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NASA astronaut set to launch on Russian rocket as US transitions to private spacecraft

A new crew of three astronauts are launching to the International Space Station late tonight, blasting off on a Russian Soyuz rocket out of Kazakhstan. The trio are heading to the station about a month ahead of SpaceX’s next crewed Dragon launch, which will bring another set of four astronauts aboard the ISS in mid-November.

Heading up on this Soyuz flight are two Russian cosmonauts — Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov — and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, on her second trip to space. The trio will join three crew members who have been living on the ISS since April: Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy. However, their living arrangement won’t last long. Cassidy and his cosmonaut crew mates are slated to head back to Earth on October 21st, riding inside the Soyuz capsule that brought them to the space station.

Just a few weeks later, in early- to mid-November, Rubins and her team are set to welcome the four-member crew of SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon mission, called Crew-1. That flight will carry three NASA astronauts — Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker — and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the ISS for a six-month stay. Their arrival on SpaceX’s new passenger vehicle will bring the total population of the ISS to seven — a larger cohort than usual for the ISS, which has typically held six-person crews since the end of the Space Shuttle program.

Rubins’ flight on the Soyuz comes amid a time of transition in NASA’s human spaceflight program. Since the last flight of the Space Shuttle in 2011, the only way NASA astronauts could get to the station was on Russia’s Soyuz rocket. But through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, two private companies — SpaceX and Boeing — have been developing their own space capsules to take NASA astronauts to and from the space station. In May, SpaceX demonstrated that its Crew Dragon spacecraft could safely ferry astronauts to and from the station when it delivered two NASA crew members to the ISS. Boeing’s first crewed test flight is currently scheduled for next year.

The Soyuz rocket rolling out to the pad.
Image: NASA

SpaceX and Boeing’s vehicles were supposed to be ready as early as 2017, but their development programs suffered from years of delays. In the meantime, NASA continued to purchase seats on Russia’s Soyuz for US astronauts — at roughly $80 million per person — though the agency tried to limit the amount, hoping that the Commercial Crew vehicles would come online soon. NASA had hoped they’d be ready last year, but when more delays seemed imminent, the space agency purchased one last Soyuz seat — the one that Rubins will ride in early tomorrow morning.

Moving forward, NASA hopes that it can work out seat trades with Roscosmos, where Russian cosmonauts will ride on SpaceX and Boeing’s vehicles in exchange for NASA astronauts flying on

How to watch: Georgia high school football star Amarius Mims set to make college decision Wednesday on CBS Sports HQ


Amarius Mims, a 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive tackle from Bleckley County (Cochran, Ga.), will announce his college decision at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Wednesday on CBS Sports HQ. The nation’s No. 6 overall high school football recruit, according to the 247Sports Composite, is picking between four Southeastern Conference schools along with Florida State.

The 247Sports experts expect Mims to stay home and chose the University of Georgia, though SEC powers Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn remain in the mix. He’s rated the No. 2 offensive tackle in the nation, behind Tommy Brockermeyer of All Saints Episcopal (Fort Worth, Texas) and ahead of JC Latham from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.). …

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US and seven other countries sign NASA’s Artemis Accords to set rules for exploring the Moon

Today, NASA announced that eight countries — including the United States — have signed an international agreement known as the Artemis Accords, forming what NASA calls a broad and diverse coalition of nations committed to standardized lunar exploration.

NASA announced its intention to create the Artemis Accords back in May, after working with the US State Department and the National Space Council to come up with a draft set of rules for exploring the Moon. The document’s name refers to NASA’s Artemis program, an ambitious initiative that aims to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon. NASA hopes to partner with multiple countries for the program, and the agency created the Artemis Accords to ensure that other nations could agree on best practices for sending robots and people to the lunar surface.

NASA released the draft of the accords to other space-faring countries, and after getting their input, the agency came up with the final document, which includes standards for things like lunar mining and how to handle conflicts on the Moon’s surface. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says the main goal is to get everyone on the same page about lunar exploration and head off any future international misunderstandings or conflicts. “When we think about the Artemis Accords, what we’re trying to do is establish norms of behavior that every nation can agree to,” Bridenstine said during a press call ahead of the announcement.

The seven nations that have signed along with the US are: Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. NASA says that it has also spoken with other countries interested in signing, but these seven nations were able to go through the interagency process the fastest. That means more countries could be signing on to the accords very soon — even before the end of the year, according to NASA. “This first announcement is very much a beginning, not an ending to the nations joining the Accords,” Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for the office of international and interagency relations, said during the briefing.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine speaking with the heads of the world’s space agencies at last year’s International Astronautical Congress.
Image: NASA / Aubrey Gemignani

Notably absent from the initial list is Russia, NASA’s biggest partner in human spaceflight and the International Space Station. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space program, has made it very clear that he is not a fan of the accords or of NASA’s Artemis program. When NASA first announced the accords, Rogozin likened it to a lunar “invasion.” And just yesterday, Rogozin said during a panel at the International Astronautical Congress that the Artemis program is “too US-centric.”

China, another major space power, is also absent, though NASA has long been restricted from partnering or engaging directly with the country on space projects due to a law enacted by Congress. The

Cleveland Heights-University Heights teachers’ union declines ‘last, best, final’ contract offer, with more talks set

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education and district teachers are set to return to the bargaining table on Nov. 5 after the union overwhelmingly rejected the latest contract offer last week.

What was implemented by the school board on Sept. 29 as the district’s “last, best and final offer” was voted down by the nearly 500-member Cleveland Heights Teachers Union by a tally of 437 to 11, with one abstention.

There were also 41 members who either did not return their ballots or turned them in late. Factoring them in as well, that worked out to 89 percent of the membership voting to decline the board’s offer, CHTU president Karen Rego said.

“Of the ones who voted, it was 97.5 percent” rejecting the contract offer and further authorizing the American Federation of Teachers Local 795 executive board to strike.

That in turn would require a 10-day advance notice of intent to strike being presented to the school board, which had not happened with another round of talks now scheduled.

“We are planning to negotiate Nov. 5, so that is positive movement,” Rego said. “We always want to stay at the table until we come to an agreement.”

While the CH-UH school board voted to implement the one-year contract so that it would otherwise go into effect on Jan. 1, board president Jodi Sourini said earlier that the district remains under a “continued duty” to negotiate.

“We will also meet any continuing bargaining obligation in the event the union shows a willingness to make meaningful change,” Sourini said on Oct. 2.

The teachers’ union remains receptive to surmounting the impasse that the school board cited in its Sept. 29 contract vote.

“In order to come together, both sides are going to have to come up with a creative settlement,” Rego said Monday (Oct. 12).

The union’s most recent one-year contract ended June 30, with nearly 60 hours of negotiations taking place from June 11 through August 19, including the use of a federal mediator beginning in July 2020.

The mediator is also expected to be back at the bargaining table on Nov. 5, two days after “Issue 69,” a proposed 4.8-mill operating levy, appears on the ballot.

“Since the levy outcome is unknown we don’t know if the district offer will change,” Rego added Monday. “Our demands remain the same at this time.”

Points of contention

Rego also disputed the $1 million price tag that the school board has claimed the teachers’ latest contract proposal would cost the district.

“We don’t believe that the ‘$1 million’ (figure) is an accurate number,” Rego said.

In a Sept. 30 statement released by the district, officials said that the school board and the teachers’ union “reached agreement on nearly all of the non-monetary issues” and certain monetary ones.

These tentatively agreed-upon points include supplemental contracts, support for co-teachers, and additional monetary support for disability and life insurance.

At the same time, the side failed to “failed to reach an

Investors urge heavy carbon emitters to set science-based reduction targets

FILE PHOTO: Cracked earth marks a dried-up area near a wind turbine used to generate electricity at a wind farm in Guazhou, 950km (590 miles) northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province September 15, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Investors managing around $20 trillion in assets on Tuesday called on the heaviest corporate emitters of greenhouse gases to set science-based targets on the way to net zero carbon emissions by mid-century.

AXA Group and Nikko Asset Management Co are among 137 investors urging 1,800 companies responsible for a quarter of global emissions to act, coordinated by non-profit group CDP.

While more companies are pledging their support for the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050, not all have been clear about how they will get there.

To help limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms by 2050, companies need to set out their pathway to net zero and ensure it is consistent with the science and independently verified, the investors said.

“Climate change presents material risks to investments, and companies that are failing to set targets grounded in science risk losing out – and causing greater damage to the world economy,” said Emily Kreps, Global Director of Capital Markets at CDP.

The companies targeted together annually contribute 13.5 gigatonnes of emissions directly and indirectly tied to their operations, equivalent to 25% of the world’s total, CDP said.

Specifically, the investors said they wanted companies to set targets through the Science-Based Targets Initiative to help ensure the goals can be more easily compared and assessed.

More than 1,000 companies have already set science-based targets, of which around 300 have targets in line with the 1.5 degrees goal.

“Companies that do not set science-based targets risk being surprised by increased costs or lost business that could result from the increasing focus on climate change by society and regulators,” said Ted Maloney, Chief Investment Officer at MFS Investment Management.

Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Mark Potter

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Game, Set And Match. The Business Masters Where European Are The World Champions

With his 13th French Open tennis title at Roland Garros this weekend, Spain’s Rafael Nadal has equalled Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam men’s titles. Croatia’s Novak Djokovic, with 17 Grand Slams to his name will need at least another year if he is to catch up on his rivals.

Nadal won his first French Open tennis title in 2005. In the past 15 years, few things in the world of sport have been as sure. When it comes to men’s tennis, Europeans are the Masters of the Court.

There is a similar pattern of European domination in the Masters of Management (MiM). This pre-experience business degree has seen tremendous growth in the last decade, as college seniors and those a year or two out of university look to broaden their skills sets and strengthen their networks rather than wait to do an MBA. With the current economic downturn, many of the leading business schools attending the CentreCourt Specialized Masters Festival on October 13 & 14 are reporting record application volume for this often shorter and more affordable alternative.

In the same year that Rafael Nadal won his first Grand Slam, the Financial Times published its first Masters in Management ranking. HEC Paris took the top spot ahead of French rival, ESCP Business School. There were only 25 schools in the ranking, all of them from Europe (at the time the CEMS global alliance was predominantly made up of European schools).

Fifteen years later, and the FT MiM ranking now includes 90 institutions from across the globe, and sees the University of St Gallen crowned #1 for the tenth consecutive year. Much like Rafael Nadal’s record in Paris, no other school has dominated the top of a business school ranking without interruption for so many years. Back in 2005 the Swiss business school was not mentioned at all. It wasn’t until five years later that St. Gallen’s flagship MA Strategy and International Management program would enter the ranking. And so began the winning streak…

The ranking that grew and grew

Looking back over the last decade and half, a lot has changed. In 2005 when it all began, alongside St. Gallen, there was no London Business School, no Imperial College Business School and no SDA Bocconi in the MiM ranking. More significantly, as already mentioned, there were no schools from North America or Asia Pacific. Fast forward to 2018, and the number of schools taking part in the ranking had reached 100. The Masters in Management has become one of the world’s most sought after graduate business degrees, and competition for a place in the MiM programmes of the top schools is fierce, as my Fortuna colleague and former Senior Admissions at LBS, Emma Bond explains.

France were the early big winners, with HEC Paris at #1

NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch Aboard Soyuz

NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch Aboard Soyuz

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — A trio of space travelers is poised to launch to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Oct. 14. NASA Television will provide comprehensive coverage of launch and docking.

NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)
NASA Logo. (PRNewsFoto/NASA) (PRNewsFoto/) (PRNewsfoto/NASA)

Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are preparing to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 1:45 a.m. EDT (10:45 a.m. Kazakhstan time) on a two-orbit, three-hour journey to dock to the station’s Rassvet module for the start of a six-month mission on the orbital outpost.

Launch coverage on NASA Television will begin at 12:45 a.m. It will be the second flight for Rubins and Ryzhikov and the first for Kud-Sverchkov.

After their fast-track transit, the new crew members will dock to the station at 4:52 a.m. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 4 a.m. They will join Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April.

Less than two hours after docking, hatches between the newly arrived Soyuz spacecraft and the station will open, and the six crew members will greet each other. NASA TV coverage of the hatch opening will begin at 6 a.m. Cassidy, Ivanishin, and Vagner are scheduled to depart the space station and land on Earth on the steppe of Kazakhstan Wednesday, Oct. 21, U.S. time, in the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft that brought them to the station on April 9.

A change of command ceremony is scheduled on Tuesday, Oct. 20. Although launching as part of the Expedition 63 crew, Rubins, Ryzhikov, and Kud-Sverchkov will become the Expedition 64 crew under Ryzhikov’s command upon the departure of Cassidy, Ivanishin, and Vagner.

The crew members of Expedition 64 will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science aboard the International Space Station, humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory.

Expedition 64 will also be onboard for the planned arrival of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission on Nov. 1, bringing NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the space station aboard the Crew Dragon vehicle. This first operational mission of the Crew Dragon is scheduled to launch to the station Oct. 31, following a successful Demo-2 mission earlier this year.

Get breaking news, images, and features from the station on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and NASA’s website.

Check out the full NASA TV schedule and video streaming information at:


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With college basketball schedules resetting, Gonzaga and Baylor set brutal slates — and that’s a great thing

Gonzaga is No. 1 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1. And Baylor is No. 2. It’s an uncommon couple atop the polls heading into an uncommon — well, unprecedented — season. 

But do you realize what these programs are doing? To this point, here’s what the nonconference schedules are looking like for the two Final Four contenders. 

For Gonzaga:

  • vs. No. 11 Michigan State (potentially) in Orlando in late November
  • vs. No. 12 Tennessee in Orlando on Dec. 2
  • vs. No. 2 Baylor in Indianapolis on Dec. 5
  • vs. No. 5 Iowa in South Dakota on Dec. 19

For Baylor:

Keep in mind there will be more games against NCAA Tournament-level teams for both schools when they squeeze in additional tilts in Orlando, where ESPN is going to house dozens of teams and numerous multi-team events. Mark Few and Scott Drew, two coaches who’ve never won a national title and only one of whom has made a Final Four, are scheduling like degree of difficulty will get them to the promised land. 

I love it. Can you imagine if college basketball always had this? By that I mean: regularly had two of its top three or four teams not only explicitly seeking each other out to play in the nonconference, but also were borderline obsessed with playing the hardest out-of-league slate possible? It’s what the 2020-21 season has delivered with the Bulldogs and Bears.

These two aren’t the only top 10-caliber teams seeking difficult schedules, I know. Expect Kansas to be very rugged again, for instance. No. 4 Virginia is targeting to play Florida, and should also have No. 3 Villanova on the schedule. No. 5 Iowa told Gonzaga it’s totally up for a throwdown in South Dakota. It’s a fabulous thing for college basketball. If all teams in the top five or 10 were as aspirational as Gonzaga and Baylor are this year, college basketball would never again have to worry about its November and December relevance. 

If we can start the season on Nov. 25 and be fortunate enough to have minimal postponements or cancellations, thanks to hundreds of games being played in controlled environments, the first two weeks will be adorned with top-25 matchups practically daily. On top of that, we’ll have Gonzaga and Baylor, battling for the top of the polls, loading up and leaning into it all. It would be easy, if not understandable, to see Few and Drew seek to lay out a bit, merely schedule acceptably, and then head into league play and look to dominate and use that as an avenue to a top seed. Instead, each coach is scheduling ranked teams like this will be the last season they’ll ever get to face them. 

Let’s peel back another layer. It’s also a smart strategy because of the anticipated fragile nature of college basketball’s season. Schools that play in a multi-team event can have a maximum of 27 games. I’ve yet to speak to one coach who thinks any team

EU strikes down Hungary university reform, Soros wants EU to set example

By Francesco Guarascio and Marton Dunai

BRUSSELS/BUDAPEST (Reuters) – The European Union’s top court said on Tuesday that Hungary breached EU law with its reform of higher education rules, which forced a university founded by George Soros to move most of its activities out of the country.

The ruling follows a complaint from the European Commission and is one of many issues in which the EU has clashed with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, accused in Brussels of a backslide on civil liberties, corruption and the rule of law.

Hungary’s justice minister said Budapest would implement the European Court of Justice ruling but reiterated that all schools must meet equal rules, and “on this the Hungarian government finds double standards to be unacceptable.”

“There is no need for mailbox universities,” she said.

Under the reform, passed in 2017, foreign universities in Hungary must also provide courses in their home countries, a provision that singled out CEU, which was exclusively based in Budapest. The ECJ said that was against EU law.

“The conditions introduced by Hungary to enable foreign higher education institutions to carry out their activities in its territory are incompatible with EU law,” the court said.

Central European University transferred the bulk of its courses out of Hungary to Vienna after a long legal battle between Hungarian-born Soros, who promotes liberal causes through his charities, and the government of Orban.

Soros said in a statement that the ruling came too late for Central European University to return to Budapest, where academic freedom remains on the wane due to government interference.

“The Hungarian government continues to trample EU law, with the latest victim being the world-renowned University of Theatre and Arts (SZFE)”, he added, referring to SZFE’s struggle against a perceived government crackdown.


Soros urged the EU to “make Hungary a test case” as it debates ways to force members to respect the rule of law, including tying EU financial resources to rule of law conditions, a prospect that has already provoked a standoff between Orban and Brussels.

CEU rector Michael Ignatieff said the university would probably establish some form of a “bi-campus operation” across the Austria-Hungary border, with details unclear.

He said CEU spent about 200 million euros on relocating to Vienna, a mighty task that put a huge burden on many families during the coronavirus pandemic, but said any compensation claims to Hungary would be “for another day.”

“We have the freedom to decide what we want to do and we will exercise that freedom,” Ignatieff told a press briefing. “The law has been overturned by the highest court in Europe. End of story.”

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Alison Williams, Tomasz Janowski and David Gregorio)

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