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US opts to not rebuild renowned Puerto Rico telescope



FILE - This July 13, 2016 photo shows the world's largest single-dish radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The National Science Foundation announced Oct. 13, 2022 that it will not rebuild the renowned radio telescope, which was one of the world’s largest until it collapsed in August 2020. (AP Photo/Danica Coto, File)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The National Science Foundation announced Thursday that it will not rebuild a renowned radio telescope in Puerto Rico, which was one of the world’s largest until it collapsed nearly two years ago.

Instead, the agency issued a solicitation for the creation of a $5 million education center at the site that would promote programs and partnerships related to science, technology, engineering and math. It also seeks the implementation of a research and workforce development program, with the center slated to open next year in the northern mountain town of Arecibo where the telescope was once located.

The solicitation does not include operational support for current infrastructure at the site that is still in use, including a 12-meter radio telescope or the Lidar facility, which is used to study the upper atmosphere and ionosphere to analyze cloud cover and precipitation data.

The reflector dish and the 900-ton platform hanging 450 feet above it previously allowed scientists to track asteroids headed to Earth, conduct research that led to a Nobel Prize and determine if a planet is potentially habitable.

“We understand how much the site has meant to the community,” said Sean Jones, assistant director for directorate of mathematical and physical sciences at NSF. “If you’re a radio astronomer, you’ve probably spent some time of your career at Arecibo.”

But all research abruptly ended when an auxiliary cable snapped in August 2020, tearing a 100-foot hole in the dish and damaging the dome above it. A main cable broke three months later, prompting the NSF to announce in November 2020 that it was closing the telescope because the structure was too unstable.

Experts suspect that a possible manufacturing error caused the cable to snap, but NSF officials said Thursday that the investigation is still ongoing.

Jones said in a phone interview that the decision to not rebuild the telescope comes in part because the U.S. government has other radar facilities that can do part of the mission that Arecibo once did. He added that the NSF also envisions a five-year maintenance contract to keep the site open, which would cost at least $1 million a year.

“This is a pivotal time. The education component is very important,” said James Moore, assistant director for education and human resource directorate at NSF.

He said by phone that one of the agency’s priorities is to make STEM more accessible and inclusive and that the proposed education center would fill that need.

“It’s a way to augment some of the things that young people are getting in their schools or not getting,” he said.

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Message of Condolence from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the Passing of Sir Neville Nicholls



The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) expresses profound sadness on the passing of Sir Neville Nicholls. His contributions to our region have left an indelible mark, and his legacy will be remembered with great respect and admiration. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. Sir Neville’s dedication and service to the Caribbean will continue to inspire us all.

Sir Neville served the CDB with distinction in progressively critical roles from 1971 until his retirement in 2001. As President, he led the Bank for three terms with vision, wisdom and a deep understanding of the Region’s socio-economic landscape.

Sir Neville also contributed his wide experience and expertise to several public and private institutions in his homeland, Barbados, including the legal and academic fraternities.

CARICOM conveys deepest condolences to his family, community of friends and former colleagues.

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Deputy Secretary of State Kurt M. Campbell’s Travel to Ghana, Gabon, Senegal, and the United Kingdom



WASHINGTON, DC (FNN) – Deputy Secretary of State Kurt M. Campbell will embark on an important diplomatic mission from July 14 to July 19, visiting Ghana, Gabon, Senegal, and the United Kingdom. This trip is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations, advancing democracy, enhancing economic cooperation, and addressing regional and global security challenges.

Itinerary and Objectives:

Ghana (July 14-15)

  • Meetings:
    • President Nana Akufo-Addo
    • Youth leaders
  • Key Topics:
    • Strengthening U.S.-Ghana partnership
    • Advancing democracy and security in West Africa
    • Reinforcing two-way trade and investment
    • U.S. investment in digital technology solutions

Gabon (July 16)

  • Meetings:
    • Leaders of Gabon’s transition government
    • Civil society leaders
  • Key Topics:
    • Discussing political transition toward democracy
    • Exploring economic growth opportunities
    • Visiting a Congo Basin rain forest
    • Highlighting U.S. support for environmental and sustainable management practices
    • Advancing U.S.-Gabon security partnership, focusing on regional stability and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea

Senegal (July 17)

  • Meetings:
    • President Bassirou Diomaye Faye
    • Entrepreneurs
  • Key Topics:
    • Emphasizing dedication to democracy, good governance, and economic growth
    • Showcasing U.S. investments:
      • Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $550 million power compact
      • U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s $81 million loan for the hospitality industry
    • Discussing IT solutions for economic growth and environmental challenges

United Kingdom (July 18-19)

  • Meetings:
    • Senior UK officials in the new government
  • Key Topics:
    • Addressing global challenges through the Special Relationship
    • Ceasefire in Gaza
    • Supporting Ukraine against Russia’s aggression
    • Outcomes from the NATO Summit in Washington
    • Priorities in the Indo-Pacific

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Launch of WHO’s Investment Round and announcement of winners of 5th edition of the Health For All Film Festival



Date and Place: 26 May 2024 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm at WHO Headquarters’.

Prior to the formal opening of the World Health Assembly on Monday 27 May, on Sunday WHO will launch its Investment Round and announce the winners of the 5th edition of the Health For All Film Festival.

The event will be opened by the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and attended by High-Level Representatives of Member States. There will be statements of commitment to WHO from Member States and other supporters. The event will also feature live performances by internationally acclaimed Egyptian opera singer Farrah El Dibany and renowned Franco-American pianist ​Jeff Cohen, and the awarding of Film Festival prizes by Indian actor, filmmaker, and social advocate Nandita Das.

The event will be live-streamed

Information about WHO’s Investment Round can be found here: WHO’s Investment Round

Health for All Film Festival

The Grand Prix winners of the Health for All Film Festival will be announced by Indian actor, filmmaker and social advocate Nandita Das, who is a member of the distinguished international jury. The winners of four special film prizes, on the themes of Universal health coverage; Emergencies, refugees and migrant health; Better health and physical activity; and the very short films category, will also be announced.

More than 900 filmmakers from 110 countries submitted short films for this 5th edition of the festival, on themes ranging from climate change and refugees to tobacco use and gender-based violence.

This event will be followed by a high-level reception hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany.

This event is primarily for World Health Assembly delegates, partners, and special guests by invitation only.

Journalists wishing to attend in person are invited to register here:

Programme for Sunday, 26 May 2024

17:00 – Opening of the Launch Event of WHO’s Investment Round

· Investment Round video

· Song renditions Farrah El Dibany with Jeff Cohen

Welcome remarks WHO Director-General Dr Tedros

A Director-General’s Award for Global Health will be announced; 2 additional DG Awards will be announced on Monday.

Statements by invited guests:

· H.E. Ms Mia Mottley – Prime Minister of Barbados

· Mr Gordon Brown – former UK Prime Minister, current WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing

· H.E. Ms Nisia Trindade – Minister of Health of Brazil (video statement)

· H.E. Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari – Minister of Health of Qatar

· H.E. Mr Jan Christian Vestre – Minister of Health of Norway

· Mr Frédéric Valletoux – Minister Delegate in charge of Health and Prevention, France

· Dr Gabriel Leung – The Institute of Philanthropy

18:00 – Announcement of winners of 5th Health For All Film Festival

Opening remarks:

Actor Nandita Das announces winners:

· Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Grand Prix

· Better Health and Well-being Grand Prix

· Health Emergencies Grand Prix

Song rendition by Farrah El Dibany with Jeff Cohen

18:30: Conclusion

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