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PenFed, DC Habitat for Humanity and DC Leaders Dedicate New Homes

PenFed Credit Union President and CEO James Schenck and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kevyn Myers recently joined Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC (DC Habitat) CEO Susanne Slater and a host of Washington area leaders for the dedication of 11 homes in the District’s Ivy City neighborhood.
Slater placed a particular emphasis on PenFed Credit Union’s partnership with DC Habitat. “Whenever something innovative comes along that requires a sharp pencil, a sharp mind, a sharp ability to see the future, and what it could be, we call James,” she said.
In his remarks, Schenck said, “Over the past decade, I’ve been to twenty countries but there’s no greater country in the world than the United States of America. The reason is because of communities like this. When the mayor and other government officials, neighbors and business leaders get together and put in sweat equity, they make lives better day in, day out for the communities in which they live and serve.”
Schenck also noted that PenFed Credit Union is a proud and enduring partner of DC Habitat. The credit union contributed $150,000 toward the construction of the homes and provided teams of volunteers who helped with construction during their off-time.
All of the homes feature “passive” construction. The revolutionary concept originated in Germany. Passive homes use a combination of low-energy building techniques and efficient power generating technologies, such as solar energy, so that energy consumption is much lower than that of homes built to traditional codes. As a result, homeowners will be able to consume significantly less energy overall and greatly reduce their water usage. These benefits will not only save the homeowners money, but will empower them to create a more sustainable lifestyle.
“Habitat for Humanity DC takes a well-thought out, green approach to bring dignity and hope to those who have been marginalized by poverty and homelessness,” said Myers. “Seeing the happiness on the faces of the owners as they took possession their homes was like witnessing a big part of the American Dream come true,” she said. Reported by PR Newswire.

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Pedestrian Protection: MESSRING Develops New Test System

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A research project from MESSRING, the leading manufacturer of crash test systems and components and the TH Ingolstadt university, is setting new benchmarks in active safety testing.
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150907/264182 )
The project named TargETS (Target Development for Testing of Integrated Safety Systems) comprises two components: a pedestrian dummy and an innovative motion system (6D Target Mover), which are synchronized with each other using a software program.
The pedestrian dummy will authentically simulate the movement of the extremities and head rotation of a real pedestrian. The 6D Target Mover realistically moves the pedestrian dummy in any direction without confusing the assistance systems.
Human movement patterns can be recorded using a motion capture system and read into a software interface.
The coordination and interplay of the motion system and pedestrian dummy have resulted in a test system that is like no other and will take on a pioneering role in the further development of active safety testing and autonomous driving. “Our motto is ‘action instead of reaction’. With TargETS, we demonstrate that MESSRING is also an innovative partner in research,” explains Wolfgang Rohleder, Manager of Sales and Application at MESSRING.
Assistance systems will take on a more important role in the years to come. As a result, the importance of test systems will increase and innovations such as TargETS will be indispensable in this segment. Reported by PR Newswire.

Save the Children Appeals for Help in Assisting Refugee Children in Europe

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With more people around the world forced out of their homes than any time since World War II, Save the Children has launched a Child Refugee Crisis Appeal aimed at helping support and protect homeless children and their families fleeing conflict, wars and persecution in the Middle East and Africa in unprecedented numbers. Hundreds of thousands are risking death seeking refuge in Europe.
“Every day, more and more traumatized children – including many children who have seen their homes destroyed and their loved ones killed — are now streaming into Greece, Serbia and Hungary in hopes of ultimately finding safety and relief in Germany and other European countries,” said Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles.
“These children have been on the move for months. They are sleeping in the open or in public places, suffering from exhaustion and malnutrition and are highly vulnerable to exploitation and harm,” Miles noted. “The seemingly endless wars and conflict in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have reached a tipping point – many families see no alternative but to flee. We are appealing to the public to help us help these desperate children by contributing to our Child Refugee Crisis Appeal fund and adding their names to our petition for urgent action to address the crisis.”
Nearly half of the 19.5 million registered refugees globally – out of a total of 60 million displaced people — are children and youth, and their numbers are growing dramatically due to the ongoing conflicts, especially in Syria. The aid agency has provided extensive support for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria in the last four years and is now exploring ways to help protect refugee children as they move toward Europe. Save the Children recently began a rapid needs assessment at informal camps located on the Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios and Kos, where thousands of refugees are living in informal camps. The agency plans to help coordinate a protective environment for children in the camps while also setting up emergency shelters and distributing basic hygiene items and baby kits.
“Besides young children, pregnant mothers are especially at risk in these camps,” said Miles. “Imagine trying to give birth while on the run.”
In the Serbian capital of Belgrade, Save the Children has set up mother-baby help centers near the city’s main train and bus stations that serve as major gathering points for refugees. The centers provide hygiene and food supplies for mothers and their children and offer parents a safe space to use the hygiene items. The agency also plans to provide support for mothers and children in one of the large “informal” refugee day-camps in Belgrade including a safe space for children to play.
To meet the growing crisis Save the Children has joined other humanitarian groups in calling on the United States and European Member States to strengthen protections for refugees and to expand quotas for refugees so more can resettle in Europe and the United States. “As the Obama Administration has acknowledged, The United States has an important role to play in helping Europe respond,” Miles said. “The situation is extraordinary and it calls for an extraordinary response not only from European countries but from the United States as well. The international community must also step up its effort to provide assistance to displaced people and host communities in the Middle East as well as do more to bring an end to the conflict.” Reported by PR Newswire.

UN urges all States to sign, ratify Nuclear Test Ban as ‘critical step on road to nuclear-free world’

For the fifth International Day against Nuclear Tests, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed states but stressed that these cannot substitute for a legally-binding treaty.
“The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is essential for the elimination of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Ban said in a message. “It is a legally-binding, verifiable means by which to constrain the quantitative and qualitative development of nuclear weapons.”
The UN General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Tests in December 2009, adopting a unanimous resolution that calls for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” 2010 marked the inaugural commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
Reminding the world that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the dawn of the nuclear age, the UN chief said 70 years ago in 1945, “the Trinity Test unleashed the power of more than 20,000 tons of TNT and precipitated over 2,000 additional nuclear tests.”
“Pristine environments and populated communities in Central Asia, North Africa, North America and the South Pacific were hit,” he said. “Many have never recovered from the resulting environmental, health and economic damage. Poisoned groundwater, cancer, leukaemia, radioactive fallout – these are among the poisonous legacies of nuclear testing.”
“The best way to honour the victims of past tests is to prevent any in the future,” he said, noting that two decades after the CTBT was negotiated, “the time has long past for its entry-into-force.”
“I welcome the voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed States,” Mr. Ban said “At the same time, I stress that these cannot substitute for a legally-binding Treaty.”
“On this International Day, I repeat my longstanding call on all remaining States to sign and ratify the Treaty – especially the eight necessary for its entry-into-force – as a critical step on the road to a nuclear-weapon-free world,” he said.
The General Assembly resolution that established the world day was initiated by Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and cosponsors with a view to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991.
In his remarks, Assembly President Sam Kutesa said the recently held 2015 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had highlighted the stark reality of the increasing divisions between the States parties over the future of nuclear disarmament.
“It is now time to bridge the gap and work with more resolute political will to ensure that the NPT continues to remain the cornerstone of global security,” he declared.
Mr. Kutesa applauded the efforts of the Government of Kazakhstan, not only for initiating the International Day, but also for its continuing leadership in efforts to end nuclear weapons testing and to promote a world free of nuclear weapons.
He also commend the recent announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme, reached in Vienna between the international negotiators and Iran as an important step forward on this critical issue.
“I hope this agreement will benefit the non-proliferation regime and will lead to greater mutual understanding and cooperation on the many serious security challenges in the Middle East and beyond,” he said.
He also announced that on 10 September, he plans to convene an informal meeting of the General Assembly to mark the International Day under the overall theme ‘Towards Zero: Resolving the Contradictions.’ Reported by PR Newswire.

NASA to Test Emergency Locator Transmitters by Crashing Airplane

Using a Cessna 172 dropped from a height of 100 feet, NASA’s Search and Rescue Mission Office will simulate a severe but survivable plane accident Wednesday, Aug. 26 to test emergency locator transmitters (ELTs). NASA Television will air live coverage of the test, which is scheduled to happen between 1 and 2 p.m. EDT.
The test will take place at the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, where a research team has equipped the vintage 1974 airplane with five ELTs, two crash test dummies, cameras and data-collecting sensors.
Media interested covering the crash test should contact Kathy Barnstorff at 757-864-9886 or kathy.barnstorff@nasa.gov, no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, and arrive at the Langley gate at 2 Langley Blvd. by 12:15 p.m., Aug 26. In the event of bad weather, the test will be rescheduled.
Emergency locator transmitters are installed on general aviation and commercial planes to transmit a location signal in the event of a crash. Current ELT models send that signal to orbiting satellites, which repeat it to the nearest search and rescue ground station. The signal is used to determine and transmit the ELT’s identity and location to rescuers.
ELTs have to work in the extreme circumstances involved in an airplane crash. Included in those extreme circumstances are the possibilities of excessive vibration, fire and impact damage. NASA research is designed to find practical ways to improve ELT system performance and robustness, giving rescue workers the best chance of saving lives.
This is the last of three crash tests of three different Cessna 172 aircraft. Each of the three tests simulate different, but common, crash conditions. The first plane was dropped from about 80 feet and came in at nose level on concrete. The second was hauled up to 100 feet and crashed nose down into soil, and the third is planned to come in from 100 feet, tail down, into soil.
Reported by PR Newswire.

Red Cross Helping People on Saipan After Typhoon Devastates Most of Island Damage

In this Aug. 8, 2015 photo, a street corner is filled with a mangled rooftop brought down by strong winds from Typhoon Soudelor in Taipei, Taiwan. Soudelor brought heavy rains and strong winds to the island Saturday with winds speeds over 170 km per hour (100 mph) and gusts over 200 km per hour (120 mph) according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
In this Aug. 8, 2015 photo, a street corner is filled with a mangled rooftop brought down by strong winds from Typhoon Soudelor in Taipei, Taiwan. Soudelor brought heavy rains and strong winds to the island Saturday with winds speeds over 170 km per hour (100 mph) and gusts over 200 km per hour (120 mph) according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

The American Red Cross is helping people in Saipan, part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, after Typhoon Soudelor blasted the island last week.
The storm hit Saipan with winds higher than 90 mph leaving most of the island without power, water and sewer facilities. The power may be out for more than a month. Preliminary reports indicate more than 1,100 homes are damaged.
“Saipan is facing the worst damage that locals have seen for decades,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “We have dozens of volunteers working around the clock to make sure people have the support they need and more help is on the way.”
With a local office on Saipan and a group of dedicated volunteers, the Red Cross responded immediately to support sheltering, feeding and damage assessment efforts. More than 2,000 calls have come in from people seeking help, adding up to almost five percent of the population. More than 500 people spent Sunday night in government-operated shelters and the Red Cross has already provided more than 11,000 meals.
Because of the extensive damage, the Red Cross has created a robust relief plan to get immediate help to people who need it. The program combines financial assistance with critical supplies to help people leave emergency shelters and begin recovering from Soudelor. Relief supplies include items such as rice, canned meat, hygiene products, stoves and cleaning supplies for thousands of people in the hardest hit areas. Supplies including rice cookers and thousands of comfort items are on the way to Saipan now.
Access to Saipan is challenging. The Red Cross is working with corporate and government partners to get relief supplies to Saipan. Red Cross volunteers on the mainland U.S. are also deploying to the region to assist in the relief effort.
“Saipan is going to need help for some time and the Red Cross will be there to support recovery efforts,” said Kieserman. “The best way to help right now, is to make a financial donation to support Red Cross disaster relief.”
HOW TO HELP People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes, typhoons and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires. Reported by PR Newswire.

Following is the daily “Profile America” feature from the U.S. Census Bureau:

Profile America — Saturday, August 8th. On this date in 1930, an offbeat sort of history was made when a stock trade order was placed from a zeppelin off the Atlantic coast. This didn’t start a trend because the stock market had crashed and burned less than 10 months earlier, and a famous zeppelin crashed and burned just six years later. While 810 million shares were traded in 1930, that was down significantly from 1929’s volume of 1.1 billion. The stock market took nearly 30 years, or until 1959, to return to the trading level of 1930. Zeppelins haven’t recovered anywhere near as much. About 14 percent of U.S. families own individual stocks, with a median value of $27,000, but an average of almost $294,000. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Kane’s Famous First Facts, 3826
1930 and 1959 stock shares traded: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, p. 1007
Percent of families holding stock shares, and values/table 3: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2014/pdf/scf14.pdf


9 Ways to Stay Safe in Beach Waters This Summer

In this photo taken, Tuesday, July 7, 2015,beachgoers avoid the ocean on a beautiful summer day in Avon, N.C. ?In a 28-day span, eight people have been bitten by sharks in N.C., with three of the attacks happening on the barrier islands of the Outer Banks. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)
In this photo taken, Tuesday, July 7, 2015,beachgoers avoid the ocean on a beautiful summer day in Avon, N.C. ?In a 28-day span, eight people have been bitten by sharks in N.C., with three of the attacks happening on the barrier islands of the Outer Banks. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)

You may have seen news reports about increased shark attacks this summer. If you’re taking a family vacation to the beach in the coming weeks, and you’re worried about letting your children swim in the ocean, check this advice from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Service before you go:
1. Don’t go alone in the water. People swimming by themselves are more at risk.
2. Stay out of the water at high-risk hours. Sharks feed during the pre-dawn and twilight hours, so avoid swimming and being mistaken for food.
3. Check for scrapes and cuts before entering the water. Sharks can detect the scent of blood from far away.
4. Take off the bling. Sharks perceive shiny jewelry and clothes the same way they perceive fish scales that glisten in the water. You don’t want to look like a shark’s main source of food.
5. Visit designated beaches. Every shore is not appropriate for swimming. If you see diving seabirds or bait fishes, there is most likely feeding activity in that area.
6. Don’t let your pets in the water. Their erratic movements can be mistaken for bait fish.
7. Be careful around sandbars and steep drop-offs. These are popular spots for sharks.
8. Swim when lifeguards are present. They are trained to deal with water related emergencies.
9. Do not enter the water if sharks have been spotted — just don’t. Reported by PR Newswire.