingenuity is smart for a small robot.

Delays are an inherent part of communicating with spacecraft across interplanetary distances, which means Ingenuity’s flight controllers at JPL won’t be able to control the helicopter with a joystick. In fact, they won’t be able to look at engineering data or images from each flight until well after the flight takes place.

So Ingenuity will make some of its own decisions based on parameters set by its engineers on Earth. The helicopter has a kind of programmable thermostat, for instance, that will keep it warm on Mars. During flight, Ingenuity will analyze sensor data and images of the terrain to ensure it stays on the flight path designed by project engineers.

5. The Ingenuity team counts success one step at a time.

Given Ingenuity’s experimental nature, the team has a long list of milestones the helicopter must reach before it can take off and land in the spring of 2021. The team will celebrate each milestone:

  • Surviving the cruise to Mars and landing on the Red Planet
  • Safely deploying to the surface from Perseverance’s belly
  • Autonomously keeping warm through the intensely cold Martian nights
  • Autonomously charging itself with the solar panel atop its rotors
  • Successfully communicating to and from the helicopter via a subsystem known as the Mars Helicopter Base Station on the rover

If the first experimental flight test on another planet succeeds, the Ingenuity team will attempt more test flights.https://www.youtube.com/embed/0RQWv1ybsjM?list=PLTiv_XWHnOZpzQKYC6nLf6M9AuBbng_O8

NASA’s Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, is set to arrive at the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021. Its mission: to demonstrate the first powered flight on another world. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

6. If Ingenuity succeeds, future Mars exploration could include an ambitious aerial dimension.

Ingenuity is intended to demonstrate technologies and first-of-its-kind operations needed for flying in the Martian atmosphere. If successful, these technologies and the experience with flying a helicopter on another planet could enable other advanced robotic flying vehicles that might be part of future robotic and human missions to Mars. Possible uses of a future helicopter on Mars include offering a unique viewpoint not provided by current orbiters high overhead or by rovers and landers on the ground; high-definition images and reconnaissance for robots or humans; and access to terrain that is difficult for rovers to reach. A future helicopter could even help carry light but vital payloads from one site to another.

More About the Project

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter technology demonstration for NASA. JPL also manages the Mars 2020 Perseverance project for NASA.


UN News


Guterres urges world to ‘work together in solidarity’ as US moves to rejoin WHO

WHO/P. VirotThe flag of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) flies at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.Health

The United Nations Secretary-General on Wednesday welcomed the announcement by President Joe Biden that the United States will re-engage with the World Health Organization (WHO) and play a full role in advancing global health and health security. 

In a statement issued by his Spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres said that supporting the UN health agency “is absolutely critical” to the world’s effort for a better coordinated response against COVID-19

The UN chief also urged global solidarity to defeat the coronavirus.  

“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” the statement added. 

Earlier in the day, in one of his first acts as new US President, Mr. Biden signed an executive order to stop the country’s departure from WHO, reversing the formal July 2020 decision by former president Donald Trump. Mr. Trump’s decision would have taken effect this July, as the formal withdrawal requires a year’s notice. 

Mr. Trump had also halted funding for WHO in April last year, prompting global concern over the UN’s health agency’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus pandemic.  

The US is the largest donors to the agency, contributing almost $893 million for its programmes in 2018-2019.  

Joining international vaccine push 

Alongside, the new administration announced US’s participation in the COVAX facility, a global effort co-led by WHO that aims to provide low income nations with COVID-19 vaccines. 

Mr. Guterres hailed the step, stressing that “with vaccines being a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19, the United States joining and supporting the COVAX facility will give momentum to efforts to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all countries.” 

The vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator), COVAX, is a global mechanism that aims to ensure equitable access for all, regardless of ability to pay.   

Dr. Fauci to lead US delegation to WHO 

Also on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the US President announced that infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci will lead the country’s delegation to the ongoing WHO Executive Board meeting, participating remotely.  

The Biden administration also announced a series of actions to combat coronavirus, including requiring the use of facemasks in all federal buildings, lands, and on certain modes of public transport. 

COVID ‘vaccine hoarding’ putting Africa at risk: WHOAfrica is in danger of being left behind in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines as countries in other regions strike bilateral deals, thus driving up prices, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday. Health

MINUSCA/Leonel GrotheCentral African Republic: UN mission chief appeals for more peacekeepersThe top UN official in the Central African Republic (CAR) appealed to the Security Council on Thursday for more peacekeepers and equipment amid escalating violence surrounding elections last month.Peace and Security

WHOFauci announces US intention to resume major role in global healthThe United States’ top medical official said on Thursday that the US will now join the World Health Organization’s global initiative to help poorer nations overcome COVID-19, in addition to a raft of new measures in support of access to universal healthcare, such as abortion services. Health

UN Verification Mission in ColombiaColombia: Criminal elements use violence and intimidation to ‘stamp out’ leaders’ voicesIllegally-armed groups and criminal organizations in Colombia are determined to “drive out State institutions and stamp out the voice of social leaders” through violence and intimidation, the head of the UN mission in the country told the Security Council on Thursday.
 Peace and Security

UNAMI/Sarmad Al-SafyIraq: UN chief condemns ‘horrific’ double suicide bombing at Baghdad marketPerpetrators behind twin deadly suicide bombings at a busy market in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Thursday must be prosecuted, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement strongly condemning the attacks. Peace and Security

WHO/P. VirotGuterres urges world to ‘work together in solidarity’ as US moves to rejoin WHOThe United Nations Secretary-General on Wednesday welcomed the announcement by President Joe Biden that the United States will re-engage with the World Health Organization (WHO) and play a full role in advancing global health and health security. Health

UNOCHASenior panel probing violations in Syria, examining new measures to safeguard humanitariansThe UN chief announced on Thursday that he has set up an independent Senior Advisory Panel on strengthening the mechanism whereby humanitarian workers and sites are better protected from attack in Syria, according to a statement released by his spokesperson. Peace and Security
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/22 –

Justice Department and FTC Announce First Enforcement Actions for Violations of the Better Online Ticket Sales Act01/22/2021 12:00 AM EST
The Department of Justice, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), today announced three settlements resolving alleged violations of the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act. These are the first enforcement actions that the department and the FTC have brought under the BOTS Act.

Gangster Disciples Leaders Sentenced to Prison01/22/2021 12:00 AM EST
Two leaders of the national gang the Gangster Disciples were sentenced today for a racketeering conspiracy involving murder.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. National Guard troops kicked out of Senate are back in Capitol following outrage from lawmakers, public
(Military Times) National Guard troops forced to move out of the Capitol complex Thursday evening have been allowed to return following an outpouring of outrage from lawmakers and the public.
  2. Biden proposing 5-year extension of nuke treaty with Russia, says US official
(The Associated Press) The Biden administration is proposing to Russia a five-year extension of the New START treaty limiting the number of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons, U.S. officials said Thursday.
  3. Congress approves waiver for Biden’s pick for defense secretary
(Defense News) President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Pentagon took a major step toward confirmation Thursday, after House and Senate lawmakers voted to waive a law blocking the recently retired general from assuming the post.
  4. Air Force to OK braids, ponytails for women — but no beards for men
(Air Force Times) Female airmen will soon be allowed to wear their hair in one or two braids, or a single ponytail, Air Force officials announced Thursday.
  5. Nearly 1 In 5 defendants in Capitol riot cases served in the military
(NPR) As a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers and aides hid wherever they could, waiting for the military and police to arrive. But many of those who stormed the Capitol were military veterans themselves, who had once sworn to protect the Constitution.

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Psychology of Personal Growth

Learn to understand personal growth from a comparative perspective.

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58,446 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 22

  • Length: 6 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–3 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $50 USD
  • Institution: HKUSTx
  • Subject: Social Sciences
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English, 中文, 中文
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time


No prior knowledge in psychology needed; join as a rookie.

About this course

About this course

Want to learn about how you become who you are, but not sure where to kick off that journey? This is a fantastic course for you.

This course covers important factors influencing your personal growth (i.e., how you grow by exposing yourself to new experiences). We discuss personality and emotion, romantic and intimate relationships, as well as the interplay between culture and these factors on your growing up. In the course, we allude to the findings pertinent to the Chinese samples.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • describe different methods to studying personal growth
  • describe yourself using multiple perspectives
  • explain the role of culture in defining yourself
  • describe different approaches to exploring the nature of emotion
  • apply different perspectives on understanding the interplay between culture and romantic love
  • critically discuss the relationship between romantic love and intimate relationships



Module 1: Introduction to Psychological Adjustment
Module 2: Understanding Yourself
Module 3: Exploring Your Emotion
Module 4: Romantic Love and Culture
Module 5: Intimate Relationships

Meet your instructors

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Michelle YIKProfessorThe Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Introduction to Family Engagement in Education

Learn about successful collaborations between families and educators and why they lead to improved outcomes for students and schools.

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114,957 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 22

  • Length: 6 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–4 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
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  • Institution: HarvardX
  • Subject: Education & Teacher Training
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

In this education course, you will learn what family engagement is and why it matters to the success of students and schools. We will explore the research linking family engagement to better educational outcomes and speak directly with researchers, educators, students, and families about promising practices in the field.

Family engagement describes what families do at home and in the community to support their children’s learning and development. It also encompasses the shared partnership and responsibility between home and school.

Such engagement is essential for school improvement. It is also increasingly recognized as an integral element for proficient practice as an educator.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • The relationship between family engagement and improved school/student outcomes from birth through high school
  • The additional benefits family engagement brings to parents, educators, and communities
  • What the research shows about the importance of engaging families

Meet your instructors

Harvard University

Karen L. MappSenior Lecturer on EducationHarvard University

Managing Study, Stress and Mental Health at University

Develop a clearer understanding of what mental health is, and learn how best to recognise and respond to mental health concerns, such as negative thoughts and behaviours, in yourself and others.

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25,209 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 22

Managing Study, Stress and Mental Health at University
  • Length: 2 Weeks
  • Effort: 1–3 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD
  • Institution: CurtinX
  • Subject: Health & Safety
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time



About this course

About this course

This short course is a German-Australian collaboration developed in response to the growing need to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and understanding to recognise, identify and respond to mental health challenges in themselves and others. The course is primarily for university students and those working in the tertiary education and local community sectors.

We are grateful to the following organisations for their contribution to and continued support of this MOOC:

  • Healthway Western Australia
  • The Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators
  • Curtin University Teaching Excellence Fund
  • Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme – Universities Australia

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

In this course, you will:

  • Develop a clearer understanding of what mental health is
  • Learn how best to recognise and respond to mental health concerns, such as negative thoughts and behaviours, in yourself and others



Module 1: Mental fitness

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain what mental health is
  • Identify and explain contributing factors to suicide and poor mental health
  • Understand the impact of stress on mental health
  • Understand your own mental fitness

Module 2: Cognitive-behavioural strategies to increase mental fitness

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain why we worry
  • Identify and explain contributing factors to negative thinking
  • Understand how to apply the ABC model

Meet your instructors

Curtin University

Ben MilbournSenior Lecturer, Faculty of Health SciencesCurtin University

Craig ThompsonLecturerCurtin University

Sonya GirdlerProfessor, Faculty of Health SciencesCurtin University

Frank ZimmermanClinical PsychologistKlinikum Aschaffenburg, Alzenau, Germany

Viktor KacicPsychiatrist and Psychotherapist Klinikum Aschaffenburg, Alzenau, Germany

MakingWaves – News From the Division of Water
Summary of 2020 Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Notification SeasonReminder: Applications Being Accepted for DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant and EFC Green Innovation Grant ProgramProtect Our Watersheds Calendar Contest–Deadline ApproachingN.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Application Period OpenComment Period Open for Proposed Rule MakingSummary of 2020 Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Notification SeasonHABs Front
DEC has posted a summary of the 2020 Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) notices to the HABs Archive webpage. During 2020, 184 waterbodies statewide were listed on the NY HABs System (NYHABS). Nearly 2,000 HAB reports were collected by DEC and its partners, and of these, over 900 met DEC criteria for a HAB. The reports ranged from a single observation to widespread blooms that were persistent throughout the season. The DEC Citizen Statewide Lake Assessment Program and the Lake Classification and Inventory Program contributed extensively to HABs reporting. In addition, as in previous years, the Department of Health, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, SUNY ESF, Stony Brook University, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and other agencies and organizations were instrumental in documenting HABs in New York in 2020.Historical data is available on Open NY (Search the catalog for “Harmful Algal Blooms”).  Also, the 2012-2019 HABs Archive Summary includes HAB reports since DEC began the HABs Program.
Blooms May Occur Any Time of YearHABs may occur on waterbodies throughout the year, although fewer blooms occur in the winter. DEC recommends avoiding contact with floating mats, scums and discolored water at any time – 
Know it, Avoid it, Report it!If you suspect you have seen a bloom, or you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a bloom, please follow the instructions for reporting a bloom to DEC.Reminder: Applications Being Accepted for DEC/EFC Engineering Planning Grant and EFC Green Innovation Grant ProgramApplications are being accepted through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for the Engineering Planning Grant (EPG) and the Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP) until 4 p.m. on February 12. The EPG funds production of an engineering report for eligible Clean Water State Revolving Fund water quality projects. For full program details and requirements, view the EPG Round 10 Program Overview (PDF) on DEC’s website. The GIGP provides grants for projects that improve water quality and mitigate the effects of climate change through the implementation of green infrastructure, energy efficiency and/or water efficiency practices. For full program requirements, view EFC’s GIGP webpage.Information about both of these grant programs was presented in a webinar on January 13. You can view a recording of the webinar on the Environmental Facilities Corporation’s website
Protect Our Watersheds Calendar Contest–Deadline ApproachingDEC and the New York State Water Environment Association (NYWEA) are sponsoring a “Protect Our Watersheds” calendar contest open to all middle school students. Fourteen winners will have the honor of having their artwork in a 2022 calendar distributed across New York State. The deadline for submitting posters is February 5, 2021. More information is available on DEC’s Protect Our Watersheds Calendar Contest webpage.
N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Application Period OpenApplications are being accepted for the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship. In honor of the former Director of DEC’s Division of Water, up to $5,000 in scholarships is available to students pursuing graduate or doctoral degrees in environmental/civil engineering or environmental science concentrating on water quality who show a commitment to government service.Scholarship applications are available on the NY Water Environment Association Scholarship webpage. Applications are due by  February 26 at 5 p.m.
Comment Period Open for Proposed Rule MakingDEC has announced a Proposed Rule Making to amend 6 NYCRR § 703.4, titled “Application of Site-Specific Criteria to Class I & Class SD Waters.” The amendment adds site-specific criteria to select Class I and Class SD waterbodies. Public comments are due by March 29, 2021. View the January 20th Environmental Notice Bulletin for instructions on how to comment and join the hearing webinar to be held March 23, 2021


The 7 Rocky TRAPPIST-1 Planets May Be Made of Similar Stuff

Measuring TRAPPIST graphic

Measuring the mass and diameter of a planet reveals its density, which can give scientists clues about its composition. Scientists now know the density of the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets with a higher precision than any other planets in the universe, other than those in our own solar system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Precise measurements reveal that the exoplanets have remarkably similar densities, which provides clues about their composition.

The red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 is home to the largest group of roughly Earth-size planets ever found in a single stellar system. Located about 40 light-years away, these seven rocky siblings provide an example of the tremendous variety of planetary systems that likely fill the universe.

A new study published today in the Planetary Science Journal shows that the TRAPPIST-1 planets have remarkably similar densities. That could mean they all contain about the same ratio of materials thought to compose most rocky planets, like iron, oxygen, magnesium, and silicon. But if this is the case, that ratio must be notably different than Earth’s: The TRAPPIST-1 planets are about 8% less dense than they would be if they had the same makeup as our home planet. Based on that conclusion, the paper authors hypothesized a few different mixtures of ingredients could give the TRAPPIST-1 planets the measured density.

Some of these planets have been known since 2016, when scientists announced that they’d found three planets around the TRAPPIST-1 star using the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. Subsequent observations by NASA’s now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope, in collaboration with ground-based telescopes, confirmed two of the original planets and discovered five more. Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Spitzer observed the system for over 1,000 hours before being decommissioned in January 2020. NASA’s Hubble and now-retired Kepler space telescopes have also studied the system. https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/eyes-on-exoplanets/#/system/TRAPPIST-1/

Click on this interactive visualization to explore the TRAPPIST-1 planets in their orbit around a small, faint red dwarf star. The full interactive experience is at Eyes on Exoplanets.

All seven TRAPPIST-1 planets, which are so close to their star that they would fit within the orbit of Mercury, were found via the transit method: Scientists can’t see the planets directly (they’re too small and faint relative to the star), so they look for dips in the star’s brightness created when the planets cross in front of it. …Continue Reading


UN News


Guterres hails entry into force of treaty banning nuclear weapons

UN Photo/DBThe remains of the Prefectural Industry Promotion Building, after the dropping of the atomic bomb, in Hiroshima, Japan. This site was later preserved as a monument.Peace and Security

The first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty in more than two decades, came into force just after midnight on Friday, hailed by the UN Secretary-General as “an important step towards a world free of nuclear weapons”.

António Guterres said that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) also represents a “strong demonstration of support for multilateral approaches to nuclear disarmament” overall.

‘Tragic testimonies’ of survivors

In a video message and statement, the UN chief commended the States that have ratified the Treaty and welcomed the “instrumental role of civil society in advancing the TPNW’s negotiation and entry into force”.

“The survivors of nuclear explosions and nuclear tests offered tragic testimonies and were a moral force behind the Treaty. Entry into force is a tribute to their enduring advocacy”, he said. 

Mr. Guterres said he was looking forward to guiding the UN’s response according the Treaty, including preparations for the first official Meeting of States Parties.

Growing dangers

“Nuclear weapons pose growing dangers and the world needs urgent action to ensure their elimination and prevent the catastrophic human and environmental consequences any use would cause”, said the UN chief.

“The elimination of nuclear weapons remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations. The Secretary-General calls on all States to work together to realize this ambition to advance common security and collective safety.”

The TPNW secured the 50 ratifications it needed to then enter into force, at the end of last October. The campaigners who had steered momentum towards Friday’s milestone moment, described it then as “a new chapter for nuclear disarmament”.

The accord was approved initially by 122 nations at the UN General Assembly in 2017, but it was civil society groups led by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which had put in the “decades of activism” to secure the number of countries required to make it a reality.

Nuclear powers silent

So far however, the main nuclear powers of the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France, have not signed the accord.

It declares that countries ratifying it must “never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

In a statement released last October by the civil society and campaign umbrella group ICAN – which won the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in 2017 – it said that once the treaty comes into force, all States’ parties will need to follow through on their promises, and abide by its prohibitions. https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/748979341&show_artwork=true

Healthier world means ‘safer America’ Tedros stresses, as UN-led vaccine initiative announces deal for 40 million doses The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday announced the signing of an advance purchase agreement securing up to 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine, under the UN-led COVAX equitable vaccine supply programme. Health

UNAMID/Mohamad AlmahadySudan: 250 killed, over 100,000 displaced as violence surges in DarfurA sharp uptick in intercommunal violence in Sudan’s Darfur region has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes in search of safety, including many into neighbouring Chad, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported on Friday.Peace and Security

MINUSMAMali in transition: UN peacekeeping chief takes stock of political and security developmentsAgainst the backdrop of a rapidly deteriorating security situation in Mali and the wider Sahel region, the UN peacekeeping chief concluded a visit to the restive northwest African nation on Thursday. Peace and Security

UN Photo/DBGuterres hails entry into force of treaty banning nuclear weaponsThe first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty in more than two decades, came into force just after midnight on Friday, hailed by the UN Secretary-General as “an important step towards a world free of nuclear weapons”.Peace and Security©

UNICEF/Ruhani KaurPandemic will not end for anyone, ‘until it ends for everyone’ The COVID-19 pandemic “will not end for anyone, until it ends for everyone”, an independent UN human rights expert said on Friday, advocating for an equitable and globally-coordinated vaccine distribution programme. Human Rights
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/23 –


  1.  Science Matters

research scientists in snowy mountainsView Image Credit & Caption

Storm-chasing, winter style: Atmospheric scientist follows the snow

Jim Steenburgh isn’t your typical storm-chaser. The atmospheric scientist isn’t after Midwest tornadoes nor supercell thunderstorms. 

Steenburgh chases snowstorms. 

car buried in show
Lake-effect snow blankets cars in upstate New York. Photo Credit: Jim Steenburgh

Peering inside a snowstorm

Growing up in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, he remembers always watching for snow. As a snow scientist at the University of Utah and an avid Alpine, Nordic, and backcountry skier, Steenburgh continues that quest today. 

Steenburgh and other NSF-funded principal investigators led the Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems project. Using ground-based and airborne instruments, including Dopplers on Wheels, the University of Wyoming’s King Air Research Aircraft, mobile weather balloons, and snowfall measurement systems, they probed the inner workings of blizzards around Lake Ontario. 

Of particular interest, Steenburgh says, are the processes responsible for snowfall enhancement over New York’s Tug Hill Plateau, which rises about 2,000 feet above the eastern shore of Lake Ontario and sees some of the most intense snowstorms on Earth. 

“Researchers hit the motherlode of data,” says the atmospheric scientist. During one three-week stretch, the team measured 100 inches of snow on the Tug Hill Plateau, including three storms in which peak snowfall rates reached 4 inches per hour — and one storm that produced 40 inches in 24 hours. 

Project investigators combed through reams of data and used computer modeling to uncover the inner workings of these storms. Although cold-air outbreaks over warm waterbodies are a critical ingredient for lake-effect storms, “the devil is in the details,” Steenburgh says. 

lake-effect snow production
Shoreline variations on Lake Ontario (LBF1 and LBF2) affect airflow and help create powerful lake-effect snowstorms on Tug Hill Plateau. Photo Credit: © Copyright [Volume 145: Issue 7] AMS.

The scientists found that subtle variations in the Lake Ontario shoreline play an important role. A bulge on the lake’s southern shore contributes to formation of an air mass boundary that extends downstream and serves as a generator for lake-effect snow. Another bulge at the eastern end of the lake produces a second airmass boundary that contributes to snowfall over the Tug Hill Plateau. 

Greatest snow climate on Earth

During the analysis, lake-effect snow in another region began to attract Steenburgh’s attention. In this case, the “lake” is the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, between mainland Asia and the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido.

“Utah may be famous for the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth,’” Steenburgh says, “but Japan has the ‘Greatest Snow Climate on Earth.’”

In winter, frequent cold-air outbreaks from interior Asia move over the Sea of Japan, a body of water more than 50 times larger in area than Lake Ontario. The resulting sea-effect storms run into the mountains of Honshu and Hokkaido, which are much higher than the hills and plateaus around the Great Lakes, leading to frequent and prolific snowfall. 

Densely populated Sapporo on the west coast of Hokkaido is the snowiest city in the world with more than 1 million people, averaging 235 inches of snow a year, according to Steenburgh. Mean annual snowfall in the mountains adjacent to the Sea of Japan exceeds 500 inches, with the mean annual snowfall at Sukayu Onsen hot spring in the mountains of northern Honshu reaching 694 inches. 

“People are often surprised to hear it snows so much in Japan, but the climate and geography of the region are ideal for producing huge snowfalls,” says Steenburgh. “When exceptionally cold air from interior Asia moves over the Sea of Japan, watch out.  The heavy snow region near the Sea of Japan, known as the ‘Gosetsu Chitai,’ has seen many snow disasters.” 

snow scientists in Japan
Researchers (L-R) Steenburgh, Sento Nakai, and Peter Veals at a snow measurement system in the Echigo Mountains of Honshu.Photo Credit: Nagaoka Snow and Research Center

Sea-effect vs. lake-effect storms

Steenburgh and University of Utah researcher Peter Veals traveled to Japan’s Nagaoka Snow and Ice Research Center to collaborate with scientists Sento Nakai and Satoru Yamaguchi. The team is working to increase knowledge of how lake- and sea-effect storms interact with downstream topography.

The project has revealed the factors that control the locations of heaviest snowfall during sea-effect storms, including the mechanisms that lead to “yamayuki” storms which produce deep mountain snow and “satoyuki” storms, with their heavy lowland snowfall. 

“These findings are also important for understanding snowstorms elsewhere in the world, including the Tug Hill Plateau and hills and upland regions around the Great Lakes,” says Steenburgh.

Lake- and sea-effect snowstorms have direct effects on society, he says, from the rural communities on the Tug Hill Plateau to the major cities of western Japan. They also stimulate a vibrant winter-sports economy based on activities such as snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding. 

Snow-covered Japan city
Sapporo, Japan on the island of Hokkaido, the snowiest city in the world with a population of more than 1 million people. Photo Credit: Kanuman/Shutterstock

“Predicting high-impact snowstorms is a scientific challenge,” says Jielun Sun, a program director in NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. “Rapid development of heavy snowstorms, especially over densely populated cities, can be a transportation nightmare.

“These studies of the interplay between lakes/seas and their surrounding hills/mountains and how that relates to snowstorm development are important for improving our understanding of snow distribution and intensity downstream of a waterbody, leading to better snowstorm forecasts.”

Who you gonna call to avoid, or find, deep powder?  With his record of facing down Old Man Winter’s white-out blizzards — and locating champagne powder, as skiers refer to light, dry snow — Jim Steenburgh should be at the top of your list.

Want to learn more about snow? Steenburgh’s Wasatch Weather Weenies blog discusses the weather and climate of the Wasatch Front and Mountains, western U.S., and beyond. Many posts feature content or insights enabled by the support of the NSF.

Map citation: Steenburgh, W. J., & Campbell, L. S. (2017). The OWLeS IOP2b Lake-Effect Snowstorm: Shoreline Geometry and the Mesoscale Forcing of Precipitation, Monthly Weather Review145(7), 2421-2436. Retrieved Jan 21, 2021, from https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/mwre/145/7/mwr-d-16-0460.1.xmlScience Topics

  • Earth & Environment

Image Credit & Caption

<p>Jim Steenburgh in the Wasatch backcountry above Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.</p> Photo credit: Tyler Cruickshank

A L L * A R T S
New Episode
SONGWRITERS UNDER THE COVERS WITH VICTORIA SHAWShelly Peiken and Chely Wright share stories behind their hit songs
The Guerrilla Girls on three decades of mastering ‘The Art of Behaving Badly’
Coming Soon
DANCE The first film of the four-part ‘Isolation to Creation’ series debuts on ALL ARTS Jan. 27
WORDS How artist Sagarika Sundaram captures human nature in painterly textiles
FILM 4 American Masters films to stream before they expire
What’s streaming today? An ongoing list of arts and culture events to watch

WORLD This Week
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Nina Simone plays the piano and sings in concert.

American Masters: How It Feels To Be Free

Nina Simone, Abbey Lincoln, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Pam Grier. Explore the careers of these iconic Black musicians who changed American culture by challenging an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes. These artists

transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.

On-air Saturday, 01/23 @ 8/7c.Find Your Local WORLD Channel

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Madam C. J. Walker and companions in her Waverley electric automobile on West Street in Indianapolis in the 1910s.

Two Dollars and a Dream

The biography of Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first self-made millionairess. Mrs. Walker’s fortune was built on skin and hair care products, parlaying a homemade beauty formula into a prosperous business from coast to coast. Made by Stanley Nelson, the grandson of Freeman B. Ransom, Madam C.J. Walker’s attorney and Walker company general manager. Nelson had access to original business records and was able to interview former employees. WATCH

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Documentary directors Brad Lichtenstein and Miela Fetaw.

“The two things that I hope people take away from this film

is that one, voting is so essential… Two, that black women

are valuable all the time, not just during election season.” 

– Miela Fetaw, Director

Miela Fetaw and Brad Lichtenstein talk about the making of

METCALFE PARK: BLACK VOTE RISING and their first vote experiences. The filmmakers also share why representation and mentoring of BIPOC and women storytellers is essential.WATCH THE INTERVIEWWATCH THE FILM

1/24 –

The Front Page


  1. Inside the Deadly Capitol ShootingWith a mob approaching, a police lieutenant fatally shot a woman trying to vault through a window near the House Chamber.
  2. Barred From U.S. Under Trump, Muslims Exult in Biden’s Open DoorFew foreigners welcomed President Biden’s election victory as enthusiastically as the tens of thousands of Muslims who have been locked out of the United States for the past four years.
    1. ‘We Are Forced to Live in These Conditions’: In Los Angeles, Virus Ravages Overcrowded HomesPerhaps nowhere else in America can the unequal toll of the virus be felt more dramatically. Suburban sprawl and freeways demarcate the neighborhoods of the haves and the have-nots.
    2. Pro-Navalny Protests Sweep Russia in Challenge to PutinThe protests moved across time zones and more than 3,000 people were arrested in at least 109 cities, signaling widespread fatigue with the corruption-plagued political order presided over by President Vladimir V. Putin.
  1. Larry King, Breezy Interviewer of the Famous and Infamous, Dies at 87Over five decades, he chatted with an estimated 50,000 people from all walks of life, from presidents and pundits to swindlers and U.F.O. “experts.”By ROBERT D. MCFADDENPage A1
  2. Pennsylvania Lawmaker Played Key Role in Trump’s Plot to Oust Acting Attorney GeneralThe congressman’s involvement underlined how far the former president was willing to go to overturn the election, and Democratic lawmakers have begun calling for investigations into those efforts.By KATIE BENNER and CATIE EDMONDSONPage A1
  3. Surge of Student Suicides Pushes Las Vegas Schools to ReopenBy ERICA L. GREENPage A1

Pyramids of Giza: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology

Explore the archaeology, history, art, and hieroglyphs surrounding the famous Egyptian Pyramids at Giza. Learn about Old Kingdom pharaohs and elites, tombs, temples, the Sphinx, and how new technology is unlocking their secrets.

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131,667 already enrolled!


Starts Jan 24

  • Length: 8 Weeks
  • Effort: 2–4 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $149 USD
  • Institution: HarvardX
  • Subject: Art & Culture
  • Level: Introductory
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Self-paced on your time


None. This is an introductory course.

About this course

About this course

Where is Giza? How were the Pyramids built? How did the cemeteries and hundreds of decorated tombs around them develop? What was Giza’s contribution to this first great age of ancient Egyptian civilization, the Old Kingdom?

The Giza Plateau and its cemeteries — including the majestic Pyramids and the Great Sphinx — are stirring examples of ancient Egyptian architecture and culture. They provide windows into ancient Egyptian society, but also contain mysteries waiting to be solved. The Egyptian Pyramids at Giza provide an opportunity to explore the history of archaeology and to learn about some of the modern methods shaping the discipline today.

This introductory course will explore the art, archaeology, and history surrounding the Giza Pyramids. We will learn about Egyptian pharaohs and high officials of the Pyramid Age, follow in the footsteps of the great 20th-century expeditions, and discover how cutting-edge digital tools like 3D-modeling are reshaping the discipline of Egyptology.

Join us on this online journey to ancient Egypt’s most famous archaeological site as we uncover the history and significance of Giza, and use new digital techniques to unravel the mysteries of its ancient tombs and temples.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

  • The history and significance of the Giza Pyramids and surrounding cemeteries
  • Who explored the Pyramids and how they documented their discoveries
  • The cultural and religious significance of the Giza Pyramids, tombs, and temples
  • The role of hieroglyphic inscriptions in the tombs at Giza
  • An appreciation for Egyptian art of the Old Kingdom, or Pyramid Age
  • How digital technologies allow us to visualize ancient monuments in new ways
  • What the future holds for our understanding and experience of Giza

Meet your instructors

Harvard University

Peter Der ManuelianBarbara Bell Professor of EgyptologyHarvard University

Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples

For Contemporary Semitic-speaking peoples, see Semitic languages § Semitic-speaking peoples.For the obsolete racial and ethnic concept, see Semitic people.

Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples or Proto-Semitic people were Western Asian people who lived throughout the ancient Near East, including the LevantMesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Horn of Africa from the third millennium BC until the end of antiquity.

The languages they spoke are usually divided into three branches: EastCentral, and South Semitic languages. The proto-Semitic language was likely spoken in the 4th millennium BC, and the oldest attested forms of Semitic date to the mid-3rd millennium BC (the Early Bronze Age).

Speakers of East Semitic include the people of the Akkadian EmpireAssyria and Babylonia. Central Semitic combines the Northwest Semitic languages and Arabic. Speakers of Northwest Semitic were the Canaanites (including the Phoenicians and the Hebrews) and the Arameans. South Semitic peoples include the speakers of Modern South Arabian languages and Ethiopian Semitic languages.


11th-century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with TargumPage from a 15th-century Bible in Ge’ez (Ethiopia & Eritrea)

The region of origin of the reconstructed Proto-Semitic language, ancestral to historical and modern Semitic languages in the Middle East, is still uncertain and much debated. A 2009 Bayesian analysis identified an origin for Semitic languages in the Levant around 3750 BC with a later single introduction of Ge’ez from what is now South Arabia into the Horn of Africa around 800 BC, with a slightly earlier introduction into parts of North Africa and southern Spain with the founding of Phoenician colonies such as ancient Carthage in the ninth century BC and Cádiz in the tenth century BC. The earliest records of Semitic languages are from 30th century BC Mesopotamia.

Other theories include origins in the Arabian Peninsula or North Africa. The Semitic family is a member of the larger Afroasiatic family, all of whose other five or more branches have their origin in North Africa or the Maghreb. Largely for this reason, the ancestors of Proto-Semitic speakers were originally believed by some to have first arrived in the Middle East from North Africa, possibly as part of the operation of the Saharan pump, around the late Neolithic. Diakonoff sees Semitic originating between the Nile Delta and Canaan as the northernmost branch of Afroasiatic. Blench even wonders whether the highly divergent Gurage languages indicate an origin in Ethiopia (with the rest of Ethiopic Semitic a later back migration). Identification of the hypothetical proto-Semitic region of origin is therefore dependent on the larger geographic distributions of the other language families within Afroasiatic, whose origins are also hotly debated. According to Christy G. Turner II, there is an archaeological and physical anthropological reason for a relation between the modern Semitic-speaking populations of the Levant and the Natufian culture.

In one interpretation, Proto-Semitic itself is assumed to have reached the Arabian Peninsula by approximately the 4th millennium BC, from which Semitic daughter languages continued to spread outwards. When written records began in the late fourth millennium BC, the Semitic-speaking Akkadians (Assyrians and Babylonians) were entering Mesopotamia from the deserts to the west, and were probably already present in places such as Ebla in Syria. Akkadian personal names began appearing in written records in Mesopotamia from the late 29th century BC.

The earliest positively proven historical attestation of any Semitic people comes from 30th century BC Mesopotamia, with the East Semitic-speaking peoples of the Kish civilization, entering the region originally dominated by the people of Sumer (who spoke a language isolate).

Bronze Age

Between the 30th and 20th centuries BC, Semitic languages covered a broad area covering much of the Ancient Near East, including the LevantMesopotamiaArabia and the Sinai Peninsula. The earliest written evidence of them are found in the Fertile Crescent (Mesopotamia) c. the 30th century BC, an area encompassing Sumer, the Akkadian Empire and other civilizations of Assyria and Babylonia along the Tigris and Euphrates (modern Iraq, northeast Syria and southeast Turkey), followed by historical written evidence from the Levant, Canaan, Sinai Peninsula, southern and eastern Anatolia and the Arabian Peninsula.

The earliest known Akkadian inscription was found on a bowl at Ur, addressed to the very early pre-Sargonic king Meskiang-nunna of Ur by his queen Gan-saman, who is thought to have been from Akkad. However, some of the names appearing on the Sumerian King List as prehistoric rulers of Kish have been held to indicate a Semitic presence even before this, as early as the 30th or 29th century BC. By the mid-third millennium BC, many states and cities in Mesopotamia had come to be ruled or dominated by Akkadian-speaking Semites, including AssyriaEshnunna, the Akkadian EmpireKishIsinUrUrukAdabNippurEkallatumNuziAkshakEridu and Larsa. During this period (c. 27th to 26th century BC), another East Semitic-speaking people, the Eblaites, appear in the historical record from northern Syria. They founded the state of Ebla, whose Eblaite language was closely related to the Akkadian of Mesopotamia. The Akkadians, Assyrians and Eblaites were the first Semitic-speaking people to use writing, using the cuneiform script originally developed by the Sumerians c. 3500 BC, with the first writings in Akkadian dating from c. 2800 BC. The last Akkadian inscriptions date from the late first century AD, and cuneiform script in the second century AD, both in Mesopotamia.

…Continue reading


Semitic languages

The Semitic languages, previously also named Syro-Arabian languages, are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East that are spoken by more than 330 million people across much of West AsiaNorth Africa, the Horn of AfricaMalta, in small pockets in the Caucasus as well as in often large immigrant and expatriate communities in North AmericaEurope and Australasia. The terminology was first used in the 1780s by members of the Göttingen School of History, who derived the name from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Book of Genesis.

West AsiaNorth Africa,
Northeast AfricaMalta
Linguistic classificationAfro-AsiaticSemitic
SubdivisionsEast Semitic †West Semitic
ISO 639-2 / 5sem
Approximate historical distribution of Semitic languages

Chronology mapping of Semitic languages

The most widely spoken Semitic languages today, with numbers of native speakers only, are Arabic (300 million), Amharic (~22 million), Tigrinya (7 million), Hebrew (~5 million native/L1 speakers), Tigre (~1.05 million), Aramaic (575,000 to 1 million largely speakers) and Maltese (483,000 speakers).

Semitic languages occur in written form from a very early historical date, with East Semitic Akkadian and Eblaite texts (written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform) appearing from the 30th century BCE and the 25th century BCE in Mesopotamia and the north eastern Levant respectively. The only earlier attested languages are SumerianElamite (2800 BCE to 550 BCE) (both language isolates), Egyptian and unclassified Lullubi from the 30th century BCE.

Most scripts used to write Semitic languages are abjads – a type of alphabetic script that omits some or all of the vowels, which is feasible for these languages because the consonants in the Semitic languages are the primary carriers of meaning. Among them are the UgariticPhoenicianAramaicHebrewSyriacArabic, and ancient South Arabian alphabets. The Geʽez script, used for writing the Semitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, is technically an abugida – a modified abjad in which vowels are notated using diacritic marks added to the consonants at all times, in contrast with other Semitic languages which indicate diacritics based on need or for introductory purposes. Maltese is the only Semitic language written in the Latin script and the only Semitic language to be an official language of the European Union.

The Semitic languages are notable for their nonconcatenative morphology. That is, word roots are not themselves syllables or words, but instead are isolated sets of consonants (usually three, making a so-called triliteral root). Words are composed out of roots not so much by adding prefixes or suffixes, but rather by filling in the vowels between the root consonants (although prefixes and suffixes are often added as well). For example, in Arabic, the root meaning “write” has the form k-t-b. From this root, words are formed by filling in the vowels and sometimes adding additional consonants, e.g. كتاب kitāb “book”, كتب kutub “books”, كاتب kātib “writer”, كتّاب kuttāb “writers”, كتب kataba “he wrote”, يكتب yaktubu “he writes”, etc.

…Continue reading


1/25 –

Former Veterans Affairs Doctor Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Abuse of Veterans01/25/2021 12:00 AM EST
A former doctor of osteopathic medicine who previously worked at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia, was sentenced today for depriving veterans of their civil rights under color of law by sexually abusing them.

Alleged Leaders of Gangster Disciples Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges01/25/2021 12:00 AM EST
Seven alleged members of the violent Gangster Disciples gang, including top national and state leaders, are in custody after multiple arrests this morning for their alleged participation in a years-long interstate racketeering conspiracy involving multiple murders, drug trafficking, and other crimes.

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIS01/25/2021 12:00 AM EST
In San Antonio today, 22-year-old Cost resident Jaylyn Christopher Molina, aka Abdur Rahim, admitted to conspiring to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (ISIS), announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Division Christopher Combs.

West Virginia Woman Sentenced for Willful Retention of Top Secret National Defense Information and International Parental Kidnapping01/25/2021 12:00 AM EST
Elizabeth Jo Shirley, of Hedgesville, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 97 months of incarceration for unlawfully retaining documents containing national defense information and 36 months of incarceration for international parental kidnapping. Shirley, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of willful retention of national defense information and one count of international parental kidnapping in July 2020. Shirley admitted to unlawfully retaining a National Security Agency (NSA) document containing information classified at the Top Secret/Secret Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) level relating to the national defense that outlines intelligence information regarding a foreign government’s military and political issues. Shirley also admitted to removing her child, of whom she was the non-custodial parent, to Mexico with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the custodial father’s parental rights.

DEFENSE NEWS – Today’s Top 5
  1. Austin confirmed as new defense secretary in historic vote
(Military Times) Former U.S. Central Command leader Lloyd Austin was confirmed Friday as the next defense secretary, a historic vote that makes him the nation’s first Black chief of the Pentagon.
  2. Thousands of Guard troops to stay in Washington as threats target lawmakers ahead of impeachment trial
(The Associated Press) Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
  3. For 1st Black Pentagon chief, racism challenge is personal
(The Associated Press) Newly confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will have to contend not only with a world of security threats and a massive military bureaucracy, but also with a challenge that hits closer to home: rooting out racism and extremism in the ranks.
  4. In one of first actions, new defense secretary orders review of sexual misconduct programs
(Military Times) Newly sworn-in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, carrying through on a promise he made during his confirmation hearing, isn’t wasting time tackling military sexual misconduct.
  5. Navy SEAL sentenced to 10 years in choking death of Green Beret
(Military.com) A SEAL Team 6 member who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the hazing death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in 2017 was sentenced to 10 years of confinement and a dishonorable discharge, his lawyer confirmed Sunday.


Warming Seas Are Accelerating Greenland’s Glacier Retreat

To measure water depth and salinity, the OMG project dropped probes by plane into fjords along Greenland’s coast. Shown here is one such fjord in which a glacier is undercut by warming water. The brown water is caused by sediment being dredged up from the base of the glacier by meltwater plumes. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists with NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission are probing deep below the island’s warming coastal waters to help us better predict the rising seas of the future.

Greenland’s melting glaciers, which plunge into Arctic waters via steep-sided inlets, or fjords, are among the main contributors to global sea level rise in response to climate change. Gaining a better understanding of how warming ocean water affects these glaciers will help improve predictions of their fate. Such predictions could in turn be used by communities around the world to better prepare for flooding and mitigate coastal ecosystem damage.

But researchers have long lacked measurements of the depths of the fjords along Greenland’s craggy coast. Without this information, it’s extremely difficult to arrive at a precise assessment of how much ocean water is being allowed into the fjords and how that affects glacier melt. By measuring their fjords one by one, a new study published in Science Advances has quantified, for the first time, how the warming coastal waters are impacting Greenland’s glaciers.

For the past five years, scientists with the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission have been studying these marine-terminating glaciers from the air and by ship. They found that…Continue reading




In Davos speech, UN chief highlights private sector role in pandemic recovery

World Economic Forum/Pascal BitzUN Secretary-General António Guterres (on screen) addresses the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.Economic Development

The private sector has a key role to play in lifting countries out of both the COVID-19 and climate crises, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told international business leaders on Monday. 

“We need you more than ever to help us change course, end fragility, avert climate catastrophe and build the equitable and sustainable future we want and need”, he said in a speech to the Davos Agenda gathering of the World Economic Forum, which is taking place online this year instead of in the Swiss Alps. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=UN_News_Centre&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1353791221043494913&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fnews.un.org%2Fen%2Fstory%2F2021%2F01%2F1082862&siteScreenName=UN_News_Centre&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

The Secretary-General addressed the forum as the UN released its latest report which warns that global economic recovery from the pandemic remains precarious. 

Time to change course 

COVID-19 has generated the worst economic crisis for nearly a century, exposing inequalities and fragilities both within and among countries, Mr. Guterres said, speaking from New York, 

“We have reached a moment of truth.  In 2021 we must address these fragilities and put the world on track”, he stated. 

“It is time to change course and take the sustainable path. And, this year, we have a unique opportunity to do so. We can use our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to move from fragilities to resilience.” 

The Secretary-General emphasized that pandemic recovery must be inclusive while also tackling climate change and biodiversity loss. 

Vaccines for all 

“Inclusive and sustainable recovery around the globe will depend on the availability and effectiveness of vaccines for all, immediate fiscal and monetary support in both developed and developing countries, and transformative longer-term stimulus measures”, he said. 

While COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, distribution has been uneven, he said, as richer nations have received doses while the world’s poorest countries have none. 

Reiterating that vaccines must be seen as global public goods, he called for funding for the COVAX Facility, the mechanism working to ensure equal access to all countries.  

Mr. Guterres also underlined the need to address structural inequalities that have made so many societies vulnerable, including through debt relief for countries that need it. 

“We also need to bring more fairness into the world of work”, he added. “That means that we reduce the very high increase disparities we have in incomes today in the labour markets. And it means closing the gender pay gap, ensuring women’s full and productive employment and increasing women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.” 

Flick the ‘green switch’ 

On climate change, the Secretary-General stressed that the central goal this year is to build a global coalition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

“Every country, city, financial institution and company needs to adopt credible plans backed by intermediate goals for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050, and to take decisive action now to put themselves on the right path,” he said, adding “every sector must do its part, from aviation and agriculture to transport, shipping and industry.” 

The world also needs to “flick the ‘green switch’” to renewable energy, which will create new jobs and a healthier future. The UN chief said all of this is within reach, as more countries register their commitment. 

He called for private sector action towards achieving a sustainable future for all, and in implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which seeks to limit global warming. 

“We count on businesses to play an important role by themselves and to put pressure on governments. Every action, big or small counts, but those with greater capabilities and resources should lead the way”, he said. 

Impacts felt for years 

The devastating fallouts from the pandemic will be felt for years unless smart investments in economic, societal and climate resilience ensure a robust and sustainable recovery of the global economy, the UN said in the latest edition of The World Economic Situation and Prospects report, published on Monday. 

The world economy shrank by 4.3 per cent last year, which is over 2.5 times more than during the financial crisis a decade ago.  The authors said the modest 4.7 per cent recovery expected this year would barely offset those losses. 

Developed economies shrank the most in 2020, or by 5.6 per cent, due to economic shutdowns and subsequent waves of the pandemic.  This has increased the risk of premature austerity measures which would derail global recovery efforts, according to the report.  These nations are projected to see four per cent growth in 2021. 

Meanwhile, developing countries saw a 2.5 per cent contraction in 2020 and are estimated to rebound by 5.6 per cent. 

Women and girls bear the brunt 

The pandemic also pushed 131 million more people into poverty, many of whom were women, children, and members of marginalized communities.  The crisis has disproportionately affected women and girls, who have faced increased risk of devastation, poverty and violence. 

Coronavirus Portal & News Updates

Readers can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.For daily news updates from UN News, click here.

Women also comprise more than half of the workforce in sectors that have been hard hit by lockdowns, such as retail, hospitality and tourism. 

Although some $12.7 trillion in massive and timely stimulus measures prevented a total collapse of the world economy and averted another ‘Great Depression’, last manifest in the 1930s, stark disparity in the size of these packages mean developed and developing countries will be on different paths to recovery. 

Additionally, financing stimulus packages has increased public debt globally by 15 per cent, representing a potential burden for future generations unless investments are made to promote growth. 

Boost long-term investments 

The report underscores that sustained recovery will depend not only on the size of stimulus measures, and the quick rollout of vaccines, but also on the quality and efficacy of these measures to build resilience against future shocks. 

“The depth and severity of the unprecedented crisis foreshadows a slow and painful recovery,” said Elliott Harris, UN Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development.  

“As we step into a long recovery phase with the roll out of the vaccines against COVID-19, we need to start boosting longer-term investments that chart the path toward a more resilient recovery – accompanied by a fiscal stance that avoids premature austerity and a redefined debt sustainability framework, universal social protection schemes, and an accelerated transition to the green economy.”

Rise in antisemitism during pandemic shows we can never let down our guard: UN chiefThe COVID-19 pandemic has led to rising antisemitism which shows the world must remain vigilant against this persistent form of racism and religious persecution, the UN Secretary-General told an online event on Monday to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Peace and Security©

UNICEF/Seyba KeïtaNew COVID-19 strains ‘poised to unleash’ more severe infections – Security Council hearsSince September, the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened, infecting close to 100 million people, costing more than $3 trillion in lost wages and intensifying obstacles for peace and security around the world, the UN political chief told the Security Council on Monday. Peace and Security

World Economic Forum/Pascal BitzIn Davos speech, UN chief highlights private sector role in pandemic recoveryThe private sector has a key role to play in lifting countries out of both the COVID-19 and climate crises, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told international business leaders on Monday. Economic Development©

UNICEF/Chameera LaknathSri Lanka: ‘Forced’ cremation of COVID victims’ bodies must stop – UN rights expertsThe Sri Lankan Government should end its policy of compulsorily cremating victims of COVID-19, independent UN human rights experts said on Monday.Human Rights©

UNICEF/Evgeniy MaloletkaAmidst surging COVID numbers, WHO chief urges: ‘take heart and take action’The sheer scale of the numbers involved in the COVID-19 pandemic can “make us numb to what they represent”, the UN health agency chief said on Monday, reminding journalists in his latest briefing, that each one stands for “a person, a story”. As of late Monday, confirmed cases were nearing 99 million, and yet another grim milestone as 100 million cases looms. Health

UNICEF/Nino LucesScale up funding for climate adaptation programmes, Guterres urgesThe UN Secretary-General on Monday called for urgent scaling up of funds for climate change adaptation and resilience building programmes, so they can offer real and lasting protection against the impact of major events such as droughts, floods and rising sea-levels. Climate Change©

UNICEF/NooraniShining a light on sexually exploited women and girls forced into crimeTrafficked and sexually exploited woman and girls can find themselves facing prosecution and conviction for those very same crimes, in some countries, a new UN report shows. The study aims to help prosecutors to better handle these complex cases, and protect the genuine victims.Human Rights

UN NewsVibhu MishraCOVID’s led to ‘massive’ income and productivity losses, UN labour estimates showJob losses or reduced working hours due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic cost the world the equivalent of 255 million jobs in 2020, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday, noting that the “massive impact” was nearly four times the number lost during the 2009 global financial crisis. Economic Development

UNICEF/Ali Haj SuleimanSyria: 18 children killed since the start of the year, UNICEF reportsThe brutal fighting in Syria continues to exact a terrible toll on children, with at least 18, including a one-year-old killed in incidents involving explosive weapons and unexploded ordnance, since 1 January, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Sunday. At least 15 others were wounded. Humanitarian Aid
Coronavirus Portal & News UpdatesReaders can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here.

1/26 – Vacation Day

1/27 – Vacation Day

1/28 – Vacation Day

1/29 – Vacation Day

Celebrating National Puzzle Day

We’re celebrating National Puzzle Day with a whole week of puzzle fun! From HIDDEN PICTURES and brain teasers to mazes and matching games, Highlights puzzles are all expertly designed to keep kids engaged and encourage them to keep trying.
Puzzles for babies and toddlers, ages 0 to 2.
Puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers, ages 3 to 5.
Puzzles for little kids, ages 6 to 8.
Puzzles for big kids, ages 9 and up.

1/30 – Vacation Day

1/31 – Vacation Day


2/1 –


Learn the core techniques for representing robots that perform physical tasks in the real world.

Columbia University Logo

69,981 already enrolled!


Starts Feb 1, 2021

This course is part of a MicroMasters® Program

  • Length: 10 Weeks
  • Effort: 8–10 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $249 USD
  • Institution: ColumbiaX
  • Subject: Computer Science
  • Level: Advanced
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Instructor-led on a course schedule


  • College-level introductory linear algebra (vector spaces, linear systems, matrix decomposition)
  • College-level introductory calculus (partial derivatives, function gradients)
  • Basic knowledge of computer programming (variables, functions, control flow)
  • Projects will be carried out in the Python language, with C++ as an option

About this course

About this course

We think of Robotics as the science of building devices that physically interact with their environment. The most useful robots do it precisely, powerfully, repeatedly, tirelessly, fast, or some combinations of these. The most interesting robots maybe even do it intelligently. This course will cover the fundamentals of robotics, focusing on both the mind and the body.

We will learn about two core robot classes: kinematic chains (robot arms) and mobile bases. For both robot types, we will introduce methods to reason about 3-dimensional space and relationships between coordinate frames. For robot arms, we will use these to model the task of delivering a payload to a specified location. For mobile robots, we will introduce concepts for autonomous navigation in the presence of obstacles.

Class projects will make use of ROS – the open-source Robot Operating System (www.ros.org) widely used in both research and industry. Computer requirements for working on the projects will include a computer set up with Ubuntu Linux and high bandwidth internet access for downloading and installing ROS packages.


3/5 –

3/15 –

Marketing Management

Learn key marketing strategies and tactics to help your company develop products that match customers’ needs, create awareness and demand for those products, and drive sales.

The University of Maryland, College Park Logo
University System of Maryland Logo

45,736 already enrolled!


Starts Mar 15, 2021

Marketing Management
  • Length: 7 Weeks
  • Effort: 8–10 hours per week
  • Price: FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $399 USD
  • Institutions UMDUSMx
  • Subject: Business & Management
  • Level: Advanced
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Course Type: Instructor-led on a course schedule

About this course

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, puts it bluntly: “No sales. No company.” Every organization needs effective marketing to match its products, services and experiences to customers, and maintain and grow its revenue. In this course you will learn the keys to successful marketing, from using traditional and digital media channels to build brand awareness, to using consumer and behavioral research in order to better match your product to your customers’ wants and needs.

In this course, you’ll learn to:

  • Identify target customers and analyze and understand their needs and desires.
  • Define your offering’s value proposition and positioning.
  • Identify the right target customer segment, and create a go-to-market strategy and integrated marketing campaign
  • Define key performance indicators and analyze the results.

By the end of this class, you will understand how to assess the competitive playing field, understand your competitor’s brand position, and map your own organization’s position, strengths, and weaknesses, to create or capture competitive advantages.




International Convention of Psychological Science will be held in Brussels, Belgium, March 25–27, 2021. Learn more at psychologicalscience.org/conventions/icps.



Three images of global locations

2021 Global Mental Health Research Without Borders Conference, April 5-6, 2021

The National Institute of Mental Health and Grand Challenges Canada are sponsoring the 11th Global Mental Health Research Conference on April 5-6, 2021, which will bring together researchers, innovators, and other stakeholders from around the globe. The conference will showcase findings from cutting-edge science and explore new opportunities for groundbreaking research.

Watch for the call for abstracts in August 2020.

Location: Natcher Conference Center, National Institutes of Health Campus, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.









“And how does that make you feel?” ⤵️

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