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Blue Origin Shoots NASA Experiments Into Space in Test

Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, has launched NASA experiments into space on a brief test flight.

The New Shepard rocket blasted off Wednesday from West Texas, hoisting a capsule containing the experiments. The eight experiments were exposed to a few minutes of weightlessness, before the capsule parachuted down. The rocket also landed successfully, completing its fourth spaceflight.

This was Blue Origin’s 10th test flight, all precursors to launching passengers by year’s end. The capsules have six windows, one for each customer. Blue Origin isn’t taking reservations just yet. Instead, the Kent, Washington, company is focusing on brief research flights.

Wednesday’s flight lasted just over 10 minutes, with the capsule reaching 66 miles high, or 107 kilometers, well within the accepted boundary of space.

Bezos is the founder of Amazon.

 

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Blue Origin Shoots NASA Experiments Into Space in Test

Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, has launched NASA experiments into space on a brief test flight.

The New Shepard rocket blasted off Wednesday from West Texas, hoisting a capsule containing the experiments. The eight experiments were exposed to a few minutes of weightlessness, before the capsule parachuted down. The rocket also landed successfully, completing its fourth spaceflight.

This was Blue Origin’s 10th test flight, all precursors to launching passengers by year’s end. The capsules have six windows, one for each customer. Blue Origin isn’t taking reservations just yet. Instead, the Kent, Washington, company is focusing on brief research flights.

Wednesday’s flight lasted just over 10 minutes, with the capsule reaching 66 miles high, or 107 kilometers, well within the accepted boundary of space.

Bezos is the founder of Amazon.

 

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EU Calls for Tougher Checks on Golden Visa Applicants

The European Union on Wednesday warned countries running lucrative schemes granting passports and visas to rich foreigners to toughen checks on applicants amid concern they could be flouting security, money laundering and tax laws.

EU countries have welcomed in more than 6,000 new citizens and close to 100,000 new residents through golden passport and visa schemes over the past decade, attracting around 25 billion euros ($28 billion) in foreign direct investment, according to anti-corruption watchdogs Transparency International and Global Witness.

 

In a first-ever report on the schemes, the EU Commission said that such documents issued in one country can open a back door to citizenship or residency in all 28 states.

 

Justice Commissioner Vera Jurova said golden visas are the equivalent of “opening the golden gate to Europe for some privileged people.”

 

“We want more guarantees related to security and anti-money laundering. We expect more transparency,” she told reporters in Brussels.

 

Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta offer passports to investors without any real connections to the countries or even the obligation to live there by paying between 800,000 and 2 million euros ($909,000 to $2.3 million).

 

Twenty EU states offer visas in exchange for investment: Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

 

 Investment can range from 13,500 euros to over 5 million euros ($15,350 to $5.7 million) in the form of capital and property investments, buying government bonds, one-time payments to the national budget or certain donations to charity.

 

Cyprus toughened up vetting procedures last year after it was accused of running a “passports-for-cash” scheme. It said passport numbers would be capped at 700 a year.

 

The Mediterranean island introduced the scheme in the wake of a 2013 financial crisis that brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy and forced it to accept a multibillion-euro rescue program from creditors. One Cyprus lawmaker has estimated that the scheme generated around 4.8 billion euros ($5.4 billion) between 2013 and 2016.

 

In compiling the report, Commission researchers struggled to obtain clear information about how the schemes are run, the number of applicants and where they come from, as well as how many are granted or refused visas. They noted that EU countries exchange little or no information about the applicants.

 

But the report did find that the security checks run on applicants are insufficient, and it recommends that EU computer databases like the one controlling Europe’s passport-free travel area be used routinely. Tougher “due diligence” controls are also needed to ensure that money laundering rules are not circumvented, while more monitoring and reporting could help tackle tax evasion.

 

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the Commission “will monitor full compliance with EU law.”

 

“The work we have done together over the past years in terms of increasing security, strengthening our borders and closing information gaps should not be jeopardized,” he warned.

 

The Commission proposed setting up a working group with EU member countries to study the schemes by year’s end.

 

The report angered Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, who underlined that, over the past five years, the number of citizenships granted by Cyprus under its scheme amounts to 0.3 percent of the EU’s total.

 

He said that Cyprus has the toughest citizenship criteria among all 20 countries, “and despite this, Cyprus is being targeted.”

 

“These double standards must finally come to an end and I want to be strict about this,” Anastasiades said.

 

Malta welcomed the Commission report, but said it has “reservations on a few issues,” notably that people it accepts under the schemes undergo far more rigorous checks than others granted residency or citizenship. It also underlined that physical presence in Malta is mandatory.

 

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EU Calls for Tougher Checks on Golden Visa Applicants

The European Union on Wednesday warned countries running lucrative schemes granting passports and visas to rich foreigners to toughen checks on applicants amid concern they could be flouting security, money laundering and tax laws.

EU countries have welcomed in more than 6,000 new citizens and close to 100,000 new residents through golden passport and visa schemes over the past decade, attracting around 25 billion euros ($28 billion) in foreign direct investment, according to anti-corruption watchdogs Transparency International and Global Witness.

 

In a first-ever report on the schemes, the EU Commission said that such documents issued in one country can open a back door to citizenship or residency in all 28 states.

 

Justice Commissioner Vera Jurova said golden visas are the equivalent of “opening the golden gate to Europe for some privileged people.”

 

“We want more guarantees related to security and anti-money laundering. We expect more transparency,” she told reporters in Brussels.

 

Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta offer passports to investors without any real connections to the countries or even the obligation to live there by paying between 800,000 and 2 million euros ($909,000 to $2.3 million).

 

Twenty EU states offer visas in exchange for investment: Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

 

 Investment can range from 13,500 euros to over 5 million euros ($15,350 to $5.7 million) in the form of capital and property investments, buying government bonds, one-time payments to the national budget or certain donations to charity.

 

Cyprus toughened up vetting procedures last year after it was accused of running a “passports-for-cash” scheme. It said passport numbers would be capped at 700 a year.

 

The Mediterranean island introduced the scheme in the wake of a 2013 financial crisis that brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy and forced it to accept a multibillion-euro rescue program from creditors. One Cyprus lawmaker has estimated that the scheme generated around 4.8 billion euros ($5.4 billion) between 2013 and 2016.

 

In compiling the report, Commission researchers struggled to obtain clear information about how the schemes are run, the number of applicants and where they come from, as well as how many are granted or refused visas. They noted that EU countries exchange little or no information about the applicants.

 

But the report did find that the security checks run on applicants are insufficient, and it recommends that EU computer databases like the one controlling Europe’s passport-free travel area be used routinely. Tougher “due diligence” controls are also needed to ensure that money laundering rules are not circumvented, while more monitoring and reporting could help tackle tax evasion.

 

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the Commission “will monitor full compliance with EU law.”

 

“The work we have done together over the past years in terms of increasing security, strengthening our borders and closing information gaps should not be jeopardized,” he warned.

 

The Commission proposed setting up a working group with EU member countries to study the schemes by year’s end.

 

The report angered Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, who underlined that, over the past five years, the number of citizenships granted by Cyprus under its scheme amounts to 0.3 percent of the EU’s total.

 

He said that Cyprus has the toughest citizenship criteria among all 20 countries, “and despite this, Cyprus is being targeted.”

 

“These double standards must finally come to an end and I want to be strict about this,” Anastasiades said.

 

Malta welcomed the Commission report, but said it has “reservations on a few issues,” notably that people it accepts under the schemes undergo far more rigorous checks than others granted residency or citizenship. It also underlined that physical presence in Malta is mandatory.

 

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Best and Worst Jobs of the Future

The hottest job of the future might be app developer. All you have to do is look at what you’re holding in the palm of your hand to figure out why.

“All of us use our cellphones probably more than we should be every day, and that is what is driving the demand for app developers,” said Stacy Rapacon, online editor at personal finance website Kiplinger.com, which has identified the best jobs for the future. “More apps mean more people to develop them.”

The median salary for app developers is $100,000, and the industry is expected to grow by 30 percent over the next decade, according to Kiplinger.

Nurse practitioner is the next best job on Kiplinger’s list. The median income for nurse practitioners is $103,000, and the field is expected to grow 35 percent between now and 2027.

“The field, in general, is booming because of the aging population,” Rapacon said. “Physical therapists, for example, have plenty of patients to work with, especially as people are growing older and health care treatments are improving. Older people who suffer from heart attacks or strokes or other ailments are able to survive those issues and then may need physical therapy or occupational therapy to continue being able to live independently.”

Half of the jobs in the Top 10 — including physician, physician assistant, health services manager and physical therapist — are in the health care field.

That’s likely because, for the first time in history, older people are going to outnumber children in the United States. By 2035, 78 million Americans will be over the age of 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Other occupations on the Top 10 Best Jobs of the Future list include financial manager; marketing research analyst (beneficiaries of the big-data boom); computer systems manager (most businesses use computers); and information security analyst (company computers need to be protected from hackers and others).

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the professions that are dying. These include watch repairer (fewer people are wearing time pieces); builder of prefab homes (a shrinking segment of the U.S. housing market); and textile machine operator — but there is an alternative for those currently working in manufacturing.

“What’s disappearing are the low-skill jobs,” Rapacon said. “So, if there’s a way you can apply more of a human touch to your work, if there’s a way in manufacturing to learn to manage some of the technology that is being put in place in these production processes, then you can still work in those industries and find opportunities.”

Other worst jobs for the future include fabric mender (replaced by technology); shoe machine operator (replaced by technology); and movie projectionist (fewer theaters and less demand for people to work in them).

Kiplinger used available data to develop its lists of the best and worst jobs of the future. However, the job market is changing rapidly and the available data on new and emerging industries is limited.

It’s always possible that the hottest jobs of the next decade haven’t even been invented.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.


Best and Worst Jobs of the Future

The hottest job of the future might be app developer. All you have to do is look at what you’re holding in the palm of your hand to figure out why.

“All of us use our cellphones probably more than we should be every day, and that is what is driving the demand for app developers,” said Stacy Rapacon, online editor at personal finance website Kiplinger.com, which has identified the best jobs for the future. “More apps mean more people to develop them.”

The median salary for app developers is $100,000, and the industry is expected to grow by 30 percent over the next decade, according to Kiplinger.

Nurse practitioner is the next best job on Kiplinger’s list. The median income for nurse practitioners is $103,000, and the field is expected to grow 35 percent between now and 2027.

“The field, in general, is booming because of the aging population,” Rapacon said. “Physical therapists, for example, have plenty of patients to work with, especially as people are growing older and health care treatments are improving. Older people who suffer from heart attacks or strokes or other ailments are able to survive those issues and then may need physical therapy or occupational therapy to continue being able to live independently.”

Half of the jobs in the Top 10 — including physician, physician assistant, health services manager and physical therapist — are in the health care field.

That’s likely because, for the first time in history, older people are going to outnumber children in the United States. By 2035, 78 million Americans will be over the age of 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Other occupations on the Top 10 Best Jobs of the Future list include financial manager; marketing research analyst (beneficiaries of the big-data boom); computer systems manager (most businesses use computers); and information security analyst (company computers need to be protected from hackers and others).

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the professions that are dying. These include watch repairer (fewer people are wearing time pieces); builder of prefab homes (a shrinking segment of the U.S. housing market); and textile machine operator — but there is an alternative for those currently working in manufacturing.

“What’s disappearing are the low-skill jobs,” Rapacon said. “So, if there’s a way you can apply more of a human touch to your work, if there’s a way in manufacturing to learn to manage some of the technology that is being put in place in these production processes, then you can still work in those industries and find opportunities.”

Other worst jobs for the future include fabric mender (replaced by technology); shoe machine operator (replaced by technology); and movie projectionist (fewer theaters and less demand for people to work in them).

Kiplinger used available data to develop its lists of the best and worst jobs of the future. However, the job market is changing rapidly and the available data on new and emerging industries is limited.

It’s always possible that the hottest jobs of the next decade haven’t even been invented.

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Davos Annual Meeting Open Amid Trade Wars, Slow Growth and Brexit

The annual World Economic Forum opened today in Switzerland against a backdrop of anxieties over trade disputes, Brexit and a growth slowdown that some fear could tip the world economy. VOA’s Mariama Diallo reports.

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On the Night Shift, an Office Security Guard Makes the Rounds

Cameras and alarms keep offices and warehouses safe worldwide. But a new kind of security guard is making the rounds looking for anything that is unusual. Michelle Quinn reports.

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On the Night Shift, an Office Security Guard Makes the Rounds

Cameras and alarms keep offices and warehouses safe worldwide. But a new kind of security guard is making the rounds looking for anything that is unusual. Michelle Quinn reports.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.


Minister: Nigeria to Recommend 50 Percent Hike in Minimum Wage

Nigeria is to send a bill recommending a national minimum monthly wage rise of 50 percent to 27,000 naira ($88) to lawmakers in the national assembly, the labor minister said on Tuesday.

Cost of living is a major campaign issue ahead of a presidential election on 16 February and unions want the minimum wage to be raised from 18,000 naira.

Inflation stood at a seven-month high of 11.44 percent in December.

Disagreements over the minimum wage saw labor unions striking across Nigeria in September. President Muhammadu Buhari said in January that he would increase the minimum wage, but did not specify by how much.

“The 27,000 naira minimum wage is the benchmark,” Labor Minister Chris Ngige told reporters in Abuja on Tuesday. Ngige said some government workers could receive a higher salary of 30,000 naira a month.

The minister did not say when the bill would be sent to lawmakers. Any change would need to be signed into law by Buhari. ($1 = 306.3000 naira)

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