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falls

Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls Reopening After 3-Year Closure 

Havasu Falls is known as one of the most beautiful and popular features of the Grand Canyon. The Falls have been closed for the past three years after initially closing down due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

The reopening of Havasu Falls is scheduled for February 1st, however, access will initially be limited for small groups. 

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People who had reservations before the Falls closed three years ago will have the first chance to reschedule their visit.

Havasu Falls is famously known for its mesmerizing pool located at the base of where the water falls. The land itself is located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, and while it’s adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park, the Havasupai tribe has full control over the falls.

As of right now, no new 2023 reservations are being offered to give individuals who had their trips suspended the opportunity to finally bear witness to the beauty of the falls. However, if the individuals who had their trips suspended opt out of rescheduling their visit, their spots will be made available online. 

According to the Havasu Falls official Facebook page, “the tribe says that “the only way to get a reservation for 2023 is to purchase off the official transfer list. Open an account at www.havasupaireservations.com to see what is available.”

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Individuals who had their initial trips suspended have a limited window to sign up for rescheduling, as the tribe warned that they’re implementing a “new check-in process and there may be some delays as [they] work through the system.”

According to their most recent Facebook post, the tribe sent out detailed instructional emails to trip leaders last week, specifically for groups who had trip arrival dates throughout the entire month of February this year. 

Havasu Falls was closed for so long due to the disproportionate healthcare problems faced by Native American tribes throughout the US during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We closed our Reservation in March 2020. With limited access to meaningful healthcare, closing the reservation was the best way to keep our community safe and healthy. We have remained closed to tourists since that time.” 

Additionally, in October 2022 the trails and bridges at Havasu Falls were damaged by severe flooding, the debris have recently been cleaned up, hence the February 1st reopening date. 

drone

US Media Reports Israel As Being Responsible For Drone Attacks At Iranian Military Plant

According to reports from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times, Israel was responsible for drone attacks on a military plant in Iran; specifically in the central city of Isfahan. The New York Times cited a senior intelligence official who was familiar with the conflict between Israel and Iran. 

A US Department of Defense spokesperson also told CNN that the US has not conducted strikes or operations in Iran. 

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“We’ve seen the press reports, but can confirm that no US military forces have conducted strikes or operations inside Iran. We continue to monitor the situation, but have nothing further to provide.”

The Israel Defense Forces and Iran’s Defense Ministry have not offered any information regarding the attack.

“An explosion has occurred in one of the military centers affiliated to the Ministry of Defense. The explosion had left some damage, “but fortunately there were no casualties,” said the deputy head of security for Isfahan governorate Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari to the Fars News Agency.

IRNA, a state news agency, also stated “the explosion had been caused by “small drones.”

“There was an unsuccessful attack by small drones against a defense ministry industrial complex and fortunately with predictions and air defense arrangements already in place, one of them (struck),” IRNA said.

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“The air defense system of the complex was able to destroy two other drones. Fortunately, this unsuccessful attack killed no one and minor damage was sustained to the roof of the complex.”

Within the past few years there have been several explosions that have occurred around Iranian military and nuclear facilities. 

According to Iran’s Supreme Nation Security Council, as reported by CNN, “In July 2020, a fire tore through the Iranian Natanz nuclear complex, a site that has been key to the country’s uranium enrichment program, in Isfahan Province, south of the capital Tehran. Iranian authorities decided not to publicly announce the findings on what caused the fire due to security concerns.”

In 2021, Natanz experiences a blackout, which Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization labeled a “terrorist action,” with a potential involvement from Israel.

No further reports on the recent explosion have been made at this time from either nation. 

moon

Up To 100 Space Missions To The Moon To Take Place In The Next Decade 

Scientists are estimating that as many as 100 lunar missions could be completed within the next decade as interest in the moon heightens. Many nations and private companies have expressed interest in the moon, and cislunar space, referring to the area between Earth and the moon. 

According to the executive director of Astralytical, a space consulting firm based in Atlanta, Laura Forczyk: “We’re already seeing this competing rhetoric between the US government and the Chinese government. The US is pointing to China and saying, ‘We need to fund our space initiatives to the moon and cislunar space because China is trying to get there and claim territory. And then Chinese politicians are saying the same thing about the United States.”

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Both the US and China currently have plans for lunar exploration programs involving bringing astronauts to the moon, as well as researching the possibility of building habitats and infrastructure in the moon’s orbit and on its surface. 

South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Russia are also interested in planning out lunar missions. Commercial companies such as SpaceX have already begun preparing to launch a private crew on a “tourism flight in lunar orbit” this year as well, according to reports from NBC News

“During the Cold War, the space race was for national prestige and power. Now, we have a better understanding of the kind of benefits that operating in cislunar space can bring countries back home,” said Kaitlyn Johnson, deputy director and fellow of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Forczyk added that “with so many lunar missions planned over the next decade, space agencies and commercial companies will likely be angling for strategic orbits and trajectories.”

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“It might seem like space is big, but the specific orbits that we are most interested in get filled up fast,” Forczyk explained.

“Much of the increased activity in cislunar space owes to substantial decreases in launch costs over the past decade, with advancements in technology and increased competition both driving down the price of sending objects into orbit. At the same time, planetary science missions offered humanity a glimpse of the resources available in space, ranging from ice deposits on the moon to precious metals in asteroids,” said Marcus Holzinger, an associate professor of aerospace engineering sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“Once people started really thinking through that, they realized that that water-ice can provide substantial resources or enable the gathering or collection of resources elsewhere in the solar system,” he stated.

“If humans intend to establish a permanent presence on the moon, and venture beyond Mars, it will be imperative to prioritize safety, sustainability and transparency, said Jim Myers, senior vice president of the civil systems group at The Aerospace Corporation.

“Those elements have to be there. Unless we do this in a very thoughtful way, unless we plan, we’re going to run into all sorts of trouble.”

memorial

Man Who Stopped Monterey Park Mass Shooter Speaks On Tragedy

Brandon Tsay is the individual responsible for stopping the Monterey Park mass shooter at the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, California. Tsay is being hailed as a hero who saved multiple lives after disarming 72-year-old Huu can Tran, who later died due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tsay recently spoke to ABC News about the shooting which left him completely “shook.”

“It was Chinese New Year’s. We were hosting a social dance party. I was in the lobby. It was late into the evening, most of our customers had already left. I wasn’t paying attention to the front door — I was looking into the dance ballroom, the dance floor, and this is when I heard the sound of the front door quickly closing and instantly followed by the sound of metal objects clinking together as if they were rubbing. That’s when I turned around and saw that there was an Asian man holding a gun,” Tsay explained.

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“He didn’t seem like he was here for any money, he wasn’t here to rob us. When he was looking around the room it seemed like he was looking for targets – people to harm. I needed to disarm him or else everybody would have died,” Tsay stated.

“Something came over me – I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him. When I got the courage I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon and we had a struggle. We struggled into the lobby, trying to get the gun away from each other.”

“He was hitting me across the face. Bashing the back of my head. I was trying to use my elbows to separate the gun away from him, creating some distance. At this point I thought he would run away, but he was just standing there, contemplating whether to fight or to run away. I really thought I would have to shoot him,” Tsay said.

Tsay then called the police after noting that the shooter walked out of the studio and into his van. The struggle with the shooter left Tsay with bruising on his body, across his face, and the back of the head.

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“After the incident, I was shook. I was shaken all night. I couldn’t believe what happened.”

“A lot of people have been telling me how much courage I had to confront the situation like this, but you know what courage is? Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to have adversity of fear when fearful events happen such as this,” Tsay explained when discussing the public hailing him as a hero.

Representative Mark Takano, who represents Riverside County near where the mass shooting took place, said the area “has vibrant communities, Asian American communities. The shooting is a tragedy of incomprehensible proportions.”

The shooting took place as the community and world celebrated the Lunar New Year, which is a very important holiday for Asian Americans.

“It’s a very joyous time of year for families to get together and to have a tragedy like this happen on the eve of the Lunar New Year is just incredibly sad and tragic,” said Takano.

“I just want to emphasize to the community that thanks to the good work of L.A. County Sheriff [Robert] Luna and his deputies, the suspect was identified very quickly. We know the suspect took his own life, so the community can feel safe from that threat,” Takano noted.

bike

Opening Statements Set For Case Against Sayfullo Saipov Over 2017 NYC Bike Path Killings 

Opening statements are set to begin Monday in the trial of Sayfullo Saipov, who is currently facing terrorism charges after he allegedly ran over pedestrians in a rented truck on the West Side bike path in Manhattan on Halloween in 2017; killing eight people and injuring many more.

Saipov has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of murder, 18 counts of attempted murder, and other terrorism charges. His plea makes him eligible for the death penalty in what is the first federal capital case heard under the Biden Administration. 

Authorities reported that Saipov plowed through cyclists and pedestrians on the bike path before crashing the rented truck into a school bus, exiting the vehicle while waving a pellet and paintball gun before being shot and taken into custody by an NYPD officer. 

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According to a criminal complaint, Saipov told investigators that he planned the attack throughout the course of a year and chose to execute it on Halloween due to the volume of people that would be on the streets. 

“He planned to use the truck to hit pedestrians in the area the attack took place and then proceed to the Brooklyn Bridge to continue to strike pedestrians.”

The criminal complaint also revealed that Saipov told investigators ISIS inspired his attack, and he chose to use a truck as a means of “inflicting maximum damage against civilians.”

Prosecutors stated that Saipov initially wanted to display ISIS flags on the truck during the attack, but decided not to as a means of avoiding attention. 

The complaint also said that investigators found around 90 videos and 3,800 pictures of ISIS-related propaganda on his cell phone, including graphic videos of ISIS members killing “prisoners, beheadings, and instructions for how to make a homemade improvised explosive device.

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Investigators also cited in the complaint that Saipov asked to hang an ISIS flag in his hospital room after being shot and captured, and that he said he “felt good about what he had done.”

According to officials, Saipov initially came to the US in 2010, moving from Uzbekistan to New Jersey with his wife and three children, and drove for Uber. He entered into the US on a diversity immigrant visa, which “allows people from countries with low recent immigration to apply for a visa and green card,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. 

Police have stated that of the eight people killed in the attack, five were from Argentina, two were Americans, and one was from Belgium. The Argentinians were in a group of people celebrating their 30-year high school reunion. 

Reported by CNN, “Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Ministry identified the group as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi.

Nicholas Cleves, 23, from New York, and Darren Drake, 32, from New Milford, New Jersey, were the two Americans killed. Ann-Laure Decadt, a 31-year-old Belgian woman, was also among those killed, according to a statement from her husband, Alexander Naessens.”

tiktok

US House Of Representatives Banned From Using TikTok On Their Electronic Devices 

According to an internal notice sent to the staff of the House of Representatives – obtained by CNN from the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer – TikTok has been banned from any and all electronic devices used and owned by members of the House of Representatives and prospective staff.

The notice stated that the app must be uninstalled from any House mobile device if it’s already installed. This is due to the government’s view of TikTok being a “high risk to users due to a number of security risks.” 

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The US government has also been in talks to ban TikTok from all federal devices in the near future. This ban is a part of a piece of legislation included in the omnibus bill recently signed by President Joe Biden. More than a dozen states throughout the US have also already implemented their own restrictions and prohibitions on TikTok on government devices.

While TikTok hasn’t made any official comment regarding this recent ban on House devices, the company previously stated that the government’s moves to ban the app is a “political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests.”

One of the biggest concerns coming from lawmakers regarding TikTok involves the social media app’s parent company, ByteDance. 

US policymakers are concerned about national security and the risk of the Chinese government pressuring either TikTok or its parent company into acquiring, using, and sharing personal information specifically from its US users. 

This information is thought to be potentially used for Chinese intelligence operations or the sharing of disinformation backed by China’s government. 

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While there hasn’t been any direct instances or attempts of these security breaches occurring, the platform did confirm last week that four employees were fired for accessing user data on TikTok from two journalists. 

The battle between the US government and TikTok has been ongoing since 2020, when the app truly began rising in popularity; partially due to the pandemic and quarantine restrictions that left citizens at home yearning for entertainment. 

Both the government and the platform have been working on negotiations to resolve any potential national security risks so that the app can continue to be used by US citizens. 

“The potential agreement under review covers key concerns around corporate governance, content recommendation and moderation, and data security and access,” TikTok has stated

For now, the US government is moving forward with its plans to ban the social media platform from all government used/connected devices, with the potential for wider bans to be implemented in the future.

government

President Joe Biden Signs $1.7 Trillion Bill Leading Into 2023

President Joe Biden signed a $1.7 trillion spending bill this week that will keep the federal government in full operation, and allocate necessary funding to various sectors.

home sold

Real Estate Experts And Data Show Market Is Gradually Slowing Down

According to recent housing reports, the current real estate market in the US is slowing down gradually due to inflated home prices and high interest rates.

us ukraine

Ukraine President Zelensky Heads To White House To Strengthen Defense Against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is taking his first overseas trip since Russia initially invaded Ukraine to meet with President Joe Biden regarding further defense against Russian missile and drone attacks.

dollar

The International Value Of The US Dollar Is Making Travel Cheaper For Americans

The US dollar has been moving upwards in value when compared to international currency, such as the Euro and British pound, which are typically much stronger than the US dollar, making travel much cheaper for Americans.