Climate Crisis Response, Extended Healthcare Benefits, the Primary Goals of Manchin-Schumer Bill

The Senate approves a bill appropriating over $750 billion in health care, tax, and climate legislation on Sunday afternoon. President Joe Biden and his coalition have earned yet another victory.

The bill was approved by the Senate in a 51-50 vote, with US Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote. Months of deliberation and debate preceded the bill’s third reading before the panel. It would give Democrats the chance to brainstorm policy changes and targets that would benefit them in their bid for the midterm elections.

The bill will be debated in the Lower House, which Democrats control, on Friday, August 12th. Before the bill can be sent to Biden for signature, it must be approved by the Democrat-controlled House.

The bill’s provision on healthcare

The Inflation Reduction Act bill, if passed, would have been the largest climate investment in US history. It has the potential to be a game changer in US healthcare policy because it would permit Medicare to levy price changes on prescription medications; additionally, the bill allows authorities to extend health care handouts for another three years.

More tax revenue would be generated for the state as the corporate tax would be raised to 15% at the very least, with an additional 1% on tax buybacks. The law would simultaneously give the Internal Revenue Service more prerogative in tax collection, implying that tax evaders would face reprimand if they disobeyed the bill’s new provisions.

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The act would have collected over $700 billion in tax income within just ten years, which could be utilized to expand medical insurance benefits and reduce carbon emissions. The aforementioned things will receive approximately $430 billion in accordance with the stipulations of the bill.

One of the bill’s main sponsors, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said the bill he composed and advocated was balanced enough to help both the population and the county.

“I think we’ll all benefit from it; the country will. We have energy security; that’s what we were looking for. And we have the ability to invest in the energy of the future,” said Senator Manchin.

Meanwhile, Biden was overjoyed with the outcome of the voting. He thanked his colleagues for giving a chance to enliven a bill that he and other Democrats had previously attempted to pass.

“Today, Senate Democrats sided with American families over special interests, voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and everyday energy costs and reduce the deficit while making the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share,” said President Biden.

On climate crisis

Economists have differing views on the bill’s ability to counteract the country’s existing climate crisis instigators. However, if properly implemented, as required by the bill, its provisions would have a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions.

The bill includes a $370 billion subsidy for clean energy and the environment. The sum represents the largest climate investment in US legislation since the passage of the Clean Air Act years ago. According to experts, the bill was passed during a period when the country was ravaged by intense heat caused by heat waves. The climate subsidy should help mitigate the effects of climate-related issues in the United States now that the bill only needs to pass the Democrat-controlled House.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Manchin, declared that the main aim of the bill is to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.

Biden previously espoused 50% by 2030. However, the president’s vision could only be actually realized with tougher regulations on giant organizations and other factors that contribute substantially to global warming.

“This isn’t about the laws of politics, this is about the laws of physics. We all knew coming into this effort that we had to do what the science tells us what we need to do,” stated Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

Source: CNN

New Discovery Could Lead to Safer Exploration on the Moon

Caves served as a haven for prehistoric humans. The buildings act as dwellings for the groups and shield them from the environment’s dangerous elements. The identical structures today may offer the same to astronauts on the Moon. There are cave-like buildings on the Moon with temperatures similar to those on Earth.

Scientists have discovered that parts of moon pits consistently display temperatures of around 63 degrees Fahrenheit, or roughly 17 degrees Celsius. For humans, this range can be regarded as steady. The Geophysical Research Letters published the findings in July of this year.

It may be possible for humans to dwell in the pit craters for longer periods, which would make lunar exploration safer than it is now. In addition, installing thermally stable campgrounds is highly possible in the designated regions.

“Humans evolved living in caves, and to caves, we might return when we live on the moon,” said David Paige, a professor of planetary science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Paige is also one of the leaders heading the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment in NASA.

Scientists will think ahead to the conceptualization of permanent operating stations in areas that are safer compared to other lunar regions as a result of the new findings relating to the pits and their thermal stability.

“We could be able to establish a long-term presence on the moon sooner than may have otherwise been possible,” Tyler Horvath said, a doctoral student at UCLA.

Much of the lunar surface experiences extremely volatile conditions, with temperatures reaching up to 127 degrees Celsius during the day and dropping to minus 173 degrees Celsius at night. Unlike these areas, the pits in the Mare Tranquillitatis region are found to have stable temperatures.

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The Apollo 11 lunar mission’s landing site was in the Mare Tranquillitatis region. The region was picked because of its level topography.

“These (pits) are right at the resolution limit of the cameras that they’re trying to use,” said Briony Horgan of the atmospheric and planetary sciences at Purdue University.

Horgan added, “The fact that they are able to pull that data out and show that it was pretty convincing, I think it’s a big step forward in looking at the moon.”

Noah Petro, the head of NASA’s Planetary Geology, Geophysics and Geochemistry Lab, is ecstatic about the find and believes it may provide a window into how other regions of the Moon behave. Currently, the polar regions of the Moon are where NASA’s Artemis program is located for exploration.

“Artemis has the goal of sending humans to the region around the South Pole, where we know there are some very cold places,” Petro said. “Fortunately, we have a large amount of data for the south pole region where Artemis will visit.”

NASA could now extend the stay on the Moon

The current scientific discovery creates new opportunities for lunar exploration. Prior to now, NASA had a very difficult time building permanent structures on the Moon because of its extremely hot surface. NASA may not need to develop more cutting-edge equipment to resist the allegedly unpredictable temperature conditions on the Moon now that these points of stable conditions have been identified.

“About 16 of the more than 200 pits are probably collapsed lava tubes,” Horvath said.

Lava tunnels beneath the Moon’s surface collapse, creating the caverns. The tubes collapse, forming a pit that eventually allows access to the rest of the cave. Because they are shielded from the heat of the sun and other damaging debris found on the Moon’s surface, the recently formed caves are stable.

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“Continuing to map the temperature of the lunar surface is a high priority for LRO, as we’ll be able to use that information not only to better understand the environment future missions to the surface will experience,” Petro said.

“But we can also learn about how different types of surface material respond to the changing lighting conditions at the lunar surface.”

Source: CNN

Flight Attendants Highlights Current Difficulties of Crew Staff Amid ‘Summer Chaos of 2022’

The aviation sector has experienced its share of ups and downs. For more than 20 years, British flight attendant Kris Major has worked in the field. During those years, he saw how airline companies fared during emergencies like the Covid-19 pandemic, the SARS outbreak, and foot-and-mouth illness.

The worst catastrophe the airline sector will see in decades, however, is yet to come, according to Major: the mayhem of the 2022 summer. Major claims that flight crews at numerous businesses are having difficulties. He well comprehends the struggle of his fellow crew members because he is the chair of the Joint Aircrew Committee of the European Transport Workers Federation.

“It’s completely unsustainable as a job,” said Major in a statement to the media.

Now that travel restrictions have been relaxed as a result of countries dealing with the pandemic, airports all over the world are battling to keep up with the expanding demand for travel; however, according to Major, it is in shambles.

Numerous flights have been postponed, numerous pieces of property have gotten lost, and other incidents like these have made travelers lose faith in the aviation sector. It’s “totally shambolic,” he said.

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Agreement among flight attendants

Flight attendant Daniel Kassa Mbuambi of the Lufthansa Germany said, “The lack of staff, delays, cancellations, no baggage — I think it’s a very difficult situation for everybody.”

Allie Malis, a flight attendant from the United States, said, “There’s some kind of breakdown happening that I believe should be preventable.”

Two years ago, when the pandemic hit the tourism sector, several businesses had to fire employees to deal with the drastic drop in demand. Companies are struggling to catch up, though, since travel demand has picked up and is now sharply rising every week.

Many crews had to ‘sprint’ to their next job because of the previously delayed flight, according to Allie Malis, who also functions as the Association of Professional Flight Attendants’ government affairs representative, who claimed that the case made them “uncomfortable.”

“Sometimes the passengers are cheering that you’re arriving because it means their plane’s going to go, or even that they’re upset — they think it’s your fault that the flight has been delayed when you can’t work for two flights at once, although I’m sure the airlines wish we could,” Malis said as she recounts her experience.

Malis contends that the situation not only has a consequence on their bodily well-being but also on their psychological health.

“Sickness levels have gone through the roof, fatigue levels have gone through the roof, not because [flight attendants are] rejecting or they’re protesting in any way. It’s just that they can’t cope — they just can’t cope with the constant changes,” Major adds.

Many airlines claim that employee absenteeism is the root of the problem. This is not what Malis thinks. “It’s kind of offensive that we’re being blamed for any type of labor shortage or operational mismanagement because the airlines have failed to adequately plan,” Malis stated.

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“Flight attendants are being maxed out, working the longest days we’ve had, with the shortest rest periods overnight that we’ve had, and that does get you sick, that does lead to exhaustion and fatigue and weakens your immune system.”

With the current condition, what should travelers do

Malis offers some advice to airline passengers from her experience as a flight attendant on how to deal with the current state of the travel industry:

  • Pack your patience
    • It should be anticipated that delays will occur frequently. However, Malis believes that acknowledging these possibilities would at least align with passengers’ expectations.
  • Pack Snacks
    • It is recommended that you bring your own food to eat while you wait for your flight in the event of delays. Passengers should also receive an empty water bottle to fill up after security checks, along with snacks. It is best to be prepared in cases where you may need to rehydrate and fill up on food, such as when the aircraft is stalled, or there is a long queue in front of you. “If the weather’s bad, if it’s really bumpy, there’s no guarantee that we’re going to be able to safely perform a beverage service,” Malis added.
  • Book early morning flights
    • It would be better to use these itineraries because early flights are typically unaffected, according to Malis.
  • Leave buffer time
    • If there are significant events, like a wedding, travelers should depart a day or two early since delays and cancellations could happen at any moment.

New Zealand Now Welcomes Tourists From All Over After Years of Strict Covid Lockdowns

With its Covid lockdown restrictions, New Zealand is one of the tightest nations in the fight against the pandemic; but the country has recently stated that it will open its borders to foreigners.

According to authorities, New Zealand has resumed all international inbound and outbound travel. While the government of New Zealand stated that its borders would be opened later this year, they have decided to open them three months earlier.

New Zealand was only accessible to a small number of nations in the first half of 2022, including Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The government implemented the most stringent Covid lockdown rules a year ago after confirming just one incidence on its soil. The New Zealand government then carried out several tests and established health regulations that immediately solved the problem.

The largest metropolis in the nation, Auckland, was infiltrated by the Covid delta variant. The city was placed under lockdown for a total of 107 days, which ended in December 2021, as a result of this development.

Even with the announcement, travelers still have to meet growing requirements. Here are some points to consider before planning your entry to New Zealand.

What are the rules to follow

The first thing visitors need is proof that they have been vaccinated. This is a requirement for all except New Zealand and Australian citizens residing in the country. More information can be found on the government website.

Vaccination cards, both electronic and paper, are accepted.

A quick antigen test must be completed by visitors on the day of arrival, albeit it need not be done right away when they arrive at the airport, according to the New Zealand Ministry of Health. Five to six days following entrance, another antigen test will be performed.

The authorities do not require masks when strolling outside. People must wear one, though, in enclosed areas like pharmacies, museums, and grocery stores.

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When is the best time to visit New Zealand

The country’s prices for goods have increased as a result of the inflationary rates. Nevertheless, Navigate Travel said that despite the nation’s inflation rate of 7.3%, the costs of various accommodations, tours, and activities are now more reasonably priced than they were prior to the pandemic.

The managing director of Navigate Travel, Daniel Painter, said, ″(A holiday in) New Zealand’s very cheap at the moment … Other than air travel, there’s never been a cheaper time to come.”

According to the country’s Tourism Department, the algorithm on online searches for New Zealand travel has significantly increased. “Online searches for international flights to New Zealand have increased 39 percent since the announcement, compared to pre-Covid searches,” said Gregg Wafelbakker, general manager of Tourism New Zealand.

“Travel demand to New Zealand has been healthy ever since the borders [reopened] to Singaporeans in May. However, due to flight availability, we do observe demand outstripping supply,” said Jeremiah Wong, the senior marketing communications manager of Chan Brothers Travel.

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Longer stays for New Zealand travelers

Because of the lockdown precautions it has implemented over the years, New Zealand has long been crossed off of many tourists’ travel wish lists. Now, bookings have begun to flow in, though, and they are for longer stays now that it is available to anyone.

“An eight-day New Zealand tour was a popular choice before the pandemic, but we are currently seeing more interest and bookings for our 11-day tour that allows travelers to take in the sights at a more relaxed pace,” added Wong.

Navigate Travel said that tourists “want the ability to be able to relax and not have to worry about things, but they also want to be able to get lots of bang for their buck.”

Thousands of tourists expressed their delight at New Zealand’s decision to restart its tourism industry.

Source: CNBC