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News Day Round Up [June 8, 2017]

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Newest astronauts include Alaska’s own Robb Kulin

 by Suzanne Downing

A record-breaking number of applicants, some 18,300 of them, sought to be part of this year’s NASA astronaut class. Twelve made the cut. One is from Alaska.

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence helped introduce the 2017 astronaut class during an event at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Among the new astronauts is Robb Kulin, 33, of Anchorage. He’s worked as a fisherman in Chignik, has been an ice driller in Antarctica, and has a doctorate in engineering from the University of California, San Diego. He also has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in materials science. Kulin is a pilot and plays the piano. He SCUBA dives and skis.

His parents, Stephen and Karen Kulin, live in Anchorage, where he graduated from Service High School.

Kulin was most recently a senior manager for flight reliability at SpaceX, where he has led the Launch Chief Engineering group in Hawthorne, California. [Full Article]

New fish plant to bring traffic, jobs to Hydaburg

KRBD by Emma Atkinson

In Hydaburg, a small city of almost 400 people on Prince of Wales Island, the fishing industry is a vital source of income for many residents, said Hydaburg Mayor Anthony Christianson.

“Fishing is one of those things that has for generations paid the bills for families and fed us on the dinner plate,” he said.

And on June 16, the city will have a chance to grow its economy with the opening of the new Haida Alaska Wild Seafood plant on the south side of Hydaburg. Christianson said the new plant is meant to prioritize economic development and provide support services for local and visiting fishermen.

“So if we cut the time it takes them to deliver and get fuel and ice and get back out fishing, then we increase their profitability… and then provide ourselves with some local shore jobs, based off of the fishery,” he said. “And so, our priority is to provide local jobs and to help support our local fishing fleet.” [Read the Full Article]

Madrid Bans Manspreading On Its Public Transport

by Devon Ivie



If only every city could take a cue from Madrid when it comes to manspreading. Per The Local, Madrid just announced that it has banned manspreading—when a man opens his legs to take up a bunch of unnecessary room in an enclosed space—across all of its public transit services. Specifically, the city's Municipal Transportation Company (EMT) will be implementing new signage in all of the trains and buses, which will hope to dissuade manspreaders from encroaching on the personal space of other riders.

“The new information icon indicates the prohibition of taking a seating position that bothers other people,” a statement issued by the EMT reads. “It’s to remind transport users to maintain civic responsibility and respect the personal space of everyone on board." The sign features a stick man spreading his legs to cartoonishly large proportions on a public transportation seat, with a big red "X" and “respect the space of others” text accompanying it. It's currently unclear, though, if non-law-abiding manspreaders will receive a fine if they continue to spread at will. [Source]

Pentagon: Beijing Is Arming Its Manmade Islands in South China Sea


China is outfitting its manmade island outposts in the South China Sea with warplane hangars and weapons, the Pentagon said Tuesday in its annual assessment of Beijing’s military.

Once finished, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force intends to base three regiments of warplanes there, says the report, which was “generated” on May 15 and released to the public today.

“Although its land reclamation and artificial islands do not strengthen China’s territorial claims as a legal matter or create any new territorial sea entitlements, China will be able to use its reclaimed features as persistent civil-military bases to enhance its presence in the South China Sea and improve China’s ability to control the features and nearby maritime space,” the report says.

China is outfitting its manmade island outposts in the South China Sea with warplane hangars and weapons, the Pentagon said Tuesday in its annual assessment of Beijing’s military.

Once finished, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force intends to base three regiments of warplanes there, says the report, which was “generated” on May 15 and released to the public today.

“Although its land reclamation and artificial islands do not strengthen China’s territorial claims as a legal matter or create any new territorial sea entitlements, China will be able to use its reclaimed features as persistent civil-military bases to enhance its presence in the South China Sea and improve China’s ability to control the features and nearby maritime space,” the report says. [Source]

Qatar in 'chaos' as Arab powers halt food supply to country amid diplomatic rift

There are chaotic scenes in Qatari supermarkets as people race to stockpile groceries after some of the Arab world's biggest powers cut ties with the country for supporting extremism.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar on Monday, with Yemen, the Maldives and one of Libya's three rival governments following suit.
The Qatar Government has indicated it is ready for mediation efforts.
Doha also decided not to retaliate against the measures.

It is being accused of providing funding to Islamists — an allegation which it vehemently denies.
In an unprecedented move, fellow Gulf states have closed all transport links with Qatar and ordered their citizens out of the country. They have given Qataris abroad 14 days to return home.

Now there are fears the shutting down of all land, sea and air links will trigger supply shortages to Qatar — a nation that is located on the Gulf peninsular and relies heavily on its only land border with Saudi Arabia to access food.
In fact, about 80 per cent of Qatar's food requirements are sourced via bigger Gulf Arab neighbours. [Source]
Just so everyone understands Qatar is the world's richest nation per capita, so this is a big deal internationally. Well, in theory, it's a big deal since America is currently the World Police. However, if we kept to ourselves what happens in the Middle East wouldn't much matter.

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