CBS News Logo Moon bill would create national park to protect Apollo landing sites

A new bill introduced into the U.S. Congress would establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park on the moon. Called the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, the bill was introduced Monday (July 8) by Rep. Donna Edwards of (D-Md.) and was co-sponsored by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas). The bill (House Resolution 2617) was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and in addition to the House Committee on Natural Resources. [See photos of the Apollo moon landing sites today] Protect sites for posterity Noting that the Apollo lunar program was one of the greatest achievements in American history, the bill notes that, as commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the moon, "it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity." In part, the bill calls for no later than one year after the date of enactment of the act, "there shall be established as a unit of the National Park System the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park." Creating such a park will expand and enhance the protection and preservation of the Apollo lunar landing sites, the bill states, "and provide for greater recognition and public understanding of this singular achievement in American history." Astronauts and instruments In the bill, "Apollo lunar landing sites" refer to all areas of the moon where astronauts and instruments connected to the Apollo program between 1969 and 1972 touched the lunar surface. The bill also spotlights the artifacts on the surface of the moon associated with the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, "which had an instrumentality crash land on the lunar surface April 14, 1970," the bill states. Exactly what this passage suggests isn't spelled out, although on April 14, 1970, the Apollo 13 mission's Saturn IVB upper stage impacted the moon north of Mare Cognitum. That human-caused impact crater, which is roughly 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter, has been imaged by the super-sharp Continue Reading

Nature up close: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

By “Sunday Morning” contributing videographer Judy Lehmberg. Arizonans aren’t kidding when they say they take their cactus seriously. Arizona is the only state in the U.S. that protects its cactus both in a national park (Saguaro National Park) and a national monument (Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument).  Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument covers more than 500 square miles in the southwest corner of Arizona, and is the only part of the U.S. where organ pipe cactus can be found. The monument was set aside by FDR in 1937 to protect part of the Sonoran Desert, the most species-rich desert in the world. Because its species diversity is so high, and the combination of species is found nowhere else, it is also an International Biosphere Reserve. There are 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries around the world. They are nominated by national governments to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as places that need protection but can also be used as learning sites for sustainable development. The reserves protect parts of the Earth’s major ecosystems, including coniferous forests, grasslands, and in this case a very special desert. Biodiversity isn’t usually the first word to come to mind when one looks at a desert, but Organ Pipe is indeed biologically diverse. Its diversity is not always obvious, as most of its animals aren’t active during the heat of the day, but walking around at sunrise or sunset can be rewarding when many birds, reptiles and mammals (including elf owls, coyotes, kangaroo rats, jackrabbits, and several snake and lizard species) become more active.  On spring nights, the organ pipe and saguaro flowers open to attract their main pollinator, lesser long-nosed bats. While we were camped in southern Arizona a few years ago we heard a sound outside our trailer late one evening. I went outside with a flashlight and heard the sound again. I followed it to the Continue Reading

When is World Book Day 2017, what are the £1 books and do my children really have to dress up?

When is World Book Day 2017? This year, World Book Day is on Thursday March 2. What is World Book Day? An annual celebration of reading that takes place in over 100 countries worldwide, the event is organised UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Aimed predominantly at children, in the UK and Ireland World Book Day promotes the enjoyment of literature through book voucher giveaways – only, alas, to children – the publication of specially priced £1.00 books, and reading and author-based events and parties across the country. Where can my children get their book tokens and how long are they valid for? The £1.00 books tokens, which are usually given to children by their schools, are valid from Monday 27 to February Sunday March 26 2017. What are the £1.00 books? Each year, a number of titles, including some new works by favourite children's authors, are made available to buy for £1.00 at book shops across the UK. This year's new books can be seen below: Alternatively, if none of the new titles appeal – perhaps your six-year-old is going through a Kafka phase – children and teenagers can use their vouchers to get money off a more expensive book or audio book (minimum price £2.99). Do I have to dress up? Probably not, unless you work in a library , bookshop or school. Do my children have to dress up? It depends on their school and its World Book Day plans – and it's always a good idea to check in advance before sending your child to class in fancy dress – but the answer to this is "yes, very likely". In theory, your offspring should be dressing up as a book characters, although in the past parents have played fast and loose with the exact definition of "book" (comics definitely count, as does, at a pinch, the Argos Catalogue). #WorldBookDay— joe heenan Continue Reading

U.S. quits UNESCO, the U.N.’s educational and cultural agency. Israel immediately follows suit

Citing what it described as “anti-Israel bias” and a need for “fundamental reform,” the United States announced Thursday that it would withdraw from the United Nations agency that works to protect cultural and natural heritage sites across the globe. Israel has apparently followed suit, with media reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had instructed the Foreign Ministry to begin the process of pulling out of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO. Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the U.N., hailed the development in a tweet Thursday, saying it shows “there is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel.” The U.S. pullout, part of a “long and deliberative” process that predated the Trump administration, would take effect Dec. 31, 2018, according to Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman. In 2011, after UNESCO voted to grant full membership to a Palestinian state, the U.S. stopped funding the Paris-based organization. “This is, in a sense, the end point of a road that we’ve been on for some time, that is an uneasy relationship with UNESCO and especially an uneasy relationship around how it connects to the Israel-Palestine conflict,” said Kal Raustiala, a law professor and director of the Burkle Center for International Relations at UCLA. “Obviously we’re a huge part of UNESCO’s contributions, and symbolically it’s unfortunate,” Raustiala said. “UNESCO is a politicized organization like any U.N. agency. But I think this feeds the perception that it is especially ideological. It’s not going to derail UNESCO entirely, but it’s meaningful because we are a huge contributor of funds and of legitimacy.” In a statement, Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s outgoing director-general, expressed “profound regret” over America’s decision to abandon the group, Continue Reading

We should stop funding the offensive absurdities of the United Nations

On Thursday, in a rare emergency session, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution (128-9, with 35 abstentions) calling on the Trump administration to rescind its decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which thereby recognized it as the nation’s capital.The U.N. vote was just the latest in a decades-long series of actions that have shown disdain for U.S. policies and interests.The resolution is nonbinding, so the action is symbolic. It is also pointless to insult and irritate the nation that not only hosts the United Nations’ headquarters—in prime Manhattan real estate —but also is the organization’s largest fU.N. der, contributing about $8 billion a year. Keep up with this story and more But the U.N. has a long history of committing unforced errors, which is hardly surprising, because it was designed to fail.Best known for its peacekeeping in areas of conflict—where it enjoys a mixed record at best—the U.N.’s agencies, commissions and panels have a dismal record of accomplishment, especially while acting as the world’s regulator-wannabe for all manner of products and processes.The U.N. regularly panders to activists and, not coincidentally, adopts policies that expand its own scope and responsibilities. Science routinely gets short shrift; in U.N. programs and projects, everything becomes an exercise in public relations, politics and international horse-trading.Two of the U.N.’s recent gaffes were committed by its Human Rights CoU.N.cil and World Health Organization, respectively.The Human Rights CoU.N.cil published a report by Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, that called for a global “agroecology” regime, including a new global treaty to regulate and reduce the use of pesticides and genetic engineering, which it labeled human rights violations.(As the U.N. uses the term, "agroecology" is a Continue Reading

Is Neapolitan pizza a world national treasure? We’re about to find out

You might think you’re reading The Onion, but here’s breaking news that’s not fake: Italy has petitioned a United Nations agency to give Neapolitan pizza World Cultural Heritage status. More than 2 million Italians, who clearly have far too much time on their hands – or too much pizza in their hands – have signed a petition requesting this special status for a special food. The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will vote Monday in Seoul, South Korea, on this critically important international issue – assuming war doesn’t break out on the Korean Peninsula first. If it sounds crazy to put pizza on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list, consider the fact that the geniuses at UNESCO have already given six other kinds of food items such revered status. The lucky winners on the list are the Mediterranean diet, Turkish coffee, Croatian gingerbread making, French gastronomy, Mexican cuisine, and washoku (a collective term for traditional Japanese food). Hey, what else do the U.N. bureaucrats have to do? There aren’t any more pressing world issues to deal with, are there? Or am I forgetting something? Now you might expect me to fulminate against the silliness and wastefulness of grown men and women, no doubt making comfortable salaries, spending money given to the United Nations to debate the importance of pizza. But I Continue Reading

Support Child Literacy With Jennifer Egan and Goodreads

Where and how books fit into our digital future may be unclear, but it’s generally agreed that literacy remains one of the best predictors of a child’s future success, and even happiness. Statistics show that illiterate children have poor educational, employment and health outlooks. Many will not graduate from high school, will earn poverty-level incomes and will be more likely to engage in criminal behavior. According to recent data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United States ranks forty-fifth in the world in literacy rates behind Cuba (#2) and Russia (#15) as well as Ukraine (#9), Tonga (#19) and Guyana (#32). Roughly 42 million American adults can’t read at all; 50 million are unable to read at a higher than fourth or fifth grade level and the number of adults that are classified as functionally illiterate increases by about 2.25 million people each year. First Book, a nonprofit group, was established in 1994 to take a stand in low-income communities by funding access to literacy education and ensuring continued access to books. A recognized leader in social enterprise, First Book has pioneered groundbreaking ways to provide new books and educational resources at deeply reduced prices—and for free—to schools and programs serving children in need. And the number of children in need is growing fast. Forty-two percent of children in the United States—more than 30 million—currently live in poor households with few age-appropriate books at home, and are served by woefully under-funded classrooms with equally scarce resources. Now, First Book is partnering with the Goodreads Book Club, the largest community of online readers in the world, in one of the coolest child literacy campaigns ever featuring Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jennifer Egan and her brilliant recent work, A Visit from the Goon Squad. For each 10,000 Goodreads members who add Egan’s latest book Continue Reading

Feuding Uruguay, Argentina unite to preserve tango

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — It takes two to tango, even if they're neighboring countries in a long-standing feud over who can claim the voice of the dramatic, elegant music and dance. Argentina and Uruguay, embroiled in a clash over the birthplace of the great tango crooner Carlos Gardel, have kicked aside their differences to persuade UNESCO to give tango protected cultural status. A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization committee meets this week in Paris to consider their petition to add the music and dance to the intangible cultural heritage list, alongside India's Vedic chanting and Japan's Kabuki theater. The committee, which works with a secrecy reserved for choosing a pope, will decide which applications to forward to the full UNESCO body for a final decision in September. Applicants get decisions at the end of the week if they are to go forward. "In the middle of tense situations in other areas, we wanted to show that there are no pickets in culture," said Mauricio Rosencof, Uruguay's cultural director. The designation comes with no money. But an international seal of approval would help the governments of Argentina and Uruguay justify using public funds to preserve their most famous export next to beef. Both countries have proposed creating a Rio de la Plata tango orchestra, named for the river basin the two countries share, cataloging thousands of unregistered songs and possibly establishing official tango academies throughout the world to keep that dance and music an art form uncorrupted by fad. Tango, born in the late 1800s in the Buenos Aires and Montevideo slums, is growing in popularity throughout the world, thanks in part to the Broadway hit "Forever Tango" and TV's "Dancing With the Stars." The popular image — willowy, spike-heeled women spinning, kicking and lunging across the floor in the arms of tuxedo-clad men — is known as show tango. The kind danced in milongas, or tango dance halls, Continue Reading

Dining around Arizona: 8 great restaurants in Tucson

It's a good thing so many hiking and biking trails fan out across the desert and mountains of Tucson. The dining scene has exploded in the Old Pueblo so outdoor activity will come in handy for burning off excess calories.Tucson has been pushing the culinary envelope for some time now and that hasn't gone unnoticed. In December,Tucson was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the first city in the United States to achieve the designation. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognized Tucson for its food and agricultural efforts today as well as its cultural farming and food heritage.RELATED:10 great restaurants in Yuma | 9 great spots in SedonaExciting new eateries are opening all across Tucson. Visit a few, and then walk it off on the trails.Breakfast tends to be the most hurried meal of the day. It often consists of a one-handed grab a doughnut, a stuffed biscuit or a plate load of food chopped up and swaddled in a tortilla. We pick it up at drive-throughs or convenience stores and wolf it down on our way to work. At least until we discover a place like Prep & Pastry and suddenly remember how good it feels to relax and put something vibrant and daring into our omelet-hole.Prep & Pastry is reminiscent of a French farmhouse, open and airy with bare wood tables and high ceilings with exposed rafters. Since opening in 2013, its proprietors have gone about reimagining breakfast. Drawing raves are dishes like the A.M. Relleno ($9), a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with scrambled eggs, queso fresco, pico, a rich mole sauce and topped with crispy corn tortilla strips. Another favorite is Sweet Potato Hash ($9.50), caramelized diced sweet potatoes mixed with corn, leeks, asparagus, a delicate herbed mousse and wearing a chapeau of over-easy eggs.Even traditional menu items come with a twist. Take the biscuit and gravy ($6), for example. It's a cheddar biscuit and duck-fat gravy. The Continue Reading

The global war against journalists

Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta. Gauri Lankesh, India. Javier Valdez, Mexico. Three journalists who likely never met each other yet who shared brief moments in the headlines in the past five months after they were murdered doing their jobs. Valdez, 50, gunned down in Sinaloa. Lankesh, 55, shot and killed outside her home in Bangalore. Galizia, 53, blown up in her car in Bidnija. Like 90% of the close to 930 journalists killed worldwide in the past 11 years, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, their murders have not been resolved. As press freedom shrinks in countries such as Mexico, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and India, dangers of violence to journalists are on the rise.  More: New York unbowed by fresh terror attack More: Laura Bush and H.E. Rula Ghani: Thriving Afghan businesswomen still need you It's usually not foreign correspondents in hot spots, like America's James Foley, beheaded by the Islamic State three years ago in Syria. Of the murdered journalists, 93% are local reporters, offed by criminal gangs or corrupt political officials for their in-depth reporting of local corruption. Some, like Lankesh, were thought to be targeted by extremists for their political commentaries.The horror of the killing — and in far greater numbers, jailings — is only matched by the lack of accountability of authorities in places where they occur. While we might expect journalists to face danger in places like Afghanistan, Yemen or Iraq, countries such as India and Brazil stand out on UNESCO's lists of most dangerous places. All of this makes the belligerent rants of our own president even more chilling. Often, violence and oppression against those seeking to tell the truth start with tough words and propaganda from a rising political leader and quickly manifest themselves into something worse. Citizens and Continue Reading