US Astronauts Blast Into Space Aboard SpaceX Rocket

Two American astronauts lifted off into space Saturday afternoon, for the first time on a private rocket, nearly a decade after the last launch of astronauts from American territory.Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken lifted off at 3:22 p.m. EDT, right on schedule, from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a rocket designed and built by a private company.The California-based SpaceX Aerospace Co. is owned by billionaire Elon Musk.“Let’s light this candle,” Hurley said before liftoff.The first launch attempt scheduled for last Wednesday was postponed because of stormy weather in the vicinity of the Kennedy Space Center in the southeastern state of Florida.Meet NASA Astronauts Taking America Back to Space from US Soil A SpaceX rocket will carry a Dragon capsule with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space StationAstronauts were last launched into space from the U.S. in 2011, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, retired its space shuttle fleet, forcing the U.S. to rely on partnerships with Russia’s space agency to carry U.S. astronauts to the orbiting International Space Station.Hurley and Behnken are to orbit the Earth inside the newly designed Crew Dragon capsule for about 19 hours before trying to dock at the space station.Launch Marks New Era in US Space Travel – But With a Twist Space X is the first of several private companies in the new ‘space race’ to regularly launch passengers commercially into Earth orbitU.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence flew to Florida for the launch, the second time this week. They were joined by more than 3 million viewers online, according to NASA’s count, and more spectators in person who lined beaches and roads nearby.

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US Astronauts Set to Blast Into Space Aboard SpaceX Rocket

The U.S. is set to resume launching astronauts into space Saturday, for the first time on a private rocket, nearly a decade after the last launch of astronauts from American territory.Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will blast into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center on the SpaceX rocket, the first by a private company, if all goes as planned.The California-based SpaceX Aerospace Company is owned by billionaire Elon Musk.The first launch attempt scheduled for last Wednesday was postponed because of stormy weather in the vicinity of the Kennedy Space Center in the southeastern state of Florida.Meet NASA Astronauts Taking America Back to Space from US Soil A SpaceX rocket will carry a Dragon capsule with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space StationAstronauts were last launched into space from the U.S. in 2011, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, retired its space shuttle fleet, forcing the U.S. to rely on partnerships with Russia’s space agency to carry U.S. astronauts to the orbiting International Space Station.If the launch of the 24-story-tall SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is successful, Hurley and Behnken will orbit the Earth inside the newly designed Crew Dragon capsule for about 19 hours before trying to dock at the space station.Launch Marks New Era in US Space Travel – But With a Twist Space X is the first of several private companies in the new ‘space race’ to regularly launch passengers commercially into Earth orbitSaturday’s National Weather Service forecast at the Kennedy Space Center launch complex calls for showers and thunderstorms.

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‘No Decision’ on Next Launch Attempt for SpaceX-NASA Mission

A final decision on a launch attempt for SpaceX’s milestone mission to the International Space Station on Saturday afternoon will take place after assessing the weather that morning, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said Friday.Fears of a lightning strike postponed the initial takeoff attempt Wednesday of what would have been the first crewed rocket launch from U.S. soil in almost a decade, and the first time a commercial company had achieved the feat.”No decision on weather right now for Saturday’s test flight of @ SpaceX’s #CrewDragon spacecraft. Will reassess in the morning,” tweeted Bridenstine.Earlier in the day, NASA said the chances of a Saturday launch at 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT) were 50 percent. A chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms was in the forecast for the area.Next chance: SundayThe next window, which is determined by the relative positions of the launch site to the space station, would be Sunday at 3:00 pm EDT (1900 GMT). Storms were again in the forecast.NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, former military test pilots who joined the space agency in 2000, are to blast off from historic Launch Pad 39A on a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.The same launch pad was used by Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates on their historic journey to the moon, as NASA seeks to revive excitement around human space exploration ahead of a planned return to Earth’s natural satellite and then Mars.The mission comes despite shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with the crew in quarantine for more than two weeks. NASA has urged crowds to stay away from Cocoa Beach, the traditional viewing spot, but that did not deter many space fans on Wednesday.President Donald Trump, who flew in for the previous launch attempt, is expected to attend again.Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline.Download File Embed” />Copy Download AudioTriumph for SpaceXNASA has had to pay Russia for use of its Soyuz rockets to take its astronauts to space since the space shuttle program ended in 2011 and the decision was taken to shift focus to commercial partners for missions in low Earth orbit.The mission is a defining moment for SpaceX, the company founded by Elon Musk in 2002 with a goal of tearing up the rules to produce a lower-cost alternative to human spaceflight.By 2012, it had become the first private company to dock a cargo capsule at the ISS, resupplying the station regularly ever since.Two years later, NASA ordered the next step: to transport its astronauts there by adapting the Dragon capsule.$3 billion-plusThe U.S. space agency paid more than $3 billion for SpaceX to design, build, test and operate its reusable capsule for six future space round trips.The project has experienced delays, explosions and parachute problems — but even so, SpaceX has beaten its competitor,  aerospace giant Boeing, to the punch.Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the ISS about 19 hours after liftoff, for a duration that is yet to be finalized, but is likely to last to early August.Wednesday’s scheduled flight was scrubbed 17 minutes before blastoff because of high levels of atmospheric electricity that could have triggered a lightning strike on the rocket. 

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Фонд держмайна оголосив про повернення «Центренерго» під контроль держави

У Фонді державного майна України повідомили про повернення під контроль держави компанії «Центренерго».

«Ми зробили висновки після попередньої невдалої спроби призначити нового керівника компанії і провели одноденну блискавичну операцію: рішення суду, збори наглядової ради, внесення змін до реєстру та представлення нового керівника «Центренерго» Олександра Корчинського. Все це – сьогодні, буквально за 4-5 годин», – написав керівник ФДМУ Дмитро Сенниченко у фейсбуці.

За словами Сенниченка, наступним кроком буде встановлення реального стану «Центренерго» і перетворення компанії з «чорної діри українського бюджету, де зникли близько 100 млрд гривень з 2004 року» на привабливий для приватизації об’єкт.

 

На сайті ФДМУ стверджується, що «Центренерго» за останні роки став «центром корупції», і на сьогодні в Єдиному реєстрі судових рішень зареєстровано понад 17 тисяч документів по цьому підприємству.

Кабінет міністрів ще 26 лютого погодив пропозицію ФДМ про призначення новим виконувачем обов’язків гендиректора «Центренерго» колишнього менеджера компанії «ТехНова» (Чернігівська ТЕЦ) Олександра Корчинського. Це рішення було заблоковано Окружним адміністративним судом Києва, і зняти судову заборону вдалося тільки наприкінці травня.

До складу «Центренерго» входять три ТЕС: Вуглегірська (Донецька область), Зміївська (Харківська область) і Трипільська (Київська область), сумарна проектна потужність яких становить 7 660 МВт, це близько 14% від загальної потужності електростанцій України. Державі належить понад 78% компанії.

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НБУ рекомендує банкам змінити підхід щодо колекторської діяльності під час карантину

Нацбанк рекомендує банкам змінити підхід щодо колекторської діяльності під час карантину, повідомила в коментарі Радіо Свобода начальник управління захисту прав споживачів фінансових послуг НБУ Ольга Лобайчук.

«Питання «колекшину» чи повернення проблемної заборгованості виникло десь на третій тиждень введення режиму карантину», – пояснює представниця Нацбанку.

Пені та штрафи за прострочені виплати по кредитам позичальникам на період карантину не нараховують, але ніяких обмежень щодо колекторської діяльності введено не було.

Читати більше: Платити чи терпіти: що робити українцям, яким банки відмовляють у кредитних канікулах на час карантину?

Нацбанк провів консультації з банками та видав рекомендації: по тих позичальниках, які були проблемними і до карантину, продовжувати план з роботи по поверненню заборгованості. Щодо тих боржників, які почали виходити на прострочення саме тоді, коли почався карантин і дійсно мають проблеми з доходами, варто свою логіку щодо роботи по поверненню боргів, зазначає Лобайчук.

«Але все ж таки трапляються випадки, бо система автоматизована: вискакує маячок, що клієнт вийшов на прострочку і включається відділ, який починає займатися оцим самим «колекшином» і поверненням боргів. Банкам складно перестроїтися так швидко і інколи бувають дзвінки людям, які з об’єктивних причин не можуть платити», – додає вона в коментарі Радіо Свобода.

Читайте також: Як бізнес виходитиме з карантину: дві «хороші новини» і одна «погана»

Ольга Лобайчук радить в таких випадках продовжувати писати офіційні звернення в банк із чіткою аргументацією.

Питання колекторської діяльності поки що не підпадає під регуляторну функцію Нацбанку, але банкам були направлені листи з рекомендацією налаштувати свою діяльність відповідно до особливих умов через карантин: як контактцентрів, відділів по роботі зі споживачами, так і колекторської діяльності, зазначає представниця НБУ.

«В нас є окремі звернення на колекторську діяльність банків. Те, що я бачу: на 63% впала кількість таких скарг. Тобто все ж таки банки перелаштовуються і підлаштовуються під нові умови», – наголошує Ольга Лобайчук.

В НБУ сподіваються на ухвалення законопроекту, який пройшов перше читання, що дасть можливість Нацбанку регулювати колекторську діяльність, розповіла Ольга Лобайчук.

 

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WHO Tells Tobacco Industry to Stop Marketing Deadly Nicotine Products to Children

The World Health Organization accuses the tobacco industry of devious tactics to get children and young people hooked on their deadly tobacco and nicotine products.  In advance of World No Tobacco Day (May 31), the WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices.More than 40 million young people aged 13 to 15 smoke and use other tobacco products. The World Health Organization says the tobacco industry tries to get children and young people hooked on tobacco early in life, knowing this will turn them into life-long smokers.
 
Unfortunately, WHO says many smokers do not live very long.  Every year, it notes millions of people have their lives cut short because of cancers, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses.
 
Coordinator of WHO’s No Tobacco Unit, Vinayak Prasad, says the tobacco industry invests more than $9 billion a year to advertise its products.  He says much of this huge budget targets young people with attractive promotional campaigns.
 
“At the moment, they are spending a million dollars an hour, which is by the time we finish our press conference, that is a million dollars spent,” said Prasad.  “And, why are they doing it?  They are doing it to find replacements users.  Eight million premature deaths every year.  So, they need to find new replacements.”  WHO says the industry sets its sights on the next generation of users by targeting children and young people in markets where tobacco products are not regulated and they can be manipulated easily.   
 
WHO is launching a new kit for school students aged 13 to 17 to protect them from the tobacco industry’s exploitative practices.  WHO Director of Health Promotion, Ruediger Krech says the kit alerts young people to the industry’s devious tactics and teaches them to say no.
 
“The tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries, e-cigarette flavors that attract youth in like bubble-gum and candy, e-cigarette representatives presenting in schools, and product placement in popular youth streaming shows,” said Krech.
 
WHO is calling on all sectors of society to prevent the tobacco industry from preying on youth.  To reach a young audience, the agency is spreading its no tobacco message on  TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media.
 
Health officials urge schools, celebrities and influencers to reject all offers of sponsorship from the industry.  They call on TV and streaming services to stop showing tobacco or e-cigarette use on screen.   
 
They say governments should ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and should enact strict tobacco control laws.

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Mitch McConnell Stresses Need to Wear Face Masks in Public

Wading into a politically charged issue, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday preached the importance of wearing masks in public as the nation’s economy reopens from the “cataclysmic” damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
During a tour of hospitals this week in his home state of Kentucky, the Republican leader has stressed wearing masks in public and following social distancing guidelines.
“There should be no stigma attached to wearing a mask,” McConnell said during an appearance in Owensboro. “And even among age groups that are least likely to either contract this disease or die from it, you could be a carrier. So I think what we all need to do is say, ‘OK, I’m going to take responsibility not only for myself but for others.'”
McConnell, who is in his late 70s and is in the midst of his own reelection campaign, has worn masks at his appearances. On Thursday, he stuffed the face covering into his coat jacket to speak. He donned it again afterward.
His mask-wearing is in stark contrast to the unwillingness of a key political ally to do so. President Donald Trump has refused to wear face coverings, and polls find that conservative Americans are more likely to forgo them. McConnell did not mention the president while touting the use of masks.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has repeatedly stressed the use of masks as people increasingly venture out as the economy gradually gets rebooted.
“This is not a battle between political parties or ideologies,” the Democratic governor said recently. “It’s plain, basic public health guidance that’s out there from the CDC and from everywhere else. It’s the same guidance on the federal and on the state level. And it’s just smart, right?”
Even as government restrictions to combat the virus are easing, the fallout reached a flashpoint in Kentucky last weekend when armed protesters gathered at the State Capitol. Protesters swarmed outside the Governor’s Mansion and hanged Beshear in effigy near the statehouse.
The rally was billed as a defense of constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms, but turned into a protest against coronavirus restrictions and Beshear’s administration, according to media reports. Beshear condemned the rally and vowed not to back down. McConnell denounced the protesters’ actions as “completely outrageous and unacceptable.”
On Thursday, McConnell termed the pandemic as a “cataclysmic event” for the economy as businesses shuttered to try to contain the disease.
The senator listed three factors he said were key to getting back to “full normalcy” from the health crisis — testing, treatment and a vaccine. He said earlier in the week that “the ultimate solution” is getting a vaccine developed and into circulation as quickly as possible. McConnell said he was upbeat about those prospects after speaking recently with pharmaceutical executives.
“We’re going to get on top of this at warp speed compared to any other serious virus that the world has been afflicted with in the past,” he said Thursday.
McConnell, who is seeking a seventh term this year, has toured hospitals to thank health care workers for battling the virus and to tout federal virus-relief aid sent to Kentucky. The events were his first public appearances in the Bluegrass State since mid-March due to the pandemic.

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